A Vincent Bugliosi who headed up the legal team during the trial This book encompassed most of my walks for August September Yes, as I am wishing other walkers a great morning evening, I listened to this narrative Yeah, I am definitely strange The book begins with the murders, then the investigation, no surprise that there are criticisms towards police officers, then there are the interviews, the backgrounds, the grand jury, the trial, the sentencing and finally in my Audiobook Bugliosi s reflection in 1994 about the continued appeal for the Manson family or particularly it s creator, Charles Manson As I mentioned earlier, there s a lot of content and some of its repetitive I daresay that our narrator, Scott Brick, agrees with some of my fellow reviewers as there are times that V.
B s arrogance does come across There even times, there was an air of condescension, specifically, in terms of the legal system in California However, I do have to admit, I am not a practicing legal expert and how could I possibly know that anyway I do also come away with the continued shaking of the head about how susceptible men whether police officers or lawyers fell for the girls , especially Sexy Sadie Who I believe, Bugliosi was than a bit enad by, perhaps not during the trial, but perhaps at lady during their first encounters Dude, women can be just as violent as men Then again, it was the 70 s Weren t all women believed to be delicate little flowers Of course, the very centre of it all is Charles Manson What a nut I don t have much to say than that.
My father is the jailhouse My father is your system I am only what you made me I am only a reflection of you Testimony of Charles Manson, November 20, 1970 given outside the presence of the jury When I started Helter Skelter, it did not have an ending by the time I finished, by an odd quirk of timing, it did On November 19, 2017, with about a hundred pages left in my paperback chronicle of his infamous deeds, Charles Manson cult leader, convicted murderer, synonym of charismatic depravity died of natural causes at the age of 83 A mundane end to a homicidally tumultuous life To be sure, other members of the Manson Family remain behind bars, serving out multiple life sentences though with the possibility of parole But the end of Manson feels like the closing of a final chapter The end of something Though he never took part in the brutal slayings that killed seven people at two different crime scenes, he is the one that will be remembered for it Part of the reason is Helter Skelter, written by Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, with help from Curt Gentry originally published in 1974, Helter Skelter is said to be the number one selling true crime book in history Certainly it stands alongside Capote s In Cold Blood as the most famous true crime writing It casts a long shadow, which is why spurred on by Netflix s serial killer exploration Mindhunter I finally got around to reading it It almost goes without saying, but Helter Skelter tells the well known story of the so called Tate LaBianca murders committed by members of Manson s Spahn Ranch cult in August 1969 Among the victims was actress Sharon Tate who was pregnant and coffee heiress Abigail Folger Manson acolytes Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Houten were eventually convicted for committing the murders Manson was convicted for orchestrating them All were sentenced to die, but had their sentences commuted to life when the California Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional Bugliosi Gentry begin their tale with the discovery of the murders at two separate crime scenes This, to me, is probably the strongest part of Helter Skelter The opening line It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon is a classic hook This section is detailed, objective, and presented in the third person After setting the gruesome scene, Bugliosi Gentry take us into the investigative phase This includes the troubled biography of Charles Manson, who spent most of his pre Tate LaBianca life in jail of course, he spent all of his post Tate LaBianca life there as well At this point, Bugliosi begins to appear often, and the style turns to the first person, as he shares his knowledge, insights, and opinions And he has plenty of opinions He does not blunt his judgment that LAPD nearly made a botch of the investigation It s unusual to see a prosecutor say anything negative towards law enforcement, at least in public, so Bugliosi s take was rather refreshing Of course, based on a history of racism, corruption, and incompetence, maybe he s just going after the low hanging fruit Unsurprisingly, based on Bugliosi s central involvement, the trial itself is dealt with extensively All the ins and outs are covered, from pretrial motions and jury selection to witness examinations and the sentencing phase Bugliosi Gentry often quote the trial transcript, so that you get to see the exact interactions recorded by the court reporter This is a thorough book My 20th anniversary paperback weighs in at over 600 pages of text You really feel the length during certain trial sections The level of detail is exacting, at times witness by witness, meaning there is a lot of repetition At times, tedium set in, as I imagine it must have set in for the actual jurors on the seven month trial Bugliosi claims in Helter Skelter that this was the longest criminal trial in U.
