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Charles Manson - Quotes throughout the years concerning the trial and media


“Had you let us put on a defense, we could’ve explained to you why it happened.”                                                

 - Charles Manson, 1989    (Source: Penny Daniels interview)



 “I don’t know all the things you know, but you don’t know the things I know either, and I don’t disrespect you and take your rights. So give me my fucking rights. You can’t fool me. You can’t trick me. I didn’t have nothing to do with killing those people, period. I’ve told you that all the way down the line. I wasn’t around anyone when they were killed. I’m not saying I’m not capable of doing it myself, but I’m just saying this: I did not do that. And I could’ve proved it in a court of law.”

- Charles Manson, 1997      (Source: Parole Hearing)



“I didn’t push them people to do nothing. Them people did what they wanted to do. I didn’t make no one lay down for anything. If they didn’t want to lay down they didn’t lay down. I had a confederate sword and I hung it in the kitchen. I said “don’t lie. If you like this ranch don’t lie. If you lie, this sword might jump off and come get you.” But I didn’t have anything to do with directing traffic. I don’t know how many times, how many ways it can be said.”   

- Charles Manson, 1994  (Source: Bill Murphy)


“I’ve done nothing I’m ashamed of. Nothing I couldn’t face God with. I wouldn’t kill a bug.”                            

- Charles Manson, 1987    (Source:  Life Magazine interview)


“The Charlie Manson that you’ve created, that’s not me. That’s only an illusion in your minds, it hasn’t got anything to do with me.”

- Charles Manson, 1985     (Source: Nuell Emmons interview)


 “You are upset because one of your actors got on the wrong lane doing something with the wrong people.  And you want to blame somebody else for it. And you got to dig up some poor-ass idiot that don’t have the brain of a retarded spastican and make him a cult leader!”                                                          

- Charles Manson, 2004    (Source: Crime Magazine)



“In the penitentiary you learn this: don’t lie. Don’t lie, man. If someone catches you in a lie you leave yourself open to get snuffed. And all my life I lived in that eye of: tell the truth. Pay your debts. Don’t get involved in other people’s business. Do your number, do your time.  And you learn to stand on your own. So, I am walking and standing on my own.   People see me standing on my own and not too many people in your world can do that. And I don’t realize that at that particular time. I don’t realize how weak and mindless you people are.”  

- Charles Manson, 1986    (Source: Charlie Rose)


“I feel that it’s pitiful. Pitiful that society has created such a situation. First of all, I ain’t got a family. There never was a family. That’s a product of the prosecuting attorney’s imagination.

Second, it’s pitiful that the parents aren’t closer to their kids so their children wouldn’t be looking for something outside of their homes for something to join, or someone to follow.

I didn’t produce these kids. They are a product of their parents. I didn’t recruit them, it was the other way around. I came out of prison a child and I was looking for guidance and a way to live. The children took me in.  Through them I learned how to maneuver and exist in the streets without starving. They taught me what love and freedom was because I had never experienced either. At some point, I may have become a pivotal person to them, some place to always return to.”  

- Charles Manson, 1980  (Source: Sarasota Herald)


“I treat everyone just like I would myself. If you treat me right, I’ll treat you right.”                                       

- Charles Manson, 1991    (Source:  Ron Reagan Jr. interview)


“People want to buy that insanity. They don’t want the truth. They want fear, they want violence, they want sex and drugs and guns.”    

- Charles Manson, 1992     (Source:  Michal Ben Horin interview)



Manson:  Just because you’re convicted in a courtroom doesn’t mean you’re guilty of something.

Snyder:   What does mean you’re guilty?

Manson:  When you know you’re guilty.

Snyder:  And how do you feel about yourself? Tell me about that.

Manson:  I feel pretty good. All this cult, all this hockus pockus stuff you guys are playing, I don’t know nothing about all of that.

Snyder:  You know nothing about something called “Helter Skelter”?

Manson:  Yea, I know about helter skelter. It was a song that some people sang, and some other kids picked it up in their minds. You delt the hand down there in L.A., you and that press, you and that L.A. Times.You dealt the hand. You put me on Life Magazine and had me convicted before I walked in the courtroom. You had what people wanted to buy. If they wanted to buy it, they didn’t give a damn if they had to convict the district attorney. They would’ve convicted the whole building to get that dollar bill going there, they had big bucks going there, they made twenty seven million thousand hundred billion…. I’m bummin’ ten or fifteen dollars from a friend here.                                                                                           

- Charles Manson, 1981   (Source: Tom Snyder)


