Imagine saying a prayer for the soul of the man connected to the brutal murder of your loved one. That’s exactly what Sharon Tate’s sister did for Charles Manson.
Manson, 83, died Sunday of natural causes at a California hospital, according to the state’s Department of Corrections. Manson masterminded a killing spree carried out by a group of his followers at the home of director Roman Polanski in Benedict Canyon near Hollywood in the summer 1969. Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate, and four other people were killed. Tate was pregnant at the time.
“I said a prayer for his soul,” Debra Tate, Sharon’s sister, told People magazine. She said she offered the prayer shortly after receiving a call from the prison announcing Manson’s death.
Manson, who was serving a life sentence and was denied parole a dozen times, has been on Debra's mind for more than 45 years.
“Each one of these people and myself now have [our] spirits or our wills are slightly entangled,” she told People, referring to others convicted for murders: Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten. The late Susan Atkins was also convicted.
In 2009, Debra also prayed for the soul of Atkins. At that time, she made a promise to also pray for Manson.
“My cross in my bedroom still has the flowers that I slipped into Jesus’s feet when Susan died,” she told People. “I cried a tear and I asked for forgiveness on her soul. I’ll do the same thing when Charlie dies.”
Despite her mercy for those involved in the murders, Debra did her part to make sure they never received parole.
“These are sociopaths,” she said, according to People. “They’re no less violent today then they were then.”
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation released Manson’s cause of death.
Aside from Tate, other victims at Polanski’s home included writer Wojciech Frykowski, celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Steven Parent, a friend of the family's gardener. Manson followers Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel committed the murders, and Linda Kasabian served as a lookout, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The Los Angeles Police Department believes the "Manson family" may have been responsible for as many as 12 murders.