Fromme was just 26 at the time, and had joined the “family” of mass murderer Charles Manson. Her antics captured the attention of the nation. She’d shaved her head and carved an “X” in her forehead during the trial of Manson and several other members of his “family” for the murder of actress Sharon Tate and eight others. Although not implicated in those murders she was tried, convicted, and given a short jail sentence for attempting to prevent Manson’s imprisoned followers from testifying, and also for contempt of court for refusing to testify herself. Later, during her own trial she wore a red robe and had to be carried into the courtroom by marshals when she refused to walk in.
She received a life sentence, the first such conviction under a federal law enacted after John F. Kennedy’s assassination mandating life sentences for attempted assassinations of U.S. presidents. Later, following an escape from prison right before Christmas in 1987, she was sentenced to 15 additional years. She had escaped, she said, to be closer to Manson, who she’d falsely heard was dying of cancer.
On August 14 she was finally released from the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, near Fort Worth, Texas, where she has been incarcerated since her recapture. She is now 60 years old.
She’d been granted parole in July 2008 for “good conduct time” but remained behind bars an additional 13 months because of the escape. She will be on supervised release for two years. No one has said where she will live, or if she will return to California where she still has relatives.
Manson, 74, continues to serve a life sentence at Corcoran State Prison in California, which did not have the death penalty at the time of his conviction.
Photo of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme in 1975: AP Images