Wednesday, 17 January 2018

My letter to Charles Watson and his wife’s response and my return letter to her. 
                                          
Charles Tex Watson was part of the Manson cult and was responsible for seven of murders undertaken on the instructions of Charles Manson.  His death sentence was commuted to life in a California  prison,

One day I read that he was unhappy because every time he applied for parole, he was turned down. I decided to write him and explain to him why he would never get parole. His wife replied to my letter to her husband. What follows is the communication between me and Watson’s wife, Kristin.


Hello Dahn,

This is Kristin Watson, Charles' wife. Thank you for writing and sharing your insightful thoughts. What you had to say was very interesting.

Charles is not allowed to respond to e-mail anymore. The prison is cracking down on how much he can be involved in the Ministry. (He created one in prison)

Charles is not seeking to be released at all. He goes up before the parole board every few years because it is a formality here in CA. They let him know he has a parole hearing and he goes. He does not go to receive a date for release.

He is very occupied in the prison sharing the Gospel.  Amazing how God can take a seemingly wasted life and use it for good somehow.

As far as remorse, he loathes his past with all his heart. He hates what he did to those people, believe me. Somehow you did not perceive that from reading our web site. I am sorry about that.

If Charles is ever released, it will be God's will. A miracle. No, he does not feel he deserves that at all. We live every day for how God can use us right now. Really, it does not look like he will ever be released,


Thankyou Dahn for writing. God bless you!

                                                                        Kristin

My reply to Kristin

Dear Kristin:

        Thank you for writing me on behalf of your husband. I am sorry to hear that the prison authorities are forbidding him to communicate directly with people outside but perhaps as time moves on, they will eventually relent.

        I guess I did miss the part in his Internet message in which he expressed remorse for what he had done to those innocent victims but I do believe that he is remorseful and I am sure than many others around the world who are aware of his Ministry are convinced of his sincerity also. (In 1983, Charles Watson became an ordained minister. He and his wife operated a prison ministry, called ‘Abounding Love Ministries. As of 2018, his ministry is still functioning.) 

I appreciate your comment that Charles is convinced that the parole authorities do not have any intention whatsoever of ever releasing your husband back into society. He would be pretty naïve if he thought that they would release him eventually.

        It is not that they fear that he will go out and kill others. I am sure they are satisfied in their minds that if he were released, he would be a stable and decent human being while in society—as many murderers who were released in the past, have turned out to be. I think they are thinking about retribution. There is no doubt in my mind that that is uppermost in their minds.

When someone loses a loved one to a murderer, it is a natural instinct in all humans to want revenge. In order for our fellow citizens to not go out and take the law in their own hands and hunt down the murderer and kill him or her. We rely on those whom we have appointed for the task to arrest, try and punish the murderer in our names. To do otherwise, would bring chaos in the community—such as what happens in third-world countries. 

Forgive me for being presumptuous but I really believe that the reason why most of society per se does not want your husband back on the street is  simply because they want him to suffer in the manner which they believe is just punishment—life imprisonment.

I know how that conflicts with the teachings of Jesus when he spoke of forgiveness but we must never forget that Jesus was an extraordinary human being who was capable of forgiving those who would do him wrong. The average human being doesn’t have that ability to forgive for the obvious reason that the average human being is a normal human being who is susceptible to many emotions and one of the most powerful of them being revenge.

In all likelihood, most of society would probably be willing to forgive Charles for what he did but at the same time, insist that he remain in prison for the rest of his life. It would not be for the purpose of deterring him but rather for the purpose of deterring others who might want to kill innocent victims.

And yet, the fact that a man like Charles who can turn his life around and sincerely preach the gospel and yet, still never be released from prison, this is a strong message to others who might be prone to killing other human beings. If being in prison for the rest of his life acts as a strong deterrent to others, then Charles life (as it is) on this world we live in is serving a useful purpose.

If Charles is convinced that he will never be released from prison and he isn’t even bothering to apply for parole, then perhaps he realizes that he can do more to bring the word of Jesus to others while he is in prison than he could ever do if he was back in society. If this is so, his life in prison will be much easier for him.

