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Manson may soon receive just reward

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Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial

We bring you some good news this morning.

Charles Manson, age 83, is reported to be near death in a California hospital. Soon, the taxpayers of California will no longer be feeding, clothing and housing one of the most notorious mass murderers in American history.

Everyone has heard of Charles Manson, but younger readers may not be familiar with exactly what crimes he committed to join the likes of John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy in the Infamous Killers Hall of Fame.

In the late 1960s, Manson was a sociopathic ex-convict drifting from place to place. He landed in Los Angeles and created a cult of personality around himself, exploiting and manipulating young hippies with psychedelic drugs and sex. He also wrote songs and played the guitar.

The so-called Manson Family formed on a ramshackle ranch outside Los Angeles in 1969. Manson convinced his followers that the Beatles song, "Helter Skelter," foretold a coming race war in America. So, Manson directed them to butcher seven people in Los Angeles and stage the crime scenes to make it look like black radicals committed the murders.

Sharon Tate, an aspiring actress and wife of film director Roman Polanski, was among the stabbing victims. She was pregnant at the time.

Manson was convicted of capital murder and has been imprisoned since 1971. While in prison, he carved a swastika on his forehead and dealt drugs to fellow inmates. He knew how to promote himself and became a highly desirable "get" for professional interviewers such as Charlie Rose. Manson had crazy eyes that made for good television.

Fascination with Manson's evil didn't end there. Over the years, bands thought it would be cool to cover his songs. One "artist" took the stage name Marilyn Manson -- a combo of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson -- to generate his 15 minutes of fame back in the 1990s.

Most thinking people have a love/hate relationship with the death penalty. No one wants to see an innocent man or woman strapped to a gurney and killed. And that has happened too often.

Unfortunately, legal technicalities kept Manson out of the death house. He now serves a life sentence with possibility of parole -- something no sane parole board would ever grant.

Manson deserves a special place in hell. Prison was not punishment enough. In life, he worked hard to be known as the personification of evil. We hope his death brings a measure of relief to the friends and families of those he tormented and murdered.