Charles Manson and His 'Family': Inside the Cult of a Madman
A former convict, Manson brought together dozens of disenfranchised young people in the late 1960s in California. He called them his "family" and they all eventually settled together at Spahn Ranch near Los Angeles.
For two nights in August 1969 in L.A., Manson instructed a handful of his followers to murder seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski. He was ultimately convicted of nine murders, including of Gary Hinman in July 1969 and Donald Shea that August.
In November, Manson died of natural causes while still incarcerated.
The youngest member of The Family, Lake met Manson at 14 years old and found herself increasingly captivated with him. Not directly involved with the murders, she was institutionalized afterward, and later called to testify against Manson and some of his "girls" at their trials.
LESLIE VAN HOUTEN
A one-time homecoming princess, Van Houten was 19 and the youngest of the group when she took part in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca on Aug. 10, 1969. She admitted to attacking Rosemary, who was stabbed 47 times. Convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder, Van Houten, now 68, was sentenced to life in prison.
In September of 2017, she was found suitable for parole; that finding is currently with the Board of Parole hearings for review, which can take up to 120 days, before being sent to California Gov. Jerry Brown, launchign a process that could take up to 30 days more.
CHARLES 'TEX' WATSON
Watson was an honor student and athlete from Texas who moved to Los Angeles and joined The Family. He has been described as Manson's "right-hand man" and took part in both nights of the killing spree. Convicted of seven counts of murder, Watson was sentenced to life in prison in 1971.
Now 71, he married, divorced and became a father of four while incarcerated. He also earned a degree in business management and was ordained as a minister in 1981. His late 2016 bid for parole was denied.
In 1971, Krenwinkel, then 21, was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folgers, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Parent, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. She admitted to writing the words "Helter Skelter" and "Death to Pigs" in blood at the La Bianca home.
Now 69, Krenwinkel is currently the California's longest-serving female inmate. At a 2004 parole hearing, she said she placed herself at the top of the list of people she had harmed. She is up for parole again in 2018.
Known as "Sexy Sadie," Atkins, then 21, participated in both nights of the killing spree. She told authorities it was she who wrote "PIG" on the front door with Sharon Tate's blood. She was found guilty of seven counts of murder.
Atkins was diagnosed with brain cancer while serving her life sentence at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. She died in prison on September 24, 2009, at age 61.
After two failed marriages and the birth of her daughter Tanya, Kasabian, 20, joined Manson's commune at Spahn Ranch in July 1969. She accompanied the group during the first night of the murder spree but waited outside. After learning what The Family had done in the Tate and LaBianca homes, Kasabian reached out to prosecutors and was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony against the group. She became the prosecution's star witness during the trial.
Now 68, she reportedly changed her name and moved to the Pacific Northwest.
LYNETTE 'SQUEAKY' FROMME
While the other women were on trial and testifying, Fromme and other members of The Family camped outside and spouted their devotion to Manson at passers-by and the media. Fromme was never linked to the Tate-LaBianca murders, but she was eventually charged and convicted for the 1975 attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford.
Given a life sentence, she was released on parole in 2009. She is 69 years old and her whereabouts are unknown.
Tate was a budding movie star. The studios were grooming the 26-year-old California blonde to be the next Marilyn Monroe. She was married to acclaimed film director Roman Polanski and was on the verge of giving birth to their baby boy.
But on Aug. 9, 1969, she and four others were found brutally murdered inside her Los Angeles home, the victims of a horrific plan by Manson and his followers to start a race war they called “Helter Skelter.”
Known for his work in 1962's Mammals, the 32-year-old Polish actor, a friend of Polanski's, was visiting Tate's home the night of the murders, and was killed along with the others.
With Frykowski was date Abigail Folger, then 26 and heiress to the coffee fortune. She was a friend of Tate's. According to Tate's sister, Debra, who spoke to PEOPLE in 2014, Folger spent a lot of time with her friend and "loved to read; she always had her nose buried in a book."
The celebrity hairdresser, 35, was a former boyfriend of Tate's and friend of hers and Polanski's, and also at their home the night of the murders. He was killed as well.
“I want people to know more about him,” his nephew, Anthony DeMaria, told PEOPLE in 2014. To that end, DiMaria is making a film about his uncle. “So much fascination and attention has been paid to the crimes and killers,” DiMaria said. “But for our families, the killings are a life sentence.”
Parent, 18, was a classic case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time: He was on Tate's property to visit groundskeeper William Garretson when he was shot to death at the front gate.
Also killed in The Family's murder spree: supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, who were killed in the early hours of Aug. 10 at their own Los Angeles home.