S history It might have been the true then it certainly isn t now In any event, it was lengthy My general rule, though, is that too much information is better than too little I appreciated Bugliosi s unwillingness to skimp or summarize, even when that came at the expense of the pacing What did irritate me, however, is Bugliosi Gentry s portrayal of the central character Bugliosi himself I don t like reading first person accounts for the reason that they inherently lack objectivity That s the case here The underlying theme of Helter Skelter frankly, underlying is putting it mildly is that Bugliosi was always right, and everyone else was either wrong, or getting in the way He criticizes the LAPD, the LASO, his own DA s office, the judge at times, even though he got just about every ruling he requested , and most of all the defense attorneys Bugliosi may be right in some of his judgments, but he s certainly wrong in others of course, since he is the one telling the story, you won t see that mentioned For instance, Bugliosi who is generally extremely negative towards the defense attorneys directs a lot of ire at Patricia Krenwinkel s attorney Paul Fitzgerald Fitzgerald, who was called legendary by the Los Angeles Times, left his job at the Public Defender s Office in order to keep Krenwinkel as a client Bugliosi continually criticizes Fitzgerald as ineffective, and even intimates that Krenwinkel would ve walked on the LaBianca slayings had Fitzgerald done a better job This opinion is not shared by others who watched the trial, including a member of the DA s office You don t read any dissenting views in Helter Skelter instead, Bugliosi Gentry tell the story from Bugliosi s point of view, discounting even the possibility that there might be any other worth noting In the 20th anniversary afterword, Bugliosi pulls back from his criticism of Fitzgerald, perhaps mellowed by time and reflection Another example of the singularity of viewpoint comes from the fact that Stephen Kay, who assisted Bugliosi, rates only six mentions, even though Kay eventually had to retry Krenwinkel, whose Bugliosi conviction was overturned I read than my share of true crime, while acknowledging that it can be a sordid genre When done right, true crime provides a fascinating insight into the darkness and fragility of the human condition At its worse it is simply gratuitous There is nothing gratuitous or exploitative about Helter Skelter It is written in a matter of fact style It never rises to the level of artistry, but makes its points in the manner of a prosecutor s brief There are times when Bugliosi, who has already proven his case to the jury, seems intent on proving his case to the reader as well This does him credit He does not shy away from explaining what he thought the holes in his own case were Of course, he never lets even a smidgen of human doubt creep onto these pages, or ever acknowledges that he might have made a mistake In my own career doing criminal defense, the certainty of prosecutors has never ceased to amaze me.
When Manson finally died, it was front page news It begs the question why Why do we remember Charles Manson and his deeds It s a tough question to answer This wasn t an epoch turning crime, where America lost her innocence as though we ever had it To the contrary, this took place at the height of the Vietnam war My Lai had already occurred No, there was no innocence to be lost Further, despite Bugliosi s claim to the contrary, these slayings were not sui generis in their horrors Rather, the annals of American crime are filled with equally brutal slaughters, such as the ax murders of eight people including 6 kids in Villisca, Iowa, in 1912 Today, the Tate LaBianca murders seem in a terrible way almost quaint How do they compare, after all, to what has happened since Two high schoolers go into a library and begin methodically executing their fellow students A young man takes a high powered rifle into an elementary school and riddles 20 children and six adults with bullets Fifty eight people die at a concert in Vegas twenty six are murdered at a Texas church As Tommy Lee Jones says at the start of No Country For Old Men The crime you see now, it s hard to even take its measure It s a questions Bugliosi tries to answer, a bit defensively, in the 20th anniversary afterward His explanations, though, are not satisfactory The reason, I think, is that Bugliosi is the one at fault Bugliosi created Manson the celebrity, the magnetic Maharaja who need only part his lips to will murder be done This happened in two stages at trial, and with this book Bugliosi the prosecutor never needed to prove motive in his case Motive is not an element of murder Nevertheless, he made it a central feature He highlighted for the jury Manson s charm, his powers of control, and his loony ideas about a coming race war, all to prove that Manson s followers were under his sway In doing so, he gave credence to Manson s delusions People v Manson became a perverse kind of show trial, in which the defendant, rather than the State, was given an extraordinary platform Helter Skelter continued this trend A good story needs conflict between a protagonist and an antagonist Bugliosi, of course, cast himself as the dragon slaying hero He needed a foil worthy of being conquered Enter Manson Bugliosi takes great delight in the narrative in showing himself verbally sparring with Manson, even daring him to take the stand One of the results is that Manson grew in outsize proportion to his worth The world is full of terrible people, and Charles Manson used to be one of them He was a bad man, and nothing than that Bugliosi turned him into an enduring monster Helter Skelter is a classic, in its fashion But it also demands of us that we look at Manson and see something , to learn a lesson that does not exist Instead, we should probably think of looking away.
