On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was outside 'the system'

LOS ANGELES Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:55pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A one-time follower of mass murderer Charles Manson who in 1975 tried to assassinate then-President Gerald Ford told a mental health examiner in a decades-old taped interview that an "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to set her apart from "the system."

The Sacramento Bee won a release of the tape from a federal judge and posted portions of the recording involving now-65-year-old Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme on its website late on Wednesday.

In 1975, Fromme aimed a semi-automatic pistol at Ford at an appearance in Sacramento and was restrained by a Secret Service agent. She was convicted of attempted assassination of the president and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. She was released on parole in 2009.

In the 1975 recorded interview with a psychiatrist, Fromme discussed everything from her drug use and her vegetarian diet to what she called misconceptions about the Manson crime family.

At one point, the psychiatrist asked Fromme about an "X" she marked on her forehead. Fromme and other followers of Manson marked their foreheads during Manson's 1970 murder trial.

"Well, it has different levels," Fromme told the psychiatrist, according to the tape. "On one level it is a cross that's a following cross. On another level it is an 'X' and the 'X' is we are marked out of the system as it stands. We don't go along with it."

In another portion of the tape, Fromme admitted to taking the drug LSD about 30 times.

"I became aware of the possibilities of different realities as seen through different eyes, as seen through the Chicanos for example," Fromme said on the tape. "I traveled in my mind into their world, the east Los Angeles. And then I traveled into the ghetto and I traveled into high society."

In the tape, Fromme also talked about being a follower of Charles Manson, a charismatic ex-convict who assembled a group of runaways and outcasts. In the summer of 1969, he directed his mostly young, female followers to murder seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, in what prosecutors said was part of a plan to incite a race war.

Manson, 79, is serving a life sentence at Corcoran State Prison in California for the seven Manson Family killings and the murder of an acquaintance, Gary Hinman.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Adler)

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