Charles Milles Manson (born November 12, 1934) is an American criminal and musician who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in the California desert, in the late-1960s. In 1971 he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the murders of seven people, actress Sharon Tate and four other people at Tate's home, and the next day, a married couple, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, all carried out by members of the group at his instruction. He was convicted of the murders through the joint-responsibility rule, which makes each member of a conspiracy guilty of crimes his fellow conspirators commit in furtherance of the conspiracy's objective.
Manson believed in what he called "Helter Skelter", a term he took from the song of the same name by the Beatles. Manson believed Helter Skelter to be an impending apocalyptic race war, which he described in his own version of the lyrics to the Beatles' song. He believed his murders would help precipitate that war. From the beginning of his notoriety, a pop culture arose around him in which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence and the macabre. The term "helter skelter" was later used by Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi as the title of a book that he wrote about the Manson murders.
At the time the Family began to form, Manson was an unemployed former convict, who had spent half of his life in correctional institutions for a variety of offenses. Before the murders, he was a singer-songwriter on the fringe of the Los Angeles music industry, chiefly through a chance association with Dennis Wilson, a founding member and the drummer of the Beach Boys. After Manson was charged with the crimes of which he was later convicted, recordings of songs written and performed by him were released commercially. Various musicians, including Guns N' Roses, White Zombie and Marilyn Manson, have covered some of his songs.
Manson's death sentence was automatically commuted to life imprisonment when a 1972 decision by the Supreme Court of California temporarily eliminated the state's death penalty. California's eventual reinstatement of capital punishment did not affect Manson, who is currently incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison. Childhood. Born to an unmarried 16-year-old named Kathleen Maddox (1918–1973), in the General Hospital, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Manson was first named "no name Maddox." Within weeks, he was Charles Milles Maddox. For a period after his birth, his mother was married to a laborer named William Manson whose last name the boy was given. His biological father appears to have been Colonel Walker Scott against whom Kathleen Maddox filed a bastardy suit that resulted in an agreed judgment in 1937. Possibly, Charles Manson never really knew his biological father.
Several statements in Manson's 1951 case file from the seven months he would later spend at the National Training School for Boys in Washington, D.C., allude to the possibility that "Colonel Scott" was African-American. These include the first two sentences of his family background section, which read: "Father: unknown. He is alleged to have been a colored cook by the name of Scott, with whom Charles's mother had been promiscuous at the time of pregnancy." When asked about these official records by attorney Vincent Bugliosi in 1971, Manson emphatically denied that his biological father had African American ancestry. In addition, the 1920 and 1930 census list Colonel Scott and his father as white.
In the quasi-autobiography, Manson in His Own Words, Colonel Scott is said to have been "a young drugstore cowboy ... a transient laborer working on a nearby dam project." It is not clear what "nearby" means. The description is in a paragraph that indicates Kathleen Maddox gave birth to Manson "while living in Cincinnati", after she had run away from her own home, in Ashland, Kentucky.
There is much about Manson's early life that is in dispute because of the variety of different stories he has offered to interviewers, many of which were untrue. Manson's mother was allegedly a heavy drinker. According to Manson, she once sold her son for a pitcher of beer to a childless waitress, from whom his uncle retrieved him some days later.
When Manson's mother and her brother were sentenced to five years' imprisonment for robbing a Charleston, West Virginia, service station in 1939, Manson was placed in the home of an aunt and uncle in McMechen, West Virginia. Upon her 1942 parole, Manson's mother retrieved her son and lived with him in a series of run-down hotel rooms. Manson himself later characterized her physical embrace of him on the day she returned from prison as his sole happy childhood memory. In 1947, Kathleen Maddox tried to have her son placed in a foster home but failed because no such home was available. The court placed Manson in Gibault School for Boys in Terre Haute, Indiana. After 10 months, he fled from there to his mother, who rejected him.
By burglarizing a grocery store, Manson obtained money that enabled him to rent a room. He committed a string of burglaries of other stores, including one from which he stole a bicycle, but was eventually caught in the act and sent to an Indianapolis juvenile center. He escaped after one day, but was recaptured and placed in Boys Town. Four days after his arrival there, he escaped with another boy. The pair committed two armed robberies on their way to the home of the other boy's uncle.
