Skip to main content

tv   Dateline  MSNBC  May 5, 2019 2:00am-3:00am PDT

2:00 am
>> that's all for this edition of dateline extra. i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> manson has come to represent the malignant side of humanity. these people enjoyed killing. >> things that the police had never seen before. >> sharon tate begged her, please don't kill me. please don't kill me. >> average kids from average american homes turn out to be the killers. >> he would doze them with lsd. >> are you sane? >> sane? >> yes. >> that's relative. >> charles manson stole lives. >> grief like you could not imagine. >> stole innocence. >> he looks beautiful, he looks happy. and this draws a lot of people. >> and left a city living in
2:01 am
fear. >> gun stores sell out. guard dogs with new selling for $5,000. >> you happy -- >> you may think you know the manson story but not like this. >> he's a very evil, sophisticated con man and knows exactly what he's doing. >> it's all a play, isn't it? >> hello and welcome to "dateline." he was a charismatic ex-con who dreamed of becoming a rock star. then he found a ragtag group of hippies in search of direction and purpose to follow him. in the end, their toxic union would result in a frenzy of unfathomable brutality. how was charles manson able to exert his influence to engineer a murderous rampage that would make him one of the most notorious figures in criminal history?
2:02 am
here's morrison with "manson." april 14th, 2016. a clear, blustery day in the high desert outside los angeles. inside the walls of a california institution for women, a gray haired 66-year-old inmate appears before a parole board as she has done many times before. this time something remarkable -- >> the parole board panel is recommending the release of former charles manson follower leslie van houten. >> a name on the list forever linked with one of the most famous crimes and criminals of the 20th century. colors that manson. >> you don't understand me. that's your trouble! not my fault because you don't understand me. i don't understand you either. >> reporter: the story of charles manson, his family, and all the horror they wrought is
2:03 am
buried in archives. memorialized in media, long obsolete. and yet, somehow, it feels present. that hot summer night that caught the world utterly unprepared. when los angeles became suddenly a very scary place. it was august 9th, 1969, around 8:00 a.m. officer jerry darosa was a young cop working the day shift. >> the first call i got came out as a drunk in a car. >> the officer cruised up bendicts canyon and found the deadend street called ciello drive. a neighbor flagged him down, and suddenly the drunk in a car call became something else. >> he told me the maid came running out yelling blood and
2:04 am
bodies. >> darosa all alone nosed his squad car up the gaited driveway. he could see right away things weren't height. >> the telephone wires that had been cut are hanging over the gate. you go through the gate, and there's a car parked in the driveway. >> in the car he found not a drunk but a body. >> he had been shot, and i walked around the front of the location, and there were two more bodies on the lawn. >> then backup arrived, and they went into the house and found a scene horrible in a way that would go down in history. there was a young woman. >> there are multiple stab wounds on her, and then there was a thick rope that was wrapped around her neck. >> and something else -- the young woman was pregnant, eight-months pregnant. she'd been stabbed repeatedly. next to her, a man with a bloody
2:05 am
towel over his head. he'd been shot at close range, also stabbed. it was a bloodbath. had you ever seen such a thing before? >> no, no. it was horrendous. >> reporter: darosa could see down the hall out the back door. he saw a guesthouse near the swimming pool. he and a second officer went to check it out. inside they found a young man alive. >> i thought this -- this guy knows something. >> 19-year-old williamgator gary -- william garrett tson was the caretaker. he said he knew nothing, heard nothing. how could he not here it? >> you would think so. i walked him past the property. >> they walked the front lawn. he didn't seem shocked by it all? >> no, not at all. >> garrettson was the first and
2:06 am
most likely suspect. darosa took him to the station house book him. then the detectives arrived and the coroners and, of course, the press. >> rolling. at 8:30 this morning, an employee came to work at 10050 ciello and found several bodies in the house -- >> the lapd didn't share right away the awful details or that the phone wires had been cut so no one could call for help or that an american flag happen draped over the couch they're someone had written in blood on the front door one word -- pig. >> you have any kind of apbs out, any suspect? >> no, the only person we have at this time is mr. garrettson, whom we are questioning. >> the lapd didn't say. -- didn't say much. didn't know much. >> were the bodies mutilated? >> this i'd rather not discuss.
