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43 Years After the Manson Murders: What happened to “And Justice for All”?
By Alisa Statman, author of the book, Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice
As the 43 anniversary of the Manson murders passed with summer, the horrific details of this tragedy are relayed with increasing banality. In the press and at their parole hearings, the Manson family killers, Bruce Davis, Charles “Tex” Watson, Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel’s legal rights and accomplishments now overshadow the violence of their crimes and all that was lost for their victims: Gary Hinman, Donald Shea, Rosemary and Leno LaBianca, Steven Parent, Woytek Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring, and Sharon Tate, who were shot, stabbed, and bludgeoned to death by the Manson family in the summer of 1969.
As Jay Sebring’s sister noted at Susan Atkins’ (who died in 2009) parole hearing, “She’s got all these things she’s done, all these committees, all these organizations, all these degrees, but the bottom line is, she’s just as much a murderer today as she was thirty-six years ago because my brother is just as dead as he was thirty-six years ago.”
Prior to 1982, when Sharon Tate’s mother, Doris, began her campaign for victims’ equal rights, none existed for victims or the survivors of murder victims. As the campaign the Victims’ Bill of Rights, ramped up, Doris reached out to victims’ family members across California. The universal complaint was that they felt neglected or even abused by the judicial system in one instance a judge told the mother of a victim, Ma’am, your daughter lost all her rights the day she was murdered