Charles Manson, one of America's most infamous mass killers whose 1960s cult led his followers down a path of murder, anarchy and "helter skelter," is gravely ill at a California hospital, according to published reports.
The 83-year-old inmate, serving multiple life sentences at a prison in Corcoran, Calif., has struggled with gastrointestinal problems and been shuttled back and forth to hospitals in recent years. TMZ reports that he was brought to a Bakersfield hospital three days ago and is facing life-threatening ailments.
Manson, noted since the 1960s for a crudely carved swastika on his forehead, has been in the annals of American criminal lore since he dispatched a legion of cult followers to carry out brutal attacks in and around Los Angeles.
Among the victims was director Roman Polanski's pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate. In all, he and his followers killed nine people at four locations in July and August 1969.
It's not his first bout with medical issues. In January of this year, Manson was sent under heavily armed guard to a hospital in Bakersfield, where officials described him as "seriously ill."
But he was treated and released back to prison. TMZ reported that he had been having a bout of severe intestinal bleeding and needed surgery to repair a lesion, but doctors deemed him too weak for the procedure.
Manson had appeared frail and seemingly mentally vague at his various parole hearings in the 1990s before he abruptly stopped physically attending the hearings. All of his parole petitions ended with officials denying his release.
His first parole hearing was in November 1978, just seven years after he was convicted of his crimes. Manson was denied parole for the 12th time on April 11, 2012.
California parole officials noted at his April 2012 hearing that Manson had schizophrenia issues, as well as paranoid delusions.The panel also noted that Manson had received more than 100 rules sanctions while in prison and has never expressed remorse for the killings.
His next scheduled parole hearing is in 2027, when he would be 92 years old.
At his last hearing five years ago, the parole board cited the testimony of a prison psychologist, who said Manson had recently bragged to him about his lethal nature.
"I'm special. I'm not like the average inmate," Manson told the psychologist, according to a written record of the hearing. "I have spent my life in prison. I have put five people in the grave. I am a very dangerous man."