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Charles Manson

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Charles Manson, the notorious leader of the Manson Family cult who spearheaded a murderous campaign in the late 1960s, lived a tumultuous life from the start.

Charles Manson was born Charles Milles Maddox on November 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio to Kathleen Maddox, a 16-year-old girl who was both an alcoholic and a prostitute. He never knew his biological father.

When Manson was 5 years old, Kathleen was involved in an armed robbery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Charles went to live with his aunt and uncle in West Virginia until his mother was paroled in 1942. By this time, Charles had started getting involved in crime himself.

His mother sent Manson to the Gibault School for Boys in Terre Haute, Indiana. Gibault was a school for juvenile delinquents and was run by Catholic priests. He fled from Gibault twice, the first time returning to his mother who rejected his attempts to live with her and sent him back. Later he fled again, this time to Indianapolis where he rented a room and supported himself by burglarizing stores at night. Eventually he was caught and sent to another juvenile delinquent school in Omaha Nebraska, where he and another inmate stole a vehicle and drove to Illinois. After being caught by the police for more robberies, the courts sent him to the Indiana Boys School, another school for juvenile delinquents. He would eventually escape in 1951.

As a teenager in 1951, Manson began spending time in prison. He spent half of the first 32 years of his life behind bars.

Following his release from prison in 1967, Manson moved to San Francisco. It was in San Francisco where he attracted a small group of followers from the city’s bohemian youth culture. This was the beginning of The Manson Family cult.

“The Family” shared his passion for an unconventional lifestyle and habitual use of psychedelic drugs. The Manson Family gradually moved to a deserted, run down ranch called Spahn Ranch in Los Angeles.

In 1969, members of Manson’s cult carried out several murders on his orders. The most famous victim was actress Sharon Tate, wife of film director Roman Polanski, who was killed in her Los Angeles home along with three guests.

The ensuing trial of Manson and his followers in 1970 attracted national attention. Manson was sentenced to death in 1971, but, following the abolition of capital punishment in California in 1972, his sentence was changed to life in prison. He became eligible for parole in 1978 but was denied. He died in 2017.

Arguably the most famous criminal in American history, Manson sparked the interest of the public for years and even received letters from people all around the country throughout his prison sentence.

Jake Query, sports broadcaster and radio personality from 107.5 The Fan, joined the Kendall & Casey Show today to talk about how he once exchanged letters with the notorious cult leader. Query became fascinated with Manson and the countercultural movement of the 1960s while he was in college and read that Manson received more mail than anyone in the penitentiary system. He eventually became aware of Charles Manson’s connection to Indianapolis and decided to reach out to him with one question. Manson wrote back, giving a response that would provide insight into the infamous criminals’ past.

You can listen to the full interview here: