Mass murderer Charles Manson dead at 83

Charles Manson on his way to court in 1970. (Photo by Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
  • Cult leader and notorious murderer Charles Manson has died, aged 83.
  • A statement released by the California prison holding Manson said he died of natural causes.
  • Manson had been imprisoned for more than 45 years and was the mastermind of some of the most brutal murders in US history.

Charles Manson, cult leader and one of the United States’ most notorious killers, died on Sunday night from natural causes.

A statement released by California State Prison, Corcoran, said 83-year-old Manson was pronounced dead at 8:13 p.m. PST on Sunday, November 19 at a Kern County hospital.

Manson had been serving nine life sentences for nine murders, including the Tate-LaBianca murders in 1969.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Manson was hospitalized earlier this week. His condition was unclear at the time and a spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to comment.

Manson was also rushed to hospital in January and was described as “seriously ill” at the time.

Manson had been imprisoned for more than 45 years

Charles manson booking photoWikiMedia CommonsCharles Manson’s booking photo for San Quentin State Prison, California on January 25, 1971.

Starting in the late 1960s, Manson began reinventing himself as a spiritual guru after his third prison stint. He attracted followers and began a cult in California that was later dubbed the “Manson Family.”

The group gained national notoriety in 1969 when Manson directed his mostly young, female followers to murder seven people.

One of the deceased, Sharon Tate, was the pregnant wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski and was stabbed in her home 16 times by cult members.

Prosecutors said the Tate-LaBianca murders were part of a plan to incite a race war. Manson’s trial lasted seven months.

On December 13, 1971, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Buddhist musician Gary Hinman in his own home, and another first-degree murder conviction for the death of Hollywood stuntman Donald Shea, both in 1969.

Manson was originally sentenced to death, but in 1972, a case in the Superior Court of California in the County of Los Angeles set aside the death penalty. The decision caused all capital sentences in California, including Manson’s, to be commuted to life in prison.

Manson was denied parole 12 times between 1978 and 2012.

He had been held in the Protective Housing Unit at California State Prison-Corcoran since 1989. Manson would have next been eligible for parole in 2027.

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