The Manson family and their crimes raise many sociological questions? With the varying stories and the many people involved, questions like why were these murders committed? don't always yield clear answers. There are a number of motives, some believable and others with little or no evidence to back them up. Was there one true motive? Or were the murders the result of a combination of events? Who knows? Everyone seems to have his or her own theory.

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Copycat Motive

After Bobby Beausoleil was arrested for the murder of Gary Hinman the family began to panic. Susan Atkins remembers, "Instantly the atmosphere at Spahn's tightened even more. We figured it would be only hours before the police came down on us. But, additionally, we all were affected by Charlie's obsession with getting Bobby out of jail. Bobby had been driven by a need to prove himself as tough as Charlie, and now Charlie was possessed with the need to prove his loyalty to his 'brother.' To die for him if necessary."

"Out of all the confusion and the mass of words, the constant use of drugs, came a vague sort of scheme to try to convince the police that Bobby could not have done the Hinman killing. It was a plan for "copycat murders" that would make the police believe they had the wrong man in jail."

To this day Charles Manson states this as the true motive and that it was the others at the ranch that came up with the plan. However, this whole story is suspect because it didn't surface until after the murder convictions. It was first brought up in the penalty phase of the Tate/Labianca murder trial. A series of family members testified that not only had the murders been committed to get Bobby freed from jail. But that Linda Kasabian, the prosecution's star witness, had come up with the plan. Many years later some of those who testified admitted they had lied in an effort to exonerate Charlie.