Of course, I doubt that he could survive prison life alone but as fate would have it, you have come into his life and that has probably done much to turn him around. Perhaps if fate had been kinder to both of you and you met him before he met Manson, he wouldn’t be where he is today. However, that being as it is, it is also conceivable that he may never have turned to Jesus and preached his word and instead simply been one of the millions of common folk just as the rest of us are.

I believe that God has a role for all of us and he certainly acts in very strange ways indeed. For example, many, many years ago, I too was in prison (not for murder however) and in a time of weakness, I hanged myself from the bars of my cell. A guard found me a few minutes later and cut me down. The prison chaplain spoke to me a week later and said that I should not think that I will not serve a useful purpose in life. He said that the fact that the guard came by when he wasn’t expected to come by at that moment, was an act of God and that God had other plans for me and that I should wait patiently until I am called upon.

Well, I am not really very religious but I do believe that fate (for whatever that is) works in strange ways indeed and fate being what it is, I survived my own killing with a sound mind and eighteen years later, I ended up addressing the United Nations on a proposal I had put to them—the creation of a bill of rights for young offenders. My speech in 1980 made such an impact, that the UN conducted studies around the world and in January 1986, the United Nations General Assembly passed those Rules I brought to them six years earlier (without debate) and that bill of rights effects the lives of millions of young offenders all around the world—assuring them of fair trials, humane treatment etc. 

Believe me, as I was placing the rope around my neck and was about to end my life right then and there, I had no idea at all what God or fate or whatever had in store for me. I didn’t know that in seven years after I hanged myself, I would be called upon by my own government to head a task force that was to decide if innocent people wrongfully imprisoned should be compensated. We recommended compensation and innocent people who were in prison for the crimes they didn’t commit are compensated in Canada. Further, I didn’t know that in twelve years, my government would ask me to negotiate with the PLO (while I was at the UN headquarters in Geneva and ask the PLO to commit no acts of violence in future Olympic Games or in the western hemisphere. I was successful in that also. 

        It is strange indeed when one thinks about it. My life has had a greater impact on millions of people in the world and yet I am not as famous as Charles. But I do not act for a desire to obtain fame—I act to accomplish some good simply because it appears that I can do some good because for me to stand by idly when I am able to assist others, would make a mockery of my own existence.

        None of us know what the future holds for us but if Charles has accepted his fate—that being that he will serve the rest of his life in prison, and he has decided (as apparently he has) that he can serve God and Man alike by preaching goodness and kindness to his fellow human beings, then he too will be serving a useful purpose in life.

      Please tell him that I do wish him well in his endeavor and I hope that you both can find happiness in the confines that fate has placed you both in.


     Please feel free to communicate with me any time you are so inclined. I always reply to those who write me and again, and I thank you for replying on behalf of your husband. 

                                                                    Yours truly

                                                                                       Dahn Batchelor

I never heard from her again but both she and Watson were married for 25 years and they had four children as a result of conjugal visits in the prison. Later I learned that she and her husband were divorced in July 2004 after she met another man however both she and Watson are still friends.


Charles Tex Watson applied for parole in November 16th 2011 and his request was again denied. He applied again in October 27th, 2016 (my 83rd birthday) and again his request was denied. At the time of this writing, Watson is 74 years of age. Incidentally, it is the governor of California who makes the final decision. Watson Wrote and published his autobiography, "Will You Die For Me?" in 1978. He still remains incarcerated at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, California.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Charlie Manson and his cult of killers (part 4)                                                       

In the previous three parts of this four-part series I have given you information about the lives of Mason, his followers and the murders they committed against their seven victims. Now I will tell you about their arrests, trials, sentences, imprisonment and their status as of 2017.

Their arrests:

Manson and his murdering Family members (except Watson who returned to Texas) were arrested but not on suspicion of the murders but simply on the belief that they had vandalized a portion of the Death Valley National Park while they were hiding out in the Mojave Desert.

The local county sheriff took them into custody without realizing that he had four murder suspects who were on the lam on his hands.

On November 1st, 1969, Susan Atkins, while being held in detention on suspicion of murdering Gary Hinman, told a fellow prisoner what she and the others had done to their victims. Her fellow prisoner then told the detectives assigned to the investigation of the Tate/La Bianca killings.