2:07 am
>> who knew that fear would spread so fast, choke what was left of innocence, infect us still? that night the main thing no one knew was what started on ciello drive wasn't over. coming up, there was still another big shock to come. the identities of the victims. >> my boyfriend called my mother, and he had heard five people were dead and it was rumored to be the house of sharon tate. with advil, you'll ask... what sore muscles? what pounding head? advil is... relief that's fast. strength that lasts. you'll ask... what pain? with advil. ♪ protect your pets from fleas and ticks with frontline plus for dogs and frontline plus for cats.
2:08 am
its two killer ingredients work fast and keep working all month long preventing new flea infestations on your pet. frontline plus. the number 1 name in flea and tick protection. children's claritin feallergy relief.of non-drowsy the #1 pediatrician recommended non-drowsy brand. because to a kid a grassy hill is irresistible. children's claritin. feel the clarity and live claritin clear. with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe eczema,n who got an awful skin condition. or atopic dermatitis, you feel like you're itching all the time. and you never know how your skin will look. because deep within your skin an overly sensitive immune system could be the cause. so help heal your skin from within, with dupixent. dupixent is not a steroid, and it continuously treats your eczema even when you can't see it. at 16 weeks,
2:09 am
nearly four times more patients taking dupixent saw clear or almost clear skin compared to those not taking it, and patients saw a significant reduction in itch. do not use if you are allergic to dupixent. serious allergic reactions can occur, including anaphylaxis, a severe reaction. tell your doctor if you have new or worsening eye problems, including eye pain or changes in vision. if you are taking asthma medicines, do not change or stop your asthma medicine without talking to your doctor. help heal your skin from within. ask your eczema specialist about dupixent. uh, uh. [karate sounds] ♪ oh baby you ♪ you got what i need ♪ you got everything i need ♪ your love will never go away ♪ 'cause you ♪ oh you got what i need amazon's got everything you need and package tracking for all. welcome, everyone.
2:10 am
each day justin at work... walk. and after work. he does it all with dr. scholl's. only dr. scholl's has massaging gel insoles that provide all-day comfort. to keep him feeling more energized. dr. scholl's. born to move. sun care is self care. i used to not love wearing an spf just because i felt like it was so oily and greasy. but with olay regenerist whip spf 25, it's so lightweight. i love it. i'm busy philipps, and i'm fearless to face anything.
2:11 am
it was media frenzy, 1969 style. recorded on 16-millimeter film. >> we have a weird homicide with two bodies inside, two bodies outside. >> but word of mouth had skewed the awful truth by the time 16-year-old debra tate heard it. >> my boifr called my mother -- my boyfriend called my mother. and he heard there had been a fire in benedict canyon and five people were dead and it was rumored to be the house of aaron? tate. >> sharon tate, debra's big sister. sharon tate's biggest film, "valley of the dolls," was two years behind her already. now 26, she was known less for her acting than for her beauty, her style, and her husband. director roman polanski had
2:12 am
recently shot to fame with "rosemary's baby" in which a woman discovers she may be carrying the child of the devil. in real life, sharon tate and roman polanski were expecting, too. >> she was so terribly excited. like a new mom-to-be, creating the nice little home nest for the family to welcome the new life. >> now debra, frantic to learn what happened to her sister, pressed her panic-stricken mother. >> mother, tell me what, what, tell me what. she was out of her minds crazy. grief like you could not imagine. >> but it was no mistake, and the murders already gruesome now tock on the trappings of celebrity. >> this was at the home of michigan director roman -- movie director roman polanski, and it was his wife, sharon tate, who was one of the victims. >> with sharon tate, 25-year-old
2:13 am
coffee aires abigail folger. she'd been working with poor kids in watts. it was her body officer darosa saw on the front yard. about with her was her boyfriend, a sometimes actor and old friend of romans. inside the house next to sharon, the man with the towel over his head was 35 yield jay sebring. >> famous hairdresser to the stars who had been sharon tate's boyfriend. >> reporter: jeff gwynn wrote the 2013 book, "manson." >> they had remained friends. and sharon tate had invited sebring over that evening. >> anthony dimaria is jay sebring's nephew. >> one of the sad ironies is that jay was not supposed to be there that night. he was supposed to be in las vegas. for whatever reason, he decided to stay. >> the body in the car took longer to identify. it turned out to be 19-year-old steve parent who had been visiting the property's ca
2:14 am
caretaker. parent went to his car at just the wrong moment, never got out of the driveway. l.a. struggled to understand why would anyone kill all these people. why in such a sadistic manner? the lapd searched for clues in the surrounding brush among the neighbors as, of course, did the ever-growing army of reporters. >> the lights weren't on, and usually the gate slight on at least. >> why would you take note of that? >> it's always been on. >> strange, despite all the carnage, no real clues. though there was this one thing -- >> it was revealed that a small amount of narcotics was found in the foreign sports car of sebring. >> some pot and hash were found in the house, too. so now police and the press began to wonder could the murders have had something to do with the lifestyles that sharon and her fabulous friends led.
