The next day, Manson’s followers butchered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home. The words “Death to Pigs” and “Helter Skelter” (misspelled) were found printed on a wall and a refrigerator door.
Arrested several months later, Manson showed up in court in June 1970 with an X carved into his forehead. Soon, the women on trial with him — Atkins, Van Houten and Krenwinkle — branded themselves with Xs in a sick show of solidarity.
Manson turned his trial into a circus, at one point leaping across the defense table in an attempt to attack the judge. His co-defendants, along with family members not on trial, tried to intimidate and prevent witnesses from testifying.
“The music is telling the youth to rise up against the establishment,” Manson declared when he took the stand.
Manson and three co-defendants were found guilty. When it was over, Manson spoke directly to America.
“Mr. and Mrs. America — you are wrong,” he said. “I am not the King of the Jews, nor am I a hippie cult leader. I am what you have made me, and the
mad dog devil killer fiend leper is a reflection of your society. … Whatever the outcome of this madness that you call a fair trial or Christian justice, you can know this: In my mind’s eye, my thoughts light fires in your cities.”
During the penalty phase of his trial, Manson showed up in court with a new look — a shaved head — and a sick new boast.
“I am the devil, and the devil always has a bald head,” Manson declared.
In the years that followed, Manson — inmate B-33920 — gave several interviews, including one in 1987 at San Quentin State Prison, parts of which MSNBC aired 20 years later. Then, in 2014, it was revealed that Manson and Afton Elaine “Star” Burton, 26, who had been visiting him in prison for at least nine years, were engaged. But the wedding license expired a year later without a marriage ceremony’s having taken place.
By law, Manson was required to have a parole hearing every seven years. But it was such a given that Manson would never be allowed to leave prison that he stopped attending them.
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