Five days ago, Charles Manson was denied parole in his 12th, and probably final, bid for freedom. By law, he can only reapply for parole after 15 years, at which time he would be 92.
Although the news that one of the world’s most notoriously brutal murderers is to be denied exit from jail is somewhat unremarkable, it has brought to light a bizarre tale of enduring friendship, a concept that we wouldn’t usually associate with Manson and his darkly nicknamed “family” of obedient killers.
Two women, both 17 at the time of Manson’s 1969 murders, have formed a long-lasting friendship based on these horrendous events, bonding together to ensure that he is never released from prison.
One of these women is Barbara Hoyt, a former member of Manson’s notorious “family.” The other is Debra Tate, the younger sister of Sharon Tate, an actress murdered by members of Manson’s gang while she was eight months pregnant.
It would have been natural if these women were hostile toward each other. Yet their determination to keep Manson, whose death sentence was changed to a life sentence because of a California Supreme Court decision to outlaw the death penalty, jailed bound them together, becoming the basis of a decades-long friendship, still going strong as the women hit their 60s.
Hoyt, though formerly part of Manson’s inner circle, never committed any of the crimes he masterminded and went on to testify as a witness of these murders, resulting in Manson’s and his fellow culprits’ conviction.
She therefore shares Tate’s interest in these prisoners never being released, both for her own safety and for Tate’s desire that they should atone for their crimes.