Manson is serving nine concurrent life sentences in California's Corcoran State Prison for conspiracy to murder. In the late 1960s, his followers, known as the Manson Family, carried out a series of murders in his name, including that of actress Sharon Tate.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson confirmed that Manson is still alive, but added that the CDCR does not "disclose inmate movements for safety and security reasons."
In the late 1960s, Manson attracted around 100 followers with his interest in alternative religions, including Scientology and the Church of the Final Judgment, as well as regular use of hallucinogenic drugs. In August 1969, Manson and his four most loyal followers – Charles "Tex" Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian – carried out the seven murders that would ultimately land them in prison.
During her trial in 1970, Atkins confessed to murdering Tate and four others – Steven Parent, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger – in Tate's home on Aug. 9, 1969. Atkins admitted to using Tate's blood to write the word "PIG" on the front door of the home. Tate, who was married to filmmaker Roman Polanski, was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time of her death.
On Aug. 10, 1969, Watson, Atkins, Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — the youngest of Manson's followers — broke into the home of Leno LaBianca, a grocery store chain owner, and his wife Rosemary. The group stabbed the couple to death, using their blood to write "Rise," "Death to Pigs" and "Healter Skelter" on the walls and refrigerator.
Atkins initially said she "felt no guilt" for the murders. In a 2000 parole hearing, Atkins' tune had changed: "I don't have to just make amends to the victims and families," she said. "I have to make amends to society. I sinned against God and everything this country stands for." She died in prison in 2009.
Manson was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was converted to life in prison after the California Supreme Court ruled in February 1972 that the death penalty as it stood at the time qualified as "cruel and unusual punishment" under the state's constitution. Manson's imprisonment has been fraught with drama: He's been denied parole dozens of times, has been caught owning a cell phone twice and has accumulated over 100 infractions since his sentencing in 1971. In 2015, Manson almost married a 27-year-old fan, Afton Elaine Burton, but their marriage license expired. Shortly before the marriage license expired, unfounded allegations began circling, claiming that Burton only wanted to marry Manson to put his corpse on display.
While the CDCR is unable to provide information confirming Manson's location or health, a source reportedly told the Bakersfield Californian that Manson was taken to Bakersfield's Mercy Hospital on Sunday night and signed into the hospital as "Joe Doe."