9 Women Who Fell In Love With Cold-Blooded Killers — Despite Their Heinous Crimes

Published November 28, 2020
Updated June 14, 2024

Kristin Svege And Charles “Tex” Watson

Charles Tex Watson

Michael Haering/Herald Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public LibraryCharles “Tex” Watson following a court appearance on September 28, 1970.

Long before Afton Burton was overcome by Charles Manson, Kristin Svege fell for another infamous Manson Family figure — Charles “Tex” Watson.

In August 1969, the Sharon Tate murders committed by Manson’s followers rocked the foundations of American culture. Shortly after the Manson Family’s crimes hit the news, the era of free love was arguably gone for good.

But even though Manson himself became infamous around the world for the murders, it was Watson who did most of the dirty work. He was just 23 years old at the time of the Sharon Tate murders — and his announcement upon breaking into the actress’s home remains haunting to this day.

“I am the devil,” he told his victims. “I am here to do the devil’s business.”

A look at Charles Watson’s hometown and reflections from local citizens in the wake of his crimes.

The murders of a famous actress, the heiress to the Folger’s fortune, the well-to-do couple Leno and Rosemary Bianca, and three others made Watson one of the most infamous killers in the world. He was ultimately convicted of seven counts of first‐degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Though he was sentenced to death, California temporarily suspended capital punishment in 1972. So he was simply handed a life sentence instead. Languishing behind bars, Watson engaged in correspondence with Kristin Svege, a fan of his he’d never met.

The romance flourished as Watson attempted to make public efforts to reform himself. While imprisoned at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, he founded “Abounding Love Ministries,” a religious website.

Watson had converted to Christianity in 1975 and became an ordained minister in 1981. Before designing his website, Watson opted to tie the knot with Svege — who was entirely comfortable with taking her relationship with a murderer to the next level.

Charles Tex Watson Mug Shot

Wikimedia CommonsThe former Manson Family member in prison. Date unknown.

Svege not only married Watson in 1979 but also birthed four of his children across several conjugal visits before they were banned.

The pair ended up getting divorced in 2003. While it’s unclear why their relationship became rocky, the fact that Watson was incarcerated for life — for seven gruesome murders — was always in the backdrop. He has been denied parole 17 times.

At his 17th parole hearing in October 2016, Debra Tate, the actress’ sister, called Watson a sociopath and said that he was incapable of empathy.

“It’s all about him,” she said. “He didn’t have it then, and he doesn’t have it now.”

Now 74 years old, Watson is set to live out the rest of his life in prison.

author
Marco Margaritoff
author
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.
editor
John Kuroski
editor
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Margaritoff, Marco. "9 Women Who Fell In Love With Cold-Blooded Killers — Despite Their Heinous Crimes." AllThatsInteresting.com, November 28, 2020, https://allthatsinteresting.com/women-who-loved-killers. Accessed June 14, 2024.