LOS ANGELES (CBSMiami) – One of the nation’s most notorious criminals is dead. Cult leader Charles Manson died of natural causes at 83 at a Kern County, California hospital Sunday night.
He was imprisoned for nearly 50 years for ordering mass murders that shocked the world.
Before 1969 few people had heard of Manson, then came a two-day rampage in Southern California.
Manson was convicted of ordering the murders of at least seven people. One of them was actress Sharon Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski. She was eight months pregnant at the time.
Manson believed the killings would help bring on an apocalyptic race war which he called “Helter Skelter.”
Manson was born to a 16-year-old mother in Cincinnati. He grew up in a series of foster homes and by the time of the murder he had been in and out of prison for much of his life.
In 1969, CBS’ Charlie Rose interviewed Manson at San Quentin prison where he said he had no regrets.
“In the world I live in I’ve never made a bad move in my life,” said Manson.
“In the world you live in you would not rewrite, you would not change anything. You do not look back and say my God I took a wrong turn there,” asked Rose.
“No, no, no,” replied Manson.
Even when it came to the murders.
“Murder? There’s no murder in a holy war,” said Manson.
“Was Sharon Tate’s murder a holy war,” asked Rose.
“The whole thing is a holy war,” said Manson.
Manson’s cult spoke about a holy war against the rich and powerful. Four of his followers were convicted of the murders. All their death sentences, including Manson’s, were commuted to life in prison.
Manson was up for parole 12 times and always denied. For nearly half a century his name marked the gruesome end of the peace movement which promised love over war.
Manson had three sons with three different women.