2:15 am
in mourning, in shock, director roman polanski found himself in front of a camera defending his dead wife. >> sharon not only didn't use drugs, she didn't touch alcohol, she didn't smoke cigarettes. >> all sharon was thinking about was her baby, he added. their baby who died with her. >> a lot of blood all over the place, baby clothes, and that's all. >> then another rumor hit the press -- that the killings were somehow connected to polanski's horror movie, "rosemary's baby." this time a representative spoke for polanski. >> sharon and all of her three friends were rational people with no interest in mysticism or anything of cult. >> the news liked to try to pin on sharon and her friends, you know, the drugs, sex, rock and roll, devil worshipping.
2:16 am
>> horrific, why all those ugly theories. >> there was this kind of gossip subtext that these people brought this on themselves. these were people who were engaging in drugs or some sort of orgies. tragically for the victims especially, that they were played off as a form of morality tale. >> drugs, orgies? there was no stopping the gossip. but if anyone believed it, then what happened next made no sense at all. coming up -- >> everybody in los angeles is petrified, where are they going to strike next. >> and then someone does. >> i felt that there was an immediate connection. this is not a bed...
2:17 am
it's a revolution in sleep. the sleep number 360 smart bed, from $999... senses your movement and automatically adjusts on each side to keep you both comfortable. and snoring? how smart is that? smarter sleep. so you can come out swinging, maintain your inner focus, and wake up rested and ready for anything. sleep number is ranked #1 in customer satisfaction with mattresses by j. d. power. save $400 on select sleep number 360 smart beds. only for a limited time.
2:18 am
this is a commercial and i know you're thinking. i don't want to hear about insurance. 'cause let's be honest... nobody likes dealing with insurance. right? see, esurance knows it's expensive. i feel like i'm giving my money away. so they're making it affordable. thank you, dennis quaid. you're welcome, guy in kitchen. i named my character walter. that's great. i'd tell you more but i only have thirty seconds so here's a dramatic shot of their tagline so you'll remember it. when insurance is affordable, it's surprisingly painless.
2:19 am
listen to your mom, knuckleheads. hand em over. hand what over? video games, whatever you got. let's go. you can watch videos of people playing video games in the morning. is that everything? i can see who's online. i'm gonna sweep the sofa fort. well, look what i found. take control of your wifi with xfinity xfi. let's roll! now that's simple, easy, awesome. xfinity xfi gives you the speed, coverage and control you need. manage your wifi network from anywhere when you download the xfi app today.
2:20 am
welcome back. the unsolved murders of the pregnant actress sharon tate and her friends sent the rumor mill churning because tate's husband, roman polanski, had directed the horror film "rosemary's baby." the press wondered about a satanic connection, or were the brutal stabbings drug related? now, a second attack was about to send the media into overdrive with shock waves traveling through the hollywood hills and beyond. once again, here's keith morrison with "manson." >> nearly 24 hours after the
2:21 am
truly historic shocase, it happd again. >> the bodies of a man and his wife found in their home. both been stabbed to death, repeated stab wounds. did you know the people in this home? >> god. i've known these people for 30 years. >> what's their name? >> la bianca. >> rosemary and leo la bianca. rosemary's children found them. the scene every bit as awful as the one ten miles away. leo's hands were tied, his face covered with a pillow case. rosemary had a lamp cord around her neck. leno had been stabbed 26 times. rosemary, 41. overtill would be an understatement. and again, just as it was at sharon tate's house, the murder
2:22 am
scene seemed almost art directed to illicit fear. >> a fork was jammed into leno la bianca's abdomen and left sticking there. >> painted in blood on one wall was the word "rise." on another "death to pigs." on the refrigerator, "helter skelter," like the song from the beatles' "white" album. >> on his body, the word "war" had been carved in the chest. >> these were brutal killings. >> reporter: elena diaz has written about the case for "people" magazine. >> in the middle of the night showing one knives, stabbing people multiple times. you know, even when they were dead. things that the police have never seen before. >> the killer seemed to no conscience. >> they killed a husband and wife, took a shower in n home, calmly ate some food, and left.