Billy Boyd, a lawyer who represented cult member, Charles Tex Watson, reportedly said that Manson had told Watson that he had killed a bunch of other people. For years, rumors have swirled about other possible Manson Family victims—hitchhikers who visited them at the ranch and were not seen again, runaways who drifted into the camp then fell out of favor.  Susan Atkins boasted to her cell mate on November 1st, 1969, that there were “three people out in the desert that they done in.”  At the time of this writing, their bodies have not been discovered.

The Texas sheriff in the county that Watson had returned to refuse to release him to the LAPD detectives but after the latter got a court order, Watson was turned over to the LAPD officers and returned to Los Angeles.

The capture and conviction of Charles Manson and his other followers took over one and a half years to complete because of the poor miscommunication between the two police departments concerning the two crime scenes.

Within that time period, many law enforcement officers and forensics professionals put in countless numbers of hours collecting, preserving and testing the physical evidence they had in their possession.  In addition, the forensics practices used in this case as well as the police investigation techniques serve as a valuable lesson for those in these fields today.

However, there were instances of mishandled investigations that followed and the forensic techniques used to aid the investigations sometimes hindered the efforts in obtaining convictions against Manson and his followers.



When presented with possible evidence that the two crimes might be linked, Los Angles Police Department (LAPD) inspector K.J. McCauley told reporters, “I don't see any connection between this murder (Tate) and the others. They're too widely removed. I just don't see any connection.”  This was the official stance taken by the LAPD detectives who proceeded to work solely on their own cases. Was that stupid detective not aware of the confession of Atkins that linked the two murders that were committed by the same criminals?  

After the LAPD detectives arrived at Tate’s home and secured the scenes, officers, proceeded to assess the extent of the murders. What they found was a shocking, macabre scene of a massacre like no one had ever seen before.

Upon making the grizzly discoveries the detectives became less strict on their adherence to procedure and more intent on finding the killer or killers. The officers got sheets from the linen closet and covered the bodies. One week later the blue sheet that was used to cover Abigail Folger on the lawn would still be there.   Placing the sheets on the bodies was not a good idea, and transferring them to the lab with the bodies was even more stupid.

Police officers, being the first to arrive at the scene of a crime, must follow strict procedures in an effort to protect any shred of evidence that may be needed to obtain a conviction.

These bumbling detectives and police officers made several mistakes that could have potentially seriously damaged the prosecution's case.

For example, Officer DeRosa, while he was escorting a possible suspect, (the caretaker of the property later determined to be innocent) down the driveway of the Tate estate noticed that there was blood on the button that opened the electric gate. According to prosecutor Bugliosi (now deceased) in his book Helter Skelter “Officer DeRosa, who was charged with securing and protecting the scene until investigating officers arrived, pressed the button himself, successfully opening the gate but also creating a superimposure that obliterated any previous print that may have been there.” unquote

Obtaining fingerprints was a real problem for the police throughout the investigations because of their stupidity. For example, the gun used in the murders was discovered by a boy in Los Angles about two weeks after the murders were committed. The boy was careful not to touch the revolver to protect the fingerprints on the gun. Unfortunately the police fingerprints smudged the original fingerprints and then they filed it away, along with the chambers of the weapon that contained seven spent shells and two live bullets.  

The fingerprints on the gun were obliterated by the stupid police detectives. Fortunately, the stupid cops who originally handled the gun didn’t remove the shells, thereby smudging the original prints on the shell casings. Later the forensics professionals were later able to match a prints  from some of the shell casings to the front door of the Tate residence and one that had been lifted from the frame on the inside door of Sharon Tate's bedroom to two of the suspects. These prints would become an important key to the prosecution's case in proving that two of the suspects had handled the gun.

As an aside, in the early 1970s, when I was a private investigator, I had investigated a break-in which was actually an inside job. I obtained a piece of glass from the broken window and took it to my forensic class, (For a year, I was studying forensic sciences at the forensic science lab in Toronto as part of my five-year criminology program at the University of Toronto) I wanted to show my fellow students (police detectives) how we could determine whether or not the window was broken from the outside or the inside of the building. Would you believe it? The dummies held the glass with their thumbs and fingers on the surface of the glass instead of the edges. They in effect, smudged away a fingerprint which would have given me the name of the criminal who was the inside man. Later my investigation of the case resulted in both criminals being convicted.

