From The Record (New Jersey), December 27, 1987:
For Fromme, 20 Years Revering Manson
By Sandi Gibbons, Special from Los Angeles Daily News; Wire services
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was one of the original members of Charles Manson's family of followers and became a trusted lieutenant who held the group together after Manson's arrest in 1969 for the Tate-LaBianca murders.
Fromme, then 19, had been on her own for two years when she met Manson in Venice, Calif., in 1967, a short time after he was released from Terminal Island Federal Prison. The daughter of an aeronautical engineer who now lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, Fromme was ordered out of the house by her parents when she was 17.
She had been attending El Camino Junior College in Torrance, but after meeting Manson, the petite, red-haired Fromme became his most devoted follower, calling him "father" and likening him to Jesus Christ.
With Manson and other followers, Fromme moved to the San Fernando Valley, first living in a house on Gresham Street in Canoga Park, then moving to the Spahn Movie Ranch in Chatsworth.
Fromme recruited women for Manson, collected food from supermarket trash bins to feed the "family," carved an X on her forehead after he did, and, at Manson's behest, used sex and drugs to care for the nearly blind George Spahn, the 81-year-old owner of the ranch in the Santa Susana Pass.
A plot to kill witness
She was sentenced to 90 days in jail for her part in a plot to give a fatal overdose [sic] of LSD to a prosecution witness in the trial for the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others. Fromme later was arrested but not charged on suspicion of murdering a former Manson follower.
In September 1975, as a sacrifice for Manson, she tried to kill then-President Gerald R. Ford.
"Squeaky and Sandy [Sandra Good] were really the brains behind the family," said Steve Kay, a Los Angeles County assistant district attorney who was one of the original prosecutors in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial. "Charlie would leave them in charge when he left the ranch. "
Kay said he believes Good might have helped Fromme escape from prison Wednesday in West Virginia. Good, 43, also served time at the federal prison in Alderson, W.Va., after a 1975 conviction for sending threatening letters to businessmen, accusing them of polluting the land and water. She was last known to be living in a small Vermont community near the Canadian border after California officials blocked her return to the Sacramento area.
"My immediate thought when I heard about this was, 'What a nice Christmas present for Charles Manson,'" Kay said. "Manson couldn't have wanted anything more than to have his two most devoted women followers out of prison. He knows these two women would give their lives to get him out. "
Manson, 53, is in San Quentin Prison about 15 miles north of San Francisco. He and Fromme correspond by letter regularly, said state prison spokesman Robert Gore.
There has been no mention of escape in any of her letters, which are monitored by prison staff, Gore said.
"Squeaky threatened me one night during the Tate-LaBianca trial," Kay said. "They both told me they were going to make my house look like the Tate house."
That house was an estate in Benedict Canyon where actress Sharon Tate and four others were hacked to death in August 1969.
"I don't think Ford should worry," Kay said. "I would be more concerned with [President Ronald] Reagan.... [Fromme] loves attention, publicity."
One former Manson follower, Steve "Clem" Grogan, has been paroled from prison and lives in the San Fernando Valley.
"I don't know that they would really trust somebody like Clem," Kay said. "They're so much smarter than him."
A former Manson follower
Grogan, 36, was paroled last year after serving 15 years of a life term for the murder of stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea, a ranch hand who was killed in 1969 and buried on the Spahn Ranch property. Grogan led authorities to Shea's body in 1979 in return for an early parole date. He is working as a house painter.
When the trial for Manson and three women followers Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten began in 1970, Fromme and Good led a group of followers who maintained a 24-hour vigil outside the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles.
They stood outside during the daytime and used public telephones to keep in touch with other family members who would call in regularly. At night, they slept in bushes or in an old van belonging to the cult.
When Manson and his three co-defendants carved X's in their foreheads, announcing they were "X'ing ourselves out of your world," Fromme followed suit. When Manson and the others shaved their heads, Fromme did, too.
Before former family member Barbara Hoyt testified in 1970, Fromme, Good, and several other Manson followers devised a plot to take her to Honolulu, where she was to be fed a hamburger spiked with LSD. The plot to keep Hoyt from testifying fell through, however, and Fromme and the others were charged with trying to kill the witness.
They later pleaded no contest to conspiracy to dissuade a witness from testifying and served 90-day jail terms.
While living in the San Fernando Valley on Gresham Street and at Spahn Ranch, Fromme usually accompanied by Good raided dumpsters at supermarkets for old produce and other foodstuff that was thrown away because it was not good enough to sell.
She once bragged that she knew every supermarket in the valley because of the so-called "garbage runs." Fromme and Good also would cook for the others and act as hostesses for a nightclub that Manson tried to start at the ranch.
Irving Kanarek, Manson's attorney, said during the 1970-71 trial that he ate regularly at the ranch and the salvage food "was pretty good."
Fromme was jailed again in Los Angeles in 1971 for contempt of court when she refused to testify at the penalty phase of Manson's separate trial for the murders of Shea and musician Gary Hinman of Topanga Canyon.
In 1972, she was arrested in connection with a murder in Stockton, but she never was charged. Four others pleaded guilty and were sent to prison.
Manson was at Vacaville State Prison by this time, and Fromme and Good moved to a small apartment in Sacramento to be near their leader.
On Sept. 5, 1975, Fromme dressed all in red pointed a revolver [sic] at Ford when he arrived at a rally [sic] at Sacramento's Capitol Park. She was arrested immediately. Ford was not hurt.
Fromme insisted she did not want to kill the president, she just wanted to get his attention. John Virga, her lawyer in Sacramento, said in an interview two years ago that Fromme wanted people to listen to her talk about Manson.
At the time, Fromme was quoted as saying, "The potential [to kill Ford] was present, but not the intent."
She also conceded that she may have done Manson a disservice because of the furor the assassination attempt created.
"We've put all this attention on him and leave him carrying the blame without benefit of much support," she said. "Just like the ones in 1969 he's now called a mass murderer, yet has never killed anyone. "
Fromme called herself an environmentalist and said she was upset with Ford.
"I decided something must be done on behalf of the Earth," she said.