Charles Manson 'family' struggling to get out of prison as cult leader dies

Charles Manson is dead after decades in prison, but the “family” he gathered around himself to commit brutal murders are a reminder of their crimes.

The cult leader died Sunday night of natural causes at 83, and the cadre of followers imprisoned for the 1969 California killings that made him infamous are likely hopeful that his passing could improve their chances of being released.

Only one person involved in the back-to-back attacks at the homes of Sharon Tate and the LaBianca family, designed to create a “helter skelter” race war, has been paroled, while the others have seen dozens of applications for release getting rejected.

RELATED: Sharon Tate, Charles Manson family murders

11 PHOTOS
Sharon Tate, Charles Manson family murders
See Gallery
Sharon Tate, Charles Manson family murders
American actress Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969), circa 1968. The wife of film director Roman Polanski, Tate was murdered by followers of Charles Manson on 8th August 1969. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Sharon Tate (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Headshot of Sharon Tate (1943-1969), US actress, circa 1965. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Sharon Tate (1943-1969), US actress, wearing metallic disc sleeveless top, with a scoop neckline, in an exterior portrait, circa 1965. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actor Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969), wearing a nightgown, faces herself in a mirror while pouring prescription pills into the palm of her hand in a still from the film, 'Valley of the Dolls,' directed by Mark Robson, 1967. (Photo by 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1967: Photo of Sharon Tate Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
A contact sheet of portraits of American actress Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969), circa 1968. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: The American Actress Sharon Tate, Wife Of The French Film Director Roman Polanski, In 1969. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Pregnant film star Sharon Tate in the back of a taxi in London with baby's booties on her hands, 6th August 1969. This picture was taken three days before she was murdered.(Photo by Terry O'Neill/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Sharon Tate Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Patricia Krenwinkel: Krenwinkel, now 69, was convicted of all seven counts of murder in the Tate-LaBianca attacks, and has become California’s longest-serving female inmate.

She admitted to stabbing one victim dozens of times and using blood to smear the words “death to pigs” on the wall during the killings, when she was 21.

Krenwinkel now lives at a women’s prison in Corona, Calif., and was denied parole for a 13th time this summer.

Her recent efforts to get out of prison have focused on the idea that she was suffering from intimate partner battery at the hands of Manson, who often preyed on young women as he recruited for his cult.

Krenwinkel claimed that she was not trying to paint herself as a victim, but a state decision that abuse led to her committing the crime could weigh in favor of her release.

Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate, has repeatedly spoken out against parole for her loved one’s killers. It is not immediately clear if Manson’s death will make parole more likely, and a lawyer for Krenwinkel could not immediately be reached for comment early Monday.

Leslie Van Houten:Van Houten, now 68, was also a young woman at the time of the crimes, and has joined Krenwinkel in making repeated failed attempts at parole.

She was not present at the murders of Tate and her friends, but joined Manson himself when he took followers to the LaBianca home one night later.

Van Houten was convicted of repeatedly stabbing Rosemary LaBianca, who she held down as her husband was attacked.

RELATED: Charles Manson and the Manson family cult

34 PHOTOS
Charles Manson and the Manson family cult
See Gallery
Charles Manson and the Manson family cult

Photo of Charles Manson

(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Bruce Davis is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. California Governor Jerry Brown denied parole on March 1, 2013, for a member of the Manson Family cult who was sentenced to life in prison for two murders in the 1970s, saying that he remained a danger to the public. In rejecting parole for Davis, who is now 70, Brown reversed the decision of a state parole board that had found him eligible for release after his 27th parole hearing last October.

(REUTERS/California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation/Handout)

Charles Manson is escorted to court for preliminary hearing on December 3, 1969 in Los Angeles, California.

(Photo by John Malmin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Here's Charles Manson and his 26-year old girlfriend, who he just got a license to marry: http://t.co/tmLhvgqnlO http://t.co/NU9UuBNz2a

In this handout photo from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Charles Manson, 74, poses for a photo on March 18, 2009 at Corcoran State Prison, California. Manson is serving a life sentence for conspiring to murder seven people during the 'Manson family' killings in 1969. The picture was taken as a regular update of the prison's files.

(California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images)

The three female defendants in the Tate/LaBianca murder trial leave the Los Angeles courtroom after being convicted of first degree murder, 25th January 1971. From left to right, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten were found guilty of the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six other people, in collaboration with Charles Manson. (Photo by Bride Lane Library/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Charles Manson who led a cult that committed murders in Los Angeles in the sixties is clean shaven in closeup photo.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Charles Manson talks during an interview August 25, 1989.

