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COLUMN ONE : The Long, Chilling Shadow of Manson : The rampage in 1969 still evokes fear and fascination. Survivors of the victims fight to keep the ‘family’ behind bars. The cult leader remains unrepentant.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Since actress Sharon Tate was slain in her Benedict Canyon home, at least 18,335 people have been murdered in the city of Los Angeles. But no killers have become as notorious as the bizarre cult members responsible for the gruesome slaughter of Aug. 9, 1969.

While Tate’s husband, film director Roman Polanski, was in Europe, the pregnant actress and four visitors were beaten, stabbed and shot. The word PIGS was scrawled on the front door in Tate’s blood.

A wave of fear swept the city, heightened by the discovery the next day of store owners Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, who had been tortured and killed in a similar fashion in their Los Feliz home.

Only months later did the public hear of Charles Manson, a wild-eyed career criminal and his “family,” runaways from middle-class life who lived with him on a remote San Fernando Valley ranch.

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Even a quarter of a century later, the names are chillingly familiar: Susan Atkins. Patricia Krenwinkel. Leslie Van Houten. Tex Watson. All are serving life terms in prison for the Tate-LaBianca murders along with their long-haired guru--a wanna-be songwriter who hung around the fringes of the Los Angeles music scene.

Even now as he sits isolated in one of California’s toughest prisons, Manson has gained a new mystique as a kind of criminal antihero. People play his songs, peddle his writings and sell his likeness on T-shirts and dresses for girls. Near the prison, at least one follower has taken up residence, waiting to see Charlie again.

For the relatives of Manson’s victims, the past has proved difficult to forget. Some have devoted their lives to keeping Manson behind bars. Another has found God and forgiven her mother’s killer.

One even has won reparations from Manson.

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Bartek Frykowski was 9 years old and living in Poland when his father, Voytek Frykowski, a friend of Polanski’s, was stabbed 51 times and shot at the Benedict Canyon estate.

“Manson destroyed my life really,” Frykowski said from the German village where he lives. “Always this case was with me. I became a different man without a father.”

Finally seeing results from a lawsuit filed more than two decades ago, Frykowski has received $75,000 in royalties for a song Manson wrote before the murders. “Look at Your Game Girl” was used by Manson to lure young hippie women into his fold.

Last year, Guns N’ Roses recorded it on an album that has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide--with Manson’s share of the profits going to Frykowski.

Frykowski said he is using the money to help give his two children the sense of security he never had, and he is writing a book about his father and Manson. He wonders how Manson’s music could become popular--and how a mass murderer could become a cult celebrity among young people in Europe and the United States.

“People have a fascination with evil,” Frykowski said. “But why do they think Charles Manson is their hero?”

A Bloody Rampage and a Lone Survivor

William Garretson has spent most of the last 25 years trying to forget how close he came to becoming one of Manson’s victims.

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Garretson, then 19 and fresh from Ohio, served as caretaker and lived in a guest house on the Cielo Drive estate rented by Tate and Polanski.

On the night of Aug. 8, Garretson received an unexpected visit from Steven Parent, a hi-fi enthusiast he had met hitchhiking. After Parent left, Garretson stayed up until dawn, writing letters and listening to his stereo.

In the morning, the caretaker was awakened by three police officers pointing their guns and shouting at him to freeze. By his account, they knocked him to the ground, roughed him up and put him in handcuffs. Then they led him past a scene so grotesque it is etched in his memory:

The bodies of Frykowski and his girlfriend Abigail Folger--heiress to a coffee fortune--were lying on the lawn covered in blood, each stabbed dozens of times. In the driveway, Parent was slumped in his car, shot four times.

The police spared Garretson a sight just as horrible inside the house. Tate, 8 1/2 months pregnant, had been stabbed repeatedly and was curled in a fetal position as if to protect her unborn son. Nearby, a bloody towel covered the head of hairdresser Jay Sebring, her former boyfriend, who had been stabbed and shot. The two were connected by a rope hung over a rafter and looped around their necks.

The police did not believe Garretson’s claim that he had heard nothing during the night and they quickly arrested him.

“It was very gruesome,” Garretson recalled in a recent interview, “and finding one person alive on the estate was surprising to the police.”

Garretson was still in custody that night when the LaBiancas were tied up with lamp cords and stabbed to death in Los Feliz. “DEATH TO PIGS” and the misspelled “HEALTER SKELTER” were written in their blood on a wall and the refrigerator. A carving fork was protruding from Leno LaBianca’s stomach, and the word “WAR” was cut in his flesh.