In addition to eradicating fingerprints, officers made several other procedural mistakes. For example, pieces of a gun grip that were first seen near the entryway ended up under a chair in the living room. According to the official LAPD report: “They were apparently kicked under the chair by one of the original officers on the scene.”  Did the dummy not realize that fingerprints may have been on that piece of the pistol grip?

On December 16th, these pieces would be matched to the gun that had been in police custody since September 10th, 1969 when the Los Angles boy had found it in his yard. Police probably would never have made the connection if the boy's father, having heard about the caliber of gun used in the murders had not insisted that the police check it out. Since guns and other property are routinely disposed of after a period of time, prosecutors were very lucky that the gun was still around.

Unfortunately the police Officers were also unable to locate any of the knives or bloody clothing from the murders. Susan Atkins you may recall earlier in this article had divulged to her cell mate her involvement in the crimes, including a suggestion of the location where these items were thrown from the vehicle. A television news crew set out to find them. They used statements made by Atkins, such as “mountain on one side” and “ravine on the other” to guide their search. On December 15th much to the chagrin of the police, they found the missing clothing.

Forensic professionals were also lacking in the performance of their duties. One in particular, Officer Joe Granado, a forensic chemist assigned to both cases, failed to note sample blood spatters around the bushes where someone had apparently fallen at the Tate residence. Further, he neglected to take samples from the pools of blood around the two bodies in the living room, nor from the two bodies on the lawn. He later testified that he presumed that the blood surrounding the victims was their own and he would get those samples from the coroner later.

In another aside, in 1964, I was asked to investigate a murder case where the accused was convicted and serving a life sentence for murdering his mother.  He appealed his conviction and that was when I was called upon to find evidence that he was actually innocent of murdering his mother.

In the course of my investigation, I discovered very minute blood spatter on a wall of the room where the woman was murdered in her bed. The police didn’t look for the minute blood splatter because they had an eye-witness who claimed that he saw the convicted son kill his mother. 

I was able to establish to the satisfaction of Court of Appeal (without telling you the procedure I undertook) that it was the eyewitness who committed the murder. The son was acquitted of the murder and the real killer died before his trial was to begin.

If the bumbling police detectives had done their investigation thoroughly, the innocent man wouldn’t have spent 18 months in prison before he was later found innocent of the murder of his mother. 

Police detective Granado obtained forty-five blood samples from the Tate scene however, he failed to run subtypes on twenty-one of those. Two days later at the LaBianca scene he would take no subtypes which would cause major complications later in the trial.

On the walkway leading to the Tate residence were several large pools of blood, Granado only took a sample from one of those pools, "presuming, he later said, all were the same." that is about as stupid as to say that all samples of sand  are all the same.

Unfortunately, officers at the scene tracked blood from inside the residence onto the front porch and walkway and back again, which compounded the problems. This made it necessary to interview all the individuals who had been at the scene about the shoes they had worn that day.

This brings to mind an incident in one of my investigative days in the 1970s. I was investigating a break-in that took place on the second floor of a restaurant in Toronto.  The owner and his wife were working in the restaurant while their baby girl was asleep in her crib on the second floor.

The criminal walked onto the property from the rear of the property. He walked across the snow-covered back yard and left his boot prints behind him. He also left more when he left the scene. His boot prints would have been helpful in making a determination as to what kinds of boots the criminal was wearing.

That same year when I investigated another break-in, I was able to prove who the criminal was when he left muddy footprints on the floor after I determined the make and size of the shoes he wore.  When the criminal was arrested, he was still earing those shoes.   

Unfortunately in the restaurant case, the bumbling police who were sent to investigate the break-in above the restaurant walked all over the backyard which made it impossible for me to differentiate their boot prints from those of the criminal.

Despite all all those bumbling mistakes in the Tate murder case were made, police investigators were still able to put together enough evidence for trial.

The trial:

During the trial, obvious signs of Manson's control over the Family members were exhibited. At one point, Manson turned around and refused to face the judge. His followers, as well as his co-defendants did the same. When he shaved his head or carved an X in his forehead, they did those things too. He would also make periodic outbursts from time to time in the courtroom which his followers would repeat in a chant-like manner. All of these theatrics worked to the detriment of the defendants.