Caught during the second of two subsequent break-ins of grocery stores, Manson was sent, at age 13, to the Indiana Boys School, where, he would later claim, he was brutalized sexually and otherwise. After many failed attempts, he escaped with two other boys in 1951.In Utah, the three were caught driving to California in cars they had stolen. They had burglarized several filling stations along the way. For the federal crime of taking a stolen car across a state line, Manson was sent to Washington, D.C.'s National Training School for Boys. Despite four years of schooling and an I.Q. of 109 (later tested at 121) he was illiterate. A caseworker deemed him aggressively antisocial.
In October 1951, on a psychiatrist's recommendation, Manson was transferred to Natural Bridge Honor Camp, a minimum security institution. Less than a month before a scheduled February 1952 parole hearing, he "took a razor blade and held it against another boy's throat while Manson sodomized him." Manson was transferred to the Federal Reformatory, Petersburg, Virginia, where he was considered "dangerous." In September 1952, a number of other serious disciplinary offenses resulted in his transfer to the Federal Reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio, a more secure institution. About a month after the transfer, he became almost a model resident. Good work habits and a rise in his educational level from the lower fourth to the upper seventh grade won him a May 1954 parole.
After temporarily honoring a parole condition that he live with his aunt and uncle in West Virginia, Manson moved in with his mother in that same state. In January 1955, he married a hospital waitress named Rosalie Jean Willis, with whom, by his own account, he found genuine, if short-lived, marital happiness. He supported their marriage via small-time jobs and auto theft.
Around October, about three months after he and his pregnant wife arrived in Los Angeles in a car he had stolen in Ohio, Manson was again charged with a federal crime for taking the vehicle across state lines. After a psychiatric evaluation, he was given five years' probation. His subsequent failure to appear at a Los Angeles hearing on an identical charge filed in Florida resulted in his March 1956 arrest in Indianapolis. His probation was revoked; he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment at Terminal Island, San Pedro, California.
While Manson was in prison, Rosalie gave birth to their son, Charles Manson, Jr. During his first year at Terminal Island, Manson received visits from Rosalie and his mother, who were now living together in Los Angeles. In March 1957, when the visits from his wife ceased, his mother informed him Rosalie was living with another man. Less than two weeks before a scheduled parole hearing, Manson tried to escape by stealing a car. He was subsequently given five years probation, and his parole was denied.
Manson received five years' parole in September 1958, the same year in which Rosalie received a decree of divorce. By November, he was pimping a 16-year-old girl and was receiving additional support from a girl with wealthy parents. In September 1959, he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to cash a forged U.S. Treasury check. He received a 10-year suspended sentence and probation after a young woman with an arrest record for prostitution made a "tearful plea" before the court that she and Manson were "deeply in love ... and would marry if Charlie were freed." Before the year's end, the woman did marry Manson, possibly so testimony against him would not be required of her.
The woman's name was Leona; as a prostitute, she had used the name Candy Stevens. After Manson took her and another woman from California to New Mexico for purposes of prostitution, he was held and questioned for violation of the Mann Act. Though he was released, he evidently suspected, rightly, that the investigation had not ended. When he disappeared, in violation of his probation, a bench warrant was issued; an April 1960 indictment for violation of the Mann Act followed. Arrested in Laredo, Texas, in June, when one of the women was arrested for prostitution, Manson was returned to Los Angeles. For violation of his probation on the check-cashing charge, he was ordered to serve his 10-year sentence.
In July 1961, after a year spent unsuccessfully appealing the revocation of his probation, Manson was transferred from the Los Angeles County Jail to the United States Penitentiary at McNeil Island. There, he took guitar lessons from Barker-Karpis gang leader Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, and obtained a contact name of someone at Universal Studios in Hollywood from another inmate, Phil Kaufman (who, after release, befriended Gram Parsons and after Parsons's death, hijacked the body and cremated it in the Joshua Tree desert). According to Jeff Guinn's 2013 Manson biography, Charlie's mother Kathleen moved from California to Washington state to be closer to him during his McNeil Island incarceration, working nearby as a waitress.
