Manson Family has history in Stockton

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When most people think of the Manson Family, they think of the gruesome murders that took place in the home of director Roman Polanski in Los Angeles in 1969. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that members of the Manson family not only used a house in Stockton as a hideout; but the house was the location of another murder.

In November 1972, members of the Manson Family-Nancy Pitman, Priscilla Cooper, James Craig, Michael Monfort and William Goucher killed a man by the name of James Willet, stealing his car and kidnapping his wife Lauren and their baby Heidi Willet, keeping them hostage in the house on West Flora Street, according to mansonblog.com.

 “Basically, from what I’ve researched when I heard about it, they (members of the Manson Family) committed a crime and then hung out in this place here,” said Stockton resident Nikki Hugh, who lives next door to the house.

Nikki Hugh went on to say the Manson Family eventually ended up killing Lauren Willet and burying her body in the basement.

“If you go down there, you could still see that it’s half cement and half soil,” said Nikki Hugh.

“The back story was that they were going around committing crimes,” Earl Hugh, Nikki’s husband, said. “They thought the people they killed were working with the cops.”

According to an article on the San Francisco State University website, James and Lauren had been associated with the Manson family for about a year before their deaths.

The crimes the Manson Family committed include the robbery of a liquor store on 929 N. El Dorado Street, according to the crime timeline on mansonblog.com. The two suspects William Goucher and Michael Monfort were arrested soon after.

It wasn’t until the cops got a tip that James’ car was parked outside of the 720 Flora road home the rest of the crew was apprehended.

“When the cops came to raid the place, one of the Manson crew opened the door with the baby in her arms,” Nikki Hugh said.

The baby was unharmed.

The things that took place at this house has made it a hot spot for paranormal investigators.

According to Nikki Hugh, both her and their neighbor’s doorbell would ring at 3pm every day, but there would be nobody there.

“I literally stood there, waiting to see if someone would ring it, but no one was there,” she said.

However, the Hugh’s haven’t noticed anything else supernatural about the house next door.

The current owners of the house, who do not believe in the supernatural, refused to be interviewed, but were kind enough to give a quote via text message from Earl’s cellphone.

“To me the history on that house is so old and is just not relevant to my life. I’ve never seen or heard anything unusual in the six years living there,” the owner, who didn’t give a name, said. “Actually, the only association with the Manson clan is that Squeaky Fromme stayed there a week or so.”

“Squeaky” is the alias for Lynnete Fromme, a member of the Manson family who, on an unrelated case, nearly assassinated former United States President Gerald Ford in 1975.

According to the LA Times website, Fromme escaped from prison in 1987 before she was captured two days later while roaming the countryside. She had made it two miles before she was captured.

In 2009 at the age of 60, Fromme was released on parole from federal prison. She served 34 years.