Charles Manson Reign of Terror: 40 Years Later

The Manson women arrived in court. They tried to take the blame for the crimes so their leader could go free.

Van Houton's attorney, Ronald Hughes, refused to go along with the women's plan and disappeared during the trial, his badly decomposed body found the next year. It was never determined how he died and whether he had been murdered.

After his conviction in the Tate- LaBianca murders, Manson declared in a statement that he was what society made him.

"Whatever the outcome of this madness that you call a fair trial or Christian justice, you can know this," he said. "In my mind's eye my thoughts light fires in your cities."

Bugliosi said he ended up having several conversations with Manson during the trial, an unorthodox move for a prosecutor. He said Manson told him after the trial that the only thing Bugliosi had succeeded in doing was sending him home, where he wanted to be all along -- prison.

Manson was found guilty of Hinman's death in a separate trial.

The Manson family slowly disappeared from the public eye in the following years, save for Fromme's attempted assassination of President Ford in 1975. Another Manson woman, Sandra Good, remained loyal for decades, even keeping up a Web site devoted to Manson family values as late as 2001.

The Tate-Polanski home at 10050 Cielo Drive has since been demolished, according to, yet real estate agents have declined to list the house that replaced it in their books.

Since all the death sentences were commuted to life in prison in 1972, every member of the Manson family convicted in the Tate and LaBianca murders has been up for parole several times in the last four decades, and all have been denied.

"I wasn't disappointed that they didn't die. I was disappointed in the system," Sheely said. "If I would have known that was going to happen, I wanted the three months [penalty phase deliberations] of my life back."

In a 1992 parole hearing, Manson, repeatedly calling various women "broads," denied having anything to do with the killings.

"Everyone says that I was the leader of those people, but I was actually the follower of the children because, like I never grew up," he said. "I've been in jail most of this time, so I stayed in the minds of the children."

When asked if he took responsibility, Manson admitted he may have unknowingly influenced some people.

"And a lot of things that I said and did affected a lot of people in a lot of different directions," he said, according to transcripts. "It wasn't intentional and it definitely wasn't with malice or aforethought."

But a question about possible remorse kicked off a rambling tirade that included his disdain for the people questioning him, stating "there would not be enough [tears] to express the remorse that I have for the sadness of that world that you people live in."

Susan Atkins, now 61, has made headlines in recent weeks in advance of her September parole hearing. Her husband has publicly begged for his wife to be released from prison, saying she has terminal brain cancer and can't even sit up on her own.

"Squeaky" Fromme, who supported the Family and its mission but did not participate in the murders, is due to be released from federal prison next week.

As for the rest of the Manson clan, Krenwinkel is up for parole this November, Van Houten in 2010 and Watson in 2011.

Manson, who has been denied parole 11 times, next goes before the parole board in 2012.

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