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Charles Manson, 80, Gets License To Wed 26-Year-Old Prison Visitor

A marriage license has been issued for 80-year-old serial killer Charles Manson, seen here on Oct. 8, to wed 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton. Burton, who goes by the name "Star," told the AP that she and Manson will be married next month.
California Department of Corrections

Charles Manson has been in prison since 1969 and isn't eligible for parole until 2027, but he may be getting married — to a 26-year-old woman who visits him in prison and believes he is innocent.

The Associated Press obtained the marriage license for Manson, 80, and Afton Elaine Burton, who maintains websites advocating for his innocence in the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Burton left her home in the Midwest nearly a decade ago and moved to Corcoran, Calif., where Manson is incarcerated so she could be near him. The marriage license, the AP reported, doesn't specify a wedding date. The couple must reapply if they aren't married within 90 days.

Burton, who goes by the name "Star," told the AP that the wedding will be next month.

"Y'all can know that it's true," she told the agency. "It's going to happen."

Burton told the AP that they were waiting for the prison to complete their paperwork.

Here's more from the AP:

"California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton confirmed to the AP that the license had been transmitted to the prison.

"Thornton said each California prison designates an employee to be a marriage coordinator who processes paperwork for an inmate's request to be wed. In most cases, she said, the department of corrections approves of such weddings as 'a tool of family reunification and social development.' But Manson is a unique case.

"Burton said the wedding might have happened earlier if Manson did not have 'some situations' at the prison.

"Thornton explained that in February, Manson had three violations for possession of a weapon, threatening staff and refusal to provide a urine sample.

"Burton said the prison holds marriages on the first Saturday of each month. She expects to be married in an inmate vising room at the prison."

Manson and Burton are allowed 10 guests who aren't inmates. Manson isn't allowed conjugal visits, however.

Burton told the AP that being married to the convicted killer would allow her access to information unavailable to nonrelatives — information that could get him a new trial.

Manson and his followers, known as "The Family," became convinced in the 1960s that the world was on the brink of an apocalyptic race war. They then killed nine people, including actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of film director Roman Polanski. Grocers Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were killed the following night.

Two of Manson's female followers, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, are also imprisoned. Another, Susan Atkins, who was described as the " scariest of the Manson girls," died in prison in 2009 of cancer.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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