Debra Tate isn’t celebrating the passing of a man who contributed to the brutal killing of her pregnant sister, Hollywood actress Sharon Tate.
Charles Manson, the hippie cult leader who orchestrated the gruesome murders of Sharon and six others in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969, died Sunday after nearly a half-century in prison. He was 83.
The California Department of Corrections revealed in a statement that Manson passed away from natural causes at Kern County hospital.
“I said a prayer for his soul,” Debra told People Magazine Monday.
Manson was serving a life sentence for the murders. Sharon was nearly nine months pregnant and married to film director Roman Polanski when she was killed at age 26.
Debra insisted she never wished ill towards any of Manson’s followers, which included Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Susan Atkins. In fact, when Atkins passed away in 2009 at age 61 from brain cancer at the Central California’s Women’s Facility, Debra claimed she prayed for her soul. Debra also vowed at the time that she would do the same for Manson.
“My cross in my bedroom still has the flowers that I slipped into Jesus’s feet when Susan died,” she said. “I cried a tear and I asked for forgiveness on her soul. I’ll do the same thing when Charlie dies.”
While Debra told the magazine she believed God would take care of Manson’s soul after his death, along with his followers, she was determined to make sure they never saw freedom while they were alive and in prison for their crimes.
“These are sociopaths,” she explained. “They’re no less violent today than they were then.”
Dianne Lake, the youngest member of America’s most infamous cult, told Fox News she was shocked when Watson initially told her Manson ordered some of his followers to go on a two-day murder spree. Lake didn’t participate in the horrific slayings.
“I disappeared for a couple of days,” Lake told Fox News in October. “… I didn’t have any ID with me at the time. And when I got back, Tex [Watson] had the newspaper with the headline about the Tate murders. And he was upset, like where was I? He slammed the paper and said, ‘I did this. Charlie told me to.’
“I couldn’t believe it, really. And then I was afraid to leave … Now that I know this truth, I can’t leave because he’ll come after me. And obviously he’s capable of murder. So I was very much afraid … And disappointed … [And] the [Manson] girls confided in me what they had done. We had taken LSD, we were out in the middle of the desert and they just started sharing.”
Since Sharon’s death, Debra has devoted much of her life to counseling victims of violent crimes. In 2014, she published a book dedicated to the life and legacy of Sharon.