Notorious serial killer Charles Manson believed to be close to death

Charles Manson, the cult leader who sent followers known as the "Manson Family" out to commit gruesome murders, shattering the peace-and-love ethos of the 1960s hippie era in California, has been hospitalised in a serious condition.

Manson, 83, was in a Bakersfield, California hospital, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing Kern County Sheriff’s lieutenant Bill Smallwood.

A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to comment to the Los Angeles Times. She cited privacy laws that preclude the agency "from commenting on protected health information for any inmate in our custody," the newspaper reported.

According to sources close to TMZ, his health is deteriorating and "it's just a matter of time" before he dies.

Manson, who was serving a life term for orchestrating one of the most notorious crimes in US history, had been imprisoned for more than 45 years at California State Prison, Corcoran.

In the 1960s, Manson, an ex-convict, assembled a group of runaways and outcasts known as the "Manson Family."

In the summer of 1969, he directed his mostly young, female followers to murder seven people in what prosecutors said was part of a plan to incite a race war.

Prosecutors said it wanted to incite a race war between white and black people, that Manson believed was in The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” song.

Among the victims was actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski.

She was stabbed 16 times by cult members.

Manson was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield in January for what authorities described only as a serious medical problem, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In 1975, Manson devotee Lynette Fromme pointed a gun at then US President Gerald Ford in an attempted assassination. She was sentenced to life in prison.

Manson and his devotees would eventually be convicted of murdering nine people, but authorities believe the group’s victims may have numbered more than 30.

Manson was originally condemned to death. He was spared execution and his sentence was converted to life in prison after the state Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in California.

The California state prison has medical facilities,however California prisoners are usually transported to outside hospitals if they need “surgical services, emergency care, or diagnostic services of an acute nature”, Joyce Hayhoe, a spokeswoman for the federal receiver who controls prison medical care, said.

Reuters


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