“Time and circumstance made me into this Manson guy, Satan. Society wanted to buy this evil, mass-murdering-devil-fiend. I’m nobody. I’m the hobo in line. Give me a bottle of wine and put me on a train. I don’t fit into the world you guys live in, so I live over there in the shadows of it.”                                      

- Charles Manson, 1987       (Source: Life)


“Just give me my rights. All I want is the same rights that my fathers died for … If I don’t deserve no rights, then who does deserve rights? I didn’t break no law.”                                                                               

- Charles Manson, 1989     (Source: Penny Daniels interview)


“How could I lead a group whose very foundation was based on each person’s individuality? I hated being controlled. I hate the type of person who have to be in control, so how could I be the controller? That’s insane, man. The people who said that are the crazy ones, not me.”                                                   

- Charles Manson,  1977      (Source: Taming the Beast)


“There’s been fifty-million people that died since Sharon Tate died and I got everybody in Santa Claus land chasing me, trying to make me feel remorse for one psychotic episode of (Tex) Watson.”                

- Charles Manson, 1994     (Source: Diane Sawyer)


“Most of the attorneys just want the publicity of the trial. They don’t care about the man at all. If there was some kind of writ that could get me out of here tomorrow, they wouldn’t bring it, because they all want to go through the whole trial and wring every last drop of publicity out of the whole thing.”                    

- Charles Manson, Jan 30, 1970     (Source: LA Free Press)



“If it wasn’t for the publicity, I would’ve been out of here and gone a long time ago.”                                    

- Charles Manson     (Source: ManSon: Menschensohn documentary)


“If I wanted anyone killed, I’d kill them myself. But I don’t want anyone killed because I love my own life. Does that make any sense? I love life and I love living, but no, I don’t want to live in society. Society don’t want me, why should I want them? I don’t belong in society and there’s no place in society that I fit.”    

- Charles Manson, 1978      (Source: First Parole Hearing)


“So, Tex’s got a little problem and he gives me his gun; he can’t deal with it, so I gotta go deal with his problem. I had to go shoot somebody for him, because he’s too much of a coward. He’s laying up underneath the bed with it. I had to shoot Lotsapoppa; some guy in the drug world. I had to go down and take care of some business that was not my business. So Tex owed me one. I said, “Every time I stand up for you, brother, I got to face your life and your death. I’m tired of carrying you on my back.” I threw him the gun and I said, “Now you owe me one. And if you don’t pay me when you owe me, I will pay you what you owe me.” So, I had to go into another face and playact. So when my brother gets busted and my brother is in jail, I tell Tex, “Go pay him what you owe me. However you do it, you do it.”         

- Charles Manson, 1986      (Source: Charlie Rose)


“I did not teach Tex. I told Tex to do what you think is right and ride your own beef. All that confusion at the Ranch was from Tex. I didn’t show Tex how to burn people, someone else taught him that. Tex was trying to be Manson in his mother’s body and Tex took a knife and a gun that someone else showed him how to use. So, why was Manson at the top when Tex was the man at the top with the knife and with the gun and with the will?”         

- Charles Manson, 1985     (Source: Vacaville Reporter)


“With Danny DeCarlo’s testimony. He said that I hate black men, and he said that we thought alike, that him and I was a lot alike in our thinking. But actually all I ever did with Danny DeCarlo or any other human being was reflect himself back at himself. If he said he did not like the black man, I would say, “Okay.” I had better sense than tell him I did not dislike the black man. I just listened to him and I would react to his statement.  So consequently he would drink another beer and walk off and pat me on the back and he would say to himself, “Charlie thinks like I do.” But actually he does not know how Charlie thinks because Charlie has never projected himself.”                 

- Charles Manson, 1970    (Source: Trial Testimony)


“What do the animals do in the zoo? That’s the same thing that I do in my cell. I play with myself. I make little string dolls. I talk to roaches. I’m in jail for nine counts of murder, and I didn’t do it. I’m in solitary confinement, may I add.”        

- Charles Manson, 1985      (Source: High Society)


“I know what I would say now and I don’t lie, so I know I what I would say then. And I certainly wouldn’t tell nobody to go in and do nothing to anybody that I wouldn’t want done to me.”                                         

- Charles Manson      (Source: 1992 parole hearing)


“How the hell did I brainwash 35 girls in less than a year? That’s impossible. You’re making me out to do the impossible. You don’t understand you are making me a legend.”        

- Charles Manson, 1988  (Source: Geraldo)


“I don’t know what ‘my way’ is. Everybody keeps telling me I got all these things. I read the other day where I had magical powers. I told everybody in the chapel ‘zap, zap, zap, zap!’ I said ‘Where’s my magical powers at?’ Well, you can’t believe what you read in the press. I ain’t got no magical powers or mystical trips or anything like that. It’s kind of silly.”  

