It has been nearly 50 years since the Manson Family cult brutally murdered actress Sharon Tate and four of her friends at her Los Angeles home in 1969. Charles Manson, leader of the group, has since become one of the most thoroughly-studied figures in modern history.
Now that he’s dead and gone, there’s been renewed interest in his case. One look at the actual 1970 trial reveals more “WTF” moments than you can probably guess.
Good thing we put them all together for you here. Let’s jump in!
1. Repeat Offenders
The August 9th killings of the young starlet and her friends was far from the Manson Family’s final offense. Less than 24 hours after the heinous massacre occurred, members of the cult (accompanied by Manson himself) set out to kill Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, a wealthy married couple living in the area.
2. Trust The Process
After months of struggling to connect the dots between the crimes, officers were finally able to bring various members of the Manson Family cult in on unrelated charges. It was in their testimony that the pieces began falling into place, ultimately leading to a grueling nine-month-long trial and a smattering of guilty sentences.
3. The Prosecution Speaks Out
Vincent Bugliosi, the intensely effective prosecutor behind the Manson Family trials, has finally come forward with his side of the story. His captivating book detailing the cult’s crimes and the trials which followed rocketed to the top of the charts, ultimately becoming the number-one best selling true crime novel of all time.
4. The White Album
Readers don’t even have to open the book for some bizarre trivia from the case – the title, Helter Skelter, provides an example in itself. According to Bugliosi, Manson used the famous Beatles song title to refer to a race war which he believed he could incite by killing white celebrities and blaming black activist groups.