BAKERSFIELD—Criminal and former cult leader, Charles Manson, died on Sunday, November 19. He was 83.
Manson, who had been imprisoned in the Protective Housing Unit of California State Prison, Corcoran since 1989, was taken to a local hospital in Bakersfield Sunday where he died at 8:13 p.m., according to a press release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The reason for death was listed as “natural causes.”
Manson was imprisoned in various facilities across California since 1971, when he was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder for the 1969 deaths of seven people, including actress Sharon Tate. Tate, who was married to director Roman Polanski, was murdered at her Beverly Hills home, while eight months pregnant. Manson and his followers wrote the word “PIG” in Tate’s blood on a door to the residence.
Manson acted as the head figure of a commune cult, known as the Manson Family in the late 60s. He directed members of his cult (often young, disenchanted women) to commit murders that, he believed, would trigger an apocalyptic race war he referred to as “Helter Skelter,” from the popular Beatles song.
During the later months of his life, Manson suffered from multiple health issues. In January 2017, he was brought to Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield after showing signs of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Manson was originally sentenced to death, but had his sentence commuted to several life sentences without the possibility of parole after California removed the death penalty statute in 1972. Though sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, the neutralization of the death penalty in California came with the provision allowing anyone sentenced to death in the state to be able to access habeas corpus, allowing Manson to petition for parole. His applications were rejected by parole boards a dozen times, citing Manson’s mental health issues and history of manipulative behavior.