Charles 'Tex' Watson: Charles Manson family member sends five page list of corrections to Wikipedia about murders

Convicted murderer says he didn't steal $70 out of one victim's purse

Caroline Mortimer
Wednesday 06 April 2016 20:44 BST
Charles 'Tex' Watson was convicted of the murder of five people in Los Angeles in 1969
Charles 'Tex' Watson was convicted of the murder of five people in Los Angeles in 1969

One of Charles Manson’s gang has complained to Wikipedia about their description of his crimes, saying he did not steal $70 from the purse of one of his victims.

Charles “Tex” Watson was one of four people instructed by Charles Manson to go to the home of musician Terry Melcher and murder everyone there in 1969 as part of Manson's plan to start a "race war".

His Wikipedia page describes how he broke into the house in the mountains above Beverly Hills and murdered five people, including the wife of film director Roman Polanski, actress Sharon Tate, who was heavily pregnant at the time.

The page says Watson stole $70 from the purse of another victim, Alison Folger, and later said Ms Tate had shouted “Mother, Mother, Mother!” as he killed her.

The gang were instructed to go to the house to murder five people by their leader Charles Manson
The gang were instructed to go to the house to murder five people by their leader Charles Manson (Getty Images)

Last week, the community of moderators who look after the page received the message supposedly from Watson himself asking for several changes to be made, the Times reported.

In an edited printout of the page - which was five pages long - forwarded to the moderators, Watson hand wrote a series of corrections in the margins.

He said it was “not true” that he had stabbed Ms Folger seven times, suggesting that it should be changed to “Watson assisted [Patricia] Krenwinkel in killing Folger".

He also asked that he be called Charles “Tex” Watson - rather than just Tex Watson - on the page and said he had never been known as "Mad Charlie".

The convicted murderer - who is currently serving a life sentence at Mule Creek prison near Sacramento in California - told the Wikipedia moderators he wished they would include more details about his early life including the summers he worked “at an onion packing plant saving for college”.

He also asked them to remove the genders of the four children he fathered with his ex-wife during conjugal visits in prison and the fact there was a public petition against him being granted parole.

The team of volunteers, who process hundreds of requests and comments on Wikipedia’s encyclopaedia entries every week, said they debated whether or not it was really from Watson but then decided it only mattered whether the information was accurate.

Several of the disputed facts have remained on the page but with “citation needed” inserted in brackets and a footnote to support the use of the nickname "Mad Charlie" has been included.

The volunteer who dealt with Watson's request, Lane Rasberry, wrote a blog post about it which said: "I processed the request as I would any other and as I have many before.

"But should prison inmates be permitted to edit Wikipedia? Should there be a special rule which keeps certain people out of Wikipedia based on their off-wiki behaviour?

"Perhaps, but in this case, I pass no judgement on the person making the request. They are incarcerated, which is where their society wants them to be, and they are free to write letters.

"I treated them as I would treat anyone else making a request."

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