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Charles Manson disciple and convicted killer Susan Atkins once oversaw Love's two young kids, Love writes in his new memoir

By Jeff Truesdell
Updated September 01, 2016 01:20 PM
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Credit: Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns; California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Beach Boy Mike Love‘s new memoir, Good Vibrations, marries his recall of the group’s rise to success with detours into the 1960s Southern California counterculture that thrived as the band emerged and climbed the musical charts.

One of the darkest twists in that story is Love’s brush with the “family” of Charles Manson, who is still serving time in prison along with his followers for a Los Angeles killing spree in August 1969.

Among Love’s connections to Manson: One of his “girls” babysat Love’s kids, Love writes in Vibrations.

Love, now 75, writes in an exclusive memoir excerpt in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, that the band’s Manson relationship began with his cousin and fellow Beach Boy Dennis Wilson – who opened his Sunset Boulevard home in 1968 to Manson and his disciples at a time when the former was an aspiring rock star with a guru-like following.

To read more about Mike Love’s recollections of Charles Manson, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

The subsequent Manson-directed killings of Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, and four others at the former home of music producer Terry Melcher – the son of actress Doris Day – haunted Dennis “for the last 14 years of his life,” Love writes.

But the revelations continued. Months after the murders, Love learned of another link that connected him personally to Manson’s group of murderous misfits.

At the time, Love was separated from his then-wife Suzanne, who had been having an affair with Dennis. But “the worst part of Suzanne’s affair with Dennis wasn’t even the affair,” he writes.

“Terry Melcher later told me that after we separated, Suzanne and Dennis would sometimes go out and leave our two young children with a babysitter. One one occasion, the babysitter was Manson disciple Susan Atkins,” Love writes.

“Atkins testified that she held Sharon Tate – who pleaded with the killers to spare her life and that of her unborn child – while another assailant, Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, stabbed her to death,” Love writes. “In a theatrical flourish, Atkins used Tate’s blood to write ‘PIG’ on the outside of the front door.”

Concludes Love: “She was convicted of participating in eight murders and was sentenced to death. And she was our babysitter.”

Atkins’ sentence was later commuted to life in prison. She died behind bars of natural causes on Sept. 24, 2009, at age 61, after being denied parole 13 times.