Mass murderer Charles Manson plans to marry a 26-year-old woman who has spent the past nine years trying to help exonerate him.
Afton Elaine Burton said she loves the man convicted of the notorious murders of seven people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate.
No date has been set, but a wedding co-ordinator has been assigned by the prison to handle the nuptials, and the couple have until early February to get married before they would have to reapply.
The marriage licence was issued on 7 November for the 80-year-old Manson and Burton, who maintains several websites advocating his innocence.
Burton, who goes by the name “Star”, revealed she and Manson will marry next month.
“Y’all can know that it’s true,” she said. “It’s going to happen.
“I love him,” she added.
However, as a life prisoner with no parole date, Manson is not entitled to family visits, a euphemism for conjugal visits.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
Burton said marrying him would allow her to get information on his case not available to non-relatives.
“There’s certain things next of kin can do,” she said, without elaborating. Tate’s sister, Debra, who acts as a spokeswoman for the families of Manson’s victims, said the impending marriage is “ludicrous”.
“I think it’s insane,” she said. “What would any young woman in her right mind want with an 80-year-old man?”
As for Manson’s motives, she said: “The devil is alive and well.”
Burton gave an interview a year ago to Rolling Stone magazine in which she said she and Manson planned to marry.
However, at that time, Manson, who became notorious in 1969 as the leader of a roving “family” of young killers, was less certain about tying the knot. “That’s a bunch of garbage,” Manson said in the December 2013 interview. “That’s trash. We’re playing that for public consumption.”
Asked yesterday about those comments, Burton said: “None of that’s true.” She said the couple were now waiting for the prison to complete their paperwork.
California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton confirmed the licence had been sent to the prison.
Thornton said each California prison designates an employee to be a marriage co-ordinator who processes paperwork for an inmate’s request to be wed. In most cases, she said, the department approves of such weddings as “a tool of family reunification and social development”. But Manson’s case is unique.
Burton said the wedding might have happened earlier if Manson had not had “some situations” at the prison.
Thornton explained that, in February, Manson had three violations for possession of a weapon, threatening staff and refusal to provide a urine sample.
Burton said the prison holds marriages on the first Saturday of each month and she expects to be married in an inmate visiting room at the prison.
Thornton confirmed that Manson can have a wedding at the prison and invite an officiant from outside the prison to perform the ceremony. Manson and his prospective spouse would be allowed to invite ten guests who are not inmates.
Manson and two followers, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, remain imprisoned. Another follower, Susan Atkins, died of cancer behind bars. Other members of the Manson “family” still behind bars are Charles “Tex” Watson, Bruce Davis and Robert Beausoleil.
Manson, Watson and the women were convicted of the gruesome killings of Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, and four others at her estate on 9 August, 1969, and grocers Leno and Rosemary LaBianca who were killed the following night.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS