“Evil con man” Charles Manson’s death spurs reaction

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LOS ANGELES — Charles Manson’s death late Sunday night elicited a wide variety of reaction from politicians, prosecutors and relatives of those murdered by members of his cult family in the late 1960s.

Manson, 83, died at 8:13 p.m. Sunday night in a Kern County Hospital, state prison officials said. He entered the hospital on Thursday night. Other details surrounding his death were withheld due to medical privacy laws.

“Manson was a pathetic, cowardly con man & should be remembered for that alone,” Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell tweeted. “The lives he and his followers mercilessly cut short are deserving of having their stories told.”

In January, Manson was taken to Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield for what authorities at the time would describe only as serious medical problem.
Among those killed by the Manson Family were actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant, coffee heiress Abigail Ann Folger, photographer Wojciech Frykowski, hairdresser Jay Sebring and Steven Earl Parent, a teenager from El Monte. Leno and Rosemary LaBianca of Los Feliz were stabbed to death by members of the cult, who lived on a movie studio ranch in the San Fernando Valley.

Prosecutors said Manson and his “family”  were trying to incite a race war he dubbed “Helter Skelter,” taken from the Beatles song of the same name.

Manson was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths.

Manson and followers Charles “Tex” Watson, Leslie Van Houten (once a Monrovia High School homecoming queen), Patricia Krenwinkel and the late Susan Atkins all were convicted and sentenced to state prisons in 1971. Manson also was convicted in December of that year for first-degree murder for the July 25, 1969, death of Gary Hinman and the August 1969 death of Donald Shea.

Van Houten was deemed eligible for parole earlier this year. Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to act the parole board reccomendation.

He and the others originally were sentenced to death, but a 1972 Los Angeles Superior Court decision caused all capital sentences in California to be commuted to life in prison. There was no life-without-parole sentence at the time.

Vincent Bugliosi, the chief prosecutor of Manson and his acolytes, described him as “an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values.”

Bugliosi died June 6, 2015.

Michele Hanisee, president of the state Association of Deputy District Attorneys, said on Twitter that Manson would not be mourned.

“Today, Manson’s victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death,” Hanisee said.

Sharon Tate’s sister Debra Tate said she prayed for Manson’s soul.

“One could say I’ve forgiven them, which is quite different then forgetting what they (were) are capable of,” she said.

During his imprisonment, the killer was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, the California Medical Facility, Folsom State Prison and Pelican Bay State Prison, before he was housed in the Protective Housing Unit at the Corcoran State Prison in 1989, where inmates whose safety would be endangered in the general prison population are kept.

The convicted murderer remained at Corcoran for the duration of his term. Manson, who carved a swastika into his forehead, was denied parole 12 times between Nov. 16, 1978 and April 11, 2012. He was not eligible for another parole hearing until 2027, corrections officials said.

The last parole hearing he attended was March 27, 1997.

Prison officials have not said what they will do with the dead man’s remains. He is not known to have any next of kin.

City News Service contributed to this story.

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