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Devoted Charlie Manson follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme said she still loves the notorious cult leader nearly 50 years after members of the his infamous "family" committed a series of heinous murders at his direction.
“Charlie was misunderstood,” Fromme said in the ABC special “Manson Girls,” which aired Tuesday. “Was I in love with Charlie? Yeah, oh yeah, oh, I still am, still am. I don’t think you fall out of love.”
Although Fromme, 70, never carried out any of the murders, she was a vocal Manson supporter after the group’s arrest for the August 1969 murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, hairstylist Jay Sebring, heiress Abigail Folger, writer Wojciech Frykowski and teen Steven Parent.
The group was also responsible for the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, who were slaughtered in their home the day after the Tate murders.
“Well, believe me, at the time it was just one more person who was being killed,” Fromme said of the murders. “I am telling you when the war is very visible, and conflict in the streets is visible, I determined not to make judgements.”
Fromme spent much of her life behind bars and out of the public spotlight after being sentenced to life in prison for attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975. She was arrested after the gun didn’t go off.
Despite being given a life sentence, and escaping from federal prison in 1987, Fromme was paroled in 2009 after serving 34 years and is now living once again in society.
She’s largely stayed out of the spotlight since her release, but was once one of Manson’s most visible supporters, often speaking to the media in support of the charismatic cult leader. She and many of Manson’s other female followers were regular fixtures at the courthouse during the murder trials, even shaving their heads to signal they didn’t want to be part of traditional society.
“There were some of us who intended to be witnesses for the defense and we were not allowed to be in the courtroom, so we stayed outside on the corner, and we met all kinds of people. It was a great education,” she told ABC News. “We marked ourselves, on the corner, as unparticipating in the society.”
Manson and Fromme first crossed paths shortly after she ran away from home as a young teenager.
“My father and I hadn’t gotten along for years. I had left home and then I returned and I thought we were going to have an emotional makeup but I realized he had never attached himself to me to start with,” Fromme said of the tenuous relationship she had with her father.
One night after an argument, she left home for good, hitchhiking to Venice, California, where she would meet Manson.
“I thought maybe somebody would take me in. It was dark and nobody was there and I was sitting just looking at the ocean and here comes Charlie,” Fromme recalled.
Although she said Manson “scared” her at first, she was also intrigued by the stranger.
“When he offered me a place, I didn’t know what to say. I was afraid to go, but he said, ‘I can’t make up your mind for you’. That’s why I went with him and he never did make up my mind for me,” she said.
While other former members of the cult, often known as “The Family,” have since denounced their former leader, saying that Manson often used fear and threats to control them, Fromme said Manson “never ordered me.”
Manson died in prison of a heart attack in 2017 at the age of 83, according to Newsweek, but Fromme still thinks fondly of him.
“I feel very honored to have met him and I know how that sounds to people who think he is the epitome of evil,” she said.
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