Although the Mann Act charge had been dropped, the attempt to cash the Treasury check was still a federal offense. His September 1961 annual review noted he had a "tremendous drive to call attention to himself", an observation echoed in September 1964.In 1963, Leona was granted a divorce, in the pursuit of which she alleged that she and Manson had had a son, Charles Luther. In June 1966, Manson was sent, for the second time in his life, to Terminal Island, in preparation for early release. By March 21, 1967, his release day, he had spent more than half of his 32 years in prisons and other institutions. Telling the authorities that prison had become his home, he requested permission to stay, a fact touched on in a 1981 television interview with Tom Snyder.
On his release day, Manson received permission to move to San Francisco, where, with the help of a prison acquaintance, he moved into an apartment in Berkeley. In prison, bank robber Alvin Karpis had taught him to play the steel guitar. Now, living mostly by panhandling, he soon got to know Mary Brunner, a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Brunner was working as a library assistant at University of California, Berkeley, and Manson moved in with her. According to a secondhand account, he overcame her resistance to his bringing other women in to live with them. Before long, they were sharing Brunner's residence with 18 other women.
Manson established himself as a guru in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, which, during 1967's "Summer of Love", was emerging as the signature hippie locale. Bugliosi noted in his book Helter Skelter that Manson appeared to have borrowed philosophically from the Process Church, whose members worshiped Satan. Expounding a philosophy that included some of the Scientology he had studied in prison, he soon had his first group of followers, most of them female. Upon a staff evaluation of Manson when he entered prison in July 1961 at the U.S. penitentiary in McNeil Island, Washington, Manson entered "Scientologist" as his religion.
Before the summer ended, Manson and eight or nine of his enthusiasts piled into an old school bus they had re-wrought in hippie style, with colored rugs and pillows in place of the many seats they had removed. They roamed as far north as Washington state, then southward through Los Angeles, Mexico, and the southwest. Returning to the Los Angeles area, they lived in Topanga Canyon, Malibu, and Venice—western parts of the city and county.
In 1967, Brunner became pregnant by Manson and on April 15, 1968 gave birth to a son she named Valentine Michael (nicknamed "Pooh Bear")in a condemned house in Topanga Canyon and was assisted during the birth by several of the young women from the Family. Brunner (like most members of the group) acquired a number of aliases and nicknames, including: "Marioche", "Och", "Mother Mary", "Mary Manson", "Linda Dee Manson" and "Christine Marie Euchts". In an alternative account, Manson acquired Family members during some months of travels that were undertaken, in part, in a Volkswagen van. He was apparently accompanied by Brunner. It was November when the school bus set out from San Francisco with the enlarged group
Involvement with Wilson, Melcher, et al.
The events that would culminate in the murders were set in motion in late spring 1968, when, by some accounts, Dennis Wilson, of The Beach Boys, picked up two hitchhiking Manson women, Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey and brought them to his Pacific Palisades house for a few hours. Returning home in the early hours of the following morning from a night recording session, Wilson was greeted in the driveway of his own residence by Manson, who emerged from the house. Uncomfortable, Wilson asked the stranger whether he intended to hurt him. Assuring him he had no such intent, Manson began kissing Wilson's feet.
Inside the house, Wilson discovered 12 strangers, mostly women. Over the next few months, as their number doubled, the Family members who had made themselves part of Wilson's Sunset Boulevard household cost him approximately $100,000. This included a large medical bill for treatment of their gonorrhea and $21,000 for the accidental destruction of his uninsured car, which they borrowed. Wilson would sing and talk with Manson, whose women were treated as servants to them both. Wilson paid for studio time to record songs written and performed by Manson, and he introduced Manson to acquaintances of his with roles in the entertainment business. These included Gregg Jakobson, Terry Melcher, and Rudi Altobelli (the last of whom owned a house he would soon rent to actress Sharon Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski). Jakobson, who was impressed by "the whole Charlie Manson package" of artist/lifestylist/philosopher, also paid to record Manson material.
The account given in Manson in His Own Words is that Manson first met Wilson at a friend's San Francisco house, where Manson had gone to obtain cannabis. The drummer supposedly gave Manson his Sunset Boulevard address and invited him to stop by when he would be in Los Angeles.
