November 12, 1934
Charles Manson is born in Cincinnati, the illegitimate son of a sixteen-year-old girl named Kathleen Maddox. His father, who Manson never met, was a "Colonel Scott" from Ashland, Kentucky.
Manson's mother, a heavy drinker, is sentenced to prison for armed robbery.
Manson's mother tries to send Charles to a foster home. A court orders him sent to the Gibault School for Boys in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Manson commits his first known crime, the burglary of a grocery store. He is caught and sent to a juvenile detention center. He escapes and commits two armed robberies. Apprehended again, Manson is sent to the Indiana School for Boys in Plainfield, where he spends the next three years--except for brief periods of freedom during eighteen escapes.
Manson escapes from the School for Boys and heads west in a stolen car, burglarizing 15 to 20 gas stations along the way. He is caught in Utah and sent to the National Training School for Boys in Washington, D. C. A psychiatrist calls Manson a "slick" but "extremely sensitive" boy.
In his last act of criminal violence before the 1969 murders, Manson sodomizes a boy while holding a razor to his throat. He is transferred to Federal Reformatory at Petersburg, Virginia. Later in 1952, Manson is moved to a more secure reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio.
Manson marries Rosalie Willis, a waitress from Wheeling. The couple produces a child, Charles, Jr. Manson works as a parking-lot attendant and busboy--and steals cars. In October, he is arrested for auto theft and sentenced to five years probation
Manson is sentenced to three years imprisonment at San Pedro, California for violating the terms of his 1955 probation.
Manson is divorced. His ex-wife retains custody of their child. Manson is released on parole and becomes a pimp in southern California.
Manson is arrested for forging a treasury check. He is given a ten-year suspended sentence.
In January, Manson marries again--this time, a nineteen-year-old. In April, he is indicted on federal Mann Act charges. He is arrested in Laredo, and brought back to California where is ordered to prison to serve the ten-year sentence that had been suspended in 1959.
Manson is transferred to a federal penitentiary at McNeil Island, Washington. He claims to be a Scientologist. Prison psychiatrists say he has "deep-seated personality problems."
After fathering a second child, Charles Luther Manson, Manson is again divorced.
Manson becomes obsessed by the music of the Beatles. He learns to play a steel guitar.
Manson aspires to be a song writer, and devotes most of his spare time in prison to the task.
March 21, 1967
Manson asks prison officials to let him remain in prison, but having completed a ten-year prison term, he is released. He heads for San Francisco.
Manson and a number of his followers, now called "The Family," move into Spahn ranch in southern California.
The Beatles release their White Album, which proves to be a great influence Manson's thinking.
March 23, 1969
Manson visits 10050 Cielo Drive (the Tate residence) looking for Terry Melcher, who he hoped might publish his music. Tate's photographer curtly tells Manson to leave by "the back alley," possibly supplying a motive for the later attack at the Tate home.
July 31, 1969
A music teacher named Gary Hinman is stabbed to death. On the wall near the body, in Hinman's blood, was printed "political piggy."
August 8, 1969
Manson tells Family members, "Now is the time for Helter Skelter." That evening he tells Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, Tex Watson, and Linda Kasabian to get knives and changes of clothes. As he sends them from the ranch on their mission, he tells them "to leave a sign --something witchy." Watson drives to the Tate residence.
August 9, 1969
Shortly after midnight, the brutal attack on residents at the Tate residence begins. In all, 102 stab wounds are inflicted on four victims; a fifth victim is shot. Left dead are actress Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, Abigail Folger, and Steven Parent. The murders are discovered by housekeeper Winifred Chapman the next morning. The four Family members return to Spahn ranch, where Manson criticizes them for doing a messy job. That night, Manson, along with Patricia Krenwinkel, Tex Watson, Leslie Van Houten, Linda Kasabian cruise around, looking for potential victims.
August 10, 1969
In the early morning hours, Family members stab to death Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. The words "Death to Pigs" and "Healter [sic] Skelter" are found printed on a wall and a refrigerator door.
September 1, 1969
Under a bush near his home, a ten-year-old boy finds the gun used in the Tate murders. The boy's father turns the gun over to the LAPD. The LAPD fails to do a proper investigation.
October 12, 1969
Manson is arrested at Barker Ranch in Death Valley and charged with grand theft auto. He is put in jail in Independence.
November 6, 1969
While incarcerated in Los Angeles on other charges, Susan Atkins tells a fellow inmate, Virginia Castro (Graham), that she participated in the Tate murders. She tells Castro of a "death list" of celebrities targeted by the Family, including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Tom Jones, Steve McQueen, and Frank Sinatra.
November 12, 1969
Al Springer, a visitor to the Spahn ranch, tells LAPD detectives that on August 11 or 12 Charles Manson had bragged about "knocking off five" pigs the other night.
November 17, 1969
Danny DeCarlo implicates Manson in the Spahn ranch murder of Shorty Shea, and also suggests that persons at the Spahn ranch might also have been responsible for the Tate murders--but, he tells detectives, he would be afraid to testify.
November 18, 1969
Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi is assigned the Tate-LaBianca case.
July 24, 1970
The Tate-LaBianca murder trial, with defendants Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten, opens in Los Angeles.
August 10, 1970
Judge Older grants Linda Kasabian immunity from prosecution for the Tate-LaBianca murders in return for agreeing to appear as the prosecution's star witness at the Manson trial.
November 16, 1970
The state rests its case in the Manson trial.
November 19, 1970
The defense announces, without having presented any evidence, that it also rests.
November 20, 1970
Manson announces that he wishes to testify. He makes a strange statement, saying "The children that come at you with knives are your children. You taught them. I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up...." On cross-examination, Bugliosi asks Manson if he thinks he is Jesus Christ.
November 30, 1970
Defense attorney Ronald Hughes fails to show up in court. He is never seen again, leading to speculation he was murdered by The Family.
January 15, 1971
Vincent Bugliosi presents the prosecution's closing argument in the Manson trial.
January 25, 1971
The jury convicts all Tate-LaBianca defendants of first-degree murder.
March 29, 1971
Concluding the penalty phase of the trial, the jury fixes the penalty as death for all four Tate-LaBianca defendants.
April 19, 1971
Judge Older sentences Manson to death. Manson is ordered sent to San Quenton's death row.
Charles "Tex" Watson is convicted on seven counts of first-degree murder.
February 18, 1972
The California Supreme Court declares the death penalty unconstitutional and Manson's sentence is automatically reduced to life in prison.
Manson is transferred to Folsom Prison.
Manson is sent to Vacaville prison, where he remains for the next nine years.
September 25, 1984
Another inmate, claiming "God told me to kill Manson," sets Manson on fire, causing serious burns on large parts of his body.
Manson is transferred to San Quentin Prison
In a televised interview with Geraldo Rivera, Manson warns, "I'm going to chop up more of you m-----f----ers. I'm going to kill as many of you as I can. I'm going to pile you up to the sky."
Manson is transferred to Corcoran Prison.
The house at 10050 Cielo Drive, formerly rented by Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, is demolished.
Manson is denied parole (for the ninth time) in a hearing broadcast live on Court TV. Manson responds by saying, "That's cool....I'm not saying I wasn't involved [in Helter Skelter]. I'm just saying that I did not break God's law....Thank you."
Manson is refused parole for the tenth time at a hearing he refused to attend.
May 23, 2007
Manson is refused parole for the eleventh time. Manson, now 72, will next be up for parole in 2012.
July 15, 2008
The parole board denies Susan Atkin's request, based on the fact that she has terminal brain cancer and only months to live, for a compassionate release. Atkins will now almost certainly die in prison.