The Quick 9: What Nine Members of the Manson Family Are Doing Today
Big news yesterday: Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, Manson Family member and would-be assassin of Gerald Ford, has been paroled from prison after nearly 35 years of incarceration. Despite her fanatic membership in the infamous Manson Family, prosecutors were unable to pin anything on Squeaky until her attempt on the President's life, which is what eventually landed her in prison with a life sentence. Considering that during that time, she attacked a fellow inmate with the claw end of a hammer and escaped once in 1987 to try to meet up with Manson. I don't know what she's been up to in the 20 years since then, but I do know that if she moved in next door to me, I'd probably start house-hunting pretty quickly. In case you've been wondering if any of the other Family members are looking for real estate in your area, here are where 10 of them are today.
2. Tex Watson has also been in prison for more than 30 years. He was convicted and sentenced to death on October 21, 1971, but managed to escape death because a 1972 court case made all death sentences issued before that year invalid. He also became a born-again Christian, got married in 1979 , and had four kids with his wife through conjugal visits. He says he has been "forgiven by God," but he has definitely not been forgiven by the court: Watson has been denied parole 13 times. His next parole hearing is in December 2011.
3. Bobby Beausoleil, who murdered Gary Hinman on July 27, 1969, is also still in prison. Like Watson, he was sentenced to death but benefited from the 1972 law about the death penalty. However, he seems to be enjoying a career while behind bars: in the late "˜80s, he composed and recorded the soundtrack to the movie Lucifer Rising, and in 2005, some of his artwork was displayed in the Clair Obscur Gallery. He was denied parole in 2008 and isn't scheduled for another hearing until 2013.
5. Patricia Krenwinkel was an active participant in the Tate/LaBianca murders. Like the others, she received a death sentence that was later changed to life in prison. She reportedly has a perfect prison record and has received a Bachelor's degree in Human Services. She also writes poetry and music, gives dance lessons, participates in a service dog-training program, and plays on the prison volleyball team. Sounds kind of like a yearbook list of your high school activities, doesn't it? Despite being a model prisoner, Krenwinkel has been denied parole 11 times.
6. Leslie Van Houten lost any sympathy the jurors may have had for her during her trial when she giggled through the descriptions of the deaths of the LaBiancas and Sharon Tate, which she had been a part of. In the late "˜70s, she received a retrial, claiming that her counsel hadn't accurately represented her the first time. She won it, but her lawyer disappeared in the middle of the trial. He was later found dead. She had a second trial, and a third, and was eventually sentenced to life in prison again. She married a man in 1981, and when it was discovered that he owned a uniform used by prison employees and apparently had plans to help Van Houten break out, she divorced him and said she had no knowledge of the matter. She has earned two college degrees and has had no notable incidents in prison, but hasn't yet received parole. She was most recently denied in 2007 (her 18th try) but can apply again this year. She and Patricia Krenwinkel are in the same prison.
8. Sandra Good didn't participate in any murders (that she was convicted of, anyway), but she was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1976 for "conspiracy to send threatening letters through the mail." She had helped write and send death threats to nearly 200 executives of companies that Good decided were killing the earth. She was paroled in 1985 and still devoutly followed Manson. Upon her parole, she moved to Vermont and lived under the name of Sandra Collins. She later moved to California and lived very close to Corcoran State Prison, where Manson was (and is) being held. She started a Manson website in 1996. It has been down since 2001 and not much else has been heard from Sandra Good.
So there you have it. Five in jail and four roaming free (including Squeaky). What do you think about Squeaky Fromme's release?
Also, I'm out tomorrow and Monday and leave you in the capable hands of our guest blogger! I'll be Tweeting live (is there any other way to Tweet?) from Lollapalooza if you're interested in reading about various bands, Chicago sights and my first experience with a press pass. And I'll be back Tuesday full of news from the Windy City. See you then!