California prison releases Charles Manson picture

LOS ANGELES Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:27pm EDT

Convicted murderer Charles Manson, 74, is shown in a photo released from Corcoran State Prison in California on March 18, 2009. REUTERS/Courtesy of Corcoran State Prison/Handout

Convicted murderer Charles Manson, 74, is shown in a photo released from Corcoran State Prison in California on March 18, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Courtesy of Corcoran State Prison/Handout

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California corrections officials released a new photograph of imprisoned mass murderer Charles Manson on Thursday, showing the balding, gray-bearded killer at the age of 74.

The picture, which was taken at Corcoran State Prison in Central California, also reveals a glum Manson still bearing the swastika he carved into his forehead during his sensational 1970 murder trial.

Manson became one of the 20th century's most infamous criminals during the summer of 1969, when the Beatles-obsessed ex-con directed his mostly young, female followers to murder seven people.

Among the victims was eight-months pregnant actress Sharon Tate, the wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski. She was stabbed 16 times by members of the Manson Family in the early morning hours of August 9, 1969.

Four other people were also stabbed or shot to death in Tate's home that night by the group, who scrawled the word "Pig" in blood on the front door before leaving.

The following night members of the family stabbed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca to death, using their blood to write "Rise," "Death to Pigs" and "Healter Skelter" -- a misspelled reference to the Beatles song "Helter Skelter" -- on the walls and refrigerator door.

Manson was convicted and sentenced to death in 1971 but was spared execution when California abolished the death penalty the following year.

He has been denied parole 11 times and is next scheduled for a hearing in 2012.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

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