2:23 am
>> over two successive nights, seven people were and an unborn baby had been ruthlessly slaughtered. l.a. braced itself for the next wave, especially after that initial suspect, william garrettson, was cleared and released. >> there's in crazed killers roaming los angeles, and there's an immediate citywide panic. >> even though it was a hot august, angelenos closed their windows, locked their doors. >> gun stores sell out. [ barking ] guard dogs who were going for $200 apiece are now selling for $5,000. everybody in los angeles is petrified where are they going to strike next. >> hollywood was even scared, and you know, it's my understanding roman polanski started getting paranoid thinking it was someone among his peers. >> warren beatty had said it was like a small nuclear device had gone off in hollywood. people were really scared, and they needed to make sense and try to make sure that they were
2:24 am
insulated or not involved in this. >> people all over town knew it in their gut, the murders had to be related. >> i felt that there was an immediate connection. so did everybody in my family. >> why did you think there was a sdmekz. >> because of the writing on the wall. -- a connection? >> because of the writing on the wall. that was the many thing. >> officer jerry derosa who was working the scene thought so, too. >> i heard about some things at the location of the la bianca house, and i wondered if it was connected some way. writing the blood on the wall, the stabbing. >> your mind went there pretty well right away? >> yep. >> but it did not seem that way to the brass of the lapd. the team of detectives were assigned to investigate the tate murders. they assigned another team to la bianca. the two teams worked out of the same squad room. problem was, they didn't work
2:25 am
together. >> they didn't like each other, they didn't get along well, and they didn't exchange information for months. each of those murders was pursued separately. >> detectives acknowledged the crime scenes looked similar, but the la biancas were middle-class folks who owned grocery stores. they didn't hang out with movie stars and coffee airesses -- heiresses. unlikely the same crime. >> the la bianca murderer may have used the same technique to throw police off the track. >> the media was quick to sort of say, hey, these two crimes look similar. and the police would say, no, it's copy cat. what would one have to do with the other? it didn't make sense on the surface. >> so the la bianca cops looked into the usual. was it a workplace dispute, a love triangle, a robbery turned
2:26 am
violent? even as the tate cops looked for murderous drug dealers. both teams struck out. both cases stayed open, and the terror lingered that late summer of '69 for weeks like the smog over downtown l.a. was there a time you thought this would never be solved? early on? >> yes. it seemed to have gone on forever. >> like they'll never find out who did this. >> never find out. and that's its own kind of hell. >> and all the while the cops failed to realize the killers were hiding in plain sight. all it would take was a chance encounter between two unlikely characters in an l.a. jail to crack the case wide open. coming up, the jailhouse chat with a killer. >> she proceeded to tell me how sharon tate begged her, please don't kill me, please don't kill me. >> and a dark obsession with the beatles. >> they really did listen to the
2:27 am
"white" album over and over. ove. dear freshpet, rudy got older and suddenly stopped eating... then we found freshpet. now rudy's 13, and going on 3. ♪ bill's back needed a afvacation from his vacation. an amusement park... so he stepped on the dr. scholl's kiosk. it recommends our best custom fit orthotic to relieve foot, knee, or lower back pain. so you can move more. dr. scholl's. born to move. as the number one choice of hospitals pampers swaddlers is two times softer and wraps your baby in our most premium protection. because everything that touches your baby should be this comforting. pampers. the #1 choice of hospitals, nurses & parents. you won't find relief here. congestion and pressure? go to the pharmacy counter for powerful claritin-d. while the leading allergy spray only relieves 6 symptoms, claritin-d relieves 8, including sinus congestion and pressure.
2:28 am
claritin-d relieves more. but allstate actually helps you drive safely... with drivewise. it lets you know when you go too fast... ...and brake too hard. with feedback to help you drive safer. giving you the power to actually lower your cost. unfortunately, it can't do anything about that. now that you know the truth... are you in good hands?
2:29 am
audible members know listening has the power to change us make us better parents, better leaders, better people. and there's no better place to listen than audible. with audible you get a credit good for any audiobook and exclusive fitness and wellness programs. and now, you'll also get two audible originals: titles exclusively produced for audible. automatically roll your credits over to the next month if you don't use them, and if you don't like a book just swap it for free. enjoy 100% ad free listening in the car, on your phone or any connected device. and when you switch a device pick up right where you left off. with our commitment free guarantee, there's never been a better time to start listening to audible. the most inspiring minds, the most compelling stories, the best place to listen. to start your free 30-day trial, text listen5 to 500500 today.