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Garretson was freed the next day after he passed a polygraph test. But because police did not initially believe that the Tate and LaBianca cases were connected, he remained a suspect for months.

The sensational killings stunned and terrified Los Angeles. With the killer or killers on the loose, suspicion and paranoia ran wild. Frank Sinatra was reported to be in hiding. Mia Farrow did not attend Tate’s funeral out of fear she might be next. Sebring’s friend, Steve McQueen, began carrying a gun in his car.

Gun sales soared in Beverly Hills and the price of guard dogs jumped sevenfold. Off-duty police were hired to patrol private estates and security firms tripled in size.

“When you talk about the Manson case, you’re talking about perhaps the most bizarre murder case in the annals of crime,” said Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. “There was a lot of fear. People were canceling parties, canceling people from guest lists. The words printed in blood made it especially frightening for the Hollywood crowd.”

After nearly four months of investigation, police linked the Tate and LaBianca slayings to Manson, who lived with his followers on the Spahn Movie Ranch above Chatsworth.

During the trial, Bugliosi proved that Manson ordered three followers to commit the Benedict Canyon killings: Charles (Tex) Watson, a former high school athletic star; Krenwinkel, a onetime Sunday school teacher, and Atkins, a former topless dancer who once sang in her church choir. Atkins, the jury learned, stabbed Tate as she pleaded with her killers to spare her unborn son.

The jury also found that Watson, Krenwinkel and Van Houten, a former homecoming princess from Monrovia, stabbed the LaBiancas. But this time, the evidence showed, Manson entered the house first, tied up the couple and left before the killing started.

Linda Kasabian, a Manson family newcomer who was along both nights because she was the only one with a valid driver’s license, turned state’s evidence and testified against the others.

At the trial, Bugliosi argued that the motive for the murders was a bizarre plan to trigger a race war known as Helter Skelter, a name taken from a Beatles song.

Manson said that blacks were inferior to whites but would win the war. Then, unable to rule, they would hand over power to Manson and his all-white family, which planned to survive by living underground near Death Valley.

The 9 1/2-month trial of Manson, Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten--a record length for its time--was punctuated by memorable moments: Manson and his “girls” cutting Xs in their foreheads; Manson lunging at Judge Charles H. Older with a pencil; President Richard Nixon proclaiming Manson guilty in mid-trial headlines; Manson and his followers shaving their heads, and the disappearance of Van Houten’s attorney, Ronald Hughes. He was later found dead and prosecutors believe he was another Manson victim.

Manson, Atkins and Krenwinkel were found guilty on seven counts of murder. Van Houten was convicted of two murders. Watson was tried separately and convicted of seven murders. In a later trial, Manson was convicted in the murder of two other family victims, music teacher Gary Hinman and ranch hand Donald (Shorty) Shea.

Manson and his four followers were sentenced to death, but in 1972 the state Supreme Court overturned capital punishment and their sentences were reduced to life in prison. Although up for parole many times, all five remain behind bars. Kasabian moved to the East Coast.

After the trial, Garretson sued the Los Angeles Police Department for false arrest, seeking $1 million. In 1974, a jury decided that the police had acted properly, in part because he was the only survivor found on the estate.

But the jurors also were sympathetic. “We felt Garretson was the sixth victim” of the Benedict Canyon murders, foreman John Rutherford said afterward.

Garretson returned to Ohio soon after his release from jail. Today, he drives a truck for a grocery store chain and his brief time in Los Angeles is a distant blur.

“I try not to even think about it,” he said. “It was a terrifying experience in my life and it was a tragedy. It’s something I would like to leave in the past.”

Manson Speaks About Life Behind Bars

California’s most notorious criminal spends his time at the state prison in Corcoran, doing menial chores, playing his guitar and planting a flower garden.

Charles Manson will turn 60 in November. He still claims he is innocent of the Tate-LaBianca murders and contends he was denied a fair trial. But after spending three-quarters of his life locked up, he says he has no desire to leave prison.

“What would I want out for?” he asked in a telephone interview. “This beats an old folks home.”

He long ago turned the X on his forehead into a swastika, but he says he was never the villain the media have made him out to be.

“I am a man of God,” he said. “I am not a bad person, I am a good person.”

The son of a 16-year-old prostitute who was imprisoned for armed robbery, Manson was born in Cincinnati and spent his childhood being shuttled among relatives, boys’ homes and juvenile halls.