After being informed that a warrant for Linda Kasabian’s  arrest had been issued, she turned herself in to the New Hampshire authorities in early December. Kasabian was offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for turning state's evidence by testifying all she knew of the murders, which was quite substantial. Most of her evidence against the others was what convicted them.

Toward the end of the trial, Van Houten's "hippie lawyer" Ronald Hughes, refused to allow Manson to manipulate his client by allowing her to implicate herself further in the murders to protect Manson. Soon after he made his objections known to the court, he vanished. Months later his body was found wedged between rocks in Ventura County. Later, some of the Manson Family admitted that family members were responsible for his murder, although no one has ever been arrested.

Houten, Krenwinkel and Atkins made several attempts to disrupt court proceedings by chanting, yelling at the prosecutors and giggling during descriptive testimony about the Tate and LaBianco murders. Under Charlie Manson's directions, Van Houten repeatedly fired the public defenders who tried to separate her trial from those being tried for the Tate murders since she had not participated in those particular murders.

The convictions:

Manson and four of his followers were subsequently convicted on all counts of first degree murder,  Manson’s conviction of murder of Tate and the others in her home is somewhat extraordinary because Manson wasn’t actually present at the Tate murder scene. But proof of his non-attendance at that murder scene when the murders were committed wasn’t really needed since it was established in court that it was him who told his followers to commit the murders.  He also told the murderers to kill Donald Shorty Shea, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Further, he participated in the murder of Hinman.  All told, Manson and his followers were convicted of killing seven persons.

The Sentences:

Watson was originally sentenced to death for killing Sharon Tate Polanski, Abigail Ann Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Thomas Jay Sebring and Steven Earl Parent but California suspended the death penalty in 1972.  The other convicted Manson Family members were also sentenced to death but they too were spared the death penalty in 1972 after the California Supreme Court's People v. Anderson decision invalidated all death sentences imposed in California prior to 1972.

As another aside, in 1972, I was visiting my mother and step-father in Sonora, California. They had flown from Hawaii where they lived to visit my younger brother and his wife and their two sons. I was in California for a month.

During the last two weeks I was in California, I obtained  permission from the director of the California Department of Corrections, to tour as many of the prisons and jails in California.


While I was visiting the San Quentin Penitentiary, (just outside of San Francisco) I was taken to the prison’s Death Row. This was before the California death penalty had been rescinded. Just before I was taken along the cells were the condemned men were kept, I was told that Manson and Watson were in two of them. I was told I could talk to any of the condemned men I chose to talk to but I could not to talk to those two men.

When I reached Watson’s cell, he just stared at me but when I reached Manson’s cell, he called out, “Hey. Speak to me.”  Needless to say, I ignored him.

Manson’s Imprisonment:

Despite the fact that Manson undoubtedly had being alone over the four decades he was locked away in protective custody, he received plenty of fan mail to keep him occupied as well as continuous meet-and-greet requests (which were not granted by the prison authorities) In fact, Manson had received more mail than any other prisoner in the United States. He received over 60,000 letters from fans annually. He certainly had enough time to read them. 
It should not come as a surprise that Manson was repeatedly denied parole, with the California Parole Board concluding that he continued to pose an unreasonable danger to others and would still bring harm to anyone he would come in contact with.
Despite the analysis, Manson’s attorney, DeJon R. Lewis, had a differing opinion, believing that Manson didn’t need incarceration. Instead, Lewis suggested, that Manson should be moved to a mental hospital.
It’s uncertain what credentials Lewis had to form such an opinion,  but Manson did spend nine years in a psychiatric hospital, the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, where he was declared not mentally ill. Thus, he was subsequently transferred to San Quentin Prison.

Manson who infamously wore a swastika tattoo between his eyebrows had spent more than 45 years in prison. His beard was a full beard that reached below his collar bone.  Needless to say, he was repeatedly denied parole. He often spoke as a raving maniac.

He was eventually kept in solitary confinement at the Corcoran State Prison since 1989. (28 years) It is a very maximum security prison.

