On January 12, 1971, Charles Manson and three of his followers were found guilty of the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others. The murders, which took place in the summer of 1969, were some of the most notorious in American history and captivated the nation's attention.
Charles Manson was a cult leader who believed that an apocalyptic race war was imminent. He and his followers, known as the "Manson Family," lived on a ranch in California and followed Manson's every command. Manson preached that the race war, which he called "Helter Skelter," could be hastened by committing gruesome murders and blaming them on African Americans.
On the night of August 8, 1969, Manson sent four of his followers - Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Linda Kasabian, and Charles "Tex" Watson - to the home of actress Sharon Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski. Tate, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was stabbed to death along with four other people who were at the house. The next night, Manson and his followers killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, a couple living in Los Angeles.
Manson and his followers were arrested and charged with the murders. Their trial, which began in June 1970, was a media sensation and attracted widespread attention. On January 25, 1971, Manson and three of his followers - Atkins, Krenwinkel, and Watson - were found guilty of the Tate and LaBianca murders. They were sentenced to death, but their sentences were later commuted to life in prison when the death penalty was temporarily abolished in California.
The Tate murders remain one of the most shocking and disturbing crimes in American history. They continue to be the subject of numerous books, movies, and documentaries, and they serve as a reminder of the dangers of cults and extremist ideologies.