Man Accused of Smuggling Cellphone to Charles Manson

By Maria Nikias

Mar 26, 2013 4:42pm
ap craig carlisle hammond nt 130326 wblog Man Accused of Smuggling Cellphone to Charles Manson

                                                                             (Image Credit: Kings County Sheriff Dept.)

A California man has been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle a cellphone to jailed cult leader Charles Manson at Corcoran State Prison.

Craig Carlisle Hammond, 63, was arrested Sunday on charges of unauthorized communication with a prisoner, bringing a cellphone into a prison and conspiracy, according to the Kings County Sheriff’s Office. Police could not say whether Hammond is a Manson follower.

“Inmates can make collect calls on the phones provided in our institutions. Those phones are monitored,” Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections, said. “That’s one of the dangers of the contraband cellphones.”

Thornton said the cellphone was confiscated during visitor processing. Hours after being arrested, Hammond was released on $30,000 bail and his next court appearance is scheduled for April 25, when he will enter a plea, officials said.

He could not be reached for comment.

Manson, 78, has been serving a life sentence for seven murders in the 1969 “Helter Skelter” killing spree in Los Angeles. Over the years, he has reportedly been caught in possession of a weapon, threatened a peace officer and been caught with contraband cellphones.

“Communication between convicted felons and the outside world can be very dangerous,” Thornton added.  ”There’s ample evidence that inmates have used contraband cellphones to coordinate escapes, drug trafficking, intimidating witnesses, ordering hits and other criminal behavior.”

Manson was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death but the sentence was modified in 1977 to “life in prison with the possibility of parole, after a 1972 ruling by the California Supreme Court that determined the state’s death penalty statute at the time was unconstitutional,” according to the California Department of Corrections.

He has been denied parole a dozen times.

ABC News’ Christina Ng contributed to this report.

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