Prosecuting Attorney In The Manson Trial, Vincent Bugliosi Held A Unique Insider S Position In One Of The Most Baffling And Horrifying Cases Of The Twentieth Century The Cold Blooded Tate LaBianca Murders Carried Out By Charles Manson And Four Of His Followers What Motivated Manson In His Seemingly Mindless Selection Of Victims, And What Was His Hold Over The Young Women Who Obeyed His Orders Here Is The Gripping Story Of This Famous And Haunting Crime Pages Of B W Photographs It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down in the canyon.
The canyons above Hollywood and Beverly Hills play tricks with sounds A noise clearly audible a mile away may be indistinguishable at a few hundred feet.
It was hot that night.
Before the sun rose on August 9, 1969 in Bel Air at 10050 Cielo Drive five people lay horrifically and brutally slain Some would say that since one of the victims was in the final stages of pregnancy that the actual count was six What was not in doubt was that 10050 Cielo Drive looked like a human slaughterhouse On the front door, written in the blood of one of the victims later determined to be that of Sharon Tate was the word Pig The Los Angeles Police Department found no evidence of sexual molestation or mutilation There were no indications of ransacking or robbery No apparent motive could be found.
The following night of August 10,1969 two victims were found at 3301 Waverly Drive, both brutally slaughtered Writing in blood appeared in three places on the living room wall were the words Death to Pigs , to the left of the front door was the single word Rise and on the refrigerator were the two words Healter Skelter , the first of which was clearly misspelled No obvious motive presented itself to detectives.
There had been a previous single victim of a similar vicious attack on July 31, 1969 on 964 Old Topanga Road in Malibu One Gary Hinman, a thirty four year old music teacher had been found stabbed to death On the wall in the living room, not far from Hinman s body, were the words Political Piggy printed in the victim s blood In this case, officers from the Los Angeles Sheriff s Office, had a suspect in custody One Bobby Beausoleil, a young hippie musician, had been caught driving a car belonging to Hinman with blood on his shirt and trousers Since this arrest had occurred on August 6,1969 he was in custody during the perpetration of the other two crimes, however it was possible that he had not acted alone He had been living at an old movie ranch with a bunch of other hippies Their leader, a guy named Charlie had apparently convinced them all that he was Jesus Christ Despite the obvious similarities in these crimes it would be months before the LAPD acknowledged there was a connection.
On November 18, 1969 Vincent Bugliosi, age thirty five was handed the job of prosecuting the perpetrators of the slayings at Cielo and Waverly Drive.
During the course of his investigation and preparation for the trial Vincent Bugliosi came to believe that Charles Manson was as responsible for the killings as the people who had actually done the slaying In fact Bugliosi was convinced that the only reason the killings had happened at all was because Manson had commanded it Now he had to prove it.
Among the many barriers that Bugliosi had to overcome in order for justice to be served were Very little tangible evidence had been recovered from the crime scenes.
Statements made by family members who were involved in the slaying had to be handled with tender gloves due to Aranda, which basically says that the prosecution may not admit into evidence any statement made by a defendant that would indict a co defendant Therefore any intelligence garnered through these means had to be independently corroborated in some other way before it could be introduced into evidence The bumblings, mishandling, lack of follow up and general apathy of the LAPD.
Absence of an obvious, believable motive Bugliosi was certain he knew what it was but who was going to believe that Manson thought the Beatles were talking specifically to him through the lyrics of their White Album or that Helter Skelter was in essence the time when the the black people would rise up in rage against the whites and that he, Manson was the catalyst of that event.
Lack of sleep and exhaustion There was simply not enough time to achieve everything that had to be done.
A widespread pervasive atmosphere of fear that enveloped everyone even remotely connected to this case Not as it turned out entirely unfounded.
Witnesses, people of interest and even released suspects who fled L.
A and could either not be located or proved difficult to have returned.