- Charles Manson, 1981     (Source: Tom Snyder)


“Gary sold some dope to some bad people. He sold some drugs that cost Beausoleil’s wife to lose her baby. He was an informant for the government, he was playing all kinds of treacherous games that he shouldn’t have been playing. See, when you’re in the underworld, you gotta be truthful. If you lie and you’re faking and you’re snitching, and it catches up with you, it bites you. You do it to yourself.”                       

- Charles Manson, talking about Gary Hinman, 1994    (Source: Bill Murphy interview, BBC)


“I walked with Tex, but when Tex took out his knife and went out for so and so, I said “excuse me, I gotta go to the canteen and get some ice cream.” Don’t judge me behind what Tex did. If you kill somebody, you’ve killed yourself. Because if you live by that gun and you live by that knife, and you kill by that gun and you kill by that knife, then you got no turns coming at the bitch table if it’s your turn to die from that gun and that knife.”      

- Charles Manson, 1991    (Source: Ronald Reagan, Jr.)


“Let me tell you something, and here’s the truth: the girls didn’t kill anyone. I’m telling you, the girls didn’t kill anyone… Tex killed ‘em.  Tex went stone crazy and killed anybody in his path.”                              

- Charles Manson  

(Source: ManSon: Menschensohn, German documentary)


“Why couldn’t we put on a defense?  I had seventeen witnesses standing outside the door. They just dropped the defense and went on to the penalty phase. Like everything was cut and dry before it went off to martini land.”         

- Charles Manson, 1992    (Source: Bill Stout)


“I’m supposed to be responsible for making all these people do all these things. I’m supposed to have this awesome power to move people to destruction and have the power of the presidency, that I can put troops in the field and have them go out and fight and die and take other peoples lives, for me. I’m a whole government by myself. ‘Convicted to be that. That’s not me.”                                                              

- Charles Manson, 1985    (Source: KALX)


“I’ve been kept in mental wards, nut wards; I’ve been beaten, drugged, and have lost track of the times I’ve been handcuffed to the bars or left to be killed. Inmates have told me that doctors and other CDC staff have tried to have me killed by telling them lies about me killing pregnant women and eating their unborn babies, or have implied threats to their personal safety along with promises of paroles and other favors. I have witnesses to all I say but no court will touch it because they broke their laws to put me back in prison, and each day they break all the laws by keeping me. They violate every human right in the book, yet they keep preaching to the world as if they had no sins and were all good guys.”                    

- Charles Manson     (Source: 1986 parole hearing)



“I didn’t tie anybody up. And I was never on a scene where anyone was killed. I think the law says you can only keep me seventeen or eighteen years if I was never on a scene where anyone was killed. I was never on the crime scenes. I didn’t kill nobody, I didn’t tell nobody to get killed. I didn’t get no trial, but we don’t wanna hear that— don’t wanna mix anything up with the truth.”                                                            

- Charles Manson, 1992      (Source: Parole Hearing)


I think a hearing should be called so we could get these very same people who wrote these articles and find out from them where they get their information to write the articles, who feeds them the information to write the articles. The media is used by the District Attorney to try a man before, trial.” 

- Charles Manson, February 16, 1970   (Source: Pretrial Transcripts)


“I’m in jail because people wanna keep me in jail. It ain’t got nothing to do with the law.”                                

- Charles Manson, 1992 (Source: Michal Ben Horin interview)


“You get back what you put out, is that right or wrong? If you don’t believe in god, you believe in the balance of karma, the balance of your own will. The balance of what you know to be truth, you know. Whatever you do is on you. You got to be judged by your god. Don’t judge me, man, behind what Tex did.”          

- Charles Manson, 1991     (Source: Ron Reagan Jr. interview)


“When Tex took out his knife and went after someone, I walked the line, and got out of his way.”                 

- Charles Manson, 1991     (Source: Ron Reagan Jr. interview)


“You know what they’re doing to your Constitution? They’re making a joke out of your Constitution. Love’s not in your court room. And God is not in your heart.”

- Charles Manson, 1970    (Source: CBS trial coverage)


“You sat here for nineteen days questioning that girl. She got immunity on seven counts of murder.  You set her up to be a hero, and that is your woman. That is the thing that you worship.

You set this woman up here to testify against me. And she tells you a sad story. How she has only taken every narcotic that is possible to take. How she has only stolen, lied, cheated and done everything that you have got there in that book. 

