Cult leader and murderer Charles Manson has died. He was 83. Speculation that his death was imminent had risen since he was hospitalized last week. The New York Times quotes a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation who stated that Manson died of natural causes.
Manson is perhaps one of America's most reviled serial killers — despite the fact that he never actually committed any murders himself. Manson had been a longtime criminal, and was in and out of prison before settling in San Francisco in 1967. He started a cult, with beliefs culled from such disparate sources as Adolf Hitler's writing, Dianetics and Scientology, and the Book of Revelation from the Bible. Manson was virulently racist, and believed that a race war was coming, which he termed "Helter Skelter" (from the Beatles song of the same name).
His followers were mainly white, middle-class women. In 1969, the Manson family, as the cult was called, committed what would be their bloodiest murder: the Tate-LaBianca murders. Manson ordered four of his followers to kill the occupants of Terry Melcher's house, a record producer. Actress Sharon Tate was living at the home, and was nearly nine months pregnant when the Manson family killed her. Several other people were killed that night. The day after the Tate murders, the Manson family killed local grocers, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
Manson and his cult were eventually caught by police in 1969, and Manson himself captured the nation's attention when he arrived to court with an X scrawled into his forehead (he later turned the X into a swastika). He was unrepentant and denied any involvement in the murders.
There is no death penalty in the state of California, so Manson was sentenced to life in prison. During his incarceration, Manson had incurred over 100 behavioral violations, reported the Los Angeles Times. He reportedly lit his mattress on fire, spat at corrections officers, and was caught possessing drugs and a cellphone in his cell.
Read These Stories Next: