tv CNN Special Report CNN August 18, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
>> my world! >> a madman. >> i run with a pack of wolves and i got to be a wolf. >> a master mind of one of the most horrific killing sprees in u.s. history. the following is a cnn special report. a monster -- >> my world! >> a madman. >> i run with a pack of wolves and i got to be a wolf. >> a master mind of one of the most horrific killing sprees in u.s. history. >> what do you think will happen when i get out? >> the savagery that went on that night. it is income pre hencible. >> charles manson transformed a group of young women into vicious killers. >> he was the dictatorial ruler of the family, the king.
>> a man who redefined evil and violently ended seven innocent lives. >> charles manson is one of the worst human beings that ever walked the planet. >> now 45 years after his trial, exclusive interviews with family friends, the prosecutor, the jury, the manson followers. >> he just seemed on fire. >> i'm terrible. i'm a terrible guy. >> face of evil. the charles manson murders. august 9, 1969. it was an unusually hot night when hollywood's prestigious cielo drive. >> it was peaceful and very isolated. it curved around the canyon. >> the secluded home of a jet set celebrity couple. director roman polanski and
actress sharon tate. while polanski was abroad shooting a film, tate was home and very pregnant. >> look at that smile. just the million-dollar smile, you know? >> family friend alyssa. >> her world revolved around that baby. making everything perfect in that home to start a family. >> they were joyful times, tate recorded this message for her father, a military man stationed far from home. >> roman will be here in two weeks. he is doing a film. by the way, roman smokes like you. he smokes cigars, he is very sensitive and stubborn. >> those are amazing recordings. you had the moments in time before the tragedy struck of a happy family, of better times. >> was it what she had always dreamed of? >> she was living the life she wanted. >> a life that would end that august night.
tate went out to dinner with friends in l.a. and his girlfriend, and celebrity hairstylist jay sebring. they all returned to tate's home. >> abigail spoke to her mother about flying out to san francisco for her birthday. wojciech frykowski spoke to a friend at midnight. >> those would be the last calls ever. sometime after midnight, intruders cut the telephone lines to the house. killed one man in the driveway. then ambushed the four people inside. tate begged for the life of her unborn baby. just let me have my unborn baby. then you can kill me any way you want. just let me have my baby. >> they didn't. tate was stabbed 16 times. three time to the heart. they hanged her before they killed her. the others were butchered too.
86 stab wounds in total. >> it is incomprehensible, the savagery that night. >> as the sun rose and the neighborhood came to life, the maid arrived to discover carnage. the police arrived soon after. and so did the press. >> 8:30 this morning -- an employee came to work at 10050 cielo o and found several bodie in the house. >> i got a call. this person said there's something going on up in beverly hills. >> the reporter was on the scene that morning. >> the place was just jammed with newspaper people, television people, all kept away from the house. you couldn't even see the house. it was behind the gate. >> behind the gate, inside the house, the investigative
journalist jeff wynn said there was blood everywhere. >> the murder scene was like something out of a horror movie. >> the word pig was written in blood on the door. the victims were soaking in it. >> abigail folger had been wearing a white night gown. people thought that it must have been red there was so much blood. officers who attended the murder scene had not seen anything like it. and we're talking about los angeles pd veterans. >> but they would see something just as shocking. the following night in the peaceful suburban neighborhood of rosemary and leno labianca. >> bodies of a man and his wife found in the home. >> no one on the outside knew how bad it was on the inside. >> the bodies had been mutilated. they had been stabbed repeatedly. a fork was left in leno's abdomen. someone had carved the word on his stomach. there were words written in blood on the walls and on the refrigerator. >> strange words.
death to pigs. rise and helter skelter were written in blood just as they had been at the tate house the night before. >> they found no evidence of robbery, no suggestion of murder. >> it sent this wave of panic through los angeles and through the hollywood community. if they could get to a movie star, if they could get to a coffee heiress, they could get to anybody. >> i was sitting there watching tv. >> then 17 years old, barbara hoyt remembers the news reports about the murders. she was living on a ranch outside of l.a. with a group of friends. >> they all came in and watched the news. and the first story was on about the sharon tate murders. somebody said something at the time and they all laughed. i didn't see anything in it at all that was funny. >> they lived here this abandoned movie set where a charismatic self-styled guru named charles manson led a group of impressionable young followers.
