Notorious cult leader and murderer Charles Manson dead in prison at 83

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Notorious murderer and cult leader Charles Manson died at 83 of natural causes on Sunday evening, according to prison officials in California.

Manson shocked the world with a series of brutal murders and his face became a symbol of evil for many as he displayed seemingly no remorse and made dark, menacing statements.

He was deemed responsible for a two-day murderous rampage through southern California in August 1969 that left seven people dead.

Pregnant actress Sharon Tate, hairstylist Jay Sebring, heiress Abigail Folger, writer Wojciech Frykowski and teenager Steven Parent, were killed at Tate's rental home on Aug. 9.

The five were murdered in the California home Tate rented with her husband, Hollywood director Roman Polanski, in the secluded neighborhood of Benedict Canyon.

The next day, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were killed at their home.

While Manson didn't commit the killings himself, he commanded others to do so.

Prosecutors said he handed out knives and told his followers to commit savage murders of high-profile people around Los Angeles in a bid to start a race war.

The Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys released a statement quoting Vincent Bugliosi, the attorney who prosecuted Manson.

"Manson was an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values," the statement quoted Bugliosi. "Today, Manson's victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death," the statement concludes.

Manson's followers recounted the gory details of the stabbings "with a certain amount of glee" after the August 1969 murders, Dianne Lake, a teenager who was in love with Manson at the time, told ABC News.

Manson's apparent lack of remorse for the horrific murders added to the public outrage. He declared "I don't have any guilt," to the press ahead of his trial.

Manson and three of his followers were convicted in 1971 and sentenced to death, but the death sentences were commuted to life sentences when a California Supreme Court ruling abolished capital punishment in 1972.

Manson was later convicted of two additional murders and spent nearly five decades behind bars since his 1971 conviction. He was housed in a protective unit at a California state prison in Corcoran prior to his death on Sunday. He died in a Kern County hospital.

ABC News' Andrew Paparella and Lauren Effron contributed to this report.

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