Charles “Tex” Watson was the main perpetrator in the Tate-LaBianca murders. He was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Watson has since become a born-again Christian and is currently still serving his sentence.
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 took part in church activities. His parents ran a gas station, where Watson also helped out. He did well in school and took part in several school sports, including football and basketball.
When Tex Watson entered North Texas State University in 1964, his interests changed drastically. Rather than focusing on his studies, he began to prioritize pursuing relationships with girls and experimenting with 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. Not long after, he met Charles Manson.
One day, Watson was driving his old 1935 Dodge pickup truck down Sunset Boulevard when he encountered a hitchhiker. After introducing himself as Dennis Wilson, the drummer of the Beach Boys, Wilson revealed to Watson that his Ferrari and Rolls-Royce had both been wrecked, explaining why he was hitchhiking. Watson gave him a ride and the two conversed during the journey.
When they arrived at Wilson’s house, Wilson invited him in. When they entered the kitchen, Watson noticed a balding man with a long gray beard sitting at the table, accompanied by several girls. The man, Dean Moorehouse, a former minister who introduced his teenage daughter to Charles manson, began to tell Watson about his experience with Charlie Manson. Dean revealed that taking acid had opened him up and that through Manson, he had found true faith. He also declared that Manson was the reincarnation of the Son of God.
Moorehouse, who had been talking about Charlie Manson, then introduced Watson to the man himself. Watson found Manson sitting in Wilson’s living room, surrounded by a number of young women, strumming away at a guitar. After all four of them had smoked some Lebanese hash, Manson continued to play the guitar while the others talked and got to know one another.
During the night, the young women presented the men with some organic sandwiches, filled with sprouts, avocado, and cheese. Watson had a wonderful evening, and as he began to make his way back home, Wilson smiled at him and told him that he was always welcome.
Source: Will you die for me?
Bernard ‘Lotsapoppa’ Crowe
In July of 1969, Watson ripped off a black drug dealer named Bernard ‘Lotsapoppa’ Crowe, who, in return, threatened to kill everyone at Spahn Ranch, the Manson Family headquarters. Charles Manson and TJ Walleman went over to Crowe to try to straighten out the situation, but Manson ended up shooting him. This event was the start of the chain of violence that would culminate in the brutal murder of Sharon Tate and her companions.
Tate and LaBianca Murders
On August 9, 1969, Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel slaughtered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other individuals at 10050 Cielo Drive. The following evening, Watson participated in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. He was also involved in the killing of Donald Shea. According to numerous family members, one of the reasons for the Tate and LaBianca murders was to free Bobby Beausoleil from jail by perpetrating similar killings.
In October 1969, Watson left Spahn Ranch, the family’s hangout, and returned to his home state of Texas. On November 30, 1969, he was apprehended for the Tate/LaBianca killings. Watson fought extradition to California for nine months. In October 1970, he was extradited to California, where he was accused of seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiring to commit murder.
Watson Stopped Talking and Eating
After his extradition to California, Watson went into shock. Sober, his mind not clouded by narcotics, he finally seemed to realize the consequences of his actions and the potential punishment he could face. Watson stopped talking and eating, lost 55 pounds, and fell into a catatonic state. He was admitted to the State Hospital to determine if he was mentally competent to stand trial. In February 1971, they concluded that Watson was fit to appear in court. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. His death penalty was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment.
Prison Life: Conjugal visits and Children
Following many years in prison, Watson converted to Christianity. Just like other killers, he received fan mail and encountered a woman named Kristin Joan Svege. Watson and Svege tied the knot in 1979 and had four children. Despite being responsible for the death of a pregnant woman, Watson was granted conjugal visits in jail. Watson and Svege divorced in 2003.
The Tex Watson Tapes
The Tex Watson tapes are recordings of Watson and his lawyer, in which he narrates his experience with the Manson murders. The recordings, which are composed of around 20 hours of interviews, were recorded on November 29, 1969, and are the earliest documented account of the murders. In the tapes, Watson speaks about the homicides and his involvement in them.
As per Bill Boyd, attorney for Tex Watson, Watson speaks of murders carried out by the family that had not been identified or associated with them. The tapes were held in Watson’s lawyer’s safe for many years and were never made public.
After the death of Watson’s lawyer, the tapes were given to the LAPD. Numerous attempts have been made to make the tapes public, including by family member Leslie Van Houten and her lawyer, but without success. According to the D.A.’s office, the tapes would jeopardize ongoing investigations.
LaBiancas Daughter Supports Watson
Suzan LaBerge, Rosemary LaBianca’s daughter, has been one of Tex Watson’s closest allies in prison after connecting over their shared beliefs as born-again Christians. She visits him, writes him, and has even advocated for his release. In a 2018 interview, LaBerge stated that she has pardoned Watson for the homicides and that she believes he has fulfilled his obligation to society.
LaBiancas Granddaughter Murdered in Bed
In 2020, Suzan LaBerge’s daughter, Ariana Wolk, was found murdered in her bed. She suffered the same fate as her grandmother, stabbed to death in 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.