The "Manson Family" consisted of:
Patricia Krenwinkle - (father was an insurance exec) and she sang in the church choir, received good grades in school and wanted to attend a Jesuit college in Alabama.
Leslie Van Houten - who was a Homecoming princess at one time and also received good grades and raised in a middle income home.
Susan Atkins - raised in a middle-class home until the age of 14. Her parents were both alcoholics and the family disintegrated at that time.
Linda Kasabian - raised in Maine, received good grades, family relations deteriorated after her mother divorced and remarried.
Tex Watson - a football, basketball and track star in high school (Texas) and also was a good student.
Steve Grogan - again, a middle class upbringing and good student.
Sharon Tate was pregnant the night of this grizzly homicide, and she as well as the group gathered at her home, were all viciously and fatally attacked. Her claim to fame at that time, was the film Valley of the Dolls, as the character Jennifer North, and she was married to director Roman Polanski.
The murders of these five individuals consisted of 169 stab wounds and 7 gunshot wounds. All young lives, snuffed out by one psychotic gang of malcontents. Charles Manson never wielded a knife or pulled a trigger in these deaths, and the deaths the following night of Leno & Rosemary LaBianca. But all the directions and so-called "logic" for these murders were ordered by Manson. there are details out the wazoo, as to how Manson "cased" the Polanski property and knew that Tate lived there, but as for house guests - apparently that was a bonus for their way of thinking.
There is more than enough info on the web about these people and the events of that time, but I remember the fear that spread across the country, the reports of gun sales increasing and guard dog purchases. This fear lasted for two months until Manson and his followers were arrested on October 12, 1969.
The trial was one of the longest at that time - lasting nine months. Manson at one time, grabbed a pencil from the defense table, jumped over the table and was threatening to stab the judge. From that day on, Judge Older came to court "packing" his own loaded gun. There was no live coverage of the trial and we relied on daily updates on the evening news.
Linda Kasabian was granted immunity from the prosecution, and now lives somewhere in New Hampshire, I believe.
Needless to say, I have done considerable research on these folks and the trial over the years - and at the time and even now - I was for the death penalty. I truly believe that ALL the individuals behind bars - will die behind bars. There is hardly any sympathy in this country for this band of thugs and murderers.
Just a tidbit of trivia I guess, Charles Manson was raised right here (across the river) in McMechen, WV as a youth, from 1939-1942. He was taken in by an aunt and uncle, as his mother was in prison (off and on her entire life), but he spent most of his time in juvenile facilities around the state of WV. Another lovely bit of news - there are two sons of Charles Manson out there. I have never been able to find out much about them, and would imagine they have changed their names - for the sake of safety. Both were named Charles also. Talk about perpetuating one's identity.
There are still so many unanswered questions, as to if and how many bodies may be buried at Barker or Spahn ranches? Tex Watson had always claimed that he knew there were more murders committed. Scary, huh???
R.I.P Sharon Tate and all other victims. Twenty-six years of age was so young to have her life and her baby's life ended.