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Aging Charles Manson captured in prison photo


California corrections officials released a photograph taken today of aging convicted mass murderer Charles Manson, replete with receding hairline, fading forehead Swastika carving and a thick, heavily graying beard.

The photograph of the 74-year-old cult leader was taken at Corcoran State Prison, where he is serving a life sentence and is part of periodic updates of inmate images by prison officials, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

This August marks the 40th anniversary of the Manson killings, which stunned the nation and effectively marked the end of the counter-culture, "flower power" era of the 1960s.

Manson and other members of his so-called family were convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate and six other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area during two August nights in 1969. Prosecutors said that Manson and his followers were trying to incite a race war that he believed was prophesied in the Beatles' song "Helter Skelter."

Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was 8 1/2 months' pregnant when she was killed at her hilltop home in Benedict Canyon on Aug. 9, 1969. Besides Tate, four others were stabbed and shot to death including Jay Sebring, 35; Voytek Frykowski, 32; Abigail Folger, 25, a coffee heiress; and Steven Parent, 18, a friend of Tate's caretaker.  The word "Pig" was written on the front door in blood.

The next night, Manson rode along with his so-called family members to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, then left three of them to commit the murders. "Death to pigs" was written on a wall, and "Healter Skelter," which was misspelled, on the refrigerator door.

Manson was also convicted of the earlier murder of musician Gary Hinman in his Topanga Canyon home, and the slaying of former stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea at the Spahn movie ranch in Chatsworth, where Manson had his commune.

Manson initially was sentenced to death. A 1972 ruling by the California Supreme Court found the state's death penalty law at the time unconstitutional and his death sentence was changed in 1977 to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

The septuagenarian has made 11 failed bids for parole since 1978, the last in 2007 when he was ordered to continue serving life sentences. Manson's next parole hearing is scheduled for 2012.

--Andrew Blankstein

Photos: Charles Manson in a 1968 booking photo, left, and a photo taken today at Corcoran State Prison. Credits: Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Comments () | Archives (77)

What a waste of taxpayer revenue. Satan should have been executed in the same manner as the lives he took. And we wonder why the State of California is broke.

I think the article should have read "Sharon Tate's son would be turning 40 this year if members of the Manson Family hadn't brutally taken life from him before he had a chance to even breathe his first breath". Should also have listed the ages of every person that this monster ordered killed rather than post the criminal's age - sympathy should always be reserved for the victims rather than having journalism slant a piece towards a 'poor old man' rotting in prison. I hope every day is painful and he has sleepless nights for the remainder of his days on earth. Never, never let him out of prison, don't even give him medical treatment if he becomes ill!
Should have been put to death as originally ordered based on the laws at the time, when the death penalty was reinstated then the sentences should have been carried out properly.
Thankfully the Doris Tate Foundation continues to fight for the rights of victims, keeps pressure on parole boards to protect us all. Sharon's mother was a force, her sister Patti was a brilliant beauty and now we are fortunate to have Debra maintain a strength and keep the focus. Manson killed more than people, he is responsible for the destruction of families, futures and legacies unfilled.
Stop giving him tags like "septuagenarian", "aging", "fading forehead swastika carving", "receding" and "heavily graying"! No amount of psycholinguistics can reduce the level of depravity he represents or lessen that he is still a murdering brain washing maniac.

I don't believe in executions, but do think the prison could have put a big hood in the ceiling and let him keep his belt. It'd be Manson's choice when he leaves prison.

Gotta keep him around for posterity's sake. Have you heard the audio of his parole hearings? Crazy comedy gold.

Deb -

Your anger is understandable, but the fact of the matter is that Charlie is now in his 70s. At some point - fairly soon, I'm sure - he's going to have to answer to a much higher power than the State of California for the things he's done. His time is running out.

Response to poster Deb: Execution is costlier. This is a well known fact. (due to cost of mandatory appeals). If they wanted to save money they would do away with the death penalty - a barbaric ritual that most civilized countries have done away with. The cost of a mistake is forever. If you were wrongly convicted would you want the death penalty on the table? The State is broke because of ignorance and mismanagement at many levels.

