Charles Denton "Tex" Watson (born December 2, 1945) is an American murderer who was a central member of the "Manson family" led by Charles Manson. He led and participated in the Tate/LaBianca murders under the orders of Manson in August 1969, from which he was found guilty of murder and has been in prison ever since.
On 8 August 1969, under instruction from Manson, Watson led Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian to "that house where Melcher used to live" which was Cielo Drive. The occupants were movie actress Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski and Abigail Folger.
While approaching the estate, Watson shoot dead the 18 year-old driver, Steven Parent, of an approaching car, despite his begs of mercy.
After this, Watson cut through a window, climbed through and let Atkins and Krenwinkel in through the front door.
Frykowski awoke in the living room, resulting in Watson kicking him in the head and stating "I'm the devil, and I'm here to do the devil's business." Atkins and Krenwinkel found the house's three other occupants and brought them to the living room.
Watson tied Tate and Sebring together at the neck with rope and slung it up over a beam. When Sebring asked them to consider Tate's pregnancy, Watson shot him dead and assaulted his dead body.
Watson stole $70 from Folger's purse, while Krenwinkel chased after her and stabbed her to death.
Frykowski was stabbed a total of 51 times. The pregnant Tate was stabbed 16 times, by Atkins and Watson. Watson later recalled that Tate cried, "Mother ... mother ..." as she was being killed. Atkins then wrote "pig" on the front door in Tate's blood.
Manson had decided to have the next-door neighbours of a foe of his killed as "training" for The Family. The neigbours were Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
After reaching their destination, Manson and Watson got out of the car, and entered the home together, taking the occupants hostage. Manson returned and sent Krenwinkel and Van Outen into the house.
Rosemary LaBianca was taken hostage into her bedroom by Krenwinkel and Van Houten as Watson murdered Leno LaBianca in the den. Rosemary LaBianca was then murdered in her room, by Krenwinkel and Watson, with additional wounds inflicted in her back by Van Houten.
Phrases from or inspired by then recent Beatles lyrics such as "WAR," "Healter Skelter", "RISE", and "Death to Pigs" were smeared onto the walls and various surfaces in the victims' blood by Krenwinkel.
Conviction and Imprisonment
A few months after the murders, The Family's location was raided by the police, which resulted in Watson fleeing back to his native Texas. He was tracked down not long after and arrested for the Tate/LaBianca murders. For the next nine months he fought exradition back to California, but eventually was returned.
In 1971, when finally deemed able to stand trial, he was found guilty of his role in the murders and sentenced to death which was commuted to life in prison, with the possibility of parole, but has been denied parole 14 times, the most recent being November 2011, while the next will be November 2016.
In 1975, Watson became a born-again Christian and has his own website "aboundinglove.com". He has discussed his role in the murders and states that he believes God has forgiven him.
He married Joan Svege in 1979 and has had four children, but in 1996 a law was passed banning life prisoners from these visits, resulting in Svege divorcing him for another man, but remain in contact for the sake of the children.