Charles ‘Tex’ Watson killed every single one of the Tate/LaBianca victims

Charles Watson (aka Tex, Charles Denton “Tex” Watson, Texas Charlie, Mad Charlie, Crazy Charlie, Charles Montgomery, Samuel Lee Shine)

Tex Watson

Tex Watson committed all of the Tate/LaBianca murders with the help of Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten

Charles Tex Watson is the primary killer in the Tate-LaBianca murders. He was born December 2, 1945 in Dallas, Texas. Watson was an “A” student in high school. He held the state record in the low hurdles. According to his uncle, Watson’s “problems” started when he began taking drugs in college. In 1966, he dropped out. By 1967 he was in California dealing drugs. One of Charles Watson’s former neighbors in Collin County, Texas described him as “the boy next door.”

Meeting Charles Manson

Watson joined the “Family” in 1967 and soon became one of Manson’s right-hand men. Biker Al Springer told police, “Charlie and Tex are the brains out there.” He said Watson “kept his mouth shut” and enjoyed working on dune buggies. However, Springer only knew the Family briefly. Most familiar with the case now believe Manson’s true right-hand man was Bruce Davis.

In August 1969, Watson was the principal killer in the Tate-LaBianca murders. Announcing his arrival at the Tate residence, Watson said:

“I am the Devil and I’m here to do the Devil’s business.” – Tex Watson

He murdered Steven Parent, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Sharon Tate, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca

“It was fun tearing up the Tate house, OK. You should have seen it, people were running around like chickens with their heads cut off.” (Defendant is laughing) – Tex Watson

Killing of Shorty Shea

Tex Watson was never charged for murdering Shorty Shea, even though both Bruce Davis and Steve Grogan claim Tex was again the primary killer and stabbed Shea repeatedly. 

Watson and Davis participated in the Shea murder together. – Attorney Stephen Kay

Kay also said at Manson’s 1992 parole hearing that evidence says Manson also stabbed Shea. 

Back to Texas

Watson returned to McKinney, Texas after the Tate-LaBianca murders. On November 30, 1969, police picked him up in Texas. California investigators told the local PD Watson’s fingerprints matched a print found on the front door of the Tate home.

Watson fought extradition to California long enough that he was not tried with Manson and the others. Subsequently, Watson had his own trial in August 1971. His defense attorneys produced eight psychiatrists to prove the glassy-eyed Watson was insane at the time of the murders. Or at least suffered from severely diminished capacity. Furthermore, on the witness stand Watson tried to portray himself as Manson’s zombie slave. The jury, not buying his crazy act, convicted Watson of first-degree murder.

Abounding Jail Time

On October 12, 1971, the jury convicted Watson of seven counts of first degree murder and one count conspiracy to commit murder. Watson’s last parole hearing was in November 2016 which was his 17th denial. His next parole hearing will be in November 2021.

Watson resides in a cell at the Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California. Since then, he’s renounced Manson and expressed “deepest remorse” to his “many victims.” Accordingly, Watson became a born-again Christian in the 70’s. In 1978 he co-wrote the book, Will You Die For Me?

In 1983, Watson became an ordained minister. Additionally, he married a woman named Kristin Svege and due to California’s allowing conjugal visits at the time, Tex Watson conceived four children. Thus, Josh, Adam Ben, and Mary. Watson has maintained for decades that he personally stabbed Sharon Tate to death and takes full responsibility for all seven of the murders. He has yet to take responsibility for the murder of Shorty Shea.

Tex Watson, CDCR number B37999, remains in prison at RJ Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.

Portrayal in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

In July 2019, Sony Pictures released Quentin Tarantino’s film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which features a fictionalized account of Tex Watson and The Manson Murders. In Tarantino’s film, his version of Watson doesn’t have a chance to kill anyone. Instead. a pit bull named Brandy chews his nuts off after they break into the wrong guy’s house. Released a month before the 50th anniversary of the murders, Hollywood will no doubt be remembered as the most important movie in the Manson canon, because it gave us a shared catharsis via the version of events we deserved. As a result of Tarantino’s film, Watson will be remembered as the hateful, cranked out rumpkin he is, who got the fate he deserved, at least on screen.

“Let me tell you something, and here’s the truth: the girls didn’t kill anyone. I’m telling you, the girls didn’t kill anyone… Tex killed ‘em. Tex went stone crazy and killed anybody in his path.” – Charles Manson

Watson’s next parole hearing is set for October 2026.

The Tex Watson Tapes

The Tex Watson tapes have not been released to the public since their discovery in 2008. These tapes consist of the earliest recorded conversations with Charles “Tex” Watson, speaking with this attorney at the time, Bill Boyd. They were recorded while Watson was still in Texas and before anything was released in the media about the Tate/LaBianca murders. Currently, the LAPD has the tapes and won’t release them.



Tex Watson’s 2021 Parole Hearing

On October 15, 2021 the California Parole board denied Tex’s parole once again. As usual, Tex tried to downplay his role in the murders. He claims to take full responsibility for each of the murders, however he takes the position that he didn’t want to hurt anybody, and puts it all on Manson. The board members said that Watson laughed at inappropriate times during the hearing and at one point stated, “I hope I haven’t taken too much responsibility.” This was connected to remarks Watson made about tying up victim Rosemary LaBianca, placing a pillowcase over her head and tying a lamp cord around her neck before Krenwinkel and Van Houten came into the house. Watson was also confronted by surviving family members of the victims including Debra Tate and Jay Sebring’s nephew, filmmaker Anthony DiMaria regarding his role in stabbing and murdering Shorty Shea. According to the transcripts Watson became visibly surprised and unsettled when Shorty’s name came up. 

On a side note, Watson makes references in the hearing to Manson having gone back to the Cielo Drive crime scene that night with family member T.J. Walleman. However, it’s commonly known that Walleman, who died in 1995, had left the family in July 1969 after Manson shot Bernard Crowe. Watson is possibly manipulating facts here in order to protect the identity of whoever did go back to the Tate house with Manson on the night of the murders. Many believe Manson returned with Bruce Davis and/or Nancy Pitman and that they moved bodies around. This would explain why Tate’s blood was found on the porch. You can read the entire transcript of the hearing here


Discuss this topic in the new Tex Watson forum.

LA District Attorney’s Office; evidence files.
Tex Watson
Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office; evidence files.
Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office; evidence files.
LA District Attorney’s Office; evidence files.
The People of the State of California vs. Charles Manson, Bruce McGregor Davis, Steve Grogan Case No. A267861
Charles Montgomery
The People of the State of California vs. Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Denton Watson (Case No. A253156)
Tex Watson
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