>> they worshipped charlie like a god. >> in the days after the murders, charlie seemed dangerous and unhinged. >> he was almost in a frantic state, i would say. he was very worried. >> and so was hoyt. she knew something was very wrong. but she didn't know what. and neither did police. it would be months of false leads and missed opportunities for them to unravel the mystery of the seven savage murders. >> in the case of this nature where you have so many people who are dead, and then you try on find out, who did they know? where do you start? >> hunting a monster when we come back.
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friday night in los angeles, a movie actress and four of her friends were murdered. the circumstances were lurid. >> death and fear hung heavy over hollywood in the summer of '69. a 24-hour vicious killing rampage had left seven people dead and their loved ones in shock. >> the lapd called sharon's father. >> family friend alyssa says sharon's father paul didn't believe she was dead.
>> and he basically said there's no identifications here until i've seen her. and he went directly to the crime scene. then he came home and of course, they were all together and there was a very sad night. >> paul tate was forced to return to the bloody crime scene weeks later to perform another tragic duty. >> back then, we didn't have the resources that we have now. you cleaned it up yourself. he got down on his hands and knees and scrubbed the blood off the floor. >> that must have killed him. >> he said that the one thing that brought him to his knees literally in grief was having to scrub his child's blood off the floor. >> the grief-stricken families knew nothing about the strange group living miles away in the desert. nothing about their leader, charles manson, who had grown increasingly menacing.
>> charlie was getting threatening and he was mean. he was beating on some of the girls. it was not fun anymore. >> the free living, free loving life on the ranch had turned dangerous. >> they had armed guards on the ranch at night, like hiding in the hay stacks and other places amongst the buildings and stuff. it was just a lot more intense. >> but police had no idea that manson and his followers were involved in the tate/labianca murders. they were focused instead on the victims they knew. >> in the case of this that where you have so many people dead, who did they know? where do you start? >> with no good leads, rumors filled the newspapers. people blamed the victims. were the killing as drug deal gone bad? a demented sex orgy or even the
husband, roman polanski? >> the saddest part was the victims were killed twice. once by the killers and then again in the press in the months and weeks after. >> polanski rushed back to the states to bury his wife and unborn child. and then to take a lie detector test. he passed. a dazed and angry polanski then faced the press. >> it was a lot of talk about drugs and use of drugs. sharon not only didn't use drugs. she didn't touch alcohol. she didn't smoke cigarettes. >> police were stumped and answers were slow to come. despite the graphic similarities in the two crime scenes, two different investigative teams were assigned. >> they didn't get along. they weren't cooperating. if only they had talked to each other, they could have put everything together. >> if you look back on the two
crime scenes, they're identical. the overkill, the blood writing on the walls. it just made sense they were tied together. >> but miscommunication wasn't the only problem. much of the tate crime scene had been contaminated. >> there was over 100 police officers that tracked through that crime scene. >> they missed clues, missed evidence and missed eyewitnesses. but reporters like mary and others were succeeding where the police were not. >> we found the boy that heard the shots and we could find the time of the murders. >> there were no tracks or anything until we went down the hill to look at it. >> another news crew found the killer's bloody clothes near the tate household and a young boy found the killer's gun. frustrated, sharon tate's father, a former army intelligence officer, launched his own investigation.
staking out his daughter's house. >> one night there were some harleys that drove up. they knew exactly where they were going. they drove right up to the gate and they started climbing the gate. by then owner had guard dogs. the guard dogs came around and that was the only thing that stopped them. and sharon's dad knew they were too cocky, they knew exactly where they were going. something's wrong. so he followed them to spawn's movie ranch. >> right to manson's door step. tate notified the detectives about the suspicious bikers at the ranch but the lapd did nothing. it turns out another police department was already there, watching manson's every move. but they suspected him of auto theft. not murder. >> when the police swooped in a week after the murders, charlie thought, this was it. somehow they have figured it out. and the police couldn't understand when charlie asked what the charges were and they
said car theft. that manson started laughing. but he had a reason to laugh. he was relieved. >> relieved and soon released on a technicality. >> they put the wrong date on the warrant. and they had to actually just release everybody. >> a tragically missed opportunity. it would be months until investigators got their big break. november 1969, one of manson's followers, susan atkins, who was already in jail for another crime, confessed to the murder of sharon tate. >> she couldn't help but brag to some other inmates about a murder she had been involved with. and finally, everything was put together. >> the police returned to the death valley compound and arrested nearly two dozen people but manson seemed to have disappeared. they would find him though the next day. hidden in a small bathroom cabinet at the ranch.