Growing to a height of 5-foot-2, he became a con man, a pimp, a forger and a thief. He was convicted of armed robbery when he was 13, homosexual rape when he was 17 and beating his first wife when he was 20. By the time he was 32, he had spent 17 years locked up.

On the day in March, 1967, when he was paroled from Terminal Island, he pleaded with prison authorities to let him stay in the only home he knew, according to “Helter Skelter,” the best-selling book written by prosecutor Bugliosi and co-author Curt Gentry. Manson was released anyway and arrived in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco, where the hippies were in full bloom.

He had learned the guitar in prison and began playing his songs to attract women. Then, like the pimp he once was, he used his women to recruit men. His family quickly multiplied, living for a while with Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson in his Sunset Boulevard mansion, and later splitting time between the Death Valley area and the Spahn ranch.

Manson and his followers took LSD and other psychedelic drugs, lived off discarded food and petty crime and indulged in orgies that were orchestrated by Manson to break down sexual taboos. His followers believed he was Christ.

Held in various state prisons since 1971, his life behind bars has been eventful. He was set on fire by inmates at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, and was attacked by prisoners at San Quentin and Folsom prisons.

He has broken prison rules 60 times: spitting in a guard’s face, throwing hot coffee at a staff member, possessing a hacksaw blade, refusing to obey orders, fighting and trying to flood a tier.

As a result, he spent more than five years in near solitary confinement at Corcoran, body-searched and manacled each time he moved from the cell. In May, the restrictions were eased and he was moved into the high-security Protective Housing Unit.

He now has a cellmate and access to a telephone and dines with such infamous killers as mass murderer Juan Corona and Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin. Of Sirhan, Manson said: “He’s cool.”

Today, Charlie Manson--still longhaired but with gray in his beard--has become something of a cult hero among some young people too young to remember the murders.

In addition to the Guns N’ Roses album, Manson’s recordings are available in stores. So is a song by Manson that the Beach Boys recorded in 1968 without giving him credit.

His face is seen on clothing and trading cards. And there is an underground market in Manson memorabilia.

Richard and Dan Lemmons, who make a controversial line of Manson T-shirts under the name Zooport Riot Gear in Newport Beach, say they have sold 25,000 shirts and caps bearing his likeness.

“His face represents the counterculture rebellion against society,” said Richard Lemmons, 36.

The brothers promised Manson they would pay him 10 cents for each item sold. But after learning of Bartek Frykowski’s claim on the prisoner’s earnings, they said they put his share in escrow and do not feel he is owed anything.

Prison officials say they have no way of knowing if Manson has received income from royalties or interview fees--or even whether he maintains bank accounts. Manson insists he has not made a penny from the merchandising of his name.

“What do I need money in prison for?” he said. “They give me clothes, they feed me. I don’t need to pay rent. I don’t need money for lawyers.”

Some of Manson’s supporters have begun making the case that the cult leader should be freed from prison.

They say he was wrongly convicted of murder because he was not present when the killings occurred. Some, like Manson, say he was not allowed to present a defense in court. Others go so far as to say, erroneously, that he was convicted only of conspiracy.

A few suggest--without the benefit of any proof--that there was a conspiracy to cover up the murders by powerful people in the entertainment industry. “It was a different time back then,” Richard Lemmons said. “You could get convicted on a lot less evidence than today.”

Contending that the Helter Skelter motive is too absurd to be believed, supporters offer different motives that focus the blame primarily on Watson. Some say the killings were the result of a drug deal gone bad. Others contend that they were copycat murders intended to free Bobby Beausoleil, a family member in jail for the stabbing a few days earlier of music teacher Hinman. Hinman’s killers had written “POLITICAL PIGGY” on the wall in his blood.

“Tex Watson is the one who killed everybody and is responsible for the whole thing,” said John Aes-Nihil of Canoga Park, who sells a range of Manson memorabilia, including Jay Sebring shampoo boxes. “There is some possibility (Manson) is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, but I don’t think he did anything illegal.”

The effort to rewrite history and glorify Manson disturbs Bugliosi, who made his reputation by putting Manson behind bars.

“They think he’s a cool guy,” Bugliosi said. “They don’t know who he is. For someone to be sentenced to death, and then all these years later to have Manson T-shirts and songs on pop albums is really a sad commentary.”

Bugliosi vigorously disputes Manson’s contention that he did not receive a fair trial and was not allowed to present a defense.

