John Haught

John Haught (aka Christopher Jesus, “Zero”) [DECEASED] (April 20, 1947 – November 5, 1969)

John Haught

John Haught is said to have killed himself while hanging out with The Family

John Haught was born in Missouri on April 20, 1947. He grew up in Ohio and was a US Navy Veteran who spent time in Vietnam. Haught met Charles Manson and The Manson Family when he relocated to California with a friend (Kenneth Richard Brown) and wound up moving in with the group while they were staying in a home in Venice Beach, California.

Haught was arrested at Barker Ranch when the Inyo County sheriff’s department, California Highway Patrol, and National Park Services law enforcement personal captured a group of Manson Family members in raids on October 10 and October 12, 1969. After the raids, Haught and several other family members moved to the home of Mark Ross in Venice Beach, who was a friend of the Family. The address of this home was 28 Clubhouse Ave, Venice, CA 90291.

On November 5, 1969, Los Angeles County Police responded to a call at 28 Clubhouse where they found the body of a young man lying on a mattress with a gun and its holster nearby. The victim had a gunshot wound to the right side of his head. Still in the home were family members Catherine Gillies, Bruce Davis, Sue Bartell, and Madeline Joan Cottage “Little Patty.” According to the witness statement from Cottage, who was the only one alone with him in the room at the time, she and Zero were in bed, when he picked up a .22 Caliber revolver, and stated “Oh look a gun, it has one bullet in it”, he then spun the cylinder, placed the muzzle against his head, and shot himself.

Cottage’s statement indicates that Zero was under the impression that only one bullet was in the chamber and his intent was to play “Russian Roulette” which some of the family members often did, but several circumstances did not hold up to this fact, such as despite Bruce Davis admitting to picking up the gun, neither his nor Zero’s fingerprints were found on either the revolver or the holster when they were later dusted for prints, indicating they had likely been wiped clean. In addition, the gun was fully loaded having a bullet in each chamber.

The family members who were there, which police did not realize were associated with the Manson Family at that time, were all questioned separately and told the same story, that they had heard a gun shot and rushed to the room and that Cottage said that Zero shot himself. The death was officially ruled a suicide, despite later finding contradictory evidence.

Family members have told investigators that after the raids Manson began to getting paranoid and was loosing faith in and not trusting many of the members of the family, specifically fearing Zero for having what he called “Loose Lips” and likely ordered him killed as did he do the same with Donald “Shorty” Shea, who was murdered shortly after the Spahn Ranch raid.

On November 26, 1969 LAPD detective Michael J. McGann was interviewing Leslie Van Houten at Sybil Brand correctional institute in Los Angeles County, California, and advised her of the death of Haught. Van Houten was very upset as the two were friends. When Van Houten was told that Haught had been playing “Russian Roulette” and that Bruce Davis had been present she asked McGann:

  • Leslie Van Houten:  Was Bruce playing it too?”
  • McGann advised her that he wasn’t.
  • Leslie Van Houten: “Zero was playing Russian roulette all by himself?”
  • Mike McGann: “Kind of odd isn’t it?”
  • Leslie Van Houten: “Yeah, it’s odd.”

Neither McGann nor Van Houten believed the Russian roulette story. Later, an anonymous man told a Los Angeles Times writer that he was present when Zero died. According to the man, Zero didn’t kill himself, one of the girls shot him. However, the man disappeared before authorities could talk to him. No one has ever been charged in his death and it remains a suicide.

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