Are Any Of The Manson Family Members Still In Prison? 'Truth & Lies' Brings Renewed Attention To The Case
Public interest in the true crime TV genre shows no signs of waning, and one of the most infamous ones in history will be the subject of the ABC documentary Truth and Lies: The Family Manson, which airs on March 17. It will feature new interviews and, as the title indicates, the documentary will place a strong focus on the people who carried out the murders that shocked the country and left Los Angeles residents terrified. Charles Manson himself was recently denied parole, but are any of the Manson family members still in jail?
Nearly five decades after the horrific crimes, most of the people involved remain behind bars — but there are a few exceptions. The most notable is Linda Kasabian, who acted as driver and lookout on August 9, 1969. While she waited outside Sharon Tate's mansion and kept watch, other members of the "family" entered the actor's home and murdered Tate along with her friends Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger. As reported by The Guardian, Kasabian never went to prison — prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi offered her immunity in exchange for her testimony against the other family members. After the trial she changed her name, moved to an undisclosed location, and has taken great pains to stay out of the public eye.
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was not involved in the Tate-LaBianca murders, but she was convicted of "pointing a gun" at then-President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California in 1975 and spent 34 years in prison, according to CNN. Fromme was released on parole in 2009. That same year, Susan Atkins, who had admitted to murdering Tate, died in prison from brain cancer. After her diagnosis, Atkins had made a request for a "compassionate release" from the California Board of Parole Hearings, which was denied.
All the other key players in the murders remain in prison, and it seems unlikely they'll ever walk free. Manson, Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, and Tex Watson were all originally sentenced to death, but their sentences were reduced to life in prison when the United States Supreme Court temporarily outlawed the death penalty in 1972. They've all repeatedly applied for parole, but to no avail.
Most recently, Tex Watson was denied parole for the 17th time in October 2016, as reported by The Los Angeles Times. Manson's self-proclaimed "right-hand man" can apply for parole again in 2021.
Krenwinkel remains incarcerated at the California Institution for Women and can apply for parole in 2018, according to The New York Times. Van Houten was denied parole for the 20th time in 2013 and USA Today reports that she can apply again in 2018. Bobby Beausoleil, another family member who wasn't involved in the Tate murders, is serving a life sentence for the 1969 murder of musician Gary Hinman, according to The Daily Mail.
It seems like there is constantly a Manson family member in the news due to parole hearings, but Manson and his currently-imprisoned followers will likely spend the rest of their lives behind bars.