Charles Manson, a mass murderer and one of the most notorious cult leaders in America, was reportedly taken to a hospital in deteriorating condition earlier this week.
The former Manson Family leader, now 83, was hospitalized in Bakersfield, California, three days ago, TMZ
first reported Wednesday. The Los Angeles Times later confirmed with Kern County sheriff’s Lt. Bill Smallwood that Manson was taken to the hospital. (Photo: Corcoran State Prison)
Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, told the LA Times that Manson
is still alive, but she did not comment on the severity of his condition.
However, an unnamed source familiar with the situation suggested to TMZ that Manson’s condition
“It’s not going to get any better for him,” the source told the celebrity news site. The source also described Manson as “ashen” and lying still while covered in blankets.
“It’s just a matter of time,” the source said, according to TMZ.
Manson was hospitalized earlier this year for gastrointestinal issues.
According to the Los Angeles Times and the Bakersfield Californian, Manson
was “seriously ill” and taken to Mercy Hospital’s downtown location in Bakersfield in January. That hospital is 62 miles south of the California State Prison in Corcoran, where Manson has been serving a life sentence since 1971.
Manson gathered a group of devoted followers in the 1960s, a cult that later became known as the Manson Family. Under Manson’s direction, cult members murdered seven people, reportedly in order to incite a race war in the summer of 1969.
On Aug. 9, 1969, Manson’s followers fatally stabbed actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant and married to film director Roman Polanski, 16 times and killed four other people in the actress’s Los Angeles home. The group also killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the following night, stabbing them to death in their home. They used the couples’ blood to scrawl words at the site, including a reference to the Beatles song “Helter Skelter.”
In June 1970, Manson and three of his followers —
Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — went on trial for the murders. In 1971, a jury convicted the four defendants on multiple counts of first-degree murder. Story continues
Manson was initially sentenced to death, but it was later changed to life in prison when the state Supreme Court struck down California’s death penalty statute for violating the state constitution.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that Mercy Hospital Downtown is 62 miles north of the California State Prison in Corcoran. It is south of the prison. Also on HuffPost "Young L.A. Girl Slain; Body Slashed in Two" ― L.A.'s Daily News On Jan. 15, 1947, the remains of Elizabeth Short were found in a vacant lot in Los Angeles. What made this discovery the stuff of tabloid sensation, however, was the Glasgow smile left on the aspiring actress' face ― made with 3-inch slashes on each side. This, coupled with Short's dark hair, fair complexion and reputation for sporting a dahlia in her hair, led her to be dubbed "The Black Dahlia" in headlines. What followed was a media circus filled with rumors and speculation about the 22-year-old's checkered past. What haunts theorists to this day, apart from the victim's uniquely nightmarish visage, is that the case remains unsolved after some 200 suspects were interviewed and ultimately released, making it one of Hollywood's most lurid legends. "I Am Not Guilty - Thus Lizzie Borden Pleads Before Judge Hammond at New Bedford." ― Boston Journal "Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. And when she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one." So goes the lurid nursery rhyme to one of the most mystifying crimes ever. The nature of the deaths of Andrew J. Borden and his wife, Abby, are trumped only by the identity of the alleged perpetrator: their daughter Lizzie. Inexplicably found "not guilty" in contrast to the era's more usual swift justice, Lizzie's legacy was to be immortalized as one of the most perplexing cases of parricide in history. "Texas Mother Charged with Killing Her 5 Children" ― CNN In a case of mother-gone-mad that startled a nation, Andrea Yates appeared to her few friends and family to be a recluse suffering from postpartum depression leading up to the birth of her fifth child. That all changed on June 20, 2001, when she drowned five of her children in their home's bathtub. She was convicted in 2002 of capital murder, carrying a sentence of life in prison with possible parole. In a 2006 retrial, however, a Texas jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity. She was committed to a mental health facility. "Buttafuoco Admits to Sex with Amy Fisher" ― New York Times Known as the "Long Island Lolita," Amy Fisher became involved with Joey Buttafuoco in May 1991. Shortly after the two began a sexual relationship (she was 16, while he was 35 and married with two children), his presence and influence in her life became all she cared for. Although he's since denied this, Buttafuoco would go on to help Fisher plan the murder of his wife, culminating in Fisher putting a bullet in Mary Jo Buttafuoco's head, but failing to kill her. In the highly publicized trial that ensued, Fisher accepted a plea deal for 15 years in prison in exchange for a testimony against Joey, who served out charges of statutory rape. "Murder of a Little Beauty" ― People Magazine With her face gracing the covers of nearly every news and gossip rag during the winter of 1996, it's hard to suggest that the death of child beauty pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey had little effect outside the city of Boulder, Colorado. She was found dead from a blow to the head and strangulation in the family's basement. There was a ransom note left on the staircase asking for $118,000 (conveniently or coincidentally, nearly the same amount Mr. Ramsey received as a bonus that year) and no obvious signs of forced entry into the house. The evidence appeared to be stacked against parents John and Patsy, who maintained their innocence throughout the investigation. The case reopened in 2010, but critics cite poor handling of the crime scene as why the mystery of the events of that Christmas day continues. "F.B.I. Joins Probe in Slaughter of 8 Nurses" ― Nashua Telegraph Tattooed with "Born to Raise Hell" on his arm, Richard Speck made good on his mantra through a history of violence, theft, alcoholism and spousal abuse. He achieved infamy when, on July 13, 1966, he walked into a dormitory armed with a knife and left eight student nurses dead in his wake. Only one, Cora Amurao, was spared, hiding under a bed until 6 a.m. Speck was found guilty of murder and died of a heart attack in prison. As one of the most press-worthy crimes of the decade, the grim events were used as the backdrop for an episode of "Mad Men." "Sharon Tate, Four Others Murdered" ― Los Angeles Times Perhaps the most terrifying figure in American crime to have never actually killed anyone himself, Charles Manson founded a "family" of wayward individuals who hailed him as a prophet. So strong was his manipulation that on the night of Aug. 8, 1969, he ordered four of his followers to kill everyone at the residence of 10050 Cielo Drive ― including movie director Roman Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, and her unborn child. Tate was stabbed 16 times, and her blood was used to write "pig" on the house's front door. The next night, Manson accompanied six of his family to the residence of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, helping to bind them before ordering their deaths. In 1971, Manson and three of his fellow defendants were found guilty of murder in the first-degree and several other crimes. At the time, it was the longest murder trial in American history, spanning nine and a half months, as well as the most expensive, estimating $1 million. Manson was died in prison in 2017 at age 83. "Lindbergh Baby Kidnapped from Home of Parents on Farm Near Princeton; Taken from His Crib; Wide Search on" ― The New York Times Used as the basis for an Agatha Christie novel ( Murder on the Orient Express) and dubbed "the biggest story since the Resurrection" by famed journalist H.L. Mencken, the kidnapping and murder of aviator Charles Lindbergh's infant son continues to fascinate theorists today. Charles Jr. was discovered missing from his second-floor bedroom on March 1, 1932, along with a note demanding a then-unimaginable $50,000, igniting a media frenzy like no other. The tabloid pandemonium prompted many tips and leads, but none as concrete as a package containing the boy's pajamas and another message demanding the ransom. After some misdirection from the presumed kidnapper, Lindbergh's child was discovered in the woods along a road near the family residence. Notwithstanding the evidence stockpiled against the easily vilified illegal German immigrant Bruno Hauptmann (who was sentenced to death), speculation prevails as to the true identity of the individual responsible for this tragic tale. "Not Guilty as Sin" ― New York Post Still fresh in the minds of many and not to be easily forgotten, the trial of Casey Anthony turned Orlando, Florida, into anything but the "happiest place on earth." Following a series of lies, misdirection and manipulation by then-22-year-old Casey, her daughter Caylee's skeletal remains were found five months into the investigation, setting the stage for what could only be described as the most incessantly publicized and shocking trial in recent memory. The media had a field day that went on for months, highlighting the young, pretty party-girl image used against Casey Anthony in court as the prosecution tore apart an aimless defense ― or so it seemed. After throwing her own family under the bus, incriminating people entirely made-up ("Zanny the Nanny"), and fabricating elaborate stories for the police, Anthony was found not guilty of murder due to evidence deemed mostly circumstantial and not meeting the burden of "beyond reasonable doubt," inciting much debate regarding whether true justice was served. "An American Tragedy" ― Time It was heralded as the "trial of the century." Former football star and actor O.J. Simpson found himself in the middle of the nation's biggest, most-televised trial following the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, but not before fleeing an all-points bulletin in his Ford Bronco with 20 units in tow, interrupting game 5 of the NBA Finals. With a dream legal team including Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, and Robert Kardashian, the defense claimed Simpson was merely a victim of police fraud with regard to contaminated DNA evidence. Cochran famously quipped, "If it [the glove] doesn't fit, you must acquit." On Oct. 3, 1995, an estimated 100 million people from around the world tuned in to watch the jury hand down a verdict of not guilty, costing an estimated $480 million in lost productivity. The case incited a discussion of race in the judicial system that continues to this day. Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today. This article originally appeared on HuffPost.