Even though Charles Manson did not get his own hands dirty Bugliosi still needed to prove that the actual killers had acted on his command The outrageous courtroom antics of Manson, his family and his attorney, all aimed at disrupting proceedings and ultimately causing a mistrial Lest we forget, the victims Sharon TateHer unborn, yet fully formed babyJay SebringVoytek FrykowskiAbigail FolgerSteve ParentLeno LaBiancaRosemary LaBiancaGary HinmanThe bulk of this book is all about the investigation and preparation for the trials of Charles Manson and his family as well as the trials themselves As such it is full of detail and as repetitious as the circumstances dictate Even though I thought that I possessed a good understanding of this crime prior to reading this, I was wrong My mind is still swimming with all the things that I either misunderstood or had no knowledge of at all I am glad therefore that the record has been set straight I have avoided going into the grizzly details of these horrific crimes but be forewarned that the book makes no such claim The brutality visited upon every victim is laid out before you in graphic detail Sadly the world lost Vincent Bugliosi in June of last year May he forever rest in peace.
4 horror and contrarily respect filled stars The Book of books about one of the most shocking crimes ever committed Written in simple, clear, almost surgical language, it demands the reader s full attention and leads us right into the hell of one of the most evil minds to have walked this Earth, the mind of Charles Manson.
Although everyone knows the particulars of the massacres committed by the Family, the lack of remorse, the sheer power of all the brain washing done to the Girls of Manson s sect never fails to shock me and amaze me How easy it is for a human being to turn into a beast under the influence of drugs, sex and the vague promise of a self proclaimed Messiah.
It is not an easy read Far from it It requires the right mentality, it requires us to stay calm and try to let ourselves unaffected as the Helter Skelter unfolds in front of our eyes My high school US history class textbook was Bloodletters and Badmen A Narrative Encyclopedia of American Criminals from the Pilgrims to the Present It was an interesting, yet very enlightening, way to study the development of the US Think about it I also attribute this one course for my insatiable desire to read crime novels fiction or non For our final grade we had to read Helter Skelter The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi It s banned in many high schools now but we were, hmmmm, tougher back them Bugliosi was the Deputy DA in charge of prosecuting the Manson clan for the Tate murders He wrote the book shortly afterward and goes into vivid, graphic detail of the crimes, the scene, the testimony, the police background information It is incredible stuff The fact that Bugliosi was able to get a lifetime conviction for Manson, who wasn t there and never actually committed a crime, says a lot about Bugliosi s skill, the fear in America at the time and the nature of the US court system This is a fascinating read anytime as relevant today as it was then but is exceptionally good at Halloween Exciting news we re joining the Manson Family Today is a very big day for all of us at P Bryant Reviews Inc As you may have seen on our blog, we are joining the Manson family I wanted to take this opportunity to say that we always appreciate your feedback here at P Bryant Reviews Thank you for caring enough about us to tell us what you think Also, I wanted to assure you that P Bryant Reviews Inc and the team behind it are not going away We have no plans to change the P Bryant Review experience and we will continue to be the wonderful community we all cherish Partnering with the Manson Family will help us focus on making our reviews an even better experience for readers We greatly appreciate your enthusiasm and passion for P Bryant Reviews This is a big step for us, and we re excited to have you be a part of it Our new parent company chairman has issued a press release from Corcoran State Prison welcoming P Bryant Reviews Inc into his family In the press release he also explains his Aryan philosophy and why there should be a lot fewer people on the planet and how to achieve that goal We believe this meshes completely with our own goals and will help provide an even fun experience for review readers and book lovers moving forward.
Good grief Helter Skelter shocked me in many ways I had no idea that so many people were murdered or how batshit crazy and evil the Family was.
Charles Manson was not only an evil, little man but was extremely manipulative and cunning He was a con man, a racist and a misogynist He had the ability to read others from being in the prison system for years before he started the Family at Spahn Ranch which is located in the South Los Angeles area.
He would figure out the weaknesses and issues with a person and manipulate that into controlling and isolating them He took these skills along with drugs and sex to influence and control women and men coming into the Family.
I do believe that some of the women and men that came into the family were already foul to begin with and Manson just pushed them over the edgeYou can convince anybody of anything if you just push it at them all of the time They may not believe it 100 percent, but they will still draw opinions from it, especially if they have no other information to draw their opinions from Charles MansonWas this the best true crime book that I ve read No, it s not.
Helter Skelter is not light reading nor does it lack in details There are so many details in the investigation and trial.
I just took my time with the book Know this going in if you decide to read this book.
