Debra Tate was one of the first to know the 83-year-old beast responsible for the death of her pregnant sister, Sharon Tate, had died Sunday night.
She learned that unhinged cultist Charles Manson died of natural causes at a California hospital, in an 8:30 p.m. phone call from prison officials. Manson had taken his last breath 15 minutes earlier, according to the state’s Department of Corrections.
“I said a prayer, shed a tear, stuck a flower under my cross in my bedroom and emailed Roman (Polanski),” Tate told the Daily News.
Tate has made what peace she can with Manson and the diabolical killing spree that left seven people dead in Los Angeles in August 1969, including her beloved sister. Sharon Tate, the actress wife of director Roman Polanski, was two weeks from giving birth when Manson’s crazed followers brutally stabbed her and four others to death in her Benedict Canyon home.
Debra Tate, sister of slain Sharon Tate, “shed a tear” after learning of Charles Manson’s death. She is seen in 2009.
“I’ve processed through all of my hate for him. Hate isn’t health. It won’t bring my sister back,” Tate said. “One could say I’ve forgiven him, but there’s a difference between forgiving and forgetting.”
The news of Manson’s death comes as Tate, 65, battles a breast cancer diagnosis and a bout of laryngitis.
Tate always felt at ease with the cold-blooded mastermind spending four decades locked away at the Corcoran State Prison since his 1971 sentencing. He was repeatedly denied parole.
Manson, the infamous cult leader, died Sunday night at a California hospital.
(California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation/via Reuters)
“He was the least of my worries,” she explained.
It was Manson’s followers — the ones who plunged their blades into her sister’s body — that troubled her. She has made it her life’s mission to keep the crazed cult members behind bars.
“I sit across from these monsters many times a year, and I know very clearly they’re still capable of heinous acts. For that reason, I’ve dedicated myself to seeing they stay right where they are until they draw their last breath,” Tate said. “So they can’t hurt anyone else.”
The ‘Manson Family’ murders
The victims advocate collects petition signatures to urge against the release of imprisoned Tex Watson, Bobby Beausoleil, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Bruce Davis for Gov. Jerry Brown and the state’s Board of Parole Hearings.
Tate went face-to-face with 68-year-old Van Houten in September to argue against her chance at parole. She was not convinced the prisoner, who was 19 years old and Manson’s youngest follower at the time of the gruesome killings, had been rehabilitated.
Van Houten was ultimately granted parole but her release is pending a review.
Sharon Tate was killed in the summer of 1969 by Charles Manson’s followers.
“There is nothing that will bring my sister back,” Tate told The News.
“For me, her struggles are over, and this is about the world that she left behind,” she added.
“I feel totally that I’m a guardian of the world at large, guarding others from feeling the same kind of pain and grief that these perpetrators inflicted on us.”