Lynette Fromme tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975.
Lynette Fromme, AKA “Squeaky,” was born October 22, 1948. She is best known for attempting to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1975. A member of the infamous “Manson Family,” the courts sentenced her to life imprisonment. However, she was released on parole in 2009, after serving 34 years.
In 1967, Fromme went to Venice Beach, suffering from depression. Charles Manson, recently out of federal prison at Terminal Island, saw her and struck up a conversation. Fromme found Manson’s philosophies and attitudes appealing and the two became friends. They traveled together and with other young people such as Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins. She lived in Southern California at Spahn Ranch, and in the desert near Death Valley. George Spahn gave her the nickname “Squeaky,” because of a sound she made when he touched her.
“In wanting to believe that people were willing to change we lost our lives.” – Lynette Fromme
Manson and some of his followers were arrested for the Tate/La Bianca murders in 1969. Consequently, Fromme and the remaining Family camped outside of the courthouse. When Manson and defendants carved “X“s into their foreheads, so did Fromme, Good, Nancy Pitman and others. They proclaimed Manson’s innocence. They preached his philosophy to the news media and to anyone else who would listen. Squeaky wasn’t involved with the murders. However, a jury convicted her of attempting to prevent Manson’s imprisoned followers from testifying. As well as contempt of court when she herself refused to testify. She did short jail stints for both offenses.
Fromme and Sandra Good moved into a dilapidated attic apartment in downtown Sacramento. They wanted to be near Manson, who at the time was in Folsom prison. Around 1973, Fromme started work on an extensive 600-page book about The Family, including intricate drawings and photos. Other Family members had contributed to it as well. Fromme sent it to every publisher she knew. However, after discussing the matter with Steve “Clem” Grogan, she decided the project was too incriminating and dropped it.
“When the circumstances are right, everything becomes a dance.”
On the morning of September 5, 1975, Fromme went to Sacramento’s Capitol Park to plead with President Ford about the plight of the California redwoods. She wore a red robe and carried a Colt M1911 .45 semi-automatic pistol that she pointed at Ford. The pistol’s magazine had four rounds inside, but there was no cartridge in the chamber. Secret Service agent Larry Buendorf immediately restrained her. During the fracas, Fromme emphasized to the cameras that the gun “didn’t go off.”
In 1980, Fromme told The Sacramento Bee that she had deliberately ejected the cartridge in her weapon’s chamber before leaving home that morning.
After a lengthy trial in which she refused to cooperate with her own defense, jurors convicted her of the attempted assassination of the president. According to the law attempted Presidential assassinations mandate a life sentence. When U.S. Attorney Dwayne Keyes recommended severe punishment because she was “full of hate and violence,” Fromme threw an apple at him, hitting him in the face and knocking off his glasses. “Sandy Koufax couldn’t have thrown a better pitch,” her lawyer said years later.
“I stood up and waved a gun (at Ford) for a reason,” said Fromme. “I was so relieved not to have to shoot it, but, in truth, I came to get life. Not just my life but clean air, healthy water and respect for creatures and creation.”
Fromme was granted parole from Federal Medical Center, Carswell on August 14, 2009. She then moved to Marcy, New York. According to the New York Post, as of January 2019 she still resides in Marcy with her boyfriend Robert Valdner. The house they share is decorated with skulls.
“She’s very friendly,” one neighbor told The Post.
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