On September 14th 2017, correction officers approached Manson's cell after they heard strange noises of banging and hollering from his cell at 3:17 morning. Minutes later, he was confirmed dead. He had been admitted to a hospital two days earlier with complaints of chest pains so it follows that he died of a heart attack. He had been in custody for 48 years after his arrest for the murders he was convicted of.

He left his estate to a former girlfriend. It must have been very little since he had next to nothing before he was imprisoned.

The Imprisonment of Charles Tex Watson:

 Watson is serving a life sentence at the California Mule Creek State Prison for his part in the Sharon Tate-LaBianca killings in 1969, 

Watson fathered four children behind bars with his first wife via conjugal visits.

According to Watson's website, aboundinglove.org, he converted to Christianity in 1975 and became an ordained minister in 1983. In 2009, Watson graduated from California Coast University with a Batchelor of Science in business management which he did online.

 When I learned that he had been complaining that he wasn’t being given parole, I wrote him a letter and told him that no board member of the California Parole Board would risk his or her reputation by recommending that he should be paroled.

His wife wrote me back (because he wasn’t permitted to reply to personal letters) and told me that he had decided that it was hopeless to keep applying for parole and that he had intended not to apply for parole any longer.

Watson and his wife were subsequently divorced.

Watson did not attend his last parole hearing in 2006. He obviously realized that it would be hopeless since he was always denied parole in the previous hearings.

According to Watson; on December 2nd, 201. he was washing his clothes in a sink on the second tier when an unidentified inmate started hovering around him with a rolled up magazine in his hand. The inmate asked Watson if he knew anything about Kabala, and Watson replied that he didn’t. As Watson walked away, the inmate began stabbing Watson in the back with a sharpened paint brush then attempted to throw him over a second story tier.

At the time of this article being written, he has been imprisoned for 48 years.

During my tour of the California prisons and jails in 1972, I also visited the California Institution for Women in Chino. The deputy warden, a black man, guided me  in my tour of many of the buildings, in which some of them were like three-story boarding houses, I was shown the outside of the small building in which Atkins and the other two Manson women killers were kept. Alas, I wasn’t permitted to go inside the building. 

The building was built especially for those three women. Aside from their individual cells where they would sleep at night in which their cells included their beds, toilets and sink,  the building also had a common room where they could meet and a kitchen where their food was prepared. If they had an outside exercise area that was enclosed, I never saw it.

Susan Atkins:

She married twice while in prison. What kind of men chooses to marry convicted female killers, especially when they are serving life sentences?
Atkins embraced Christianity and apologized for her role in the crimes, and the prison staff advocated unsuccessfully for her release in 2005. She was denied parole 13 times.
Atkins was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008 and appealed to parole officials for compassionate release, but the state parole board denied her request naturally.

Patricia Krenwinkel:

Patricia Krenwinkel arrived onto California's death row on April 28th, 1971. She received a death sentence for seven counts of first-degree murder for the August 9, 1969, deaths of Abigail Ann Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Earl Parent, Sharon Tate Polanski and Jay Sebring and the August 10, 1969, deaths of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca.

When capital punishment was temporarily cancelled, she was sent to the California Institution for Women in Chino and placed in the same building as the other Manson female killers. 

Krenwinkel remained loyal to Manson and the Family, but in time she began to break away from them. In distancing herself from Manson, she has maintained a perfect prison record, and received a Bachelor's degree in Human Services from the University of La Verne while studying online. She is active with prison programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and along with attendance to these two organizations; she has also taught illiterate prisoners how to read. Reportedly, Krenwinkel writes both poetry and music, plays the guitar, plays on a prison volleyball team and gives dance lessons. As you can see, these four prisoners weren’t always confined to their prison building 24/7.

During her 2004 parole hearing, when asked who she would place at the top of the list of people she has harmed, Patricia Krenwinkel responded, “Myself.” That was proof that she had no feelings towards the welfare of others. She was again denied parole following that hearing because, according to the panel, Krenwinkel still posed an “unacceptable risk to public safety.”

At her January 2011 hearing, the two-member parole board said that the 63-year-old Krenwinkel would not be eligible for parole again for seven years. The panel said they were swayed by the memory of the crimes, along with 80 letters which came from all over the world urging Patricia Krenwinkel's continued incarceration.