(STR New/Reuters)

The three female members of Charles Manson's 'family' ham it up for photographers through the window of the sheriff's van as they arrive at the courthouse to continue the murder trial in the Tate-LaBianca case. Patricia Krenwinkle (left) makes a face as Leslie Van Houten and Susan Atkins (right) smile. August 5, 1970.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Charles Manson clowns around as he is led to his cell upon the conclusion of his exclusive interview with Reuters August 25, 1989.

(STR New/Reuters)

Steve Grogan (left) and Bruce Davis (right), defendants in the murder of movie stunt man, Donald (Shorty) Shea are taken into court December 23. Davis, along with Charles Manson (not present) was accused of both the Gary Hinman and Shea murders, while Grogan was a defendant in the Shea case only. Grogan was later paroled, the only member of the 'Manson Family' to be paroled from a murder conviction.

Pittsburg Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht, MD, JD. is seen in this photo taken January 22, 1998. Dr. Wecht is a nationally-known forensic pathologist who is often consulted on high-profile murder cases such as the John F. Kennedy assassination, O.J. Simpson case, Jon Benet Ramsey and the Helter Skelter murders of Charles Manson. The first non-governmental forensic pathologist to be granted access to autopsy materials in the 1963 Kennedy assassination, he said there was not enough information to challenge the Warren Commission's conclusion that a lone gunman killed the president and that investigators failed to find all those responsible for the killing.

(STR New / Reuters)

Charles Manson is led to court on March 29, 1971.

(Photo by Rick Browne/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Leslie Louis Van Houghten, (yellow dress), is taken by policewomen to a jail cell in the Hall of Justice, after she and two other girls waive arraignment on murder charges in connection with the Tate-LaBianca slayings. The three allegedly were members of a hippie cult led by Charles Manson.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Charles Manson on his way to court in 1970.

(Photo by Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Leslie Van Houten listens during her parole hearing in Corona, California, June 28, 2002. Los Angeles' top prosecutor on June 28, 2016, urged California Governor Jerry Brown to keep former Charles Manson follower Van Houten behind bars, despite the recommendation of a parole board that she be released.

(REUTERS/DamianDovarganes/POOL)

Charles Manson prior to his appearance in Dept. 106 on March 6, 1970 in Los Angeles, California.

(Photo by Frank Q. Brown/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

One of many historic photos that is part of L.A.'s longest mural, depicting 150 years of history in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Building a.k.a. the Criminal Courts Building, Wednesday afternoon in downtown L.A. The mural covers 2,300 square feet, 18 walls, two floors and has 625 images. This is a photo of Charles Manson as he's escorted back to his cell after his arraignment.

(Photo by Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

A trio of suspects in the Sharon Tate murder case sing as they march to court for a hearing. Left to right: Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten march abreast along a corridor toward the courtroom where Judge William Keene set April 20th as the date for their trial with fellow suspect, Charles Manson.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Charles 'Tex' Watson. Watson was convicted of murder for his part in the killings of Sharon Tate and others while a member of the 'Manson Family'

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Three days before he ran away from Boy's Town, Charles Manson poses in a suit and tie.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

(Original Caption) Bruce Davis, the Manson Family 'X' carved in his forehead, walks with his attorney Daye Shinn (right) after he surrendered himself to authorities outside the Hall of Justice. Davis is under indictment by the Grand Jury for the 1969 murder of Gary Hinman.

A TV picture of American musician, cult leader and murderer Charles Manson, September 1975. The image was broadcast around the time that Manson acolyte Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme was arrested after an attempt to kill US President Gerald Ford.

(Ernst Haas/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Charles Manson as an adolescent. He would later become infamous for attempted to foment social chaos by murdering prominent celebrities.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Accused murderer being led to and from court house in Inyo County, California. He is Charles Miller Manson, aged 34 years. 

(Photo by Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Accused murderer being led to and from court house in Inyo County, California. He is Charles Miller Manson, aged 34 years.

(Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Charles Manson sits in the courtroom during his murder trial in 1970 in Los Angeles, California.

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

American actress Sharon Tate, on her wedding day to film director Roman Polanski. She was murdered by Charles Manson in California, 1969.

(Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Charles Manson, accused leader of a hippie cult charged with the Tate-LaBianca murders, is heavily guarded as he leaves the Hall of Justice following arraignment December 11th. He is shown being taken to a police van for removal to a jail cell and peering through the barred windows of the police van. Bearded, short of stature, he is wearing a fringed buckskin outfit.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Polish film director Roman Polanski with his wife actress Sharon Tate in London. Sharon Tate was murdered in 1969 by Charles Manson and his followers.

