Homicide

Sister of slain actress Sharon Tate: Manson's planned marriage to 26-year-old is 'ludicrous'

  • FILE - In this June 5, 2013 file photo, Debra Tate speaks about her sister, actress Sharon Tate, who was killed by the Manson family, during a parole hearing for former Manson family member, Leslie Van Houten at the California Institution for Women in Chino, Calif. Tate, who acts as a spokeswoman for the families of Manson's victims, said the impending marriage of Charles Manson is "ludicrous." "I think it's insane," she said. "What would any young woman in her right mind want with an 80-year-old man?" As for Manson's motives, she said, "The devil is alive and well." (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

    FILE - In this June 5, 2013 file photo, Debra Tate speaks about her sister, actress Sharon Tate, who was killed by the Manson family, during a parole hearing for former Manson family member, Leslie Van Houten at the California Institution for Women in Chino, Calif. Tate, who acts as a spokeswoman for the families of Manson's victims, said the impending marriage of Charles Manson is "ludicrous." "I think it's insane," she said. "What would any young woman in her right mind want with an 80-year-old man?" As for Manson's motives, she said, "The devil is alive and well." (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • This Oct. 8, 2014 photo provided by the California Department of Corrections shows 80-year-old serial killer Charles Manson. A marriage license has been issued for Manson to wed 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, who left her Midwestern home nine years ago and moved to Corcoran, California to be near him. Burton, who goes by the name "Star," told the AP that she and Manson will be married next month. (AP Photos/California Department of Corrections)

    This Oct. 8, 2014 photo provided by the California Department of Corrections shows 80-year-old serial killer Charles Manson. A marriage license has been issued for Manson to wed 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, who left her Midwestern home nine years ago and moved to Corcoran, California to be near him. Burton, who goes by the name "Star," told the AP that she and Manson will be married next month. (AP Photos/California Department of Corrections)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE -- In a Sept. 2, 2009 file photo Debra Tate, sister of slain Sharon Tate, speaks during a parole hearing for Manson follower Susan Atkins at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, Calif. Tate, whose pregnant sister Sharon was slain in 1969 by the murderous followers of Charles Manson, has spent much of her life trying to divert attention from the cult leader and keep him in prison. Manson, now 80, plans to marry a 26-year-old woman who moved from the Midwest years ago to be near him. Tate calls the development "ludicrous" and "insane," but says she is not surprised. (AP Photo/Ben Margot/Pool, File)

    FILE -- In a Sept. 2, 2009 file photo Debra Tate, sister of slain Sharon Tate, speaks during a parole hearing for Manson follower Susan Atkins at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, Calif. Tate, whose pregnant sister Sharon was slain in 1969 by the murderous followers of Charles Manson, has spent much of her life trying to divert attention from the cult leader and keep him in prison. Manson, now 80, plans to marry a 26-year-old woman who moved from the Midwest years ago to be near him. Tate calls the development "ludicrous" and "insane," but says she is not surprised. (AP Photo/Ben Margot/Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

Debra Tate, whose pregnant sister Sharon was slain in 1969 by the murderous followers of Charles Manson, has spent much of her life trying to divert attention from the cult leader and keep him in prison.

Her job got tougher with the news that Manson, now 80, plans to marry a 26-year-old woman who moved from the Midwest years ago to be near him.

Debra Tate calls the development "ludicrous" and "insane," but says she is not surprised.

"It's always something with him," she said.

Tate said Manson's bride-to-be, Afton Elaine Burton, known as "Star," seems to believe that Manson is leading a movement to save the environment.

Its name, ATWA — which stands for air, trees, water, animals — was emblazoned on a T-shirt worn by Burton when The Associated Press interviewed her on Monday.

"I wonder how long it will take for her to figure out this is just a con," Tate said. "It makes me wonder what is missing in her life that she would want to marry an 80-year-old man. Is she a victim? Is she mentally deranged?"

Burton has said she loves Manson and wants to help exonerate him. Marrying him would provide access to information denied to nonrelatives, she said without elaborating.

Tate, 62, recently published a coffee table book about her sister.

"There are no M words in the book. No Manson, no murder," Tate said Tuesday. "It's a celebration of Sharon's life, her fashion sense, her physical beauty and her spirit."

With an introduction by Sharon's widower, director Roman Polanski, the book is entitled "Sharon Tate Recollection."

Sharon Tate was 26 and more than 8 months pregnant when she was killed with four other people. The next night, grocers Leno and Rosemary La Bianca were stabbed to death across town.

Manson later stood trial with Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. All were sentenced to death as was a fifth killer, Charles "Tex" Watson. When the death penalty was outlawed briefly in 1972, their sentences were commuted to life in prison.

A self-imposed purgatory followed for the family of Sharon Tate. Her mother and two sisters committed themselves to attending every parole hearing for every Manson family member to argue against their release.

Debra Tate is one of the few people still alive to carry on that cause. Foremost in her mind is preventing the spread of Manson's Internet following.

"I don't want any more heinous actions by another family like his because of something I didn't do," she said.