Brook Carey was the warden of California Institution for Women (CIW) Frontera for a year from March 1975 until February 1976. She applied for the job almost on a lark having had no training or experience working in the law enforcement field in any capacity. To her surprise she landed the job only to find out later that she was hired to fail. The book The Accidental Warden (2008) is about her year of being the warden at the only women's prison in California at that time. It was during this year that four Manson Family women were incarcerated at the prison, Atkins, Brunner, Krenwinkel and Van Houten.
The book was okay, a short and easy read. Prison politics make up the majority of the book as well as the things that Carey felt she had done to improve the system and make it work better. There are bits about the Manson Family women and even a chapter on a visit she made to Manson while he was in San Quentin. She went to visit him to tell him the women did not want him to try to make contact with them any longer. They felt that further contact would hurt their chances of getting parole, they just wanted to do their time and get out. (We know that hasn't gone so well!)
The one thing in the book that I had never heard about was a threatening letter sent to the FBI, presumably by a Family member on the outside, saying that unless all the Family members were released by a certain date, five people a day would be killed. They already had the first five chosen. Here is an image of a transcription of the letter as it appears on pages 90 and 91 of the book. The letter was postmarked Chicago Illinois.
I tried to find if this threat ever hit the newspapers and I could not find anything about it. As this happened around June and July of 1975 before Squeaky tried to assassinate President Ford and before Sandy Good and Susan Murphy were arrested for writing all those letters threatening corporations and the heads of those corporations. I'm inclined to think that it was Sandy and Squeaky who were behind the letter being sent even if they did not send it themselves.
While doing the newspaper search I found an article that tells about Manson threatening to send five people to kill Nixon and Reagan. There seems to be a theme with the number five here between the two threats. This article is from the Edwardsville (ILL) Intelligencer, September 11, 1975. Had Squeaky never tried to assassinate President Ford we probably never would have known about this threat either.
Great find Deb. Your research skills never cease to amaze me.....
Thanks Doc! I know your familiar with the Zodiac case, too. Doesn't this threat letter sound a lot like the unconfirmed, so called Channel 9 letter? I wish the author had published the actual letter and not a transcript.
I've searched and can't find anything called the channel 9 letter. Can you post a link? As far as the Zodiac/Manson connection goes I don't think the cases are related.
That must be why Manson did the Reagan Jr. Interview...he felt bad about threatening to behead him when he was a kid.
@Max: Manson felt Bad ?? You know in that Reagan Jr Interview, to Me it seems Manson Feels nothing,Knows not where he is, doesnt know what He is doing, Doesnt even know who is interviewing him, doesnt know what Day it is,doesnt know what year,and so on and so on.... Seems like the Prison-Medic gave Manson some help to get into ,Another Time&Other Place,..... in Space.
@Doc Sierra: Got you several URL about the ,,Channel 9 letter,,
Hope they are to use for you.
Doc, Hellz gave you good links to that Channel 9 letter. Thanks Hellz!!!
I do not think there is any sort of a Zodiac Manson connection either but I do think that the Family and/or associates are goofy enough to have faked a Zodiac letter.
I agree with you Deb.....
"get it going"?
Shame the language is so vague. What might they have wanted to "get going" via the Tate-La Bianca killings?
Surely the Family couldn't have bought into the Bug's Helter Skelter BS could they?
Surely not... ;)
Hellz, I think you are thinking of a different interview?
Anyway, I was joking...
Great work Deb:
That letter had put the FBI on edge. When Toby and I were supeoned to Sacrmento in the Squeaky Assassination case, the FBI greeted US and we could tell immediately something was crazy dangerous. Sandra Good physically confronted us in the Federal Court Hallway and the agent escorting behind us to the courtroom said something like "Move away, I'm taking her out." I said, "No, No" and he refrained from shooting her right then and there.
