Friday, June 6, 2014

Charles Manson's Fake Parole

Social media is abuzz with news stories about Charles Manson being granted parole.  Don’t get up to lock your doors just yet, none of them come from reputable news sources. The story originated from Empire News, a satirical site that just went live in May.  

The story said Manson, now 79, had been granted parole by the California Parole Board and that it had been authorized by Governor Jerry Beck.  The article stated that due to overcrowding the parole board was forced to reevaluate the cases of prisoners who were elderly or severely ill. Hoping to add credibility to the story, a supposed Manson fanatic said to be camping outside Corcoran State Prison was quoted as saying, “It’s a great [expletive] day in America!”

A disclaimer can be found on the Empire site’s sports section that states, “Empire Sports is a satirical and entertainment website. Empire Sports uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized.”  The article’s author, Aaron Smith, claims to have graduated from Harvard in 1642, was cryogenically frozen, and brought back to life in 1981.  The fake article got tens of thousands of shares and likes on Facebook this week.

Manson's last parole hearing was in 2012, when he was denied release again, marking the 12th time.  He won't be eligible again until 2027, when he will be 92 years old. 

In 1970 Manson and four of his followers were found guilty of murdering actress Sharon Tate and three others in her home on August 9, 1969.  They killed Leo and Rosemary LaBianca the next night.  All were sentenced to death, but California briefly done away with the death penalty in 1972 and their sentences were commuted to life in prison.  A string of other murders have been linked to Manson, who convinced many of his ‘family members’ living at Spahn Ranch that he was Jesus Christ.  Manson has spent the last 45 years in prison, having spent less than 20 years of his life as a free man.

Manson girls outside the courthouse, 1969
Manson associate Bruce Davis, convicted of the killings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea in 1969, was granted parole in May but hasn’t been released yet.  There is a 120-day review period during which the governor can nullify or modify the decision.  Davis has previously been granted parole twice, in 2010 and 2012, only to have Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and then Brown reverse the decision. 

Family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, sentenced to life in prison for the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford in 1975, was granted parole in 2009 after serving 34 years.  Steve “Clem” Grogan became the first family member convicted of murder to be released from prison in 1985.  He rode with other family members the night of the LaBianca murder, but after dropping the killers off, continued on to Venice Beach with Manson, Susan Atkins, and Linda Kasabian to kill Saladin Nader, but Kasabian took them to the wrong apartment.  Clem later helped Manson, Tex Watson, and Davis kill Shorty Shea.

Manson made headlines last year when an article in Rolling Stone reported he was to marry his 25 year-old girlfriend he renamed Star.  She had never heard of Charlie when a friend gave her a paper with some of Manson’s environmental views on it. She saved up $2,000 and moved from her home in Missouri to Corcoran.  She now runs several web pages for Manson and visits him every Saturday and Sunday, for up to five hours.  They are allowed to kiss at the beginning and end of each visit.  "I'll tell you straight up, Charlie and I are going to get married," Star told Rolling Stone.  "I take it very seriously. Charlie is my husband. Charlie told me to tell you this."  However Charlie told the reporter, “That’s a bunch of garbage…We’re just playing it up for public consumption.”

Manson and Star
Star used to be accompanied on visits by a friend known as Gray Wolf, a Manson believer from the Spahn Ranch days.  Gray Wolf was arrested last year and imprisoned himself for attempting to smuggle a cell phone in to Manson, who has previously been caught twice with a phone.

Related Links:
Rolling Stone article "Is Charles Manson Getting Married?
Manson crime scene photos (very graphic)

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