In Krenwinkel's parole hearing on December 29th, 2016, the decision was postponed to investigate the defense claim that Krenwinkel was suffering from battered woman syndrome at the hands of Manson during the time of the murders. 

The parole hearing resumed on June 22nd, 2017 when the 69-year-old Krenwinkel was again denied parole.  

She will be eligible to have another parole suitability hearing in five years.  Her 2017 review was her 14th review.  I doubt’s that she will ever be released from prison while she is still alive. At the time of this article being written, she has been in prison for 48 years.

Leslie Van Houten:

On March 29, 1971, Van Houten was found guilty and sentenced to death. However, California's subsequent ban on the death penalty automatically commuted her sentence to life in prison. She was serving her sentence at the California Institution for Women in Chino. 

In 1977, Leslie Van Houten’s conviction was overturned, based on the grounds that she should have been granted a mistrial after her original defense attorney mysteriously disappeared during the trial (he was eventually found dead, the apparent victim of a flash flood). Her second trial began in March 1977 and resulted in a hung jury. Van Houten was then tried a third time. On July 5, 1978, she was once again convicted and sentenced to the prison for life but he sentence included the possibility for parole.

In April 2016, after 19 unsuccessful previous hearings, a parole board recommended that Van Houten be released. However, California Governor Jerry Brown, who has the authority to either uphold or veto the decision, refused to release her, stating she posed “an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison.”

While in prison, Van Houten has been married and divorced, received a B.A. in English Literature, and is active in recovery groups in which she shared her experience, strength, and hope.

On September 6, 2017, 68-year-old Van Houten appeared before a parole panel for the 21st time. She said to the two-person parole panel.  “To tell you the truth, the older I get the harder it is to deal with all of this, to know what I did, how it happened,”

After two hours of questioning, the panel found Van Houten suitable for parole, and following a two-day review process, California Governor Jerry Brown had to decide whether to release her. While Van Houten's lawyers argued she had become a model prisoner and should be set free, victims' families strongly oppose her release.  I have to presume that he governor didn’t approve of the killer’s release because at the time of this writing of this article, she is still incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in Chino. She has been in prison for 48 years thus far.

What those two Parole Board panelists didn’t understand even though  they believed that Van Houten had reformed and was no longer a risk to society; there was a third consideration that they ignored. It is retribution. The families and friends of the victims are entitled to retribution and being denied that, they were also denied justice. Retribution is an important facet when considering what the sentence should be when sentencing murderers to death or life in prison. 

Mary Brunner: 
 She was one the first members of the Manson Family and bore the cult leader a son named Michael Valentine. Although she played no role in the murders, Brunner was busted in 1971 for robbing a gun store as part of a hare-brained scheme to bust Manson out of jail. She was wounded in a shootout with cops and sent to prison for six years. She was paroled in 1977.
 Lynette Squeaky Fromme:

This Manson follower wasn’t involved with any of the murders but she was convicted in 1975 of pointing a gun at President Ford in Sacramento in an attempted assassination. The gun didn’t go off, and Secret Service agents wrestled Fromme to the ground. She was sentenced to life in prison.
 Fromme escaped from a federal prison in West Virginia in 1987 and was captured two days later while roaming the countryside about two miles away. She continued to correspond with Manson while she was in prison, officials said.
 She was released on parole from federal prison in August 2009 at age 60 after serving 34 years in prison.
 Linda Kasabian:

She drove the killers to where the Tate and LaBianca murders occurred, and went along because she was the only one with a valid driver’s license. She remained in her car during the Tate murders didn’t go into the LaBianca home while they were being murdered. She received complete immunity for testifying against Manson and the others them during their trial.
 As of 1994, Kasabian was a mother of four and believed to be living on the East Coast.

Bruce Davis,

This killer (a Charles Manson disciple) was sentenced to life in prison for the 1969 murders of music teacher Gary Hinman and stunt man Donald Shorty Shea.

On September 27th 2015, two members of the California parole board recommended parole for Bruce Davis. I should point out that the decision by the Board of Parole Hearings commissioner and deputy commissioner, however, was not final because it meant that Davis was only eligible for release. First, the Board’s recommendation gets reviewed by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Board of Parole Hearings staff and then their report is sent to the governor of the State, who can reverse, modify, uphold or ignore the board’s parole recommendation. 