Just before we arrived in Sacramento an off-duty sherriff / cop ( and Deb you can probably find something on this) was walking his wife / girlfriend in a resturant parking lot, at night, to their car and a guy walked up, with a gun, and demanded money. The Sherriff calmly said: "let me get my wallet" and reached behind his back, drew a revolver and shot the "bad guy."
The whole town was talking about the incident and I could sense something had put "law enforcement" in a "take no prisoners mode."
Before we left LA for Sacramento, I told the FBI I would be packing a gun and they "understood" without any reservation.
The letter is more likely than not written by someone, at least, familiar with the Manson Family beliefs and motivations. AND there we have AGAIN the label "PIGS." Maybe "Death to Pigs" was merely a miss-spelling of the phrase Helter Skelter ?????????
ANYWAY, listen to Manson's now infamous SPEECH at the end of "MANSON." Even the traffic ticket SCAM is relevant, as is the word "PIG."
It's the "ask the BUG, he knows us" that throws me. If Bugliosi KNEW the real Manson Family, why the Helter Skelter mumbo-jumbo ?
Interesting stuff Mr Hendrickson, very interesting.
Your last question intrigues me. If the letter is genuine, what would your answer to your own question be?
I mean, do you entirely rule out the possibility of there being some truth in the Helter Skelter motive?
Could HS be something that Manson did indeed mention or describe at times, something the others heard, but something which was not exactly the motivational centrepiece of his actions? They took the trouble to (mis)write it at the LaBianca house. Why?
My problem is that I often read people saying that Bug needed to nail Manson as well as the actual knife-wielders, and Helter Skelter was the way he did it. But there was ample evidence, a great deal of evidence that Manson was absolutely in charge of things, that he was capo di tutti capi at Spahn, that he gave orders to the others before they left for Cielo, that he entered the La Bianca home and began their ordeal. Given that all this evidence and testimony existed, and given that motive wasn't necessary for a conviction, why on earth did Bug feel the need to invent an absurd eschatological race-war as motive in order to convict Manson?
Plus, it's such a mental theory, it just doesn't sound like something a man like Bug would invent. It sounds like Manson.
I honestly don't get that. Am I missing something? Probably :)
Robert, lately I have been toying with the idea that the Bug may not have come up with the Helter Skelter prosecution idea (the black/white race war) all on his own but was told by the DA's office to work it into prosecution to justify the sheriff's office having never retained Manson in custody and sent him back to prison after any of the many times Manson was arrested for both misdemeanor and felony crimes. At the very least Manson committed enough parole violations to be sent back without ever having to be convicted of a single additional crime.
In an interview Paul Krassner did with Preston Guillory, Guillory says-
“Deputies at the station quite frankly became very annoyed that no action was being taken about Manson. My contention is this–the reason Manson was left on the street was because our department thought that he was going to attack the Black Panthers. We were getting intelligence briefings that Manson was anti-black and he had supposedly killed a Black Panther, the body of which could not be found, and the department thought that he was going to launch an attack on the Black Panthers.
“Manson was a very ready tool, apparently, because he did have some racial hatred and he wanted to vent it. But they hadn’t anticipated him attacking someone other than the Panthers, which he did. Manson changed his score. Changed the program at the last moment and attacked the Tates and then went over to the LaBiancas and killed them. And here was the Sheriff’s Department suddenly wondering, ‘Jesus Christ, what are we gonna do about this? We can’t cover this up. Well, maybe we can.’"
I have no reason to think that Guillory is not telling the truth. Maybe this is what the Bug knew and that the Family knew he knew! The nine people who died at the hands of the Family would have never been killed had the sheriff's office done their job and put Manson back in prison and I'm betting the sheriff's office as well as the DA's office didn't want anyone to make that connection.
I am not saying that the people who were convicted of all the murders should get any kind of pass because of law enforcements bungling of the situation. The people who were convicted are most definitely responsible but the sheriff's office created an atmosphere where Manson thought he was invincible and Manson became more and more delusional.