2:30 am
♪ i'm dara brown with the top stories. during a press conference on saturday, ntsb officials confirmed they have recovered the flight data recorder from the boeing 737 that slid off the runway into the river on friday. the recorder's on its way to washington, d.c., to be examined. two nil nil -- two illinois silicon workers are dead after an explosion. they are investigating the structural integrity of the building. now back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline," i'm natalie morales. two years after hippies rocked the summer of love in san francisco, los angeles was a city paralyzed with fear.
2:31 am
seven victims plus actress sharon tate's unborn baby had been mass occurred during a america -- massacred during a killing industspree. it was months, and police were stymied. whoever was responsible for the bloody carnage remained a mystery. soon a most unlikely source would driver a game-changing jailhouse confession. here again is keith morrison with "manson." autumn of '69. it was still hot in l.a. the police investigation of the grisly tate-la bianca murders was ice cold. not a lead, a clue, or a suspect in sight. in october, a woman known in the party circuit, found herself in the l.a. county women's jail. her name was virginia graham, and she knew people. once even dated frank sinatra.
2:32 am
this wasn't her first fling with the law. >> i was there for a violation of probation. >> so that's where virginia was when she met a young woman who was not like the other inmates. >> she was very pretty, very friendly, always happy, singing, doing cartwheels, in fact, up and down the aisle. >> the woman's name was susan atkins. virginia was intrigued. >> i casually asked her one day what she was there for. and this is when she said murder. >> susan told virginia she'd been accused of killing a guy out in the suburbs months earlier. but then she went on, bragging that the cops didn't know a fraction of what she'd really done. >> she goes, well, you know those murders up benedict canyon. >> of course, everyone back to you about that. >> she said, you know who did it, don't you? i looked at her and said, no, i don't. her words to me were, "well, you're looking at her."
2:33 am
>> and just that casually, susan atkins confessed to the crime the whole nation was talking about, enthusiastically described the killings in all their blood-curdling detail. >> sharon tate begged her, please don't kill me. please don't kill me. and she said, she looked at her eye to eye and said, "bitch, i don't care if you're going to have a baby or not, i'm going to kill you." >> and then atkins told her she was part of a group, and they'd kill lots more people, celebrities like frank sinatra. >> the fact that there were going to be other murders committed of other people, i would never, ever be able to live with that. >> virginia got through to the police and told the whole story. so now lapd detectives zeroed in on susan atkins and learned she belonged to a commune called the family which had recently moved
2:34 am
to a rundown old ranch way out at death valley. the leader was a short, scruffy guy and habitual smalltime criminal named manson. charles manson. and the cops to their surprise discovered manson and several of his followers were already in custody. not for murder but for car theft. >> manson was a lifelong criminal who never could go more than a day or two of his free life without breaking some law. >> and the people with him, young, mostly women, were barely more than half his age. >> they're easily influenced. you know, they came from broken homes or they were bullied at school. dla they didn't fit in. he was able to tap into all of that. ♪ >> police began to interview these women. one was 18-year-old barbara hoyt
2:35 am
who spoke about life inside the family and what attracted her to charles manson. >> he was very loving. he was very much a father figure. >> how did it make you feel when he was nice to you like that? >> it made me feel special. felt like we were all fingers on one hand. like we were the digits, and charlie was the hand. >> police spoke with other manson women, too. and learned in the fall of '67, manson moved to los angeles where he sent his girls out to find someone, anyone, who could make him a rock star. they encountered dennis wilson of the washington boys who took manson to the beach boys' studio where he recorded this -- ♪ restless as the wind this town is killing me ♪ ♪ got to >> it never went anywhere. manson didn't measure up as a singer/songwriter. he and his family, about 20 of them, settled in the rugged
2:36 am
foothills outside of l.a. at spahn ranch for movie westerns. >> they were allowed to stay there because they would do chores. >> when they weren't working, the family went dumpster diving for food, panhandled for money, sometimes stole cars. there were a lot of drugs and plenty of sex. all directed by manson. >> he told people who to sleep with, what to eat, where to, you know, do their bodily functions. >> barbara hoyt told the detectives that charlie preached to his flock constantly. >> he would quote from the book of revelation. >> which he knew pretty well. >> not pretty well. we're talking word for word. >> and then detectives found out about charlie's other source of inspiration. >> they really did listen to the "white" album over and over. >> the beatles' sprawling double album released a few months before the murders. one song in particular
2:37 am
captivated charlie. "helter skelter," with lyrics the beatles said were inspired by an amusement park ride, harmless fun. the people who heard charlie preach told the cops that for him, "helter skelter" meant something apocalyptic. what the world did a beatles song have to do with the brutal murders of the tate and la bianca homes in los angeles? it all made perfect sense to charlie manson. coming up, manson's unshakeable hold on his family. >> he dances, he sings. he looks beautiful. he looks happy. and this draws a lot of people. >> and the possible motive behind the murders. >> charlie would be king of the world. >> but that's crazy talk. >> it wasn't to us.