It actually costs far more money to execute someone than to keep them in prison for life. But that wouldn't satisfy your bloodlust, I know.

More evidence that, yes, tattoos really do look stupid when you get old.

Congratulations. Your parole in this year of 2012 has been approved. Oh, BTW the world as we know it ends in 2 days. Happy job hunting.

Looks a little like Saddam Hussein....

wow his parol is up again in 2012, more proof the world will end that year, if he ends up getting out

Not to make excuses for this man, but he was not born a crazed sociopath, he was turned into one. I would imagine most of the posters here would not be too different had they been repeatedly sold by their mother for sex to men at age 12, then abandoned. Mr Manson was molded into a monster long before Sharon Tate crossed his path.

I've met this man, I've resuscitated this man when burned in prison many many years ago. Under that always camera ready lunatic exterior, there is a man, a man you can actually converse with, a man with wild stories.

Charles Manson should have been released years ago. He never actually killed anybody. People that kill eventually get released in many cases. As a senoir citizen, how much trouble could he possibly get into?

@Feeling That :
Remember, this is liberal California. Sharon Tate's baby was not born, so by liberal standard's it was never "technically alive". Charles Manson merely gave her a 3rd trimester abortion, which Planned Parenthood and Barack Obamanation wants to make legal for all women, no matter if they are 10 or 70 years of age. Remember, until the "blob of tissue" passes successfully through the birth canal with it's body and head intact, it is merely an abortion waiting to happen. Get with the Women's Rights, you neanderthal.

Feeling that: I agree with you. Well done for putting it into a perspective that doesn't casually shrug off the evil this man was reponsible for 40 years ago. Just because he's "old" doesn't mean he is exonerated from his terrible crimes. Confront of Evil needs to be raised in anyone who seeks to lessen this man's crime. He did what he did. He is who he is. He is serving time as decided by a Legal system that passed sentence 40 years ago and hasn't gone "soft" 40 years later. Good.

How disturbing... To look into the eyes of that soul and know a young man's mistakes have cost him his freedom for life. Rightly so, that crime, insanity, lanacy does not pay... but still disturbing.

he helped sell a ton of newspapers???????

Hey Charlie!
I bet when you look back over the last 40 years, you wished you had stayed home, drank a few more beers or smoked another joint or two don'tcha?
One stupid decision created a turn of events that caused a great deal of pain & trouble for a whole lot of folks.
You wanted to be famous? Well, you are everyday when the guards say "lights out".

//Charles Manson should have been released years ago. He never actually killed anybody. People that kill eventually get released in many cases. As a senoir citizen, how much trouble could he possibly get into?//

Actually, Manson personally tied up the LaBiancas in their home before they were murdered on his orders. That's murder by any legal and moral definition. He also helped kill Shorty Shea. And at the very least, he encouraged his followers to kill at the Tate house and "leave someting witchy." He deserves every second he's spent in the slammer.

And, "how much trouble could he possible get into?"

I'm not even going to go there, other than to quote Charlie himself during a jailhouse interview: "If I started murdering people, there'd be none of you left."

I wonder how things might have turned out for Charlie if he instead had attached to OOBLA DEE OOBLADAA. Perhaps he would be running a barrow in the marketplace. It might be filled with heads, however.

I think he looks pretty good for his age. Maybe they have finally found meds that work on him.

I think that Charles Manson should be put to death as soon as possible. In my opinion he should have been already dead. This man is the scubag of the Earth. I don't think he should have a parole date let alone ever get out. He is EVIL.

Mr. Polanski would be 40 years old...Charles Manson, I hate you...

He thought himself a great leader. His legacy is that not only of causing the murdering people he didn't even know, but he helped a bunch of his followers to throw away their lives as well. He is a fool and a nothing and should have been executed long ago.

HEY BOB, you completely contridicted your point and made your above posts point for him. MANSON did say if he started killing people, there'd be none of us left...we're still here...and he never once took a life himself. Coaches don't win games, the players do, military leaders don't win battles, the soldiers do, Manson may have told his family to kill, but the other people did the killing, Not Manson. True genius and I like that he never lied and stayed true to himself his entire life.

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