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Ella Jo Bailey


In 1967, Ella Jo Bailey and Susan Atkins were living together as roommates when they met Charles Manson and joined his Family. 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 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, Manson girls Ella Jo Bailey and Patricia Krenwinkel. A month later, Wilson saw the two young woman again. This time, he took them to his Hollywood mansion on Sunset Boulevard.

Bailey and Krenwinkel stayed a couple of hours. Wilson informed them about his involvement with the Maharishi, and they told him they too had a guru, a man 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 Wilson's feet. Wilson became fascinated by Manson and his girls, and he invited them to stay at his house for the summer.

Tex Watson

One day, Dennis Wilson himself was hitchhiking, and a young guy from Texas named Charles Tex Watson picked him up. 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.

Terry Melcher

Dennis Wilson was fascinated 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.

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…

Hinman Murder

During the summer of 1969, the Manson Clan needed cash. In July 1969, Manson shot Bernard Crowe, a drug dealer. There were rumors that Crowe was a member of the Black Panthers. Fearing retaliation, Manson was searching for a different location for the group. He discovered a new place in Death Valley. Trying to get enough capital for the move, Manson asked for ideas. It was Bailey who suggested that Gary Hinman, a musician and a friend of the clan, might have some cash. Several Family members went to Hinman to check it out. A couple of days later, Hinman turned up dead, murdered by members of the Family.

Prosecution Witness

Bailey stayed with the Manson Family until she found out about the murder of Gary Hinman. Bailey left the group and afterward testified for the prosecution during the Hinman trial. After the trial, Bailey moved on. She got married and had three children.

Ella Jo Bailey died on September 14, 2015 in Florida at the age of 68.