Deb S, let me see if I understand.
The sheriff's office had not detained Manson prior to the killings because they thought he was a racist murderer.
Then he murdered some white people, and the DA's office tried to cover up state inactivity by ordering Bug to devote almost the whole trial to establishing that Manson was... a racist murderer?
"my contention is" that this is a risky, entirely unnecessary, and illogical way to go about a cover-up of the sort Guillory suggests.
If I'm the DA and I know the sheriff's office has knowingly let this guy run loose because he may take out a few Panthers, the last thing I do is order the prosecutor to unnecessarily turn the trial into a detailed forensic examination of Manson's racist theology. It doesn't add up, does it? I want to keep that stuff OUT of the public eye as much as possible, I don't want some reporter starting to look into these things.
Not convinced, Deb.
Michael I can only offer that it was a totally different mind set back then. There was no 24/7/365 news as there is today. Most news was limited to dinnertime and the 11pm news which did not allow for variety and depth that news is covered in today.
The LA DA's office has never been squeaky clean nor particularly brilliant. The public wanted to see someone convicted of the TLB murders and they were not apt to complain about how it was accomplished.
Deb S, I take your point; but I also stand by mine - which is that the WORST way to cover-up one particular set of facts is to deliberately and unnecessarily draw attention to the very aspect you want to hide by inventing a story you don't even need, if what you're after is a conviction.
Did you kill Mr and Mrs LaBianca? - Yes, we did.
Did Charlie tell you to do that? - Yes, he did.
Bang, conviction. Sorted. If you need motive, (and you don't), target drugs, target hippy culture, target some cult, anything the establishment wants to discredit. Don't invent an insane motive that draws attention to Charlie's run-in with the Panthers.
Conspiracists are fond of telling people to examine every issue through the lens of the question, "Who benefits?"
I've yet to see any coherent explanation of who benefited from the supposed invention of Helter Skelter as a motive. It just wasn't necessary for a conviction of Manson. It wouldn't have been a problem to demonstrate the true (and far more easily understood) motive behind his actions: that he was a manipulative sociopathic thug fuelled by bitterness and resentment, an outsider angry at a world that had failed to recognise his spiritual and artistic genius.
But we're supposed to believe that the DA decided that would never wash, and that the jury would be more likely to believe a concocted story about an end-times racial war being sparked by a murder in a Hollywood home...
Michael & Deb, your mental observations and comments are very stimulating and most relevant to the MANSON case mystique.
I have Bugliosi on audio tape and HE proclaims HE came-up with the Helter Skelter motivation theory.
Of course, that could be HIS ego speeking. He claims HE got the idea from Little Paul Watkins, Brooks Poston, and Greg Jackbson (Re: Death to Pigs) BUT those three were NOT in touch with the Family for months just prior to the Tate massacre.
A few Malibu sub-station sheriff's deputies were hooked-up with the Family, so the STORY of the cops KNOWING can be TRUE. ( IE - SEE "Inside the MANSON Gang" where a sheriff deputy car visits the Family just minutes before WE do the original Manson Family Jams in the saloon at Spahn Ranch.
Even to this day, the Malibu Sheriff's deputies have their own special kind of "law enforcement" community. Back in the day, they even had a special "drug" connection with the infamous Malibu Cafe / Pharmacy. Gee Golly Wiz folks, aren't the cops entitled to some good shit, just like the rest of us.
The Malibu cops, even to this day, have their own cemetery - just talk to the parents of Patrice Williams - she DISAPPEARED from the Malibu jail - only to be discovered months later up in the Malibu mountains.
For story tellers, filmmakers and certain others, this place called Hollywoood is as good as it gets !!!
Fascinating food for thought Mr Hendrickson. I always love reading your contributions.
Is this audio - or a transcript thereof - available to peruse anywhere online? I'd be really interested in hearing more.
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