In 1967, Ella Jo Bailey and Susan Atkins were living together as roommates when they met Charles Manson. One day, Bailey was hitchhiking when she met Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson. Little did she know that her encounter with Wilson would set off a chain of events that would ultimately lead to the murder of Sharon Tate and her friends.
On their way to the Santa Monica Mountains, Dennis Wilson and a friend picked up two hitchhikers, Ella Jo Bailey and Patricia Krenwinkel. A month later Wilson saw the two girls again. This time he took the girls to his Hollywood mansion on Sunset Boulevard.
Bailey and Krenwinkel stayed a couple of hours. Wilson told them about his involvement with the Maharishi, and they told him they too had a guru, a guy named Charlie.
Wilson had a recording session that night and returned home around 3 a.m. When he pulled up in the driveway, a strange man, Manson, walked out of his backdoor.
Wilson asked “are you going to hurt me?” Manson replied, “Do I look like I’m going to hurt you, brother?” Manson then dropped to his knees and kissed Wilsons feet.
Wilson became fascinated by Manson and his followers and he invited them to stay at his house for the summer.
One day Dennis Wilson himself was hitchhiking, and he was picked up by a young guy from Texas named Charles Watson. Wilson invited Watson back to his mansion to hang out.
Watson became a regular at Wilson’s and soon became friends with Manson. Watson would become known as the Manson Family killer, responsible for several murders, including the murder of Sharon Tate.
Dennis Wilson was impressed by Manson’s charisma and musical talent and he introduced Manson to producer Terry Melcher. Wilson pressed Melcher to land Manson a record deal.
Manson auditioned for Melcher, but Melcher was not impressed and declined to sign Manson. After witnessing Manson getting in a fight at Spahn Ranch, both Wilson and Melcher ended their friendship with Manson.
10050 Cielo Drive
At that time, Terry Melcher lived in a house in Benedict Canyon with his girlfriend, actress Candice Bergen. The address of the house was 10050 Cielo Drive. Not long after ending his friendship with Manson, Melcher moved out of Cielo Drive.
On February 12, 1969, Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife Sharon Tate signed a lease for the house at 10050 Cielo Drive. They moved in three days later…
Bailey also set off the chain of events that led to the murder of Gary Hinman. During the summer of 1969, the Family was strapped for cash. In July of 1969, Manson shot a member of The Black Panthers, Bernard Crowe. In fear of retaliation, Manson was looking for a new location for the Family.
He found a new place in Death Valley. Trying to get enough money for the move, Manson asked his followers for ideas. It was Bailey who suggested that Gary Hinman, a musician and a friend of the Family, might have some money. Manson sent several Family members to Hinman to check it out. A couple of days later, Hinman was found dead, murdered by members of the Family.
Bailey stayed with the Family until she found out about the murder of Gary Hinman. Bailey left the Family and later testified for the prosecution during the Hinman trial. After the trial Bailey moved on. She got married and had three children. She later moved to Florida.
Ella Jo Bailey died on September 14, 2015 in Florida at the age of 68.