Manson established a base for the group at Spahn's Movie Ranch, not far from Topanga Canyon Boulevard, in August 1968 after Wilson's manager told the Family to move out of Wilson's home. The entire Family then relocated to the ranch. The ranch had been a television and movie set for Western productions. However, by the late 1960s, the buildings had deteriorated and the ranch was earning money primarily by selling horseback rides.
Family members did helpful work around the grounds. Also, Manson ordered the Family's women, including Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, to occasionally have sex with the nearly blind, 80-year-old owner, George Spahn. The women also acted as seeing-eye guides for Spahn. In exchange, Spahn allowed Manson and his group to live at the ranch for free. Squeaky acquired her nickname because she often squeaked when Spahn pinched her thigh.
Charles Watson soon joined the group at Spahn's ranch. Watson, a small-town Texan who had quit college and moved to California, met Manson at Dennis Wilson's house. Watson gave Wilson a ride while Wilson was hitchhiking after his cars had been wrecked. Spahn nicknamed Watson "Tex" because of his pronounced Texan drawl.
In the first days of November 1968, Manson established the Family at alternative headquarters in Death Valley's environs, where they occupied two unused or little-used ranches, Myers and Barker. The former, to which the group had initially headed, was owned by the grandmother of a new woman in the Family. The latter was owned by an elderly, local woman to whom Manson presented himself and a male Family member as musicians in need of a place congenial to their work. When the woman agreed to let them stay there if they'd fix up things, Manson honored her with one of the Beach Boys' gold records, several of which he had been given by Dennis Wilson.
While back at Spahn Ranch, no later than December, Manson and Watson visited a Topanga Canyon acquaintance who played them the Beatles' White Album, then recently released. Manson became obsessed with the group. At McNeil, he had told fellow inmates, including Alvin Karpis, that he could surpass the group in fame;to the Family, he spoke of the group as "the soul" and "part of 'the hole in the infinite'. "
For some time, Manson had been saying that racial tension between blacks and whites was growing and that blacks would soon rise up in rebellion in America's cities. He had emphasized Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, which had taken place on April 4, 1968.On a bitterly cold New Year's Eve at Myers Ranch, the Family members, gathered outside around a large fire, listened as Manson explained that the social turmoil he had been predicting had also been predicted by the Beatles. The White Album songs, he declared, told it all, although in code. In fact, he maintained (or would soon maintain), the album was directed at the Family itself, an elect group that was being instructed to preserve the worthy from the impending disaster.
In early January 1969, the Family escaped the desert's cold and positioned itself to monitor L.A.'s supposed tension by moving to a canary-yellow home in Canoga Park, not far from the Spahn Ranch. Because this locale would allow the group to remain "submerged beneath the awareness of the outside world", Manson called it the Yellow Submarine, another Beatles reference. There, Family members prepared for the impending apocalypse, which, around the campfire, Manson had termed "Helter Skelter", after the song of that name.
By February, Manson's vision was complete. The Family would create an album whose songs, as subtle as those of the Beatles, would trigger the predicted chaos. Ghastly murders of whites by blacks would be met with retaliation, and a split between racist and non-racist whites would yield whites' self-annihilation. Blacks' triumph, as it were, would merely precede their being ruled by the Family, which would ride out the conflict in "the bottomless pit"—a secret city beneath Death Valley. At the Canoga Park house, while Family members worked on vehicles and pored over maps to prepare for their desert escape, they also worked on songs for their world-changing album. When they were told Terry Melcher was to come to the house to hear the material, the women prepared a meal and cleaned the place; but Melcher never arrived
Encounter with Tate
On March 23, 1969, Manson, uninvited, entered 10050 Cielo Drive, which he had known as Melcher's residence. This was Rudi Altobelli's property; Melcher was no longer the tenant. As of that February, the tenants were Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. Manson was met by Shahrokh Hatami, a photographer and Tate's friend. Hatami was there to photograph Tate in advance of her departure for Rome the next day. Having seen Manson through a window as Manson approached the main house, Hatami had gone onto the front porch to ask him what he wanted.