(Photo by Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images)

Charles Manson, convicted hippie leader, is sullen as he is led back into the courtroom to hear the penalty he and this three female followers must pay for the Tate-LaBianca murders of August 1969. Manson and his followers, Denise Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten were decreed the gas chamber by the jury following a nine month trial.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

A portrait of American criminal Charles Manson. 1970s

(Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Susan Atkins testified before the Los Angeles Grand Jury in December 1969, which indicted five individuals, including Atkins, and Charles Manson for the Tate-LaBianca killings.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

She has been recommended twice for release by parole boards, each time igniting debate about the appropriate punishment for the grisly killings — whether she would still be in prison if not for the infamy of her crime and how to do justice for the victims’ families.

California Gov. Jerry Brown rejected the first possibility of parole last year, and is currently weighing whether to oppose, approve or take no action in a recommendation for release from this September.

Charles “Tex” Watson: Watson, 23 at the time of the murders and now 71, was known as Manson’s right hand during his string of violence.

With Manson absent from the murders of five people at the Tate home, those involved followed the instructions of Watson, who also stabbed the victims.

The native Texan fled back to his home state after the crimes, and was tried separately from the cult leader and his young women followers after being extradited back to California.

He has since started his own Christian ministry from Mule Creek State Prison and has fathered four children during conjugal visits from his now ex-wife.

RELATED: Charles Manson in recent years

7 PHOTOS
Charles Manson in recent years
See Gallery
Charles Manson in recent years
Charles Manson, the cult leader who sent followers known as the "Manson Family" out to commit gruesome murders, currently being held at California State Prison, Corcoran, California, U.S. is seen in this August 2017 photo released on November 16, 2017. Courtesy California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
File Photo: Convicted mass murderer Charles Manson is shown in this handout picture from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation dated June 16, 2011 and released to Reuters April 8, 2012. REUTERS/CDCR/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
CORCORAN STATE PRISON - MARCH 18: In this handout photo from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Charles Manson, 74, poses for a photo on March 18, 2009 at Corcoran State Prison, California. Manson is serving a life sentence for conspiring to murder seven people during the 'Manson family' killings in 1969. The picture was taken as a regular update of the prison's files. (Photo by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images)
Charles Manson reads a statement at his parole hearing in San Quentin. He was turned down for parole for the 6th time.
The Corcoran State Prison compound is seen in central California, where the 12th parole hearing for convicted mass murderer Charles Manson will take place, April 11, 2012. Aging mass murderer Manson, one of America's most notorious convicts, was scheduled for his latest parole review on Wednesday, where he has been serving a life prison term since the 1970s. Manson, 77, has been denied release on parole 11 times before, most recently in 2007. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
A car enters the Corcoran State Prison compound in central California, where the 12th parole hearing for convicted mass murderer Charles Manson will take place, April 11, 2012. Aging mass murderer Manson, one of America's most notorious convicts, was scheduled for his latest parole review on Wednesday, where he has been serving a life prison term since the 1970s. Manson, 77, has been denied release on parole 11 times before, most recently in 2007. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Watson has been denied parole 17 times, and also made headlines last year for reportedly sending a letter to Wikipedia editors demanding changes to his page.

Susan Atkins: Atkins was the third young woman convicted in the Tate-LaBianca killings.

Like Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Watson she originally sentenced to death, but later received life in prison and died there of brain cancer in 2009.

Steve Grogan:Grogan, 17 at the time of the killings, is the only Manson family member to have been paroled after serving time for them.

He was at the scene of the LaBianca home as others inside tied up the family and stabbed them, but remained in the car and did not actively participate.

Grogan was sentenced to death and then life imprisonment for the death of Donald Shea, a stuntman killed at the Spahn Ranch home that the Manson “family” called home.

He was paroled in the 1980s after agreeing to show authorities where the body was buried, and has remained out of the public eye since.

Linda Kasabian: Kasabian, 20 at the time of the killings, served as a lookout, but ultimately led to the convictions of Manson and others by giving testimony to prosecutors.

She received immunity for her turn as a star witness, and said in 2009 that she thinks about her role in the killings “every day.”

Kasabian told Larry King that she was abandoned by her husband before joining up with the “charismatic” Manson, and fled the family in the days after the murders after he told her to kill what would have been another victim.

While not involved in the Tate-LaBianca murders, others at the fringes of the Manson family have also found themselves imprisoned for other crimes.

Lynnette “Squeaky” Fromme, 69, was a member of the group who went on to make a failed assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford in 1975, serving 34 years before her release on parole in 2009.

Bobby Beausoleil, 70, was arrested shortly before the Tate-LaBianca murders for the torture and stabbing death of Gary Hinman, a friend of the Manson group. He was denied parole for an 18th time last year.

Bruce Davis, 75, was also convicted in the Hinman killing as well as the Shea killing. Parole boards have recommended his release five times, though they have all been rejected by the California governor’s office, most recently by Brown this summer.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.