Manson would be latest high-profile killer to marry while in prison


As much of the world now knows, mass murderer Charles Manson may be about to get married to Afton Elaine Burton, 26.

Manson was sentenced to death for his role in the 1969 slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others, and he has been in state prison since 1971. California abolished the death penalty for a time in the 1970s, and his sentence was changed to life in prison. Denied parole repeatedly, he has another hearing in 2027, when he would be over 90.

Even if the marriage does occur, Manson is not allowed conjugal visits. Manson would be the latest high-profile California killer to tie the knot behind bars.


‘Night Stalker’ Richard Ramirez

Ramirez, who died in 2013 while on death row in San Quentin State Prison, married journalist Doreen Lioy in 1996. Ramirez paralyzed Los Angeles with fear during a crime spree in 1984 and 1985 that left 13 people dead.

Lioy recalled seeing Ramirez on TV: “They showed his mug shot in the middle of ‘Dallas,’ and I saw something in his eyes. Something that captivated me. It wasn’t as if I knew him. But there was something in his eyes ... maybe the vulnerability, I don’t really know.”

The families of the “Night Stalker” victims expressed outrage that prison officials would allow the marriage.

The Menendez brothers

Erik and Lyle Menendez are serving life sentences for the 1989 murders of their parents inside their Beverly Hills home.


Both Erik and Lyle have married while in prison — Lyle, twice. The older brother wed longtime pen pal and former model Anna Eriksson in 1997, a union that lasted about a year. In 2003, he married Rebecca Sneed, a magazine editor.

In 1999, Erik married Tammi Saccoman in a waiting room at Folsom State Prison. Saccoman told NBC News in 2005 that her husband was her best friend. “I know his heart, I know his soul, and I do know what happened that night. And I do understand.”

‘Hillside Strangler’ Kenneth Bianchi

Bianchi married his pen pal Shirlee Joyce Book, of Louisiana. Bianchi and Angelo Buono Jr., his cousin and fellow “Hillside Strangler,” were convicted of the kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of multiple women.

At the 1989 wedding, he wore a black tuxedo and Book was in white with a small veil. Bianchi claimed at the time to be a born-again Christian. The Times reported he began corresponding with Book and first met her in person the day before their wedding.