During the prosecution’s case, Manson’s attorney conducted extensive cross-examination of the witnesses, Bugliosi noted. After the prosecution ended, Manson and his co-defendants rested their case without calling any witnesses.

Afterward, Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten said they wanted to testify and take the blame for the killings. But their attorneys objected and the judge refused to overrule the lawyers.

“The claim that Manson was not allowed to present a defense is so silly and ludicrous,” Bugliosi said.

And the fact that Manson did not inflict a fatal wound on any of the victims, Bugliosi said, does not make him any less a murderer under the law. “If you order a murder, you can’t insulate yourself from criminal responsibility,” he said. “Manson was the architect, the mastermind of the murders.”

Defense attorney Paul Fitzgerald, who represented Krenwinkel, is among those who agree that there is no question Manson was properly convicted.

“The people who are saying he is not guilty are muddled thinkers who have not examined the record and are saying it for the wrong reasons,” he said. “This adulation of him as a mass killer, a convicted killer of innocent people, is kind of ghastly--a leader with a swastika carved in his head is beyond sicko. It makes my skin crawl. He’s not an antihero, he’s a creep.”

Recently, Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Atkins broke their silence and condemned Manson, urging young people not to think of him as a hero.

“I can assure you . . . from firsthand experience that his depravity and depth of cruelty make him a truly base human being, deserving no one’s attention, let alone admiration,” Atkins wrote in a letter to The Times and other newspapers earlier this year.

Manson still delivers the same message of social calamity in his rambling, disjointed style. The environment is being destroyed, he says; its children are being abused and ignored. The planet is in chaos and helter skelter--a state of confusion--is at hand.

“It would take a madman to adjust to this world,” he said.

The entertainment industry has turned good and evil upside down, helping to make heroes of violent criminals, he said. “What is a bad guy these days? It seems to be the good guy,” he said. “Arnold Schwarzenegger--it’s OK for him to escape from prison and kill eight or nine people. Where are your standards?”

While denying that he ordered the Tate-LaBianca murders or was involved in the killing, Manson suggested that the slayings were part of an effort to bring about social change. He also says there is no reason he should feel remorse.

“Everybody in the world wants to get mad at me because I won’t show remorse because somebody died,” he said. “Somebody dies every day.”

For Bugliosi, the trial was the case of a career. He ran for Los Angeles County district attorney and lost, then spent two years working on “Helter Skelter.” He has taken occasional legal cases and written other true-crime books.

“The one negative association about the case,” he said, “is no matter what I do, I’ll be forever known as the Manson prosecutor.”

But he understands the fascination with Manson. More than any other crime, he says, the gruesome murders and Manson’s power over his followers have both repelled and captivated the public.

“The very name Manson has become a metaphor for evil,” Bugliosi said. “Over the past 25 years, he has come to represent the dark and malignant side of humanity, and for whatever reason, there is a side of human nature that is fascinated with ultimate evil.”

Victims’ Survivors Continue the Vigil

On the day after the Tate killings, Susan Struthers was among those who found the bodies of her mother, Rosemary LaBianca, and stepfather, Leno. In the weeks following, she suffered a nervous breakdown. Later, she began to find peace as a born-again Christian.

In the mid-1980s, she started writing anonymous letters to Tex Watson, the most brutal of the Manson family killers. In prison, he had also become a born-again Christian, gotten married and fathered three children during conjugal visits.

After corresponding with Watson for a year, Struthers decided she wanted to meet him. “My motive was to bring understanding to the tragedy of losing my parents,” she later explained.

She visited him at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo and soon was convinced of his remorse and sincerity. And so she told Watson she was the daughter of the LaBiancas, forgave him and began spending time with his family and friends.

Known by her married name of Susan LaBerge, she appeared in 1990 at Watson’s parole hearing and argued that he was a model prisoner who had paid his debt to society.

“During our visit, I shared the forgiveness I felt toward him and I felt very certain that Charles was deeply remorseful for what he had done,” she told the parole board.

By a strange coincidence, LaBerge was living in the same coastal California town as Patti Tate, Sharon’s younger sister, when they happened to meet in the late 1980s.

The women discovered their common past, but quickly realized that their differing beliefs would keep them from ever becoming friends.

“Needless to say, it created a hostile situation between us,” Tate said. “To even think Watson deserves to get out of prison, I don’t know where she’s coming from.”

