US & Canada

Mass murderer Charles Manson granted marriage licence

Handout photo from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Charles Manson, on 18 March 2009 at Corcoran State Prison, California. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Manson's death sentence for the 1969 murders was later commuted after California banned the death penalty

American mass murderer Charles Manson, 80, has been granted a licence to marry a 26-year-old woman who has been visiting him in prison.

The bride-to-be, Afton Elaine Burton, says she loves Manson.

She moved to Corcoran, California, nine years ago to be nearer Manson's prison and maintains he is innocent.

Manson is serving a life sentence for his role in the murders of seven people and one unborn child in Los Angeles in 1969.

The victims included pregnant actress Sharon Tate, wife of film director Roman Polanski.

"Y'all can know that it's true... It's going to happen," Ms Burton, who goes by the name "Star", told AP.

"I love him," she added.

Sharon Tate's sister Debra, who acts as a spokeswoman for the families of Manson's victims, called the impending marriage "ludicrous''.

Notorious killings

The California Department of Corrections has confirmed the issuing of a marriage licence.

No date has been set, but the couple have until early February next year to marry before having to reapply for a licence.

As a life prisoner with no parole date, Manson is not entitled to conjugal visits.

Followers of a cult headed by Manson, known as the Manson Family, stabbed and shot seven people in Los Angeles over two nights in August 1969 in an attempt to start a race war.

Manson and three women accomplices were sentenced to death for the killings, but that was commuted in 1972 when California temporarily outlawed the death penalty.

In 2012, Manson was refused parole by a Californian prison panel - it was the 12th time he had made a bid for freedom.

He is not eligible to apply for parole again until 2027.

More on this story

Around the BBC