• Tex Watson History Part of Crusade

Tex Watson History Part of Crusade

Jun. 13 – In the preface to his book on Manson family member Charles (Tex) Watson, Anaheim author Bill Nelson promises that “you will peer into the very soul of one of America’s most dreadful personalities.”

“Tex Watson: The Man, the Madness, the Manipulation” ($10.95), a trade paperback published by Nelson’s own Pen Power Publications, chronicles the life and crimes of the man deemed “the Lieutenant of Murder for Charles Manson.”

In 1971, Watson was convicted for his role in the ritualistic slayings of seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, during the infamous two-night murder spree with his fellow Manson family members.

Nelson describes Watson, a self-proclaimed born-again Christian who is serving time in the California Men’s Colony near San Luis Obispo, as a “dark, manipulative sociopath.”

“On the first night of slaughter he was vicious and he was brutal,” said Nelson, referring to the murders of Tate and four others in the early hours of Aug. 9, 1969. “On the second night, he told Manson; ‘We need better weapons.’ … The viciousness and brutality that he inflicted on Rosemary and Leno LaBianca are beyond description. I have seen the death scene photos. Words cannot explain the madness of this Manson murderer.”

In a promotional blurb written by prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi, Bugliosi calls the book “a timely and revealing look at Tex Watson, the main killer in the Tate-LaBianca murders. Bill Nelson has performed a public service with this book.”

The author will sign copies of “Tex Watson” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at B. Dalton Booksellers in The City Shopping Center in Orange. The book is available at B. Dalton Booksellers, Waldenbooks and Brentano’s.

Nelson, former publisher of a monthly political newsletter for conservative California legislators, has been fascinated with the case since meeting Sharon Tate’s mother, Doris Tate, several years ago. A longtime victim’s advocate who has attended the parole hearings of all the convicted Manson family members, Tate has led what Nelson calls “a lone crusade to keep these people in prison.”

Nelson, who last year produced a videotape on the history of the case, said he chose to focus his book on Watson “because he is the main killer, and he is the only [Manson family member] in prison trying to manipulate any way he can to gain freedom.”

Originally sentenced to death, Watson had his sentence changed to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after the California Supreme Court in 1972 held that the death penalty law then in effect was unconstitutional.

Watson has been denied parole 11 times, most recently in May, 1990. His next parole board hearing will be in 1993.

Watson, now 45, was married in 1979 and has fathered three children while in prison. He runs a nonprofit ministry called Abounding Love Ministries.

Nelson said the ministry has a nationwide mailing list of more than 1,000 names and “as Watson admitted to the parole board, his ministry takes in $1,000 to $1,400 a month” in donations. (Nelson says he has learned, however, that most of the ministry’s income goes to support Watson’s wife and children, who live in San Luis Obispo).

Through the ministry, Nelson maintains, Watson is “creating this aura of respectability and sympathy for his plight.”

“He says he’s a born-again Christian and a family man and has been a model prisoner for 21 years, and he tells the parole board they should judge him on his model prisonership rather than [the] crime,” said Nelson.

“There are people in the Christian community who believe on that basis of becoming a Christian that he should be set free. But, you know, Doris Tate says: ‘There is no relationship between faith and release.’ ”

Nelson, who videotaped Watson’s 1990 parole hearing and has sold copies to victims groups, said Tate told Watson at the hearing: “If we open the doors for you, let’s open the doors for the Hillside Strangler — for everyone who has committed murder because they’ve had a religious experience. This is between you and your God.”

Tate, a Rancho Palos Verdes resident, said in a phone interview that “I truly feel that anyone that has murdered seven people should never be turned loose.”

It makes no sense, she said, “to release these murderers back into society. They have to pay for what they already have done.”

Tate said the significance of a book like Nelson’s “is to allow people on the outside to try and perceive the mind of an individual like this.

“The difference between Manson and Watson is Manson will tell you up front, ‘I didn’t kill anyone’ — he always had it done — and he’s absolutely correct. … He sent the girls and Watson out to Sharon’s house.

“And the way that Watson [murdered] my daughter. … First he slashed her face, then stabbed her 16 times — pregnant as she was. While she was dying, he hung her from the rafters of that house. And you’re going to release a man like this, who would do that to a woman 8 1/2 months pregnant?”

That, Tate said, “is the object of the book: to afford the public the information of how people can manipulate other people.”


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2 Responses to Tex Watson History Part of Crusade

  1. Joe D says:


    DIE IN JAIL ………….

  2. Bill says:

    After reading Helter Skelter I thought it was the most frightening book I had ever read… I was 19… I’d just like to know, what really happened…

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