Following in the footsteps of her mother, Doris Tate, Patti has become an outspoken opponent of parole for Manson family members and an advocate of tougher laws against crime. Now 36, she too has appeared at parole hearings, but her goal has been to confront, not forgive, her sister’s killers.

At a hearing last year for Susan Atkins, Patti Tate recalled, “I stood up and said: ‘My sister would have loved to have her baby. I would love to have my nephew here. But you took that away.’ ”

After the murders, Doris Tate became a strong anti-crime advocate and helped collect more than 350,000 signatures on petitions opposing parole for the Manson followers. Shortly before her death in 1992, she founded the Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau, a Sacramento group that lobbies for tougher sanctions against criminals. Patti Tate serves on the board.

“I feel it’s very unfortunate that we even have to worry about these people ever getting out,” she said. “When someone has a life sentence, it should be that exactly.”

At least eight of the original family members are serving life terms. Others have done time for assorted crimes and are scattered across California, Nevada and the Midwest.

In the San Joaquin Valley farm towns around the Corcoran prison, rumors abound of Manson followers who remain in the area. But the only original family member with a visible presence is Sandra Good, who took an apartment in Hanford to be near Manson.

One of Manson’s most loyal supporters, she was in jail on other charges during the 1969 murder rampage, but joined the family’s Downtown street corner vigils during the trial. When Manson carved an X on his forehead, she did the same. When Manson shaved his head, she shaved hers.

In 1971, Good was convicted of helping family member Kenneth Como escape from prison. She served six months. In 1975, she mailed threatening letters to corporate executives and government officials. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison and served 10.

When her parole in Vermont ended in 1991, she moved back to California. Prison officials have refused to let her see Manson and she has petitioned the court for visiting privileges.

In an interview, Good said she was never among those who believed Manson was Christ. “To me, he is far beyond Jesus Christ, far bigger,” she said.

She explained her devotion to Manson, saying: “He has real authority. I’m talking about the kind of authority that comes from God. Manson has always spoken the truth and that is a big part of the reason he is locked up.”

She rejects the idea that the Tate-LaBianca murders were committed to bring on the disintegration of society. But, she said: “You see where L.A. is at. You see the real helter skelter unfolding before your eyes.”

And unlike the three women who took part in the Tate-LaBianca killings, Good still says the murders were justified as a necessary prelude to social change.

“We were the kids that cared and wanted to change the world and, yes, those murders were very justified,” Good said. “In spirit, I’m still at war. That’s just as powerful as if I went and put a knife in some person’s stomach in Hollywood.”

THE MANSON MURDERS: 25 YEARS LATER

On Aug. 9, 1969, neighbors called Los Angeles police to a murder scene in the Hollywood Hills that would absorb the nation’s attention and add a new name to those of the notorious: Charles Manson. Just 5 foot 2, a career criminal, Manson possessed a stare and a sinister charm. He was a small-time songwriter and pal of Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, who recorded a Manson song. In the summer of 1969, Manson was the guru to a band of more than two dozen young people who hung out in the rocky hills above Chatsworth, taking drugs and making forays into the city. Twenty-five years later, Manson has become a kind of criminal antihero, his songs sold in record stores, his image sold on T-shirts and trading cards and his writings discussed on the Internet.

* CHARLES MANSON, 59: He was not present during any of the August, 1969, murders. A problem prisoner at California State Prison at Corcoran, he has been rejected for parole eight times.

***

TERRIFYING TIMES

* July 31, 1969: Musician Gary Hinman is found stabbed to death in his Old Topanga Road home. The phrase “POLITICAL PIGGY” is scrawled in blood on his wall. Manson follower Bobby Beausoleil is arrested driving Hinman’s Volkswagen bus.

* Aug. 9: The quiet of Benedict Canyon is broken over several hours by screams and gunshots. Police find a chilling scene: on the lawn lies a man’s body, stabbed, bludgeoned and shot. Nearby is the body of a woman. “PIG” is written in blood on the front door. Inside are the bodies of Sharon Tate, the pregnant actress who rents the house with husband, Roman Polanski, and hairstylist Jay Sebring. A fifth body is found outside.

* Aug. 10: At a Los Feliz house, another nauseating murder scene. Leno and Rosemary LaBianca have been stabbed. “DEATH TO PIGS” is scrawled in blood; on the refrigerator is the misspelled title of a Beatles song: “HEALTER SKELTER.” The writings eventually help police link the murders.

* Aug. 25: Donald (Shorty) Shea, a horse wrangler at the Spahn Movie Ranch near Chatsworth, is killed, apparently because he came to the murders.