2:38 am
♪ ♪ protect your pets from fleas and ticks with frontline plus for dogs and frontline plus for cats. its two killer ingredients work fast and keep working all month long preventing new flea infestations on your pet. frontline plus. the number 1 name in flea and tick protection. each day justin at work... walk. and after work.
2:39 am
he does it all with dr. scholl's. only dr. scholl's has massaging gel insoles that provide all-day comfort. to keep him feeling more energized. dr. scholl's. born to move. no matter how much you clean, does your house still smell stuffy? that's because your home is filled with soft surfaces that trap odors and release them back into the room. so, try febreze fabric refresher. febreze finds odors trapped in fabrics and cleans them away as it dries. use febreze every time you tidy up to keep your whole house smelling fresh air clean. fabric refresher even works for clothes you want to wear another day. make febreze part of your clean routine for whole home freshness. i'm and i'm an emt.erer when i get a migraine at work, it's debilitating. if i call out with a migraine, that's one less ambulance to serve a community. i just don't want to let these people down. excedrin migraine. relief that works as hard as you do. and relief from symptoms caused feel the clarity of non-drowsy claritin by over 200 indoor
2:40 am
and outdoor allergens. like those from buddy. because stuffed animals are clearly no substitute for real ones. feel the clarity. and live claritin clear. -keith used to be great to road-trip with. but since he bought his house... are you going 45? -uh, yes. 55 is a suggestion.'s kind of like driving with his dad. -what a sign, huh? terry, can you take a selfie of me? -take a selfie of you? -yeah. can you make it look like i'm holding it? -he did show us how to bundle home and auto at and save a bunch of money. -oh, a plaque. "he later navigated northward, leaving... progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents. but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. but we can protect your home and auto with advil liqui-gels, what stiff joints? what bad back? advil is... relief that's fast. strength that lasts. you'll ask... what pain? with advil liqui-gels.
2:41 am
october, 1969. after two months of false leads in the tate and la bianca murders, suddenly there was news. >> police apparently got their break in the case when this girl, susan atkins, a member of manson's family was arrested in another los angeles murder and talked to a cellmates about the tate killings.
2:42 am
>> that information led investigators and eventually the media to a hippie cult called the family. and their leader, charles manson. >> he dances, he sings. he looks beautiful, he looks happy. and this draws a lot of people. just like people are drawn to little babies. >> they look like all the other hippies hanging around l.a. >> hippies were associated with peace, love, sharing. >> but prosecute vincent buli bi interviewed them extensively and learned they were different -- especially their leader, manson, an ex-con and wannabe rock star obsessed with the book of revelation and the beatles. >> he thought they were prophets speaking to him and other people subliminally beneath the lyrics of their songs. >> in particular the cut called "helter skelter."
2:43 am
manson's followers were well aware of the racial kenzie which this h flared -- racial tension which had flared up. now he said "helter skelter" was the prophecies of the division of blacks and whites, the armageddon he presented to followers, both bizarre and deeply racist. >> there would be an all-out war. during this war, he would lead his family into death valley where there is a bottomless pit in a city underneath the surface. they will go down and be safe. when the war is over, the blacks will have won, but they will not have the intellectual capacity to govern themselves. >> then charlie told them, the family would take over. >> in other words, charlie would be king of the world. >> but then again, manson was feeding them steady diet of lsd. he was serious about this king
2:44 am
of the world thing? >> yeah. >> that's crazy talk. >> it wasn't to us. the world was crazy to us. >> investigators learned from manson's followers that he was not content to wait for helter skelter. he wanted to start it by murdering wealthy white people whom he called in homage to another beatles song piggies. but manson didn't plan to kill the piggies himself. he wanted his so-called family to do that. >> they that point, they were willing to do anything for him. >> because they loved him, because they feared him, because they were under his spell, what? >> they say that at that time they were brainwashed. >> it hardly seemed possible, and yet as prosecute buloisi was able to piece it together.
