Lynette Fromme: Wikis


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Lynette Fromme
Born October 22, 1948 (1948-10-22) (age 61)
Santa Monica, California, US
Charge(s) Attempted assassination of a US President
Penalty Life in prison
Status Paroled
Parents William Millar Fromme
Helen Benzinger

Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme (born October 22, 1948) is an American member of the Manson Family. She was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1975. After serving 34 years in custody, she was released from prison on August 14, 2009.


Early life

Fromme was born in Santa Monica, California, the daughter of William Millar Fromme and Helen Benzinger.[1] Her father was an aeronautical engineer and her mother a homemaker.

As a child, Fromme was a performer for a popular local dance group called the Westchester Lariats, which in the late 1950s began touring the U.S. and Europe, appearing on The Lawrence Welk Show and at the White House. Fromme was in the 1959 tour.[2]

In 1963, the family moved to Redondo Beach, a suburb of Los Angeles, in the South Bay, and Fromme began drinking and taking drugs. Her grades at Redondo Union High School dropped, but she managed to graduate in 1966. She moved out of her parents' house for a few months before her father convinced her to consider El Camino Junior College. Her attendance there only lasted about two months before an argument with her father rendered her homeless.

Charles Manson and Manson Family involvement

In 1967, Fromme went to Venice Beach, suffering from depression. Charles Manson, who had been recently released from federal prison at Terminal Island, between San Pedro and Long Beach, saw her and struck up a conversation. Fromme found Manson's philosophies and attitudes appealing, and the two became friends, traveling together and with other young people such as Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins. She lived in Southern California at Spahn Ranch, and in the desert near Death Valley.

After Manson and some of his followers were arrested for the Tate/La Bianca murders in 1969, Fromme and the remaining "Manson family" camped outside of the trial. When Manson and his fellow defendants, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Atkins carved Xs into their foreheads, so did Fromme and her compatriots. They proclaimed Manson's innocence and preached his apocalyptic philosophy to the news media and to anyone else who would listen. She was never charged with involvement in the murders, but was convicted of attempting to prevent Manson's imprisoned followers from testifying, as well as contempt of court when she herself refused to testify. She was given short jail sentences for both offenses.

Upon entering prison Charles Manson looked to the Aryan Brotherhood for protection against sexual assault and beatings. To earn the favor of the brotherhood, Manson had his female followers mail nude photos of themselves to brotherhood members. With these photos, promises of sexual favors when the men were released were also included.[3]

Murder in Stockton, California

To follow through with Manson's deal with the Aryan Brotherhood, Fromme moved to Stockton, California, with friends Nancy Pitman and Priscilla Cooper, and a pair of ex-convict Aryan Brotherhood members named Michael Monfort and James Craig. This group happened to meet up with a couple, James and Lauren Willett, at a cabin. The ex-convicts forced James Willett to dig his own grave and gunned him down because he was going to tell the authorities about a series of robberies that the ex-convicts had committed after they were released from prison.[4] After the body of James Willett was found, with his hand still sticking from the ground,[4] the housemates were taken into custody on suspicion of murder. After their arrest, the body of Lauren Willett was discovered as well. [4] An infant girl believed to be the Willetts’ daughter was also found in the house in Stockton, and placed with Mary Graham Hall.[4] Fromme was released due to a lack of evidence.

The Sonoma County coroner’s office concluded that James Willett was killed sometime in September 1972 although his body was not found until the beginning of November 1972. He had been buried near Guerneville in Sonoma County.[4] On the night of Saturday November 11, 1972 the Stockton Police responded to information that a station wagon owned by the Willetts was in the area. It was discovered parked in front of 720 W. Flora Street. "Police Sgt. Richard Whiteman went to the house and, when he was refused entry, forced his way in. All the persons subsequently arrested were in the house except for Miss Fromme. She telephoned the house while police were there, asking to be picked up, and officers obliged, taking her into custody nearby. Police found a quantity of guns and ammunition in the house along with amounts of marijuana, and noticed freshly dug earth beneath the building."[4]

The Stockton Police obtained a warrant and dug up the body of Lauren Willett around 5 a.m. the following day. Cooper told investigators that Lauren had been shot accidentally and had been buried when they realized she was dead.[4] Cooper contended that Monfort was "demonstrating the dangers of firearms, playing a form of Russian roulette with a .38 caliber pistol" and had first spun the gun cylinder and shot at his own head, and when the gun didn't fire, pointed it at the victim, whereupon it fired.[4] The Stockton Police indicated that Lauren Willett "was with the others of her own volition prior to the shooting, and was not being held prisoner."[4]

