A year after notorious killer Charles Manson said he would not marry the young woman who has faithfully visited him in prison, the couple has obtained a marriage license.
The 80-year-old inmate, convicted of conspiracy to commit multiple murders, has obtained a license to wed Afton Elaine Burton, 26, who as a teenager moved to California to be near him and has visited him for seven years. According to records with the Kings County Clerk-Recorder, Manson and Burton applied for the marriage license Nov. 7.
Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, confirmed that the license has been transmitted to Corcoran State Prison, where Manson has been incarcerated since 1989. All told, he has been in state prison since 1971, serving a life sentence for his part in the 1969 Tate-LaBianca killings.
Officials with the Kings County Clerk-Recorder office say Manson and Burton have 90 days to wed before they’ll have to apply for another license.
Burton, who also goes by the name Star, told Rolling Stone magazine last year that the couple planned to marry. “I’ll tell you straight up, Charlie and I are going to get married,” Burton said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “When that will be, we don’t know. But I take it very seriously. Charlie is my husband.”
But Manson denied Burton’s claim at the time, telling the magazine, “That’s a bunch of garbage.… We’re just playing that for public consumption.”
Under California law, inmates are entitled to marry; they must obtain and process paperwork through a prison employee who serves as a designated marriage coordinator.
State law allows inmate weddings to include the bride, the groom, an officiant, two inmate guests and up to 10 non-inmate guests.
If the wedding goes forward, though, the convicted killer probably won’t have an opportunity to consummate his marriage anytime soon. Manson does not qualify for overnight family visits, which are better known as conjugal visits.
Initially sentenced to death for his role the 1969 slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others, Manson had his sentence changed to life in prison while California’s death penalty was abolished for a time the 1970s. He has been denied parole a dozen times, and his next parole hearing is scheduled for 2027, when he will be 92 years old.
Manson wouldn’t be the first of his murderous “family” to wed while in prison. Susan Atkins, a Manson follower who was convicted of eight murders, married twice while she was serving 38 years of a life sentence before dying at age 61.
Manson follower Charles “Tex” Watson, 68, married and divorced and fathered four children while in prison before prison officials in the mid-1990s banned conjugal visits for inmates with life sentences.
For breaking news, follow @cmaiduc on Twitter.