By CASEY JUNKINS
The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register
MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Long before Charles Manson became known as the mastermind behind several brutal 1969 murders across Southern California, he spent a significant portion of his youth living with relatives in McMechen.
In fact, in 1983, Manson sent a handwritten letter to the then-active West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, hoping that prison warden Donald Bordenkircher would accept him as a transfer from his California cell.
“I was razed in McMechen and Wheeling … you may know some of my kin folks,”Manson wrote to Bordenkircher.
“California prison people had me in the hole for 14 years,” Manson wrote. “I am a good worker and I give you my word I’ll start no trouble.”
Though Bordenkircher refused Manson’s request, the letter is now encased behind glass at the former penitentiary.
“A lot of people think he was housed here, but he never was.” Tom Stiles, penitentiary general manager said. “It’s all just part of the history here.”
According to a March 16, 1983 story from United Press International, the warden responded with, “It will be a cold day in hell.
“Before you know it, you’ve got a wildman on your hands. We have our own problems without taking anybody else’s,” Bordenkircher told UPI.
“He apparently grew up in the Benwood-McMechen area, which is just a few miles from here. Some of his relatives did time in the facility here, and he said they helped build a lot of the roads in the area. He just wanted to carry on the family tradition, I guess,” the warden added of Manson.
According to Stiles, Manson’s mother, Kathleen Maddox, did time at the prison for her role in a robbery.
At the age of 83, Manson died Sunday night. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Kristina Khokhobashvili said Monday her office could not comment on the destiny of Manson’s remains.
Information from the department indicates that in December 1971, Manson was convicted of multiple counts of first degree murder, resulting in a death sentence. However, officials eventually commuted his sentence to life in prison. California officials denied Manson parole on 12 separate occasions from Nov. 16, 1978 to April 11, 2012. He was not eligible for another parole hearing until 2027.
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