It was Davis’ 30th appearance before the board since getting a life sentence in 1972

Davis had been down this path before. On three previous occasions, the board granted Davis parole only to have the decision reversed by former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger who reversed the board's decision in 2010. The next governor,   Jerry Brown reversed the rulings in 2013, saying that Davis still posed a threat to the public because he withheld information about the deaths and downplayed his role within the Manson family, according to the report of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Davis remains imprisoned at California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo. In 1972, I also visited that particular prison.

Bobby Beausoleil 

This man was Nicknamed Cupid by Manson because of his good looks. He was found guilty of first degree murder for torturing Gary Hinman to death in 1969. In 1994, Beausoleil was transferred to an Oregon penitentiary, where he remained until 2015, when he was then moved to California Medical Facility in Vacaville following the death of his wife. A California parole board last October denied his bid for parole.  He will be eligible for a parole hearing again in 2019, If he doesn’t get it, it will be the 19th time he failed to convince the Parole Board that he should set free.                                                                                   
At the time of me writing this article, he is now 70 and he is still serving his life sentence. He has been incarcerated for the last 48 years.

Steve Clem Grogan

Manson called Grogan Scramblehead because he was so dim. Originally sentenced to death for his role in the murders. Grogan got life instead after a judge deemed him “too stupid and too hopped on drugs” to have orchestrated the slaughter. He was paroled from prison in 1985.  He was the only convicted Manson Family killer to be released on parole. He served 16 years in prison. He is currently aged 69.

What would the lives of these people be if they hadn’t met Manson?  Some of them would have been criminals but I am not sure that any of them would have been murderers.

 Manson’s belongings being sold.


There is a battle over Charles Manson’s body that has become ‘like a circus, according to Kern County officials, Even in death, Charles Manson is proving to be troublesome for authorities.

A month after the notorious mass murderer died in a Bakersfield hospital, several people are poised to make a claim on his remains. This has put the final disposition of Manson in limbo, setting the stage for a decidedly macabre and unusual legal battle.

With so many parties vying for Manson’s body, Kern County lawyers filed paperwork in Los Angeles County Superior Court in hopes of determining who should receive his remains.

The Kern County coroner doesn’t want to release the remains to the wrong person and end up getting sued, said the county’s attorney.

“This is a really weird legal case,” said Bryan Walters, a deputy attorney in the Kern County counsel’s office. “We’ve had pen pals that claim they have written wills. It’s like a circus, and nothing is clear where we should hang our hat on.”

In the wake of Charles Manson's death, some of the cult leader's belongings are going to be auctioned for an insane amount of cash.

Charles Manson died last month in a hospital in California. There have been reports that his pen pal and grandson were fighting for the rights to his body. Now, a murderabilia site claims they have some of Manson’s belongings and will auction them off to the highest bidder.

One of the most shocking pieces up for auction is a set of dentures that reportedly were owned and worn by Charles Manson. Apparently, the author, Nuel Emmons, received the dentures as a gift from the cult leader after interviewing him in prison for his book, Manson in His Own Words. Charles gave the dentures, among other collectible items, to Emmons during their prison interviews. Would you pay $100,000 for Manson’s dentures?


 According to Crimefeed, critics claim that selling such items cashes in on the pain and heartache of the victims and their families. Many feel that the practice should be banned.


Some experts argue that they can’t crack down on the murderabilia websites because it would violate their First Amendment rights, adding that there is some educational value in the items the convicted murderers leave behind.

Another one of the items up for grabs include police reports, a signed Charles Manson trading card priced at $1,995, and a prison rules violation report costing $700.

 Despite the fact Manson did horrific acts, many people have an interest in his life and owning his belongings. Previously, the only site that allowed the sale of murderabilia items was eBay, but they later decided to ban those items. The new policy allows murderabilia items to sale on the site if they are over 100-years-old. They updated the procedure out of respect for the victims’ families.

For many people, the thought of paying $100,000 for dentures Manson wore or $700 for a prison violation report sound ridiculous, but many people are flocking to these auction sites to buy some of Charles Manson’s belongings.



I can think of two reasons why people would purchase these items. They make great conversation pieces and/or they want to re-sell them at a higher price.