Manson injured in prison fight

VACAVILLE, Calif. -- Mass murderer Charles Manson was set afire Tuesday with paint thinner in a prison hobby shop by another killer during an argument over religion, authorities said.

The attack took place at 8:45 a.m. in the California Medical Facility where Manson, 49, is serving a life term for the murders of actress Sharon Tate and eight others in 1969.


Manson was listed in good condition in the prison hospital. He suffered second and third-degree burns on his scalp, face and hands, said Bob Gore, spokesman for the Department of Corrections.

'It's not life-threatening, but he could have some scars,' said Lt. Bill Hartwell, spokesman at the prison.

The accused attacker was identified as Jan Holmstrom, serving a life term for second-degree murder and other crimes committed in Los Angeles. Gore said prison psychiatrists described Holmstrom, 36, as a 'psychiatric case in remission.'

He said the flames singed the beard and hair of the cultist murderer.

Hartwell said Manson's attacker apparently threw paint thinner in Manson's face and then tossed a match at him.

Other inmates extinguished the flames almost immediately and Manson was taken to the prison hospital, Hartwell said.


Gore said Holmstrom told prison guards that Manson had argued with him over his religion. He was placed in a segregated cell pending the investigation. He told the guards he was a member of the Hari Krishna sect.

'Manson had threatened him in the last two days for practicing his religious beliefs,' Gore said.

Manson was the wild-eyed leader of a drug and sex cult that shocked the nation with the murder of Tate and eight others in Los Angeles.

He escaped death in the gas chamber only when the California Supreme Court struck down the state's death penalty law. He has been rejected several times for parole.

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