When Manson told Hatami he was looking for someone whose name Hatami did not recognize, Hatami informed him the place was the Polanski residence. Hatami advised him to try "the back alley", by which he meant the path to the guest house, beyond the main house. Concerned about the stranger on the property, Hatami went down to the front walk, to confront Manson. Appearing behind Hatami, in the house's front door, Tate asked him who was calling. Hatami said a man was looking for someone. Hatami and Tate maintained their positions while Manson, without a word, went back to the guest house, returned a minute or two later, and left.
That evening, Manson returned to the property and again went back to the guest house. Presuming to enter the enclosed porch, he spoke with Rudi Altobelli, who was just coming out of the shower. Although Manson asked for Melcher, Altobelli felt Manson had come looking for him. This is consistent with prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's later discovery that Manson had apparently been to the place on earlier occasions after Melcher's departure from it.
Speaking through the inner screen door, Altobelli told Manson that Melcher had moved to Malibu. He lied that he did not know Melcher's new address. In response to a question from Manson, Altobelli said he himself was in the entertainment business, although, having met Manson the previous year, at Dennis Wilson's home, he was sure Manson already knew that. At Wilson's, Altobelli had complimented Manson lukewarmly on some of his musical recordings that Wilson had been playing.
When Altobelli informed Manson he was going out of the country the next day, Manson said he'd like to speak with him upon his return; Altobelli lied that he would be gone for more than a year. In response to a direct question from Altobelli, Manson explained that he had been directed to the guest house by the persons in the main house; Altobelli expressed the wish that Manson not disturb his tenants.
Manson left. As Altobelli flew with Tate to Rome the next day, Tate asked him whether "that creepy-looking guy" had gone back to the guest house the day before.
On May 18, 1969, Terry Melcher visited Spahn Ranch to hear Manson and the women sing. Melcher arranged a subsequent visit, not long thereafter, on which he brought a friend who possessed a mobile recording unit; but he himself did not record the group.
By June, Manson was telling the Family they might have to show blacks how to start "Helter Skelter". When Manson tasked Watson with obtaining money supposedly intended to help the Family prepare for the conflict, Watson defrauded a black drug dealer named Bernard "Lotsapoppa" Crowe. Crowe responded with a threat to wipe out everyone at Spahn Ranch. Manson countered on July 1, 1969, by shooting Crowe at his Hollywood apartment.
Manson's mistaken belief that he had killed Crowe was seemingly confirmed by a news report of the discovery of the dumped body of a Black Panther in Los Angeles. Although Crowe was not a member of the Black Panthers, Manson, concluding he had been, expected retaliation from the group. He turned Spahn Ranch into a defensive camp, with night patrols of armed guards. "If we'd needed any more proof that Helter Skelter was coming down very soon, this was it," Tex Watson would later write, "[B]lackie was trying to get at the chosen ones."
On July 25, 1969, Manson sent sometime Family member Bobby Beausoleil along with Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins to the house of acquaintance Gary Hinman, to persuade him to turn over money Manson thought Hinman had inherited. The three held the uncooperative Hinman hostage for two days, during which Manson showed up with a sword to slash his ear. After that, Beausoleil stabbed Hinman to death, ostensibly on Manson's instruction. Before leaving the Topanga Canyon residence, Beausoleil, or one of the women, used Hinman's blood to write "Political piggy" on the wall and to draw a panther paw, a Black Panther symbol.
In magazine interviews of 1981 and 1998–99, Beausoleil would say he went to Hinman's to recover money paid to Hinman for drugs that had supposedly been bad; he added that Brunner and Atkins, unaware of his intent, went along idly, merely to visit Hinman. On the other hand, Atkins, in her 1977 autobiography, wrote that Manson directly told Beausoleil, Brunner, and her to go to Hinman's and get the supposed inheritance—$21,000. She said Manson had told her privately, two days earlier, that, if she wanted to "do something important", she could kill Hinman and get his money.
Beausoleil was arrested on August 6, 1969, after he had been caught driving Hinman's car. Police found the murder weapon in the tire well. Two days later, Manson told Family members at Spahn Ranch, "Now is the time for Helter Skelter."