>> when charlie was arrested in death valley, he was booked as charles manson, aka jesus christ because he was telling everybody he was the resurrection of jesus. >> four months after the murders, a ragged band of killers and their strange leader now behind bars. but the mystery of why, stranger still. coming up, inside the mind of a madman. >> charles manson is literally one of the worst human beings that ever walked this planet. ♪"once there was a hushpuppy" by dan romis man kind?eitlin ♪ are we good? go see. go look through their windows so you can understand their views. go find out just how kind the hes and shes of this mankind are.
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san francisco, 1967. free love, free drugs, dream living for hippies escaping the mainstream. but 32-year-old charles manson arrived with much darker ambitions. >> you get these kids, these children coming into haight-ashbury and here is charlie manson saying how much he loves them and wants to take care of them. it was made to order for them and they took full advantage. >> manson was fixed for life.
>> i don't have any particular reality. >> he spoke to cnn from prison in 1987. >> i spent the best part of my life in boy schools, prisons and reform schools because i had nobody. >> manson blamed his mother for his troubled youth. kathleen maddox gave birth to manson in cincinnati, ohio, at the age of 16. and went to prison when charlie was just 5 years old. >> she got out of my life early. and let me scuffle for myself. and then i became my own mother. >> while manson blamed his mother, author jeff winn blames manson. >> charles manson was born evil. little charlie was taken in by loving relatives. the problem was that charlie himself was a rotten little kid from the word "go." >> a rotten kid whose crimes escalated as he got older from
stealing cars to armed robbery. from drug dealing to pimping. >> he sounds like the ultimate conman. >> he is. he has an "a" in conning people. >> the reporter has interviewed him in prison dozens of times. >> he always said he's been in prison all his life. prison is his home. >> and prison is where he became convinced he was a great musical talent. >> charlie manson, listening to the radio in prison, hears the beatles. he starts writing his own songs, performing in his own shows. ♪ >> from then on, it is his dream to become the biggest musical star in history. >> bigger, he said, than the beatles.
and san francisco was the perfect place to start. paroled after seven years in prison, he used his guitar and charisma to lure a flock of vulnerable women. >> i was mesmerized by his mind and the things he professed. >> he picked on the little girls. he said he took them away from their parents because their parents weren't treating them right or abusing them. that's baloney. >> manson transformed himself from a two-bit criminal into a self-styled guru. >> he said he was a scientologist, he said he was in the church of the nazarene. the only religion charlie had is the church of charlie. >> the church of charlie got stranger as the manson family got bigger. leaving san francisco for l.a. to secure the big record deal charlie was sure was coming. the so-called manson family made
a dilapidated movie set called spawn ranch their home. >> george spahn, the old owner, was nearly blind. lynette fromm was assigned to live with george and to fulfill his every whim. and george liked to pinch her a lot. and she would squeal. and george is the one who nicknamed her squeaky. >> everybody was really happy and we would help take care of the horses. garbage runs were a lot of fun. we would hop in the dumpsters behind the stores and we would find all kinds of vegetables. >> barbara hoyt lived on the ranch. >> i had sex with charlie but it wasn't that many time. there were a lot of girls around. there were lsd orgies, and gave persuasive sermons and made sure his success as a musician
the family's top priority. when recording execs weren't interested, charlie got angry. >> he seemed on fire. he was all over the place pacing. >> by 1968, race riots, the black panther movement and riots anti-war movements convinced manson that armageddon was coming. he called it helter skelter after the famous beatles song. ♪ >> everything was preparing for helter skelter. i remember in the desert, when tex was teaching us how to stab people as a murder school. >> a murder school teaching lessons they would need to learn to put charlie's deranged plan in motion. manson believed he could ignite a race war by killing several rich white people and framing the black panthers for the crimes. in august, 1969, he ordered several members of the family into action. barbara hoyt was not one of
them. but days later, she would make a horrifying discovery. >> i overheard sadie describing the murders of the women. sharon tate was the last to die, she had to watch the others die first. >> terrified, hoyt fled. >> we made it out and we hid out in the desert. >> hoyt soon had a big decision to make. would she go to the police and testify against manson and the family? coming up, the trial of the century. the theater of the absurd. >> the circus where there were interruptions every day and the killers making a joke about it. >> i killed a chicken once.
