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Photo of Charles Manson is released by prison officials

The image shows the convicted mass murderer with a receding hairline, a thick gray beard and a fading swastika-shaped scar on his forehead.

March 19, 2009|Andrew Blankstein

California corrections officials released a photograph taken Wednesday of aging convicted mass murderer Charles Manson, replete with receding hairline, fading forehead swastika carving and a thick, heavily graying beard.

The photograph of the 74-year-old cult leader was taken at Corcoran State Prison, where he is serving a life sentence, and is part of periodic updates of inmate images by prison officials, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The 40th anniversary of the Manson killings is in August. Manson and other members of his so-called family were convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate and six other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area during two August nights in 1969. Prosecutors said that Manson and his followers were trying to incite a race war that he believed was prophesied in the Beatles' song "Helter Skelter."

Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was 8 1/2 months' pregnant when she was killed at her hilltop home in Benedict Canyon on Aug. 9, 1969. Besides Tate, four others were stabbed and shot to death: Jay Sebring, 35; Voytek Frykowski, 32; Abigail Folger, 25, a coffee heiress; and Steven Parent, 18, a friend of Tate's caretaker. The word "Pig" was written on the front door in blood. The next night, Manson rode along with his followers to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, then left three to kill the couple.

Manson has made 11 failed bids for parole since 1978, the last in 2007, when he was ordered to continue serving life sentences. Manson's next parole hearing is scheduled for 2012.

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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