FROM THE ARCHIVES: FBI requests tapes from State Hornet interview with Manson cult member 44 years ago

FBI agents told then-State Hornet staff members that the bureau would issue subpoenas if they did not provide the tapes from an interview with Sandra “Blue” Good, a member of the famed 1960s serial killer Charles Manson’s cult family.

Following the September 5, 1975 attempt on U.S. President Gerald Ford’s life by cultist Charles Manson Family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Secret Service agents rush President Ford towards the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

RICARDO THOMAS - Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Following the September 5, 1975 attempt on U.S. President Gerald Ford’s life by cultist Charles Manson Family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Secret Service agents rush President Ford towards the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

Mitchel Bobo

A fall 1975 issue features a standoff between State Hornet staff members and the FBI over the release of taped recordings and notes from interviews with Sandra “Blue” Good, a member of the famed 1960s serial killer Charles Manson’s cult family.

After repeated trips to jail, Manson traveled to the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967. Parading himself as a spiritual leader, he recruited roughly 100 people — mostly women — to live with him at a dilapidated movie set turned cult commune in Southern California.

His cult followers, known colloquially as the Manson family, took LSD and listened to Manson preach about “Helter Skelter,” the race war he thought was coming after listening to “The White Album” by The Beatles, among other things.

It was his teachings that led a handful of his followers to commit the grisly 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders that claimed five lives and terrorized Los Angeles elites for five months as authorities investigated. Though he was not physically there, Manson was charged with first-degree murder in 1971 for ordering the bloody killings.

The State Hornet staffer Gus Gallegos conducted a taped interview with Manson family member Good on Sept. 15. Just two weeks later, FBI agents Pat Murphy and Phil Crumm requested access to recordings and notes detailing the interview.

Agents told Gallegos and then State Hornet editor Dave Miller that subpoenas would be issued if they refused to provide the requested materials.

FBI records indicate that surveillance of the Manson family lasted well after Manson’s incarceration, into the late 1970s. A large majority of the bureau’s records detail communications between Manson and the media and members of his cult, many of whom still worshipped the killer even after his conviction.

Good and fellow Manson family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme rented the attic of a Victorian home at 1725 P Street in Sacramento beginning in 1973, where they began a group called The People’s Court of Retribution, according to a 2017 article by ABC 10. The house sits just a few blocks from the popular local concert venue, Ace of Spades.

The duo also attended a Kundalini yoga class at Sac State, The State Hornet reported in 1975.

Fromme was sentenced to life in prison for her 1975 assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford, as he took an impromptu stroll from the Senator Hotel to the State Capitol for a meeting with Governor Jerry Brown.

Secret Service agent Larry Buenford thwarted the would-be assassin before she was able to fire her revolver, according to a 2018 article by The Gazette.

Good was indicted in Dec. 1975 for “conspiracy to send threatening letters through the mail,” The State Hornet reported at the time, a crime for which she served 9 years, according to a 2017 BBC article.

In the original State Hornet interview, Good made frequent reference to Manson and reiterated many of the group’s beliefs concerning the environment and government leaders.

A Newsweek article from 2017 details Fromme’s release in 2009 after serving 34 years of her sentence. Her last known residence was in upstate New York.

A 1994 Fresno Bee article reported that Good had re-settled in Hanover, California.

The two are among the only members of the cult to have never renounced Manson.

The State Hornet is celebrating its 70th anniversary with stories from our archives. Below is the original article published September 16, 1975.  For more throwback content, click here.

FBI Demands Hornet Tapes

Two agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation appeared at the Hornet office yesterday and asked for the taped interview of Manson cult follower Sandra Good by Hornet reporter Gus Gallegos published in last Friday’s Hornet.

They also asked for notes from Hornet editor Dave Miller concerning the CSUS activities of Good and her former roommate Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, charged with the attempted assassination of President Gerald R. Ford over a week and a half ago.

Miller refused to release the requested taped interview and notes unless they were subpoenaed. He told agents that he would have to consult with Gallegos first.

The agents left without the taped interview indicating that the subpoena would be issued, if the tape and notes were not made available to them.

The two men appeared at the Hornet office at about 3:15 p.m. yesterday and identified themselves as agents Phil Crumm and Pat Murphy from the Sacramento FBI office.

They want the tape and notes for the investigation of the alleged attempted assassination of the president. Crumm said, “There might be something on the tape that the FBI would want.”

Miller declined the agents request saying “it is Hornet policy that we don’t release that type of material or information to anybody.”

“Anyway,” Miller said, “I haven’t had a chance to discuss the matter fully with the reporter that did the interview to determine if there was any additional information beyond what has already been printed.”

Gallegos said he was contacted by the two agents shortly after their appearance at the Hornet office.

He said he told them that he didn’t have possession of the tape and that he would have to consult with the editor.

Agents then told Gallegos they would subpoena the tape if it was not given to them.

“As far as I am concerned,” Miller said, “By seizing the tape, the FBI would prevent the Hornet from access to the tape for any

The Hornet newspaper has thus far blocked attempts by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to illegally seize the State Hornet’s taped interview and related notes of Manson cult followers Sandra Good.

Shortly after Monday’s FBI appearance at the Hornet office, the Hornet learned that FBI agents may have violated at least one basic procedure outlined in the U.S. Justice Department guidelines when they demanded, without success, the tape and related notes from the Hornet staff.

The guidelines apply to all federal prosecutors who are seeking to subpoena films, documents or testimony from journalists.

Specifically the rule states: “Negotiations with the media shall be pursued in all cases in which a subpoena is contemplated. These negotiations should attempt to accommodate the interests of grand jury with the interests of the media.”

The two FBI agents from the Sacramento bureau threatened the Hornet with subpoena action when Hornet editor Dave Miller refused to yield the tapes and notes sought.

Paul Young, special agent in charge of the Sacramento division of the FBI, told the Hornet yesterday “if there’s a subpoena, it will come from the U.S. attorney’s office, not us.”

He said Duane Keyes, U.S. attorney general in charge of the case, would issue a subpoena, “if he thought the information is pertinent and it wasn’t presented on a voluntary basis.”

Young said his office would not accept any responsibility for issuing subpoenas and that Keyes would have to make the decision.

“I don’t want any kind of a problem; we have a job to do and that’s that,” he said.

Questioned yesterday by the Hornet on whether he would issue a subpoena for the tape and related notes, Keyes said “I don’t know at this time; we’re still reviewing the case.”

He said a final decision on the subpoena would be made shortly.

Keyes declined any further comment.

The interview with Good, by Hornet writer Gus Gallegos last Friday, was marked by frequent references to her cult leader Charles Manson. Convicted killer of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

Primarily a repetition of many of her previous statements, the article outlined the connection between Manson and several of his followers.

The article, and a related one, also focused on the CSUS activities of Good and Fromme, who attended an alternative education Kudalini yoga class her last spring.

Under a commitment to Good prior to the interview, the campus radio station, KERS, will air the tape of the interview when it resumes operation within the next several days.