Vincent Bugliosi dead: Charles Manson prosecutor dies 45 years after bringing cult to justice

Prosecutor wrote a number of best-selling books during a long career

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The Independent US

Vincent Bugliosi did many things in his long, colourful life.

He wrote books, he had a family and he prosecuted countless cases in California.

Yet the thing he will most be remembered for is bringing cult leader and killer Charles Manson and members of his so-called family to justice.

Charles Manson

Reuters said that Mr Bugliosi, who has died at the age of 80, was a 35-year-old Los Angeles deputy district attorney in 1970 when he prosecuted Manson and several of his followers for the murder of seven people in a two-night spree in August 1969.

His subsequent book about the Manson case, Helter Skelter, became one of the best-selling true crime books of all time.

Mr Bugliosi, who died in a Los Angeles hospital, after contracting cancer, called them the “most bizarre, savage, nightmarish murders in the recorded annals of crime”. Their random nature brought a climate of fear to Southern California.

Manson assembled a group of hippies, runaways and petty criminals who bought into his rhetoric and twisted mysticism, the news agency said. They lived with him at the Spahn Ranch, a former movie site outside of Los Angeles.

On the night of August 8 1969, Manson sent his lieutenant Charles Watson, along with Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Patricia Krenwinkel, to the home of actress Sharon Tate. Ms Tate and four guests were beaten, shot and stabbed to death.

Manson then accompanied his followers the next night to the home of Leno LaBianca, a grocery executive, and his wife Rosemary, who were repeatedly stabbed. The killers used their victims' blood to write on the walls on both nights, Reuters said.

Manson and three followers were subsequently condemned to death but their sentences were commuted to life in prison after a 1972 California Supreme Court ruling overturned the death penalty. Mr Bugliosi said later that Manson deserved to be executed.

He went on to become a best-selling author with books about major legal cases and issues.