2:45 am
the accused went to the home of sharon tate, a group manson didn't know. he did know the former resident. a music producer from whom he tried but failed to get a record contract. he was well aware the producer had moved out, but he also knew this -- >> whoever's living there now has to be rich and famous. nobody else could afford a house like that. the house is picked because of its location. >> then manson sent the same group plus leslie van houten to the la bianca home the following night. seven savage murders, all in the service of one man's twisted fantasy. >> he knew exactly what he was doing. he's not crazy at all. he's very evil. he's a very evil, sophisticated con man. but he's not insane at out. >> in a grand jury, susan atkins was the star witness, revealing the gruesome details about how
2:46 am
she and other family members shot and slashed everyone in the tate and la bianca homes and scrawled in blood what charles manson had taught them. >> and when the words "helter skelter" were found printed in blood at the murder scene, that was an equivalent of manson's fingerprints being found at the murder scene. >> then in december of '69, four months after the killings -- >> in california, five members of a so-called religious cult including charles manson, the guru or high priest, have been indicted in the murder of sharon tate and six others. >> they brought charles manson in to los angeles, to the police station. and they're expecting, my god, this must be some kinds of monster. and instead of some big beast, you know, barely restrained, there's this little, tiny guy with long hair. >> are you sane? >> sane? >> yes. >> that's relative. >> now as the turbulent 60s came to a close and with the whole world watching, charles manson
2:47 am
would go on trial. >> he was the master minds. these murders would never have taken place if it had not been for charles manson. >> but if looking back the case against charlie seems obvious, it was not then. not for buliosi. manson didn't personally commit the murders. there was no physical evidence to prove he manipulated his group, turned them into what buliosi called blood-thirsty robots. >> i had to building them in via personal evidence. >> they played "helter skelter," for the jury. >> the riveting court case that captivated the country. coming up, before o.j., this was the trial of the century. >> charlie always wanted to be famous, and by god, if this was how it's going to happen, he was going to do it right. >> it's all a play, isn't it?
2:48 am
>> and does one of his killers have a chance at freedom? is kils have a chance at freedom m his v. so he stepped on the dr. scholl's kiosk. it recommends our best custom fit orthotic to relieve foot, knee, or lower back pain. so you can move more. dr. scholl's. born to move.
2:49 am
rudy got older and suddenly stopped eating...t, then we found freshpet. now rudy's 13, and going on 3. ♪ calyou're gonna love new coppertone sport clear. not thick, not hot, not messy, just clear, cool, protected. coppertone sport clear. proven to protect. safe drivers shouldnt have to pay as much for insurance... as not safe drivers! that's why esurance has drivesense.® the safer you drive, the more you save. although i'm not really driving right now that would be unsafe. when insurance is affordable, it's surprisingly painless.
2:50 am
safe drivers shouldnt have to pay as much for insurance... as not safe drivers! that's why esurance has drivesense.® the safer you drive, the more you save. although i'm not really driving right now that would be unsafe. when insurance is affordable, it's surprisingly painless.
2:51 am
welcome back. it had been nearly a year since the murders had shaken los angeles to its core. susan atkins told investigators in lurid detail how charles manson convinced her and other members of their cult-like group to do the unthinkable, massacre
2:52 am
innocent people. atkins' testimony would be key to the prosecution's case. but there was no physical evidence linking manson to the killings. what would it take to convince a jury that he was the evil puppet master behind the blood shed? here is keith morrison with the conclusion of "manson." >> the '60s gave us the summer of love. >> for one of the most sensational murder trials. >> that summer charles manson "life" magazine cover boy and three of his followers went on trial tore the tate murders. >> i feel mr. manson feels he's a product of our society. >> >> prosecutor bugliosi's task is daunting and a defendant like no others that the prosecutor had ever encountered. >> he had to prove that charles manson, this weird little guy,
2:53 am
could have some control over these other followers to make them commit murder but not to the extent that the followers were mentally incompetent to be tried either. >> that's a tricky business. >> it is tricky. >> and the trickiest part would be making a charge of first-degree murder against manson stick himself. >> it's a little more difficult because he did not physically participated in these murders. >> bugliosi had a two part strategy, prove manson's domination over his family and explain his motive to the jury. and what a motive. >> that motive was helter skelter, to ignite a war between blacks and whites. he was he that introduced helter-skelter and talked about it all the time. >> he had a star witness lined up, susan atkins, the woman that confessed the whole story to a woman in jail. and repeated it to a grand jury. >> now that you've had a chance
2:54 am
