Vincent Bugliosi, Charles Manson’s prosecutor, died on Saturday, June 6.
Vincent Bugliosi Jr. confirmed his father’s death to the Associated Press on Monday night, noting that his father had “an unflagging dedication to justice” in everything he did.
Not only was Bugliosi known as the prosecutor for the Manson case, he is also the best-selling author of the novel Helter Skelter, which recounted one of the crimes of the century when Charles Manson and his followers murdered the pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others.
Bugliosi was simply an unknown Los Angeles deputy district attorney until the night of August 9, 1969, when the mutilated bodies of Tate and four others were found. The victims included Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Voityck Frykowksi, Sharon Tate, and Steven Parent. The next night, the bodies of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca, who reportedly had no connection to Tate or her famous friends, were discovered. Both crime scenes were marked with the words “Pigs,” “Rise,” and “Helter Skelter.”
Bugliosi was assigned to the team of prosecutors while the police were investigating the case. The Manson family was caught and charged nearly a month later, with a more experienced lawyer, Aaron Stovitz, named the head of the case with Bugliosi serving as the second chair. Stovitz was later removed from the case over a comment he made to the media, and Bugliosi subsequently landed the role of a lifetime.
“I don’t think I’ve ever known anybody to be as hard a worker as Vince,” Stephen R. Kay, a former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, told the L.A. Times.
“He would go home after the trial every day, take a nap for an hour, get up and work until 3 or 4 a.m., sleep for a couple more hours and go back to work… And he always appeared fresh, never tired.”
While Bugliosi went on to pursue other endeavors, he knew that he would always be known as Manson’s prosecutor.
“No matter what I do, I’ll be forever known as the Manson prosecutor,” he told the Times in 1994.
Vincent had been struggling with health issues for the past several years. The cancer that he beat three years ago recently returned and metastasized, ultimately causing his death.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla, Keystone / Getty Images]