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>> all the elements are present for one of the most sensational murder trials in american history. it was big. there were reporters from all over the world. >> seven people had been brutally murdered. and it would be up to the hot shot prosecutor vincent to win a conviction of charles manson and his three co-defendants.
>> this case received more publicity than any other trial in american history. >> he died in june, 2015, gave one of his last interviews to cnn. >> before the trial, i said charlie, i'm going to convict you. but i said, after you get a fair trial. >> but convicting manson would not be easy. unlike patricia krenwinkel, susan atkins and leslie van houten, manson was not even in the homes when the murders happened. >> i let it be known that he had ordered and masterminded these murders. >> manson told his followers this would be a blood bath in the streets of every american city. >> he was the dictatorial ruler of the family, the king, and the members of the family were slavishly obedient to him. >> i fell in love with him but
he is very brilliant. >> from the start of opening statements on july 24th, 1970, the trial seemed as much about spectacle as justice. >> the first day of the trial, charlie takes control. and he comes in and he has cut an "x" between his eyes and on the bridge of his nose because society has x'd us out. we don't count. a couple days later, he put the prongs on it and it is a swastika. >> so all of a sudden, the girls showed up the next day with crosses on their heads. total chaos. >> the reporter was at the courthouse every day. >> charlie started to lead them. when charlie objected to something, the girls would jump up and object. they would sing periodically. ♪
>> they would yell at the judge. >> the antics that went on in the charles manson trial. had you ever experienced that? >> never. and i covered lots of trials. >> those antics deepened the pain for the victims' families. >> sharon's father sat in that courtroom every day. he wanted to think of this as justice. what he saw instead was kind of this circus where there were interruptions every day and the killers making a joke about it. >> then there were the more subtle distractions from manson. >> i had several staring sessions with him. the stares on the cover of "life" magazine. >> manson trying to hypnotize on a daily basis each one of those jurors. >> bill was one of those jurors. >> he was just staring at that particular juror. just staring to make him uncomfortable. >> after manson's gaze reduced
one juror to tears, zamora was next. >> i gave him back the staring and slowly smiled at him. that stopped him. >> sort of, you won the staring contest so to speak. >> yes. >> extreme efforts were made to protect the jurors. >> you cannot talk to anybody, not to discuss the subject matter with anybody. we were escorted by the bailiffs everywhere. we were just incarcerated like prisoners. >> and the jurors weren't the only ones with restrictions. >> they wouldn't let cameras in the courtroom. so the artists were in there. >> artists like bill robles. >> where did you sit? >> front row. i was within touching distance of the girls who were sitting right in front of me. >> a front row seat to the daily
drama. like on august 3rd, 1970, several days into the trial. >> charlie all of a sudden picks up the newspaper and shows it to the jury. and it says, manson guilty and the lawyers argued for a mistrial but it didn't happen. >> are you guilty of any murders? are you guilty of plotting any murders? >> i killed a chicken once. >> no one from the press had one-on-one access to manson during the trial. no one except mary neiswender thanks to a source in the prison law library. >> charlie could not use the telephone. so a friend was to call me at a certain time and charlie was to slide under the table and then hand him the phone. so i had three minutes to convince charlie that he should talk to me. >> neiswender earned manson's
trust and set up many face to face jail house meetings, providing her with countless scoops during the trial and a rare insight into the mind of the suspected killer. >> when you're sitting across from him and you're talking to him, did you understand how charles manson was able to control so many young ladies? >> when you're talking to him, he would never take his eyes off you. it was as if nobody else was in that room except you and him. i think he thought he could manipulate me the way he manipulated the girls. >> manipulation and control. the corner stones of the case against charles manson. a trial that is about to take many more shocking turns. coming up -- did people gasp? >> absolutely. >> violence and mayhem in the courtroom. >> everybody was stunned.
