Before the murders, he was a singer-songwriter on the fringe of the Los Angeles music industry, chiefly through a chance association with Dennis Wilson, drummer and founding member of the Beach Boys.
Manson believed in what he called "Helter Skelter", a term he took from the Beatles' song of the same name to describe an impending apocalyptic race war.
Manson was also convicted of first-degree murder for two other deaths.
At the time the Manson Family began to form, Manson was an unemployed ex-convict who had spent half of his life in correctional institutions for a variety of offenses.
The three escapees were attempting to drive to California in stolen cars when they were arrested in Utah.
They had robbed several filling stations along the way. His aunt visited him and told administrators she would let him stay at her house and would help him find work.
He allowed Maddox to believe that he was an army colonel, although "Colonel" was merely his given name.
She was arrested for grand larceny, but not convicted.
After moving to Indianapolis, Maddox started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, where she met an alcoholic named Lewis (no first name), whom she married in August 1943.
Charles Milles Manson (né Maddox, November 12, 1934 – November 19, 2017) was an American criminal and cult leader.
In the late 1960s, he formed what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune in California.