I’m the devil and I’m here to do the devil’s business
Charles Watson, a former member of the infamous Manson Family, was convicted on seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Watson received the death penalty, which was later converted to life imprisonment.
Charles Watson, aka Tex Watson, was born in Dallas, Texas on December 2, 1945. He was the youngest of three children. He grew up in Copeville, about 35 miles north of Dallas, where he attended the Methodist church and also participated in church activities. His parents ran a gas station where Watson also regularly helped out. He did well in school and participated in several school sports, including football and basketball.
He started to change when he entered North Texas State University in 1964. He was more interested in girls then studying and started experimenting with different kinds of drugs. During his senior year, Watson visited a frat brother in California. He had such a good time there that he decided to stay in California.
One day, Watson was driving on Sunset Boulevard in an old 1935 Dodge pickup truck when he ran into a hitchhiker. The hitchhiker introduced himself, Dennis Wilson, but the name meant nothing to Watson. When Wilson said he was the Beach Boys drummer, Watson was impressed. Wilson told Watson that his Ferrari and Rolls Royce were both wrecked, and that’s why he was hitchhiking.
When they arrived at Wilson’s house, Wilson invited him in. As they entered the kitchen, Watson saw a balding man with a long gray beard sitting at the kitchen table along with several girls. The man introduced himself, ‘Dean Moorehouse’. Dean was the father of Manson family member Ruth Ann Moorehouse. They started talking, Dean told Watson about Manson. He said that taking acid opened him up and that through Charlie Manson he found true faith, and that Manson was the reincarnation of the Son of God.
Dean introduced Watson to Manson, ‘this is Charlie’, Dean said, ‘Charlie Manson’. Manson was sitting on the floor of Wilson’s living room, surrounded by several girls, with a guitar in his hands. Watson, Wilson, Moorehouse and Manson smoked some Lebanese hash and Charlie started playing the guitar. Watson felt right at home. A little later the girls brought the men some sandwiches, topped with sprouts, avocado and cheese, all organic. Watson had a great night. As he headed home, Wilson smiled at him and told him he was always welcome.
Murder and Conviction
On August 9, 1969, Watson, Atkins and Krenwinkel murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other people at 10050 Cielo Drive. The next night, Watson participated in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Watson was also involved in the murder of Donald Shea.
In October 1969, Watson fled the Spahn Ranch, the Manson family hangout, and returned to his home state, Texas. On November 30, 1969, Watson was arrested for the Tate/LaBianca murders. Watson fought his extradition to California for nine months. After his extradition to California, Watson went into shock, he seemed to realize what he had done and what punishment he could receive for his actions.
Watson stopped talking and eating, lost 55 pounds, and slowly slipped into a catatonic state. He was admitted to the State Hospital to see if he was mentally fit to stand trial. In February 1971, it was decided that Watson was mentally fit to appear in court. Watson was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. His death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.
After several years in prison, Watson converted to Christianity. Like many killers, Watson received fan mail and met a woman named Kristin Joan Svege. Watson and Svege married in 1979 and had four children. Despite being responsible for the death of a pregnant woman, Watson did receive conjugal visits in prison.
In 2013, Watson was stabbed by a fellow inmate. Watson was washing his clothes when the fellow inmate walked up to him, holding a rolled-up magazine. The prisoner began stabbing Watson with a sharpened paint brush. He tried to throw Watson over the fourth floor railing, but Watson turned out to be bigger and stronger. Watson suffered minor injuries from the incident.
Watson is familiar with the phenomenon called ‘internet’. He regularly updates his Wikipedia page. He receives paper copies and makes notes of things he would like to see changed.
The Tex Watson Tapes
The Tex Watson tapes are recordings made by Watson and his attorney in which Watson tells his story about the Manson family murders. The recordings, consisting of about 20 hours of interviews between Watson and his attorney, were made on Nov. 29, 1969, and are the earliest uncensored and uninfluenced documented account of the Manson family murders.
According to Bill Boyd, attorney for Tex Watson, Watson tells about murders committed by the Manson family that hadn’t been discovered or linked to the Manson family. The tapes were stored in Watson’s lawyer’s safe for decades and were never made public. Tom O’Neill, author of Chaos, discovered the ‘lost’ tapes. He tried to get hold of the tapes but due to attorney/client privileges he could only listen to the tapes with Watson’s permission, which Watson didn’t want to do.
After the death of Watson’s attorney, O’Neill again attempted to obtain the tapes and spoke to the late attorney’s court-appointed trustee and told her that there may be unsolved murders on the tapes. The trustee then handed over the tapes to the LAPD. O’Neill was in touch with someone in the department and was told there was a possibility that he might hear the tapes or else read a transcript of the tapes. But O’Neill’s contact cut off all communication with him.
Several attempts have been made to make the tapes public, including by Manson family member Leslie Van Houten and her lawyer, but without success. According to the D.A.’s office, the tapes would jeopardize ongoing investigations.
Suzan LaBerge – Daughter of Rosemary LaBianca
While in prison, Watson befriended Suzan LaBerge, the daughter of one of his victims, Rosemary LaBianca. LaBerge visits and writes to Watson regularly and even advocated for his release. (see video below)
LaBiancas Granddaughter Murdered in Bed
In 2020, Suzan LaBerge’s daughter, Ariana Wolk, was found murdered in her bed. She was lying in a pool of blood and had been repeatedly stabbed in the neck. A post-mortem also found Wolk with several defensive stab wounds to her arms and hands. Jose Sandoval-Romero, 24, has been charged with her murder.
Tex Watson’s murder victim, Jay Sebring, was Leno LaBiancas hairdresser. Leno LaBianca, also killed by Watson, is the stepgrandfather of the recently murdered Ariana Wolk.