Charles Milles Manson (12 November 1934 - 19 November 2917) was an American criminal and cult leader. In mid-1967, he began forming what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune based in California. Manson's followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations in July and August 1969. In 1971, he was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people, all of which members of the group carried out at his instruction. Manson was also convicted of first-degree murder for two other deaths. Manson was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life with the possibility of parole after California invalidated the state's death penalty statute in 1972.
Manson and his followers were convicted of the murders based on the prosecution's theory that they were part of a plan to trigger a "Helter Skelter" scenario. According to this, guided by his interpretation of The Beatles lyrics, Manson adopted the term "Helter Skelter" to describe an impending apocalyptic race war. He and his followers, who were mostly young women, believed that the murders would help precipitate that war.