Heart of Darkness: A Charles Manson Timeline

In March 1967, Charles Manson, a 32-year-old criminal with a long history, was paroled from McNeil Island prison in Washington state after serving 7 years for transporting women across state lines for the purpose of forging checks and engaging in prostitution. Throughout his life, he has already spent most of his time in jail, probation, and custody reform, and has been divorced twice. He is the father of two abandoned sons and has been an amateur guitarist, car thief, pimp, and student of Scientology.

In April 1967, Manson meets Mary Brunner, a librarian at Berkeley, the first member of his “Family” recruits. He moves in with her.

He works as a minister, but he gets in trouble when he is caught by the police with an underage girl. She runs away with Charlie. When Anne Ruth meets Dean, her father, he brings him over for dinner and picks up hitchhiking. He brings him back to Mary’s place and later picks up 18-year-old Lynette Fromme, also known as “Squeaky,” in Venice Beach in May 1967.

Mary, who is pregnant, meets Manson in the Haight-Ashbury district while he’s playing his guitar. Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, two troubled 19-year-old girls, follow along with more troubled young girls: Summer of 1967.

Susan, who is pregnant, becomes the star of the show. Charlie, a talented musician, successfully secures a three-hour audition with a renowned record company. Charlie and Topanga explore the streets of L.A., Searching for food in dumpsters. In order to attract talented females, Charlie offers them opportunities to make connections in the music industry. In the fall of 1967, Charlie packs the ladies into his VW minibus and moves to L.A.

Melcher Terry, a producer who enjoys meeting scenesters in L.A., Encounters Dennis and Charlie as they pick up girls while hitch-hiking on Sunset Strip. The Boys of Beach Boys, Dennis and Wilson, meet a couple of girls. In a strange twist of events, the hero of A Stranger in a Strange Land, Charlie, names his babies after the Valentine baby. Mary, the first to give birth in the family, welcomes her babies in March 1968.

In Summer 1968, the family, consisting of a couple of dozen members, relocates to Spahn Ranch, a movie set that belongs to the elderly George Spahn. Fromme’s sexual encounters with Spahn earn her the nickname. Meanwhile, Charlie continues to engage in studio sessions, aiming to secure a record deal with the Beach Boys’ label, despite Brian Wilson’s apparent lack of enthusiasm.

In September 1968, the Beach Boys released their next album, titled “20/20,” which includes a revised and retitled version of Dennis Manson’s song “Love, To Exist,” now called “Love to Not Learn Never.” This song comes out in December as the B-side to “Bluebirds over the Mountain,” which charts at number sixty-one.

Sharon Tate, one of the recent inhabitants, hosts a gathering during which Manson, without knowledge that Melcher has already relocated, visits Melcher’s residence on Cielo Drive, enraged by Terry Melcher’s inability to fulfill a music deal in March 1969.

On July 1, 1969, Bernard Watson, a black drug dealer named Manson, arranges a meeting at Crowe’s apartment, where he demands money from Crowe. When Crowe refuses to give him the money, Manson shoots him in the chest and takes the money. In order to get back at Manson, Watson sets fire to 25 kilos of pot, and then hustles to sell the remaining kilos for $2500.

On the wall of Hinman’s blood-stained room, Atkins writes “PIGGY POLITICAL” after Beausoleil shoots him dead. Beausoleil cuts off Hinman’s ear and Manson’s accomplices, Davis Bruce and Brunner, go to Hinman’s home with a knife and a handgun. They burn Hinman’s home for a few thousand dollars, involving Gary Hinman and a few members of the biker gang called Satans Straight. In another drug deal gone bad, Beausoleil, a friend of Charlie’s, gets burned on July 25th.

Beausoleil was booked for Hinman’s murder. When the police caught him on the highway, they also found a bloody knife hidden in his tire. After the police found Hinman’s body, Beausoleil tried to make his getaway in the dead man’s car — on August 6th.

On August 9th, the brutal Tate killings took place at Cielo Drive.

August 10: The Waverly Drive LaBianca killings.

The LAPD continues to investigate the unrelated killings of Waverly and Cielo. Charges were dropped against the couple in the later days. On August 16th, the police raided the ranch in search of stolen dune buggies.

On August 25th, Shorty Shea, the foreman of Spahn Ranch, is brutally killed.

27 individuals were apprehended for the crime of car theft, with the police returning to Ranch Spahn on the 12th and 10th of October. The individual known as Charles M. Manson, also referred to as Jesus Christ and God, is the person whose name has been recorded in the booking.

Atkins brags to other inmates about the murders, who then report her, offering the initial significant lead in the investigation, in November. Danny DeCarlo, a member of the Straight Satans, cooperates with the police. Vincent Bugliosi, a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles, assumes the role of prosecutor. Watson gives himself up to the sheriff in his hometown of Texas, who is also his cousin. He remains in Texas for nearly a year.

On December 4th, Susan Atkins agrees to cooperate and makes a deal with prosecutors. Her attorney negotiates a lucrative contract book following the grand jury testimony.

Journalists have consistently employed the Altamont catastrophe as convenient metaphors for the demise of the Sixties era, precisely when the Atkins story begins to gain attention on December 6th.

Life magazine introduces the official version of the Manson and Helter Skelter story, presenting the prosecution’s account of the murders. Giving him his first nationwide notoriety, Life magazine covers Manson’s story just in time for Christmas, on the December 19th issue.

In July, the trial began with Manson, Krenwinkel, Van Houten, and Atkins acting together in court, creating a media circus. Manson announced, “I have Xed myself from the world,” as he carved an X onto his forehead, proclaiming that no man or lawyer would speak for him. Three girls carve Xs on their own foreheads.

Manson Found Guilty, Nixon Proclaims: “Nixon Acknowledges Guilt,” states Manson. The following day, Manson proudly displays his own placard, bearing the words: “Nixon is At Fault.” Prosecutors strive to prevent the jury from discovering this information in order to avoid a mistrial, but during the trial, Manson reveals a newspaper headline from the Los Angeles Times that reads: “Manson Pronounced Guilty, Nixon Proclaims.” On August 3rd, President Nixon, delivering a speech in Denver, mentions Manson, expressing his frustration with the liberal media for attempting to “glamorize” Manson and other criminals. Nixon asserts, “This is an individual who, either directly or indirectly, is responsible for eight senseless murders.”

Is Charles Manson tying the knot?

On August 13th, Linda Kasabian is given immunity in exchange for her testimony.

After a thorough evaluation lasting ten days, the jury delivers a guilty verdict on all charges against the four defendants on January 25, 1971.

April 19: The accused individuals receive the capital punishment, which is subsequently reduced to a life sentence in jail.

Watson ultimately converts to Christianity and becomes a minister. Despite being convicted, he asserts his innocence based on the grounds of mental instability. In August 1971, two years following the killings, Watson is ultimately brought to trial.

Bugliosi and Manson both achieve enduring celebrity status, delivering the ultimate true-crime novel, which unravels the mystery of the Beatles-obsessed hippie murder cult, presented by Vincent Bugliosi as a gruesome pulp fiction masterpiece featuring the valiant detective, aided by co-author Curt Gentry, establishing himself as a bestselling writer with his book Helter Skelter in November 1974.