Charles Manson’s Son Defends Dad’s Twisted Legacy: ‘He Didn’t Necessarily Kill’

Fifty years after the famous murders, Charles Manson’s son talks about his father.

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Fifty years after the famous murders, Charles Manson’s son talks about his father.

Charles Manson’s son, Michael Brunner, 51, spoke to Los Angeles Times, claiming his father is misunderstood and has been unfairly vilified.

“I would say 95 percent of the public looks at Charlie as this mass-murdering dog, and it’s really, obviously, just not true,” Brunner explained. “He didn’t necessarily kill.”

This is the first time in 26 years that the son of the famous cult leader and Mary Theresa Brunner, a member of the “Manson family,” has opened up about his father. In 1993, the then-25-year-old spoke to KCBS in Los Angeles about Manson, following the siege of the Waco compound in Texas.

“Sorry [about] all of what happened, you know. I wish things could be different. But they’re not,” he said.

When Brunner, born Valentine Michael Manson, was just 14 months old, Manson instructed Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian to go to a mansion on Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon. On August 8, 1969, the three brutally murdered actress Sharon Tate, stabbing her 16 times as she pled for her unborn son’s life. The actress was almost nine months pregnant. Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowski and Steven Parent were also killed. The following day, members of the Manson family murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

American actress Sharon Tate
  Keystone / Getty Images

During the murders, Brunner’s mother was being held at L.A. County’s Sybil Brand Institute for Women for stealing credit cards.

During Manson’s trail, it was said he wanted to start a race war, hoping the media would believe African Americans were the murderers.

“I’m still not looking for any kind of celebrity. I mean, this isn’t something that you run around and brag about,” Brunner noted.

In 1976, Brunner’s maternal grandparents, George and Elsie Brunner, adopted him, giving him their last name.

Brunner eventually began to ask questions about his biological father.

“I’d ask them to tell me about him,” Brunner recalled. “‘Oh, he’s a crazy guy.’ … I don’t think they lied. They told me what I needed to hear and what they needed to say.”


While his grandparents’ answers were vague, Brunner’s high school friend, who was interested in cults, told him more details about his father.

Despite grappling with his father’s legacy his entire life, Brunner claims to be “an average guy.”

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, opening nationwide on July 26, uses the Manson murders as a major plot point, reports Digital Trends. Margot Robbie stars as Shannon Tate. Dakota Fanning landed the role of cult member Squeaky Fromme and Damon Herriman plays the notorious Charles Manson.