Paul Watkins

Paul Alan Watkins, aka Little Paul, was a member of the Manson Family. In March of 1968, Watkins met Charles Manson for the first time at a house in Topanga Canyon where Manson and several Family members were staying.

Watkins came to the house to visit a friend, but it turned out he no longer lived there. Manson invited Watkins to stay, and Watkins ended up spending the night at the house. After a night of marijuana and group sex, Watkins left the next day.

A couple of months later Watkins returned to the Los Angeles area, where he was recognized by the two Manson girls who he met at the Topanga Canyon house.

The girls took Watkins to the new Manson Family hangout at Spahn Ranch. Watkins joined the Family and, in his own words, became Manson’s “chief lieutenant”.


In the summer of ’69 Watkins left The Family. Watkins met a 46-year-old miner named David Crocket. Crocket had been staying at the Barker Ranch for a while and noticed Watkins and the others seemed brainwashed. Crocket managed to get Watkins and two others away from The Family.

Manson tried to get Watkins back and sent Family members over to threaten and scare him. When the Family members bragged to Watkins about the Tate murders, Watkins went to the police.

Helter Skelter

Watkins became a key witness in the murder trials and provided prosecutors with information about The Family and the murders.

Watkins agreed to testify against Manson in court. Watkins’ testimony, focusing mainly on the Helter Skelter prophecy, was key in establishing Manson’s motive for the Tate/LaBianca murders.


During his time as a prosecution witness, Watkins was almost killed in a fire that broke out in a Volkswagen van he was sleeping in. It was speculated that the fire had been set by Family members for revenge against testifying.

Later Life and Death

Later in life, Watkins went on to become the founder and first president of the Death Valley Chamber of Commerce. Watkins also lectured on cult psychology and the effects of drug abuse.

Watkins was married twice and had two daughters with his second wife Martha. In 1990 Watkins died of leukemia.