* October: Raids on the remote Barker Ranch near Death Valley link some of the killings to a band of young, hippie-looking petty criminals. Manson, a fledgling song writer who knew Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, had been to the Benedict Canyon house when the group’s producer lived there.

* June 15, 1970--Jan. 25, 1971: Manson, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel are tried for murder. All are found guilty and sentenced to death.

* October 1971: Tex Watson, tried separately, is found guilty and sentenced to death.

* Feb. 18, 1972: The death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment when the state Supreme Court abolished the death penalty. Now the convicts eligible for parole hearings.

***

THE VICTIMS

In Benedict Canyon:

* SHARON TATE, 26: An actress best known for her role in “Valley of the Dolls,” she was married to film director Roman Polanski. She pleaded with the killers to spare the life of her unborn child, due in two weeks.

* JAY SEBRING, 35: A Hollywood hairdresser and former boyfriend of Tate. Among his clients was David Geffen, head of Geffen Records, which recently released a Guns N’ Roses album with a song written by Manson.

* VOYTEK FRYKOWSKI, 32: A friend of Polanski, he came from a wealthy Polish family and was staying with Polanski and Tate.

* ABIGAIL FOLGER, 25: The heir to the Folger coffee fortune, she was romantically involved with Frykowski.

* STEVEN PARENT, 18: Visiting the resident of a guest house on the estate, he was just leaving as the murderers arrived and became their first victim.

Elsewhere:

* LENO LABIANCA, 44, and ROSEMARY LABIANCA, 38: Owners of a chain of Los Angeles grocery stores. Their house was chosen by Manson, who tied them up, then left the killing to others.

* GARY HINMAN, 34: A musician who befriended the Manson group. Family members tortured him for two days at his Topanga home before killing him in a dispute over money.

* DONALD (SHORTY) SHEA, 35: An aspiring actor and a ranch hand. His dismembered body was found eight years later.

***

ALSO INVOLVED IN THE CASE

* LINDA KASABIAN, 44: She drove the killers to the Tate and LaBianca murders and received immunity for testifying. Now a mother of four, she is believed to be living on the East Coast.

* VINCENT BUGLIOSI: The lead Manson prosecutor, he lost an election to be Los Angeles County district attorney and co-wrote “Helter Skelter,” the best-selling book on the Manson case. Has written other books and occasionally takes legal clients.

* STEPHEN KAY: He helped prosecute some family members and remains with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Has attended 47 parole hearings to argue against the release of Manson family members.

* ROMAN POLANSKI: The husband of Sharon Tate, Polanski directed such movies as “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown.” He was in Europe at the time of the murders. He fled the United States in 1978, facing prison for having sex with an under-age girl.

***

THE MANSON FAMILY

* SUSAN ATKINS, 46: A former topless dancer and bar hustler, she became one of Manson’s closest disciples. She recently denounced Manson and calls herself a “born-again” Christian.

* PATRICIA KRENWINKEL, 46: A secretary when she met Manson at a party, she quit her job the next day and joined the cult. She recently urged young people not to consider him a hero.

* LESLIE VAN HOUTEN, 44: Homecoming princess in Monrovia, she was later a runway. She recently joined in denouncing Manson from prison.

* CHARLES (TEX) WATSON, 48: An A student in Texas, he was the most brutal of the Tate-LaBianca killers. Now at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, he declared himself a “born-again” Christian, married and fathered three children during conjugal visits.

* BOBBY BEAUSOLEIL, 46: A musician, he was in jail for the Hinman killing when the Tate house was invaded. In prison at Soledad he has joined the Aryan Brotherhood gang and suffered a broken jaw and other injuries in fights.

* LYNETTE (SQUEAKY) FROMME, 45: She led the family when Manson was jailed. In 1975 she attempted to kill President Gerald R. Ford in Sacramento. She escaped from prison for two days in 1987 after hearing a false report that Manson had cancer. Now held in federal prison at Marianna, Fla.

* SANDRA GOOD, 49: One of Manson’s most faithful followers, she served 10 years in federal prison for sending threatening letters to corporate and government officials. Lives in Hanford, Calif., to be near Manson.

Note: All are serving life sentences except Good. All the women except Fromme are at the California Institution for Women at Frontera.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Crime, by Jay Robert Nash; “Helter Skelter,” by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry.

Researched by RICHARD C. PADDOCK, TRACY THOMAS


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