In the annals of crime, there might never have been a more bizarre motive for killing than that revealed in the 1970-71 trial of four Manson “Family” members. In the twisted mind of thirty-four-year-old Charles Manson, a wave of bloody killings of high-society types in Los Angeles would be the spark that would set off a revolution by blacks against the white establishment. When “blackie,” as Manson called black people, proved unable to govern, they would turn to Manson and his tribe of followers, who would have survived “Helter Skelter” by hiding out in an underground cave in the Death Valley area of California while the chaos raged above.
Manson’s vision never materialized. Instead, he and several of his followers found themselves convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in one of the strangest trials the state of California has ever witnessed. The death sentences imposed by the Tate-LaBianca jury would never be imposed due to a California Supreme Court ruling in 1972 declaring the state’s death penalty law unconstitutional. Instead, all convicted defendants were commuted to life in prison.
The end came for Charles Manson on Nov. 19, 2017, in a Kern Co., CA hospital, of natural causes at age 83.