Charles Manson, who is serving a life sentence for his role as the ringleader in some of America's most notorious mass murders, has obtained a wedding license. Although the wedding date has yet to be determined, the 80-year-old inmate is on the path to wed 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, who goes by "Star," according to The Associated Press. Burton, who has spent the past nine years working on his case, hopes to say "I do" next month.
"Y'all can know that it's true," Burton told the news service. "It's going to happen. I love him. I'm with him."
The couple's marriage license was issued on November 7th as they wait for the prison to complete the paperwork.
A Department of Corrections rep, who confirmed that the license had been transmitted to the prison, said the couple would be allowed to invite 10 guests who are not prisoners. If the wedding goes through, the rep claims it would take place on the first Saturday of the month, most likely in a visiting room. The couple has until February to get married before needing to reapply; the prison has assigned a wedding coordinator to help with planning.
The license would have been processed quicker if Manson had not encountered what Burton described to the AP as "some situations": three violations for possession of a weapon, threatening staff and refusing to provide a urine sample.
As conjugal visits are out of the question for a life prisoner with no parole date (Manson won't be eligible again until 2027), Burton said she hoped the marriage would allow her access to information available only to relatives. "There's certain things next of kin can do," she said.
Debra Tate, the sister of Manson Family victim Sharon Tate, told the AP that the impending marriage was insane. "What would any young woman in her right mind want with an 80-year-old man?" she said. And as for Manson's role in the marriage, she offered, "The devil is alive and well."
Rolling Stone broke the news of the couple's desire to wed a year ago in an in-depth profile. "I'll tell you straight up, Charlie and I are going to get married," Burton told the magazine at the time. "When that will be, we don't know. But I take it very seriously."
Manson, however, was not so sure at the time. "Oh that," he says. "That's a bunch of garbage. You know that, man. That's trash. We're just playing that for public consumption."
Burton, a native of the St. Louis area, moved to Corcoran, California – where Manson's prison is located – at age 19 in 2007, and she visits with Manson for up to five hours every Saturday and Sunday. Manson gave her the name "Star."
Manson was sentenced to death in 1971 for his role in the murders of Tate, who was pregnant and married to film director Roman Polanski at the time, and four houseguests, as well as the separate murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in August 1969. In 1972, Manson's sentence was converted to life in prison after California abolished the death penalty, though it has since been reinstated. He has been denied parole 12 times. Several members of Manson's "family," including Leslie Van Houton, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles "Tex" Watson, Bruce Davis and Robert Beausoleil, remain behind bars. Follower Susan Atkins died of cancer while in prison in 2009.
Earlier this year, filmmaker Rob Zombie and American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis announced their plans to make a TV series for Fox about the Manson family murders.
NBC is also developing a series about the Manson family murders, Aquarius, which will star X-Files and Californication actor David Duchovny as a detective on the hunt for the killers. "It's a very interesting time period for the country," Duchovny told Rolling Stone about the series earlier this year. "Still, to this day, there's a lot of mystique about the promise of the Sixties and what went wrong there and what's gone wrong since. You had Manson on one hand, and the dark side of the Sixties, and you've got peace, love and Flower Power on the light side. There's a lot to work with."