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Author Steve Oney

  • Steve Oney

 

The Second Coming of NPR West

The nation’s largest public radio network invests—again—in L.A. Read more...

Herb Alpert: Always in Tune



Manson: An Oral History

Forty years ago Charles Manson, a psychopath passing himself off as a hippie guru, sent members of his "Family" on one of the bloodiest killing sprees in L.A. history. Those involved in the murders and their aftermath speak out Read more...

Manson Web Extra: CITY OF FEAR

VINCENT BUGLIOSI, deputy district attorney. He is 74 and the author of several books, including Helter Skelter (cowritten with Curt Gentry), the definitive account of the case. After the murders people stayed inside their homes with their doors locked. We had heard of burglaries, but not of killers going into homes and mercilessly stabbing people to death. The randomness of it all just terrified L.A. If you’re not safe in your own home, where in the heck are you safe? Overnight the sale of guns and guard dogs skyrocketed, as did the hiring of security guards. Read more...

Manson Web Extra: EXTRA! EXTRA!

VINCENT BUGLIOSI, deputy district attorney. He is 74 and the author of several books, including Helter Skelter (cowritten with Curt Gentry), the definitive account of the case. The media were different. Back then it was the newspapers. The case was on the national TV news every night—but just for a minute. There weren’t any talking heads. The papers covered the big murder cases bigger than they do today. The jury was sequestered, and the windows on the bus that transported the jurors from the Hall of Justice to the Ambassador Hotel were soaped up so they couldn’t see headlines on street corners. The Manson case was one of the last great print stories. It was told with screaming headlines. Read more...

Manson Web Extra: FLYING KITES

GARY FLEISCHMAN, Linda Kasabian’s lawyer. Now 75, he practices in Northern California. Linda Kasabian had seen them committing mayhem at the Tate house. She had driven the killers to the LaBianca residence, but she hadn’t done anything. Still, she was technically guilty of first-degree murder. I said to her, “You’re broke. You’re pregnant, and you were there. You must become a prosecution witness.” The prosecution already had Sadie. I call her Sadie, but her name is Susan Atkins. She was an active participant in the murders and was going to testify against Manson. I told Linda, “Sadie is flaky, and they’re gonna sell her out before it’s done. They promised her no death penalty, but they will screw her over. She killed people. We have to help this process along.” I told Linda, “You start passing Sadie kites.” A “kite” is a letter that goes into the prison system. I said, “Hand her a kite and talk Charlie-talk to her.” Linda knew exactly what I meant. Charlie Manson always spoke in these sort of backward riddles. So I told Linda, hand Sadie some kites that say, “Your lawyer is the D.A., the D.A. is your lawyer, the D.A. is Charlie, Charlie is selling you out, and you’re being sold.” So Linda starts passing these kites to dumb Susan Atkins. This goes on for a couple of months, and Susan clams up. She ain’t gonna say anything else to help the prosecution. They have to find somebody else to testify. Read more...

Manson Web Extra: JOURNALISTIC JITTERS

STEVEN V. ROBERTS, Los Angeles bureau chief of The New York Times. He is 66 and a professor at George Washington University. At first I wasn’t freaked out by the Manson Family. A reporter is a reporter; I was there to try to figure them out. Besides, I’m not sure that when I first met the women I even knew about their actual involvement in the killings. Later it became much creepier. One of these women had a baby. I forget which one. My wife and I had a small child. I actually felt sorry for these women. I felt they had been badly used by Manson. At one point—and this was partly to win their confidence—I actually packed up a load of our baby’s used clothes and gave them to whichever woman it was who had the baby. After I did that, my wife got really upset. She felt that I had done something stupid. She thought this would somehow be a link, an encouragement that would cause them to come looking for us. We lived in a very remote place, the last house on Big Rock Drive in Malibu. There was nothing but open country behind us. In the best of circumstances, it was a little creepy. At night it was very dark out there, and I remember there was a period when some of the Family were still at large that my wife would freak out seeing headlights coming up our road. Read more...

Manson Web Extra: LAST WORDS

CATHERINE SHARE, member of the Family. Sixty-six years old, she is a writer. Never let anybody else do your thinking for you. Get your self-worth from God and from inside. If someone tells you to do everything they say and claims to have all the answers, and you find yourself nodding a lot, then you’re probably in a cult, whether it has a church’s name or is the Manson Family. Read more...

Manson Web Extra: NATURE OR NURTURE

BARBARA HOYT, member of the Family. Fifty-seven years old, she is a registered nurse. I think the ones who actually did it might have caused a lot of harm or death to people anyway, even without Charlie. I think they have that in them. Sadie [Susan Atkins], when she was 18 before she ever joined the Family, held a gun on an Oregon cop and said to him when he caught her, “I should have shot you.” Tex Watson did a burn on a drug deal, and he left a girl as a hostage and split. They threatened to kill her, and he didn’t care. So they had it in them to really hurt people. I don’t know about Patricia Krenwinkel, but Leslie Van Houten certainly had it in her. Read more...

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