Mary Brunner, aka Mother Mary, is a former member of the Manson Family. Brunner met Charles Manson shortly after moving to California in 1967. Brunner has become known as the first member of what would become the Manson family.
The 21-year-old Brunner met the 33-year-old Manson after Manson had been released from prison a few weeks earlier. She let Manson stay at her apartment, and the two became lovers. Looking for adventure, Mary quit her job and the two began to travel around California in a van.
While traveling around Venice, California, Brunner and Manson met 18-year-old Lynette Fromme, and the three began living together. Over the course of the next two years, several other women joined Manson and his Family. In April of 1968, Mary gave birth to Valentine Michael Manson, aka “Pooh Bear”, the son of Charles Manson.
Nine Nude Hippies Arrested
On April 22, 1968, Bunner, Manson and several other Family members were arrested near Little Sycamore Canyon. They were found nude, huddling around a campfire, next to a bus that had been reported stolen a couple of weeks earlier.
Brunner was booked on suspicion of endangering the life and health of a child, after deputies said they found her one-week-old son, Valentine Manson , improperly dressed and shivering in the near freezing temperatures.
Witches of Mendocino
Brunner and several other Family members lived in Mendocino, California for a while, trying to find a new place for the Family. Brunner and the others, including Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and Ella Jo Bailey, were arrested for giving LSD to a group of children. At their trial they were given the nickname the “Witches of Mendocino”.
Murder And Stolen Credit Cards
Brunner was a participant in the murder of Gary Hinman. On August 8, 1969, a week after Hinman’s body was found, the day of the Tate murders, Brunner and Sandra Good were arrested for using stolen credit cards in a department store. Brunner’s bail was expected to be around $600.
On the night of August 8, while Brunner and Good were in police custody, Manson sent Tex Watson and other family members to the Tate residence located at 10050 Cielo Drive and told them to kill everyone inside. According to Tex Watson, Manson told him not to come back until they reached the amount of $600.
20 Years To Life
Brunner and Susan Atkins were subsequently charged along with Bobby Beausoleil for the murder of Gary Hinman. Brunner later received immunity from prosecution to testify against both Beausoleil and Atkins.
After Manson was found guilty for the Tate/LaBianca murders, Brunner and others hatched a bizarre hijacking plan to force Manson’s release, but they were all arrested and jailed.
Brunner was convicted and received a sentence of 20 years to life, she was sent to the California Institution for Women, where Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel were serving their sentences for their participation in the Tate-LaBianca murders. Brunner was released on parole in 1977.
Today Mary Brunner lives a quiet life somewhere in Wisconsin.