Reports: Charles Manson hospitalized in California

CBS News file video of Charles Manson

BAKERSFIELD, Ca. —  Charles Manson, the charismatic cult leader whose followers committed heinous murders that shocked the nation almost a half century ago, has been hospitalized, the Los Angeles Times and TMZ reported Wednesday.

Citing medical privacy rules, Luis Patino at California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told CNN his office “cannot confirm or deny this information” when asked about Manson’s hospitalization.

Kern County Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Smallwood told CNN that the Los Angeles Times misconstrued his comments about Manson being hospitalized. He would not confirm whether Manson was at a medical facility.

Manson is 83.

The Times reported Manson’s condition is unclear. TMZ’s more dire report said Manson was taken to a hospital in Bakersfield, California, three days ago.

In the 1960s, Manson, an ex-convict, assembled a group of runaways and outcasts known as the “Manson Family.” In the summer of 1969, he directed his mostly young, female followers to murder seven people in what prosecutors said was part of a plan to incite a race war.

Members of the cult stabbed pregnant Hollywood actress Sharon Tate 16 times in the early-morning hours of Aug. 9, 1969. Manson’s followers stabbed or shot to death four other people at Tate’s home.

In all, the group killed seven people, CBS News reported.

Manson and four followers, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Charles “Tex” Watson, were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. They were spared execution  after the California Supreme Court temporarily declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1972.

Charles Manson/ Courtesy of CBS Newspath