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"Helter Skelter"

This summer marks the 40th anniversary of some monumental events, both good and bad. In 1969, we saw the first moon landing followed by the hippie music festival, Woodstock, which helped define a generation. Senator Edward Kennedy saw scandal with the Chappaquiddick incident and the Stonewall riots in NYC marked the beginning of the gay rights movement.

But perhaps no other event shocked the nation as much as the two-night killing spree in Los Angeles August 9 and 10, 1969 orchestrated by notorious mass-murderer Charles Manson. The Tate and LaBianca killings, as they first came to be known, were gruesome ritualistic killings that claimed the lives of seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, who was the wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski and was 8 1/2 months pregnant; Folgers Coffee heiress, Abigail Folger; and businessman Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.

The Tate murders occurred on the night of Aug. 9, followed by the LaBianca killings on Aug. 10, 1969. Los Angeles and the nation intently followed the case developments, which stirred unrest in the seemingly quiet hills of Los Angeles. It took the LAPD almost four months to link Manson and his followers, known as "The Family," and who were the ones to actually carry out the killings, to the murders.

Many news outlets, including CNN, marked the 40th anniversary with stories about Manson and his followers, which included Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, Charles Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian. Those convicted include Manson, Atkins, Houten, Watson and Krenwinkel. Kasabian received immunity as the prosecution's star witness.

Throughout the years, the murderers have been denied parole. In 2007, Manson was refused parole for the 11th time. He is now in his 70s and will again be eligible for parole in 2012.

Because of the fascination behind Manson and the killings, we have included links to articles that appeared in the Post in 1969, such as the article that presented the first detailed account of the killings. Also here is a recent Newsweek interview about the case with Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted the case and wrote the best-selling book, "Helter Skelter," about the murders and the trial, as well as a You Tube video of an interview with Manson that appeared on the Today Show.

By Lauren Wiseman |  August 9, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  | Category:  Lauren Wiseman
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Did you know Charlie was incarcerated here as a youth? Nothing that vile should be allowed to walk among us.

Posted by: therev1 | August 9, 2009 2:16 PM

Didn't Manson have some connection/dealings with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys?

Posted by: edlharris | August 9, 2009 3:03 PM

It is inconceivable that Manson will ever be granted parole; I doubt that any of the others will, either.

They are all quite certifiable, but Manson is just plain evil. Very narcissistic, as well.

I don't care how old he is, he should never be let out. If he has that Svengali-type influence over others, than it is conceivable that even in his 70s, he would be able to bend others to do his will.

After all, the world has no shortage of kooks and crooks, unfortunately.

Posted by: kentuckywoman | August 9, 2009 3:51 PM

I always thought "Helter Skelter" is one of the best true crime books ever written. I remember picking it up and reading all night long getting through it. It and "Serpentine" by Tommy Thompson are the gold standards for true crime, IMHO.

Posted by: brewstercounty | August 9, 2009 5:12 PM

Thanks for all the responses. From what I found, Charles Manson's first imprisonment was in a Federal prison in Petersburg, Va. If you know more details please share them with us.

And yes, Manson was involved with Dennis Wilson, a member of the Beach Boys. The two met when Wilson supposedly picked up two female Manson family members. Wilson tried to help Manson with his music career and introduced him to Terry Melcher, a record producer, who once lived at Cielo Drive, the home where Sharon Tate and others were murdered by the Family on the night of Aug. 9. According to accounts, Manson sent the Family to Cielo drive hoping that Melcher, who abandoned a music project with Manson, would be there.

Please share any other tidbits you know about this story. There are many details to sort through, including that Manson was also charged with the murder of Gary Hinman, who was killed in July 1969.

Check out these links for more details. The second one is a video from 1969 reporting the Tate murders.

Posted by: LaurenWiseman | August 9, 2009 7:00 PM

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