Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

On 50th Anniversary Of Manson Family Rampage, South Coast Journalist Releases New Book About Case

They were two nights which left Southern California in terror. A rampage which left actress Sharon Tate and six others dead still draws attention a half century later. A Ventura journalist has written a new book about the murders, and the trial of Charles Manson and his followers.

Ivor Davis covered the gruesome murder cases, and the nearly year long trial for a British newspaper. With the 50 year anniversary of the crimes just a few weeks away, the case is getting new attention.

Davis has written a new book “Manson Exposed: A Reporter’s 50 Year Journey Into Madness and Murder.”

The journalist talks about Manson’s background. He says he spend most of his life in prison for a string of crimes. Davis says jail was in effect a training ground for Manson. Manson got out of jail in the 1960’s, during the era of growing sexual freedom and open drug use. He develop a cult following, largely made up of disenfranchised young women who would follow him blindly.

Manson was interested in music, and befriended some of the biggest names in the industry. He became friends with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, at one point living on the musician’s estate. Davis says it led to connections which he thought were going to lead to a big break in music. Producer Terry Melcher considered signing and recording Mason, but decided against it.

Manson was upset. Melcher had been living in a Beverly Hills home with his girlfriend, Candice Bergen. They had moved out. But, the reason the house is significant is because that’s where Sharon Tate, and four others were murdered in August on 1969. The night after the Tate murders night, two more people were brutally slain by Manson family members in what was a random attack

What was the motive for the killings? Prosecutors argued it had to do with Mason’s deluded interpretation of some Beatles music, which they say told him to prepare for a race war. But, the Ventura journalist believes the motive was actually something much simpler. He contends Mason was trying to cover up a killing he had ordered of a musician over money. Davis says Mason thought some copycat murders would lead police away from Manson and his followers.

Manson was convicted, and died behind bars, in 2017, at the age of 83.

The new book by Davis is being released Wednesday.

On Friday, Davis will appear at the Museum of Ventura County. He’ll speak at a 6:30 p.m. event at the museum in Ventura.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
Related Stories