I still enjoyed all of the investigation details and the prosecution s case against Manson and the Family I was amazed at how lazy and imcompetant the LAPD was back in 1969 I m glad they ve gotten a bit better I m glad I finally read Helter Skelter since it s fascinating and creepy read I ve always wanted to read this retelling of a brutal, historical period in America during the 1960sWhenever people unquestioningly turn over their minds to authoritarian figures to do with as the please whether it be in a satanic cult or some of the fanatic offshoots of the Jesus Movement, in the right wing or the far left, or in the mind bending cults of the new sensitivity those potentials exist One hopes that none of these groups will spawn other Charles Mansons But it would be na ve to suggest that that chilling possibility does not exist Vincent Bugliosi
1969 was the end of an era, and the beginning of another Post WWII America up against Vietnam America as society rolls over from clean cut, white picket fences to long hair and free love While every decade ends differently than it began, the 60s might be even so than others when it comes to society, pop culture, and government While 1969 stands out in my mind as one of the most important years of our time, it wasn t until I read Helter Skelter that I realized how much happened at the end of that summer Woodstock August 15th 17th Neil Armstrong is the first man to walk on the Moon July 20th Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick July 18th Beatles crossing Abbey Road photo taken August 8th Tate LaBianca Manson Family Murders August 8th 9thWhile humanity had proven its ability to produce madness, one of the most insane and well publicized is the Manson Family and their reign of terror in Southern California in the late 1960s and the legacy that still haunts us today While I was somewhat familiar with Manson and the crimes committed by his followers, It was not until I read Helter Skelter that I realized all the facts Believe me, if you think what you know already is horrifying, just wait until you get the whole story.
Bugliosi is one of the most famous attorneys and true crime authors of our time The fact that he was the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial gave him a first hand view of the proceedings Because of this, Helter Skelter is probably the most well researched and presented true crime stories I have ever read It even sounds like Manson was impressed with Bugliosi than his own defense attorneys Now, a caveat here if you like your true crime to be of a retelling and less of a deep dive into the details or if you prefer a lighter abridged story something that might fit into an hour long show on the Investigation Discovery Channel , then this may not be the book for you While the crimes are discussed, the majority of the book is the trial, the evidence, and interviews with the witnesses Truly, this is not a book for the casual True Crime fan this is only for the hardcore I have seen some abridged copies of this book out there, perhaps they are best suited if you are not ready to commit to something this intense.
If you are ready for music, madness, and murder and want ALL the details you must check this book out So the simple fact is this man is crazier than a sh t house rat He s disturbing and sick And is his 80 year old nasty self still married to some 20 something year old I m not showing pictures I don t even want to do a review thinking some freaks are still out there and will come for us all And don t get me started on those crazy girls of his, well the whole crew, but still We are off to be charged with murder, and we don t care at all like my little jingle The book is filled with pictures of all kinds of things, some disturbing Lets just call this disturbing and call it a day No, I want to add some excerpts of one of the crazy heads She was like telling all of her stuff to a lady in jail Of course if freaked the lady prisoner out but that goes without saying Virginia asked her, Well, did you do it Susan looked at her and smiled and said, Sure Just like that Only the police had it wrong, she said They had her holding the man while the boy stabbed him, which was silly, because she couldn t hold a big man like that It was the other way round the boy held him and she had stabbed him, four or five times What stunned Virginia, she would later say, was that Susan described it just like it was a perfectly natural thing to do every day of the week Susan s conversations were not limited to murder Subjects ranged from psychic phenomena to her experiences as a topless dancer in San Francisco It was while there, she told Virginia, that she met a man, this Charlie He was the strongest man alive He had been in prison but had never been broken Susan said she followed his orders without question they all did, all the kids who lived with him He was their father, their leader, their love It was Charlie, she said, who had given her the name Sadie Mae Glutz You know, there s a case right now, they are so far off track they don t even know what s happening Virginia asked, What are you talking about That one on Benedict Canyon Benedict Canyon You don t mean Sharon Tate Yeah With this Susan seemed to get very excited The words came out in a rush You know who did it, don t you No Well, you re looking at her Virginia gasped, You ve got to be kidding Susan just smiled and said, Huh uh She asked the big question first Why, Sadie, why Because, Susan replied, we wanted to do a crime that would shock the world, that the world would have to stand up and take notice But why the Tate house Susan s answer was chilling in its simplicity It is isolated The place had been picked at random I mean seriously The book tells in detail about the day the people were found, all of the records that could be told, how they found the freaks and arrested them, how things were done to different people It s pretty graphic and then we go through the court cases Anyway, if you wanted to know about what all went down then this is the book.
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