M O T I V E S
The murders initially seemed random, but some key motives were later identified:
1. Manson suffered from antisocial personality disorder, a disorder that makes the sufferer unable to feel remorse for their actions and lack a conscience.
2. Manson believed he exacted the work of The Book of the Law in instituting natural selection according to the principles of Aleister Crowley
3. Manson was hostile towards society; Manson got a "kick" out of death and control. During the trial, one witness commented that "he [Manson] doesn't know about love... love is not his trip. Death is his trip." When questioned, Manson replied, "My trip is that death is the greatest form of love."
4. Manson had been rejected by the music industry and wanted revenge. In 1968, Manson was introduced to record producer Terry Melcher, son of actress Doris Day, by Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, who had picked up a couple of the Family members as they were hitchhiking. Manson and the Family moved into Wilson's house, where they lived for a year, and the Beach Boys recorded a song Manson wrote, calling it 'Never Learn Not to Love.' At the time, Melcher and his girlfriend, actress Candice Bergen, were living at the Tate house, and it was there Manson met him. Manson auditioned for Melcher, but Melcher decided not to sign him to a contract. Although Manson knew that Melcher and Bergen had moved to Malibu, Bugliosi suggested that Manson targeted the house because it represented his rejection by the show business community he wanted to enter, and that it was of no interest to him who his actual victims would be. It has also been rumored that Manson unsuccessfully auditioned for the Monkees, but this is an urban legend as he was in prison at the time of the auditions in 1965-66.
5. The killers were attempting to clear the blame from Bobby Beausoleil, who had been arrested a few days earlier as a suspect in the Gary Hinman murder. This was a motive stated by the killers during interviews with them, featured in a 1972 Manson film documentary. They claimed that the motive for the murders was to clear fellow Family member Bobby Beausoleil, whom they described as a brother to them. Stating that they were willing to sacrifice their lives, (meaning the death penalty) to clear his name, they committed copycat murders to cast doubt on Beausoleil's guilt. This motive was substantially discredited during the penalty phase of the trial, where it became apparent that the "free Beausoleil" motive was contradicted by other testimony of the killers. Additionally, despite declaring they would die for Manson, the other people accused claim to have waited until the main trial was over and the death penalty was being discussed, and then only on redirect examination, to introduce this as a motive. It was dismissed by the prosecution as an attempt to clear Manson by means of the other defendants taking the blame.
6. Manson regarded as foretold, by The Beatles, on The White Album, an apocalyptic war of which he was destined to be both the uncanny cause and the ultimate beneficiary. When, by his music, he (Manson) would have drawn to him the young, white female hippies of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, black men, thus deprived of the white women whom the political changes of the 1960s had made sexually available to them, would be without an outlet for their frustrations and would lash out in violent crimes against whites. After a resultant murderous rampage against blacks by frightened whites would have been exploited by the Black Muslims to trigger a war of mutual near-extermination between racist and non-racist whites over the treatment of blacks, the Black Muslims would arise to finish off sneakily the few whites they would know to have survived. In this epic sequence of events, which Manson told his followers would take place in the summer of 1969 and which he termed Helter Skelter, after the White Album track of that name, the Family had little to fear; they would wait out the war in a secret city that was underneath California's Death Valley and that they would reach through a hole in the ground. As the actual remaining whites upon the war's true conclusion, they would emerge from underground to rule the now-satisfied blacks, who, as the vision went, would be incapable of running the world; Manson "would scratch [the black man's] fuzzy head and kick him in the butt and tell him to go pick the cotton and go be a good nigger." Laid out by Manson repeatedly, this scenario became such a part of the Family membersí communal belief that they stocked up supplies and searched for the hole in the ground before the crimes were conceived; but by mid-1969, Manson was heard to say blacks did not know how to start the events. He would have to show them.
7. In a series of books chronicling his life as an FBI agent, John Douglas submitted the theory that Manson really was innocent of plotting the initial set of murders. Douglas, who spent significant time interviewing Manson during his time as a special agent, believes that initially, Manson's sole goal in leading "The Family" was to live out the rest of his days as an isolated demi-god ruling over a group of impressionable young people who would do his bidding. In order to ensure that they remained loyal to him, Manson convinced them that he really was a deistic figure who would protect them during the coming Armageddon and rule over them in a peaceful society afterwards. Douglas' theory goes on to state that Manson's followers took his prophesying more literally than intended and carried out the Sharon Tate murders in order to spark Armageddon. According to Douglas, once Manson learned about the Tate murders, he felt he had no choice but to act as if he were still in control and go along with the LaBianca killings in order to protect his image and prevent his followers from turning on him.
In the trial, the prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, placed Helter Skelter as the main motive.  Evidence included testimony that, on the night of the LaBianca murders, Manson considered discarding on the street a wallet he apparently obtained in the LaBianca house; he "wanted a black person to pick it up and use the credit cards so that the people, the establishment would think it was some sort of an organized group that killed these people." --Wikipedia
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