Arts & Entertainment

Manson Girl "Squeaky" Fromme Released from Prison

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FORT WORTH, Texas -- Former Manson family member Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme has been released from prison 30 years after a failed assassination attempt on then President Gerald Ford.

Fromme, now 60, left the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth at about 8 a.m. Friday, according to a statement from Carswell spokeswoman Dr. Maria Douglas.

Fromme was convicted in 1975 of attempting to assassinate Ford.

On the morning of September 5, 1975, a 26-year-old Fromme went to Sacramento's Capitol Park (reportedly to plead with President Gerald Ford about the plight of the California redwoods) dressed in a nun-like red robe and armed with a .45 Colt semi-automatic pistol, that she pointed at Ford.

The pistol's magazine was loaded with four rounds, but none were in the firing chamber.

She was immediately restrained by Secret Service agents, and while she was being further restrained and handcuffed, managed to say a few sentences to the on-scene cameras, emphasizing that the gun did not "go off".

Fromme subsequently told The Sacramento Bee that she had deliberately ejected the cartridge in her weapon's chamber before leaving home that morning, and investigators later found a .45 ACP cartridge in her bathroom.

After a lengthy trial in which she refused to cooperate with her own defense, she was convicted of the attempted assassination of the president and received a life sentence under a 1965 law which specified a maximum sentence of life in prison for attempted presidential assassinations.

Just weeks after Fromme's assassination attempt, another Manson "Family" member, Sara Jane Moore, also tried to kill the president.

Moore was released from prison earlier this year.

In a 1987 interview with TV station WCHS, Fromme, said she knew Ford was in town and near her, "and I said, 'I gotta go and talk to him,' and then I thought, 'That's foolish. He's not going to stop and talk to you.' People have already shown you can lay blood in front of them and they're not, you know, they don't think anything of it. I said, 'Maybe I'll take the gun,' and I thought, 'I have to do this. This is the time.' "

She said it never occurred to her that she could wind up in prison.

Asked whether she had any regrets, Fromme said, "No. No, I don't. I feel it was fate."

However, she said she thought that her incarceration was "unnecessary" and that she couldn't see herself repeating her offense.

Fromme was not granted parole until July 2008. She was not released then, however, because of extra time added to her sentence for a 1987 escape attempt from the West Virginia prison, which occurred after her interview that same year.

She was found two days later, only a few miles from the prison.

At the time, prison officials said they were looking into rumors that Fromme escaped after hearing Charles Manson was ill, according to news reports.

For years, she was one of Manson's few remaining followers, as many other "Manson Family" members have shunned him.

A prison spokeswoman would not say whether Fromme continues to correspond with Manson.

Fromme reportedly joined Manson's family after meeting him in California in 1967.

She was not involved in the murders of seven people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate, on August 9 and 10, 1969, that landed Manson and other followers in prison.

However, she and other Manson followers maintained a vigil outside the courthouse during his trial.

President Gerald Ford died in 2006 at age 93.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Crime, Law and JusticeJails and PrisonsFamilyDefenseFirearmsGerald Ford