to get it off your chest, would you tell me how you feel? >> dead. >> then atkins recanted, said she made up the whole thing, so bugliosi had turned to other family members. like barbara who left the family. >> i decide id, do i want to live with myself when i get old? that was the deciding factor. >> barbara became a wary witness for the prosecution. she knew she would take the stand in full view of her former family and manson followers? >> what was it like to testify. seeing them out there? >> they were really kissing up to me when i was in the back of the courtroom, blowing me kisses and smiling at me and all that. of course that changed when i started opening my mouth on the witness stand. >> day after day, members of the manson family demonstrated at the courthouse performance art with a sinister gloss. >> your system wants destruction, and that's what it's going to get. >> inside, carle's
2:55 am
co-defendants, leslie van houten, patricia krenwinkel and susan atkins played to the cameras. it was a circus of weird. manson in the center ring. >> are you guilty of plotting any murders? >> i killed a chicken once. >> any human beings? >> no, no. >> you're absolutely innocent of any conspiracy to commit murder or telling anyone to commit murder or planning it? >> i'm plead guilty to the indians. >> up with day manson appeared in court with an "x" scratched in his forehead. the rest of the family followed suit. >> it was theater. charlie always wanted to be famous and he was going to do it right. >> how are you doing this morning, charlie? >> sharon tate's little sister seethed as she watched the antics on tv. >> it's all a play, isn't it? >> they were mocking america. they were mocking our very foundation. >> everyone seemed to be
2:56 am
watching. everyone seemed to have an opinion. even the president of the united states. >> here is a man who is guilty directly or indirectly of eight murders without reason. >> next day headline l.a. times, around the country, manson guilty nixon declares, threw the trial into a turmoil. >> all the while manson basked in the glare of the media, saying anything about anyone. >> the judge made a fool of himself, again. and then he questions my sanity. >> are you saying -- >> i question his. >> at the end of the 22-week trial, bugliosi told the jurors, charles manson's family preacheded love but practiced cold-blooded murder. >> they literally slaughtered the victims in an orgy of murder. >> the verdict came after nine days of deliberations. the jury found all four defendants guilty of first-degree murder.
2:57 am
>> in my verdict, i wanted to protect the society. after all, this is the united states of america and we have a heritage and this is something we must protect. >> they were all sentenced to death. >> is he prepared to die? has he talked to you about death? >> he's already dead. he's already dead. he has no thoughts, he has no opinions. he's just an empty hole, he's infinite. >> tex watson, who did most of the actual killing, was convicted and sentenced to die in a separate trial. but in 1972, the california supreme court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. the sentences were reduced to life in prison. there would be no gas chamber for any of the manson family. which meant that all of them, even charles manson himself, would have a chance at freedom after serving their sentences. manson, watson, krenwinkel and
2:58 am
atkins all had parole hearings. and each time they were denied. in 2009, atkins died in prison. but leslie van houten, she did have a chance at freedom. >> it doesn't matter whether i wooe wielded the fatal blows or not. i feel responsible for both of their deaths. >> two months ago the parole board recommended releasing van houten. governor brown vetoed the idea. sharon's younger sister was relieved. >> they don't deserve it. these people were brutally butchered. there has to be some kind of accountability in this world. >> convincing the jury of this sle esoteric, sophisticated motive of charles manson -- >> the prosecutor died in 2015. the story he wove for the jury,
2:59 am
helter skelter, added to manson's enduring legend. >> what do you want to call me a murderer for? i never killed anyone. i don't need to kill anyone. >> charlie manson would spend the rest of his life behind bars. in november 2015, shortly after his 83rd birthday, nearly 50 years since he orchestrated those brutal crimes, he died in prison. throughout his long life, he never admitted regret or remorse. >> remorse for what? you people have done everything in the world to me. doesn't that give me equal right? i can do anything i want to to any one of you people at any time i want to because that's what you've done to me. >> charles manson will remain forever seared into the public consciousness, evil per seaso p. the man some say brought down the curtain on the '60s and the
3:00 am
age of innocence, who ultimately in his own twisted way finally gained the fame he had been seeking all along. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm natalie morales. thanks for watching. natalie mor. thanks for watching. good morning, everybody. i'm alex witt at msnbc headquarters. now, here's what's happening. deadlines approaching for the attorney general and all the president's taxes. predictions for how this is going to play out ahead. nancy pelosi's warning to democrats. what she says needs to happen to keep the president from sending a shock wave after the election votes are counted. the nickname game in the 2020 race. whether dem contenders should get down in the mud with trump. plus an nbc photographer who survived the rwandan


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on