But it is okay. She is telling the truth now. She wouldn’t have any ulterior motive like immunity for seven counts of murder.  Why a woman would stand up and project herself into a man and say, “Actually he never told me anything, but I knew it all came from him.”

Am I to be found guilty on her assumption?”             

- Charles Manson,  November 19, 1970   (Source: Trial Testimony)


“Then I look at the facts that you have brought in front of this court and I look at the twelve facts that are looking at me and judging me. If I were to judge them, what scale would that balance? Would the scale balance if I was to turn and judge you? How would you feel if I were to judge you? Could I judge you? I can only judge you if you try to judge me. That is the fact.

Mr. Bugliosi is a hard-driving prosecutor, with a polished education. Semantics, words. He is a genius. He has got everything that every lawyer would want to have except one thing: a case. He doesn’t have a case.

Were I allowed to defend myself, I could have proven this to you. I could have called witnesses and showed you how these things lay, and I could have presented my picture.  There are so many aspects to this case that could be dug into and a lot of truth could be brought up, a lot of understanding could be reached.  It is a pretty hideous thing to look at seven bodies, one hundred and two stab wounds.  The prosecutor, or the doctor, gets up and he shows how all the different stab wounds are one way, and then how all the different stab wounds are another way; but they are the same stab wounds in another direction.

They put the hideous bodies on display and they say: “If he gets out see what will happen to you.” Implying it. I am not saying he did this. This is implied. A lot of diagrams are actually in my opinion senseless to the case.  You projected fear. You projected fear. You made me a monster and I have to live with that the rest of my life because I cannot fight this case. If I could fight this case and I could present this case, I would take that monster back and I would take that fear back. Then you could find something else to put your fear on, because it’s all your fear.”

- Charles Manson, November 19, 1970      (Source: Trial Testimony)


Geraldo:  Susan Atkins comes home to you with bloody hands.

Charles Manson:  Yeah.

Geraldo:  She says “Charlie, look what I have done.”

Charles Manson:  Yeah. She said “I give you the world. I just killed myself and I give you the world.”

Geraldo:  So, how did you react?

Charles Manson:  I said “You dumb fucking cunt, I already had the world. You just put me back in jail again.” That’s what she did, she put me right back in jail.

Geraldo:  How did she react?

Charles Manson:  Susan followed me around and she was always trouble. She would steal, she would lie, she would do all kinds of crazy things.


(Source: Geraldo interview, 1988)


“The ‘Helter Skelter’ that the D.A. put on me was not the ‘Helter Skelter’ I was— it’s not the same. In other words, the D.A. took words from anyone who would tell and pieced them together with his own

imagination. […]

They try and put me at the top and I wasn’t at the top. Them kids were the ones I followed. But I knew everything. I always knew everything. I knew what the kids were doing but listen to me: it is not my profession to tell people what to do and to tell the law what they have done. […]

Tex owed me. Watson would come for a week then leave for a month and come back with all these people after him and wants me to hide him. I’d have to go through his changes and fight his problems. In other words, Tex needed money and he did what he did [to Lotsapoppa], and I got a call so I was involved. I told him that the money he took was mine because I had to fight his problem. […]

All of them kids did what they did for their own problems. If Tex went to the top of the hill to get money that’s not my affair.  Susie did just like Tex. She’d always leave and come back with some asshole on her ass that I’d have to cut off of her.”    

- Charles Manson, 2010     (Source: 2010 conversation)


“You’ve convicted me for being the motivating force behind your children, and some of the them I hardly even known. I only knew Linda Kasabian— I seen her three times in my life — maybe two minutes in my whole life I seen the broad. She come up to the ranch for about a week.

I wasn’t thinking about sending her down to be no troops about saving nothing — about stopping nothing.”                                                  

- Charles Manson, 1988     (Source: Geraldo)


“People said I was a leader. Here’s the kind of leader I was. I made sure toilets were clean. I made sure the animals were fed. Any sores on the horses? I’d heal them. Anything need fixing? I’d fix it. I was always the one to do everything nobody wanted to do. Cats need feeding? I’d feed them. When it was cold, I was always the last one to get a blanket.”                                                                                                   

- Charles Manson, 1970     (Source: Rolling Stone)



“I might be a danger to your stupidity and I’m a danger to your ignorance, but I’m not a danger to intelligent life forms. I’m not a danger to the people who want to exist on the planet. I’m not a danger to farmers, I’m not a danger to poor people, I’m not a danger to soldiers who don’t want to hurt nobody, who don’t wanna go to war.”            

- Charles Manson, 2011     (Source: Vanity Fair Spain)