The Charles Manson-Sharon Tate Murder Controversy: His Cult, Family, Children, And Wife

Cult leader Charles Manson’s death caused the world to pause for a moment to look back at the shock and terror he and his followers caused in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. Their 1969 attacks on innocent citizens left seven people dead. Among the victims was Sharon Tate, an actress who was pregnant at the time. Four other people who were at her residence were also murdered. The perpetrators — Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Linda Kasabian, and Susan Atkins — were acting on the orders of Manson.

The target of the attack was, however, not Tate or her husband, film director Roman Polanski, but Terry Melcher, a record producer, and the previous occupant of the estate. He had apparently declined to work out a record deal with Manson, who felt begrudged by this. The four who took part in the killings were thereafter apprehended and handed sentences covering the remainder or at least most of their lives.

The Cult

Charles Manson is said to have brainwashed and manipulated his followers into loyalty and acceptance of his belief systems. According to Vincent Bugliosi, a former defense attorney, he had an aura about him that pulled people, especially “kids,” toward him, according to Rolling Stone. As revealed by Leslie Van Houten, one of his followers, he used LSD, sex, and lectures about starting revolutions to brainwash cult members. The Manson Family, as the cult was called, is said to have included elements of Satanism, witchcraft, and racism.

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His Family

On where members of the Charles Manson’s Family cult are today, Susan Atkins was handed a life sentence for her participation in the Tate – LaBianca murders. She confessed to stubbing Sharon Tate numerous times, leading to her death.

Patricia Krenwinkel is currently the longest-serving female prisoner in California at 69 years. She, through her lawyer, has filed for parole on 14 occasions, all of which have been unsuccessful. She was just 21 when she got into the prison system. She confessed to stabbing Abigail Folger over two dozen times.

On the other hand, Leslie Van Houten was recently recommended for parole, with the decision currently undergoing a 120-day review process. She was the youngest member to take part in the 1969 murders.

Charles “Tex” Watson, who apparently led the women in committing the Tate-LaBianca murders received a life sentence and is currently at Mule Creek prison.

His Wives

Charles Manson’s first wife was Rosalie Jean Willis. They got married in January of 1955. She worked as a waitress, while he made a living stealing cars and, at times, as a repairman. He was arrested in October, the same year for driving a car across state lines. The crime led to a three-year sentence. She was at the time already pregnant with his child but filed for divorce in September the following year.

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In 1958, he married Leona Stevens, also known as Candy Stevens on the streets (a call girl). He had just been released from jail. The marriage didn’t last, as he was again arrested in June of 1960. In November of 2014, he and Afton Elaine “Star” Burton, a 26-year-old, got engaged while he was still in prison.

She owned a couple of sites that proclaimed his innocence. That said, the marriage never came to fruition due to the expiration of their license. On why she wanted to get married to him, she and a colleague apparently sought to use his corpse as a tourist attraction after he died, according to the Sun.

His Kids

Charles Manson is believed to have fathered many children, but most of the details are scant. Highlighting his widely known kids, they include Charles Manson Jr., Charles Luther Manson, and Valentine Michael Brunner.

[Featured Image by Evening Standard/Getty Images]