Barbara Hoyt is a former member of the Manson Family. Hoyt was a witness in District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi’s prosecution of Manson and his followers for the Tate-LaBianca murders, one of the highest-profile murder trials in history.
Barbara joined the family in April of 1969. On the night of the Tate murders, Susan Atkins told Barbara to get 3 sets of dark clothing. When Barbara retured with the clothes she was greeted by Charles Manson, who told her that Atkins and the others already left.
The next day, Barbara became suspicious when some of the Family members watched television reports about the Tate murders. Barbara didn’t understand why some of the Family members reacted with laughter about the chilling television reports but she could tell something fishy was going on.
About a week later, Barbara heard loud screams. She later found out that the screams were coming from ranch hand Donald “Shorty” Shea, who was being killed behind Spahn Ranch by members of the Family.
When the Family moved to the Barker Ranch, Barbara overheard Susan Atkins tell Ruth Ann Moorehouse that she had killed Sharon Tate. After overhearing Atkins admitting to the Tate murder, Barbara and Family Member Sherry Ann Cooper fled the ranch.
Manson went looking for the girls. He found them having breakfast in a diner and gave them $20 after the girls told Manson they wanted to leave. Story has it that Manson later sent three Family members to retrieve or kill the girls.
The Hamburger Incident
During the Tate/LaBianca murder trial Ruth Ann Moorehouse tried to poison Barbara who by this time was a prosecution witness. Barbara was unsure about testifying and the family offered her an all expense paid trip to Hawaii if Barbara agreed not to testify.
Ruth and Barbara took the trip to Hawaii where Ruth laced Barbara’s hamburger with ten hits of LSD. When the drugs kicked in Barbara started to freak out and eventually collapsed.
She was brought to the emergency room. The next day Barbara’s mother flew to Hawaii and brought her home. Barbara was determined to testify against the family.
Barbara became a prosecution witness in the murder trials and gave incriminating testimonies against Manson and the other Family members.
Later Life and Death
Over the next decades Barbara remained a witness, showing up at parole hearings of the convicted Family members to prevent them from getting paroled.
Barbara died on December 3, 2017 due to kidney failure.