Excerpts from Charles Manson’s statement to the California court that convicted him of seven counts of murder conspiracy in the first degree and sentenced him to death in 1970:
“These children that came at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them. I didn’t teach them. I just tried to help them stand up. Most of the people at the ranch that you call the Family were just people that you did not want, people that were alongside the road, that their parents had kicked out or they did not want to go to Juvenile Hall, so I did the best I could and I took them up on my garbage dump and I told them this: that in love there is no wrong.
“… It is not my responsibility. It is your responsibility. It is the responsibility you have toward your own children who you are neglecting, and then you want to put the blame on me again and again and again.… You eat meat with your teeth and you kill things that are better than you are, and in the same respect you say how bad and even killers that your children are. You make your children what they are. I am just a reflection of every one of you.”
“… I have nothing against none of you. I can’t judge any of you. But I think it is high time that you all started looking at yourselves and judging the lie that you live in. I sit and I watch you from nowhere, and I have nothing in my mind, no malice against you and no ribbons for you.… You are just doing what you are doing for the money, for a little bit of attention from someone. I can’t dislike you, but I will say this to you. You haven’t got long before you are all going to kill yourselves because you are crazy. And you can’t project it back at me.…”
“You can say that it’s me that cannot communicate, and you can say that it’s me that don’t have any understanding, and you can say that when I am dead your world will be better, and you can lock me up in your penitentiary and you can forget about me. But I’m only what lives inside of you, each and every one of you. These children … you only give them your frustration. You only give them your anger. You only give them the bad part of you rather than give them the good part of you. You should all turn around and face your children and start following them and listening to them.
“… If I could get angry at you I would try to kill every one of you. If that’s guilt, I accept it. These children, everything they have done, they done for love of their brother.…
“I may have implied on several occasions to several different people that I may have been Jesus Christ, but I haven’t decided yet what I am or who I am. I am whoever you make me, but what you want is a fiend. You want a sadistic fiend because that is what you are.
“… My father is the jail house. My father is your system.… I have ate out of your garbage cans to stay out of jail. I have wore your second-hand clothes. I have given everything I have away. Everything! I have accepted things and given them away the next second. I have done my best to get along in your world and now you want to kill me, and I look at you and I look how incompetent you all are, and then I say to myself, You want to kill me? Ha, I’m already dead! Have been all my life!’ I’ve lived in your tomb that you built.”
“I did seven years for a thirty-seven-dollar check. I did twelve years because I didn’t have any parents, and how many other sons do you think you have in there? You have many sons in there, many, many sons in there, most of them are black and they are angry.…
“Sometimes I think about giving it to you. Sometimes I’m thinking about just jumping on you and let you shoot me. Sometimes I think it would be easier than sitting here and facing you in the contempt that you have for yourself, the hate that you have for yourself. It’s only the anger you reflect at me, the anger that you have got for you.… If I could I would jerk this microphone out and beat your brains out with it because that is what you deserve! That is what you deserve.
“… I live in my world, and I am my own king in my world, whether it be a garbage dump or in the desert or wherever it be. I am my own human being. You may restrain my body and you may tear my guts out, do anything you wish, but I am still me and you can’t take that. You can kill the ego. You can kill the pride. You can kill the want, the desire of a human being. You can lock him in a cell and you can knock his teeth out and smash his brain, but you cannot kill the soul.”
“… I don’t care what you believe. I know what I am. You care what I think of you? Do you care what my opinion is? No, I hardly think so. I don’t think that any of you care about anything other than yourselves.…
“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. You look for something to project it on and you pick a little old scroungy nobody who eats out of a garbage can, that nobody wants, that was kicked out of the penitentiary, that has been dragged though every hellhole you can think of, and you drag him up and put him into a courtroom. You expect to break me? Impossible! You broke me years ago. You killed me years ago!”