On the night of August 8, Manson directed Watson to take Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to "that house where Melcher used to live" and "totally destroy everyone in [it], as gruesome as you can." He told the women to do as Watson would instruct them. Krenwinkel was one of the early Family members and one of the hitchhikers who had allegedly been picked up by Dennis Wilson.The current occupants of the house at 10050 Cielo Drive, all of whom were strangers to the Manson followers, were movie actress Sharon Tate, wife of famed director Roman Polanski and eight and a half months pregnant; her friend and former lover Jay Sebring, a noted hairstylist; Polanski's friend and aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski; and Frykowski's lover Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folger coffee fortune. Tate's husband, Polanski, was in London working on a film project; Tate had been visiting with him and had returned to the United States only three weeks earlier.
When the murder team arrived at the entrance to the Cielo Drive property, Watson, who had been to the house on at least one other occasion, climbed a telephone pole near the gate and cut the phone line. It was now around midnight and into August 9, 1969. Backing their car down to the bottom of the hill that led up to the place, the group parked there and walked back up to the house. Thinking the gate might be electrified or rigged with an alarm, they climbed a brushy embankment at its right and dropped onto the grounds. Just then, headlights came their way from farther within the angled property. Watson ordered the women to lie in the bushes. He then stepped out and ordered the approaching driver, 18-year-old student and hi-fi enthusiast Steven Parent, to halt. As Watson leveled a 22-caliber revolver at Parent, the frightened youth begged Watson not to hurt him, claiming that he wouldn't say anything. Watson first slashed at Parent with a knife, giving him a defensive slash wound on the palm of his hand (severing tendons and tearing the boy's watch off his wrist), then shot him four times in the chest and abdomen. Watson then ordered the women to help push the car further up the driveway After traversing the front lawn and having Kasabian search for an open window of the main house, Watson cut the screen of a window. Watson told Kasabian to keep watch down by the gate; she walked over to Steven Parent's Rambler and waited. He then removed the screen, entered through the window, and let Atkins and Krenwinkel in through the front door.
As Watson whispered to Atkins, Frykowski awoke on the living-room couch; Watson kicked him in the head. When Frykowski asked him who he was and what he was doing there, Watson replied, "I'm the devil, and I'm here to do the devil's business."
On Watson's direction, Atkins found the house's three other occupants and, with Krenwinkel's help, brought them to the living room. Watson began to tie Tate and Sebring together by their necks with rope he'd brought and slung up over a beam. Sebring's protest – his second – of rough treatment of the pregnant Tate prompted Watson to shoot him. Folger was taken momentarily back to her bedroom for her purse, out of which she gave the intruders $70. After that, Watson stabbed the groaning Sebring seven times.
Frykowski's hands had been bound with a towel. Freeing himself, Frykowski began struggling with Atkins, who stabbed at his legs with the knife with which she had been guarding him.As he fought his way toward and out the front door, onto the porch, Watson joined in against him. Watson struck him over the head with the gun multiple times, stabbed him repeatedly, and shot him twice.Watson broke the gun's right grip in the process.
Around this time, Kasabian was drawn up from the driveway by "horrifying sounds". She arrived outside the door. In a vain effort to halt the massacre, she told Atkins falsely that someone was coming.
Inside the house, Folger had escaped from Krenwinkel and fled out a bedroom door to the pool area. Folger was pursued to the front lawn by Krenwinkel, who stabbed – and finally, tackled – her. She was dispatched by Watson; her two assailants had stabbed her 28 times. As Frykowski struggled across the lawn, Watson murdered him with a final flurry of stabbing. Frykowski was stabbed a total of 51 times.
Back in the house, Tate pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby, and even offered herself as a hostage in an attempt to save the life of her unborn child; her killers would have none of it, as either Atkins, Watson, or both killed Tate, who was stabbed 16 times. Watson later wrote that Tate cried, "Mother ... mother ..." as she was being killed.
Earlier, as the four Family members had headed out from Spahn Ranch, Manson had told the women to "leave a sign ... something witchy". Using the towel that had bound Frykowski's hands, Atkins wrote "pig" on the house's front door, in Tate's blood. En route home, the killers changed out of bloody clothes, which were ditched in the hills, along with their weapons.
