Cult leader Charles Manson, the mass murderer who never touched any of his victims, died on Sunday at the age of 83. When most people talk about Manson’s “family,” it’s a reference to the followers of his cult. But what some might not know is that Manson was a father—at least in the biological sense. He had at least three sons.
In the wake of Manson’s death, his living biological sons did not immediately issue public statement. Not much is known about Manson’s sons, with none of them continuing on the family name. Each boy changed his name.
Manson had his first son, Charles Manson, Jr., with first wife Rosalie Jean Willis. They were married in 1955. Junior wound up taking his stepfather’s name and became Jay White. Even though he changed his moniker, Manson’s violent legacy haunted him. White committed suicide in the 1993—and it was supposedly because of the infamous Manson murders. He died of a “self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” the death certificate said.
The theory about White’s suicide was touted by his son, Jason Freeman. ”He couldn't live down who his father was,” Freeman told CNN about his father in 2012. “He just couldn't let it go.”
Not much is known about Manson’s second son. But he had the boy, Charles Luther, with Leona “Candy” Stevens. At the time this story was written, Luther’s whereabouts were unknown.
Little is known about Valentine Michael, the third child acknowledged as Manson’s son. The killer had Michael with Mary Brunner. She was a part of Manson’s cult, or “family.”
While Manson’s biological sons did not want to be associated with the infamous cult leader, there was one man who desperately wanted to his child. Matthew Roberts was adopted as a child and searched to find his biological parents. At the age of 14, he met with his mother, only known as Teri. She told him she conceived Roberts with Manson during a 1967.
But DNA tests proved Roberts had no relation to Manson—and he was disappointed. “Now there's no chance of knowing who my father is,” Roberts told CNN in the same 2012 interview as Freeman. “That's the only lead I had, so now I have no chance of meeting or knowing my biological father.”
Manson was convicted of organizing the 1969 murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others. Two years later, he was sentenced to prison. Manson was inspired by the Beatles song “Helter Skelter” to start a race war. He reportedly wanted the Black Panthers to be blamed for the killings.
During his time behind bars, Manson was denied parole 12 times. He was originally supposed to get the death penalty, but it was ruled unconstitutional. His sentence was changed to 9 consecutive life sentences.
He died from natural causes, according to prison officials. The families of Manson’s victims were notified about his death, TMZ reported. Manson was taken from Corcoran State Prison to the hospital in January after he experienced intestinal bleeding. Last week, it was reported he was on his death bed.
Manson’s four followers, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins and Charles “Tex” Watson remained in prison.
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