Charles Manson and the Manson Family
“Jails, courtrooms and prisons had been my life since I was twelve years old.” (Emmons and Manson, 21) These are the words of Charles Milles Manson, a convicted serial killer who has never actually murdered a single person in his life. Manson was born “no name Maddox” on November 12, 1934, and has in fact been in prison for more than half of his life. (28) It was 1967, after Manson had just been released from the Federal Penitentiary at Terminal Island, San Pedro, when the “Manson Family” had begun to form. (85) In just two years the family would not only grow to a surprisingly large number, but become nationally known for the brutal murders of Sharon Tate, Voytek Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Steven Parent, Gary Hinman, Leno LaBianca, and Rosemary LaBianca. (Bugliosi and Gentry, 558) Although many people know of the “Manson Family”, few are aware of the lives the family members led before 1967; these are their stories.
Mary Theresa Brunner is usually considered to be the first member of the Manson "Family." She was born on December 17, 1943, to parents John and Evelyn Brunner in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Shortly after graduating from the University of Wisconsin she moved to California to accept a librarian position at UC Berkeley. It was there, while walking her poodle in the spring of 1967, that she met a man who had only weeks before walked out of a federal penitentiary. (Brunner)
Perhaps the most well known of the "Manson girls" is Lynette Alice Fromme. She was born on October 22, 1948 in Santa Monica, California. Her mother, Helen Benzinger Fromme, was a homemaker and her father, William Millar Fromme, was an aeronautical engineer. Her father was known to be cold and intimidating; his treatment of his growing daughter was very harsh. Upon moving to the LA suburb of Redondo Beach in 1963, Lyn's grades began to suffer and she started drinking and abusing drugs. After barely graduating in 1966 she moved out of her parents' home and was supporting herself. After only a few months her newfound freedom ended at her father's insistence. She enrolled at El Camino Junior College and had only been there for a couple of months when a final argument with her father left her out on the streets with no place to go. She went to her boyfriend’s only to discover that he was not home, so she decided to head up to Venice Beach. Once she got there, she sat down on a bench by the beach and began crying. Almost immediately, a small, somewhat grubby man approached her; his name was Charles Manson. (Fromme)
Patricia Diane Krenwinkel was born on December 3, 1947 to an insurance salesman father and a homemaker mother. At one point in her life she was very overweight, and overcame this problem only after getting hooked on diet pills supplied by her junkie sister. Even after she lost the weight young Patricia still felt very ugly and unloved. This was partly due to an endocrine problem that caused an excess...