"Mr. and Mrs. America--you are wrong. I am not the King of the Jews nor am I a hippie cult leader. I am what you have made me and the mad dog devil killer fiend leper is a reflection of your society. . .Whatever the outcome of this madness that you call a fair trial or Christian justice, you can know this: In my mind's eye my thoughts light fires in your cities."
--Charles Manson's statement after his conviction for the Tate-LaBianca murders.
In the annals of crime, there might never have been a more bizarre motive for killing than that revealed in the 1970-71 trial of four Manson "Family" members. In the twisted mind of thirty-four-year-old Charles Manson, a wave of bloody killings of high-society types in Los Angeles would be the spark that would set off a revolution by blacks against the white establishment. When "blackie," as Manson called black people, proved unable to govern, they would turn to Manson and his tribe of followers, who would have survived "Helter Skelter" by hiding out in an underground cave in the Death Valley area of California while the chaos raged above.
Manson's vision never materialized. Instead, he and several of his followers found themselves convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in one of the strangest trials the strange state of California has ever witnessed....