Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.
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Monday, January 19, 2015
Charles Manson was Convicted of Murder - January 25, 1971
This week (January 19-25) in crime history – President Ford
pardoned Tokyo Rose (January 19, 1977); Klaus Barbie, “The Butcher of Lyons”
was arrested in Bolivia (January 19, 1983); Iran Hostage Crisis ended (January
20, 1981); Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer was shot and killed (January 21, 1959); Alger
Hiss was convicted of perjury (January 21, 1950); Ted Kaczynski pleaded guilty
to the Unabomber crimes (January 22, 1998); Look
magazine published the confessions of Emmett Till’s murderers (January 24,
1956); BTK Killer sends chilling message to Kansas TV station (January 25,
2005); Charles Manson and three followers were convicted of the Tate-LaBianca murders
(January 25, 1971).
story of the week -
On January 25, 1971, Charles Manson was convicted, along
with followers Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkel, of the
brutal 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders. In 1967, Manson, a lifetime criminal, was
released from a federal penitentiary in Washington State and traveled to San
Francisco, where he attracted a following among rebellious young women with
troubled emotional lives. Manson established a cult based on his concept of
"Helter Skelter," an apocalyptic philosophy predicting that out of an
imminent racial war in America would emerge five ruling angels: Manson, who
would take on the role of Jesus Christ, and the four members of the Beatles.
Manson convinced his followers that it would be necessary to murder celebrities
in order to attract attention to the cult.
On the night of August 9, 1969, with detailed
instructions from Manson, four of his followers drove up to Hollywood Hills home
of director Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate. Polanski was not
home at the time but several friends of Tate’s were staying the night. During
the next few hours, Manson’s followers engaged in a murderous rampage that left
five dead, including a very pregnant Sharon Tate, three of her friends, and the
18-year-old son of the caretaker of the estate. The next night, Manson
followers murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home in the Los Feliz
section of Los Angeles; this time, Manson went along to make sure the killings
were carried out correctly. The cases went unsolved for over a year before the
Los Angeles Police Department discovered the Manson connection. Various members
of his cult confessed, and Manson and five others were indicted on charges of
murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
In January 1972, Manson and three others were found
guilty, and on March 29 all four were sentenced to death. The trial of another
defendant, Charles "Tex" Watson, was delayed by extradition
proceedings, but he was likewise found guilty and sentenced to death. In 1972,
the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in California, and
Manson and his followers' death sentences were reduced to life imprisonment.
Check back every
Monday for a new installment of “This Week in Crime History.”
Michael Thomas Barry is a columnist for www.crimemagazine.com and is the author
of six nonfiction books that includes the award winning Murder and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949.
Visit Michael’s website www.michaelthomasbarry.com
for more information. His book can be purchased from Amazon through the