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Charles Manson Was Never in West Virginia Penitentiary

Why People Think he Was

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Some say the infamous murderer Charles Manson once stayed at West Virginia Penitentiary. 

He didn’t. But his connection is strong… his mother, Kathleen Maddox.

West Virginia Penitentiary - Administration Building
Crown – the Main Administration Wing

Manson tried.  When wanting to be close to his mother while doing time there for armed robbery. 

Little Charles with his mom Kathleen Maddox
Little Charles with his mom Kathleen Maddox

He mailed a personal letter to Warden Manfred G. Holland in 1983.

Careful not to mention his mother, he talked about living with his aunt and uncle in McMechen, West Virginia in 1939.  While “Mom and Dad served five years”.

The letter continued (shown exactly as written),

“I was razed in McMechen and Wheeling, and worked at the race track under big Bill and Charlie Stoneman who put them big stones at the prison and on the road.”

Manson ended the letter showing himself in a positive light,

“I’m a good worker and I give you my word I’ll start no trouble. I’ve been in prison hallways over 30 years and [have] never lied to you…” … That should count for something somewhere.”

Warden Holland, a serious man, simply wrote back,

“when Hell freezes over”

The Warden

So ended any chance of coming to West Virginia Penitentiary for this mass-murderer.  But the letter was kept. 

Now hanging in the museum beside “Old Sparky”.

Letter from Manson on Display at the Pen
Excerpt of Charles Manson Letter to Warden Holland


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