In initial confessions to cellmates of hers at Sybil Brand Institute, Atkins would say she killed Tate. In later statements to her attorney, to prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, and before a grand jury, Atkins indicated Tate had been stabbed by Tex Watson., 176–184 In his 1978 autobiography, Watson said that he stabbed Tate and that Atkins never touched her. Since he was aware that the prosecutor, Bugliosi, and the jury that had tried the other Tate-LaBianca defendants were convinced Atkins had stabbed Tate, he falsely testified that he did not stab her.
The next night, six Family members—Leslie Van Houten, Steve "Clem" Grogan, and the four from the previous night—rode out at Manson's instruction. Displeased by the panic of the victims at Cielo Drive, Manson accompanied the six, "to show [them] how to do it." After a few hours' ride, in which he considered a number of murders and even attempted one of them, Manson gave Kasabian directions that brought the group to 3301 Waverly Drive. This was the home of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, a dress shop co-owner. Located in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles, it was next door to a house at which Manson and Family members had attended a party the previous year.
According to Atkins and Kasabian, Manson disappeared up the driveway and returned to say he had tied up the house's occupants; then he sent Watson up with Krenwinkel and Van Houten. In his autobiography, on the other hand, Watson stated that, having gone up alone, Manson returned to take him up to the house with him. After Manson pointed out a sleeping man through a window, the two of them entered through the unlocked back door. Watson added that, at trial, he "went along with" the women's account, which he figured made him "look that much less responsible.
As Watson tells it, Manson roused the sleeping Leno LaBianca from the couch at gunpoint and had Watson bind his hands with a leather thong. After Rosemary was brought briefly into the living room from the bedroom, Watson followed Manson's instructions to cover the couple's heads with pillowcases. He bound these in place with lamp cords. Manson left, sending Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten into the house with instructions that the couple be killed.
Before leaving Spahn Ranch, Watson had complained to Manson of the inadequacy of the previous night's weapons. Now, sending the women from the kitchen to the bedroom, to which Rosemary LaBianca had been returned, he went to the living room and began stabbing Leno LaBianca with a chrome-plated bayonet. The first thrust went into the man's throat.
Sounds of a scuffle in the bedroom drew Watson there to discover Mrs. LaBianca keeping the women at bay by swinging the lamp tied to her neck. After subduing her with several stabs of the bayonet, he returned to the living room and resumed attacking Leno, whom he stabbed a total of 12 times with the bayonet. When he had finished, Watson carved "WAR" on the man's exposed abdomen. He stated this in his autobiography. In an unclear portion of her eventual grand jury testimony, Atkins, who did not enter the LaBianca house, possibly said she believed Krenwinkel had carved the word. In a ghost-written newspaper account based on a statement she had made earlier to her attorney,: she said Watson carved it.
Returning to the bedroom, Watson found Krenwinkel stabbing Rosemary LaBianca with a knife from the LaBianca kitchen. Heeding Manson's instruction to make sure each of the women played a part, Watson told Van Houten to stab Mrs. LaBianca too. She did, stabbing her approximately 16 times in the back and the exposed buttocks. At trial, Van Houten would claim, uncertainly, that Rosemary LaBianca was dead when she stabbed her. Evidence showed that many of Mrs. LaBianca's 41 stab wounds had, in fact, been inflicted post-mortem.
While Watson cleaned off the bayonet and showered, Krenwinkel wrote "Rise" and "Death to pigs" on the walls and "Healter [sic] Skelter" on the refrigerator door, all in LaBianca blood. She gave Leno LaBianca 14 puncture wounds with an ivory-handled, two-tined carving fork, which she left jutting out of his stomach. She also planted a steak knife in his throat.
Hoping for a double crime, Manson had gone on to direct Kasabian to drive to the Venice home of an actor acquaintance of hers, another "piggy". Depositing the second trio of Family members at the man's apartment building, he drove back to Spahn Ranch, leaving them and the LaBianca killers to hitchhike home. Kasabian thwarted this murder by deliberately knocking on the wrong apartment door and waking a stranger. As the group abandoned the murder plan and left, Susan Atkins defecated in the stairwell.