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it was the longest trial that had ever happened in california. >> 154 volumes of transcript bear evidence to what may be the most surprising, unusual and difficult trial in years. >> each day, stranger than the last. at one point, charles manson even attacked his own attorney. by the third month, observers thought they had seen it all. but then -- >> probably the most dramatic moment in the trial. >> bill robles was a sketch artist in attendance. >> manson talked to the judge, saying somebody should cut your head off. and all of a sudden, he leaped from his chair clutching a pencil like a knife and the bailiff got the pencil.
>> did people gasp? >> totally. everybody was stunned. >> i don't think his reach was quite that far. but charlie would have killed him for sure. >> manson was kicked out of court for more than a week. >> the judge started carrying a .38 caliber resolver under his robe in court. that's not common. >> also uncommon, a jury being sequestered for almost nine months, which led to two married jurors reportedly having an affair. >> just lonely people. >> lonely, isolated, cut off. the juror was told a woman he was dating had died in a car accident. >> were you able to go to the funeral? >> no. nothing at all. the judge would not allow it.
>> as for prosecutor vincent, he was on a mission to prove that manson master-minded the tate-labianca murders. manson was trying to incite a race war he called helter skelter. >> i proved through witnesses that manson was the only one that had a motive in these murders and that motive was helter skelter. >> manson foresaw the black man would win this war. later he said the black man would have to look around at those white people who had survived. who had escaped helter skelter. in other words, turn over the reins of power to charles manson and his family. >> to prove manson was the mastermind, he needed a witness from inside the manson family. a witness like barbara hoyt. >> i was afraid. they threatened my family. i got different death threats at different times. >> i told her i would give her
all the protection of the lapd that i could. >> but manson's followers got to her anyway. spiking her hamburger with lsd enough to overdose her but she survived. >> finally what it came down to, i just wanted to be able to live with myself when i got old and from there i knew what to do. >> that little girl came back and she was an excellent witness for the prosecution. >> even when manson tried to intimidate her as she took the stand. >> he was pretty intense. he would stare at me. the girls would too. leslie would imitate every gesture i did. if i cocked my head, she would do it, too. charlie said say no. i said yes and he looked pretty peeved. >> hoyt's testimony that family members boasted the killings was crucial but wasn't enough. the state needed more. they got it with linda kasabian.
though she didn't participate, kasabian was at both crime scenes. >> manson did not go on any of these. >> she gave cnn one of her only interviews in 2009. >> i started hearing horrible screaming. so i started running toward the house and i said, sadie, please make it stop. and she said, i can't. it is too late. >> in exchange for immunity, she testified for a grueling 18 days. >> linda was an excellent witness. she told the truth and it came out. >> who was the most influential witness on the stand? >> linda kasabian. >> the defense rested without calling a single witness. the stage was now set for the unforgettable closing arguments.
>> charles manson sent out from the fires of hell four heartless cold-blooded robots. that's what i told the jury. and they pointed out them out. they are guilty as sin. >> the case finally went to the jury. >> it took 42 and a half hours of deliberating -- >> on january 25th, 1971, they had made their decision. >> they looked out at him. his hands were trembling. that allowed me to say, how come you're trembling? are you afraid? >> the verdict, guilty. on all counts for all four defendants. >> very, very pleased with the verdict. that goes without saying. we're all very, very happy. >> manson responded saying,
you're all guilty. >> you are next, all of you. there is a revolution coming very soon. >> the attorney had done the improbable. convicted a killer who hadn't physically done any of the killing. >> vincent did one of the most brilliant jobs of prosecution i think in american legal history. >> two months later, they received their sentence. death. for the tate family, justice seemed to have been served. >> it's what they wanted. it was what they expected. especially with the death penalties. sadly for them, i think they thought that would be the end of it. >> but it was far from it. coming up, manson's power from prison. >> do you think he could still command them to kill? >> i do. i do.
