One of the ongoing debates about the Manson case centers on this question: Why did some Family members kill while others did not?

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.

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. Linda Kasabian was a young girl who was looking for Jesus. She’d been up to Haight-Ashbury. She’d been to Taos, New Mexico, the American Psychedelic Circus in Boston—looking for Jesus. Finally, she found who in her mind was Jesus—Charlie was Jesus. That’s why she joined the Family. She was cut out of different cloth than the others. She was the closest to a true hippie in the Family. The others looked like hippies, but they were murderers.

CATHERINE SHARE, member of the Family. Sixty-six years old, she is a writer. Vince believes there was a bad seed in the ones who did it. That’s where Vince and I differ. I respect him in many ways, but we differ here. We’ve talked about it. I know how little willpower we all had left, because I know how little willpower I had left. Vince thinks some were good and some were bad. I’ll just say some were more brainwashed than others, had less of a personality.