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Blood Testing. She turned out to be one of Manson's shrewdest, toughest and most slavishly obedient followers. When the clan lived on a Death Valley ranch, Manson assigned Squeaky to take care of the ranch's 81-year-old blind owner, George Spahn, in the hope−futile, in the end−that she would inherit the property. Said Manson Follower Danny DeCarlo: "She had George in the palm of her hand. She cleaned for him, cooked for him, balanced his checkbook, made love with him." She was also in charge of selling the autos, dune buggies and other assorted loot stolen by Manson's disciples.

After Manson's arrest in 1969, Squeaky took command of the clan and its hand-to-mouth living arrangements. With a handful of other followers, mostly women, she perched on the steps of the Los Angeles courthouse during the trial, shaved her head to protest his conviction and gouged an X into her forehead as a sign of loyalty. She later explained: "We have Xed ourselves out of this world." Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi wrote in his book Helter Skelter that the mutilations became a ritual for new members, "complete to tasting the blood as it ran down their faces."

Although Squeaky was not implicated in the Tate or LaBianca slaughters, she was arrested more than a dozen times on various charges, ranging from drug possession to murder. In 1972 Squeaky and four other Manson followers were charged with killing an associate, Lauren Willett, 19, after a falling out. Her body was buried under a house in which the family members had been living. But charges against Squeaky were eventually dropped because of insufficient evidence. Her only convictions have been for relatively minor offenses. In 1971, for example, she and three other clan members were sentenced to 90 days in jail for trying to prevent a former fellow disciple from testifying at Manson's trial by allegedly feeding her an LSD-laced hamburger.

Since Manson's conviction and life sentence, Squeaky has lived in various parts of California, including the San Fernando Valley, Monterey, San Francisco and Sacramento, where she rented an apartment to be near Manson after he was transferred to Folsom prison. With at least three other Manson women, she shared a dilapidated apartment on P Street, only a few blocks from the capitol grounds, where last week's attempt on President Ford's life took place. Prison authorities refused their dozen requests to visit Manson. Bugliosi has called her the "chief cheerleader of the Manson cause." Indeed, she has continued trying to recruit new members, but without apparent success. She has also attempted−usually in vain−to keep members from deserting the group.

In recent months she and her roommates have donned long red robes and red turbans, the outlandish habit of their newly proclaimed religious order, which prays for Manson's miraculous return to freedom. As Squeaky told an interviewer: "We're nuns now, and we wear red robes. We're waiting for our Lord, and there's only one thing to do before he comes off the cross, and that's clean up the earth. Our red robes are an example of new morality. We must clean up the air, the water and the land. They're red with sacrifice, the blood of the sacrifice."

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