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death. >> we put on a monumental amount of evidence against each defendant. >> finally for the prosecutor and others involved with the case there was closure or so he thought. >> i'm driving the car and turn on the radio and the u.s. supreme court set aside the death penalty for everyone on death row around the country. it was about 600 people. >> 600 prisoners, including all of those convicted of the tate murders. manson, the three girls and watt sproo tried separately. spared death manson would spend his life in prison. >> he doesn't mind prison. that's his home. so he's gotten away, in a large sense, with murder. >> the victim's families were enraged. >> sharon's father, if any of them ever got out his first thought was i will kill them.
they won't make it off of the grounds. i will kill them. >> reporter: just seven years after being convicted and charged with the death penalty the manson family defendants were eligible for release. >> think about the parole hearings all of those years later with sharon's mom sitting no further than you and i to the killers, and having to listen to the details of the crimes over and over. >> sharon was sentenced to death without a fair trial or without a jury. i was sentenced to life in prison without any possibility of parole. and i say to you, should susan atkins sentence be any less? >> there was an outrage, injustice, sadness, a realization this would never end. >> the children of the '60s that you call the manson family. >> the parole hearings would drag on for decades for manson
and his co-defendants. >> i look at himself today and i'm appalled. >> susan atkins died in prison of brain cancer in 2009. but van houten and the other beg for their release saying they are rehabilitated. >> i'm so ashamed of my actions. >> i was crazed to be a decent human being. i turned in to a monster and i have spent these years going back to a decent human being and i don't know what else to say. >> former manson family member barbara hoyt isn't buying. >> it i think they are a dangerous to the public. their influence is dangerous. >> her memories of the brutal crimes run too deep. >> i can't tell you the number of times my daughter has woken me up because i was screaming in my sleep. >> her nightmare, charles manson getting out of prison. >> oh, my god. because he's just evil.
>> if you spit in my face and smack me in the mouth and throw me in solitaire confinement for nothing, what do you think is going to happen when i get out? >> he's been denied parole 12 times. since his conviction for the tate murders he has been convicted of two other killings and is suspected in 26 more. despite it all, manson still has supporters on the outside. >> it's not surprising to me because he became the epitome of evil. >> i don't think that people realize the access that he now has. >> get with it. >> he has these people on the outside that are devoted to him still. they are still out there. >> out there and neiswender
believes ready to take orders. >> do you think he could command them to kill in. >> i do. i do. >> there are always going to be young women who can be conned. charlie knows how to do it. >> it is so obvious will charles manson was railroaded. >> this is star. she says she's in love with manson and is committed to clearing his name. >> it's just not a true story. it's completely fabricated. >> so loyal to manson she shaved her head and carved an x in her forehead. >> it's a show of support. just like when they did it back in 1970, whatever. >> charlie manson continues to find gullible young women and convince them that he loves them and that they have a special relationship. star is just the latest. there will be more. >> more willing to fight for manson's innocence. he called star from prison just before our interview to deliver
that message. >> you are a bunch of liars. you are all liars. >> oh, no. my god. the evidence is overwhelming. >> he has never doubted manson's guilt. >> look, since the trial, susan atkins has admitted that atkins is behind it. there's no doubt. >> and no doubt about manson's eerie magnetism about hi power to manipulate, to fascinate, to terrify. >> when he dies, i think the country will breathe a sigh of relief. >> i'm a human being. >> i think it will take at least another generation for charles manson to die in terms of fascination to the public. >> it's my world. >> he's too much a part of our lives right now. he's going to live on in our memories for a while longer. >> well, god, i guess you are my best friend, being that i invented you.
still going strong. a cnn poll shows a quarter of republican voters want the donald to be the president. manhunt in thailand, new details on the suspect believed to be behind the deadly bombing in the capital. sometimes joint football practice a is a good thing and sometimes it doesn't. it gets ugly between the cowboys an rams. we'd like to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm john vause. cnn newsroom starts right now. ♪