Fromme was held in custody for two and a half months but never charged. The other four people involved were convicted. In an interview from the San Joaquin County Jail, she told reporters that she had been traveling in California trying to visit "brothers" in jail and to visit Manson.[5] Fromme said that she came to Stockton to visit William Goucher, who was already in jail on a robbery charge when Mrs. Willett died.[6] She claimed to be innocent of any wrongdoing. "They told me I was being put in here for murder because I didn't have anything to say." She also said from jail, "I know there’s lots of people who’ve spent time for being quiet. That's why Charlie is in jail."[6]

Fromme stated that she took a bus from Los Angeles to Stockton on Friday November 10, 1972, to visit Goucher whom she described as "a brother". She called Pittman, she said, and spent Friday night at the Flora Street house. When she left the jail after visiting Gaucher Saturday, she called the house "to ask someone to pick me up". Stockton Police traced the call and arrested her at a phone booth.[6]

After leaving Stockton, Fromme moved into a Sacramento apartment with fellow Manson family member Sandra Good. The two wore robes on occasion and changed their names to symbolize their devotion to Manson's new religion, Fromme becoming "Red" in honor of her red hair and the redwoods, and Good, "Blue", for her blue eyes and the ocean; both nicknames were originally given them by Manson.

Attempt to contact Jimmy Page

During Led Zeppelin's North American concert tour in 1975, Fromme contacted the band’s publicist Danny Goldberg before a performance at the Long Beach Arena asking to meet with guitarist Jimmy Page. Fromme claimed to have foreseen the future and wished to forewarn Page of the imminent danger. Goldberg agreed to deliver the message if she were to commit it to writing. Allegedly, the note was burnt. [7]

Assassination attempt on President Ford

On the morning of September 5, 1975, Fromme went to Sacramento's Capitol Park (reportedly to plead with President Gerald Ford about the plight of the California redwoods) dressed in a nun-like red robe and armed with a Colt M1911A1.45 Colt semi-automatic pistol that she pointed at Ford. The pistol's magazine was loaded with four rounds, but none were in the firing chamber. She was immediately restrained by Larry Buendorf, a Secret Service agent. While being further restrained and handcuffed, Fromme managed to say a few sentences to the on-scene cameras, emphasizing that the gun "didn't go off".[8] Fromme subsequently told The Sacramento Bee that she had deliberately ejected the cartridge in her weapon's chamber before leaving home that morning, and investigators later found a .45 ACP cartridge in her bathroom.[9]

After a lengthy trial in which she refused to cooperate with her own defense, she was convicted of the attempted assassination of the president and received a life sentence under a 1965 law, prompted by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which made attempted presidential assassinations a federal crime punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison. When U.S. Attorney Duane Keyes recommended severe punishment because she was "full of hate and violence," Fromme threw an apple at him, hitting him in the face and knocking off his glasses.[10]

"I stood up and waved a gun (at Ford) for a reason," said Fromme. "I was so relieved not to have to shoot it, but, in truth, I came to get life. Not just my life but clean air, healthy water and respect for creatures and creation."[11]


Seventeen days after Fromme's arrest, Sara Jane Moore attempted to assassinate Ford outside the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.[12] Moore was quickly restrained by a bystander named Oliver Sipple, a decorated veteran, and the single shot fired from her gun slightly injured a taxi driver named John Ludwig who happened to be standing inside the hotel.[12]

In 1979, Fromme was transferred out of the women's prison in Dublin, California, for attacking a fellow inmate, Julienne Busic, with the claw end of a hammer. On December 23, 1987, she escaped from the Alderson Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia, attempting to meet up with Manson, whom she had heard had testicular cancer. She was captured again two days later and incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

Fromme first became eligible for parole in 1985, and was entitled by federal law to a mandatory hearing after 30 years but could waive that hearing and apply for release at a later date.[13] Fromme steadfastly waived her right to request a hearing.[13][14] and was required by federal law to complete a parole application before one could be considered and granted.[13][15] Fromme was granted parole in July 2008, but was not released due to the extra time added to her sentence for the 1987 prison escape.[15]

Fromme was released on parole from Federal Medical Center, Carswell on August 14, 2009.[16][17] She then reportedly moved to Marcy, New York.[18]

In media

Lynette Fromme's story is one of nine told in Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's musical Assassins. She and John Hinckley, Jr. appear in the duet "Unworthy of Your Love".


  1. ^ California BirIndex, Name: Lynette Alice Fromme, Birth Date: October 22, 1948, Sex: Female, Mother's Maiden: Benzinger, Birth County: Los Angeles.
  2. ^ Nelson, Valerie J. (2007-06-24). "J. Tillman Hall, 91; USC professor led Emeriti Center". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  3. ^ "The Family That Stays Together". Time. 1975-09-15.,9171,917813,00.html. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Linked to Manson ‘Family’ 5 Held here in Couple’s Murder , Stockton Record. Monday & Sunday, November 13 & 19, 1972, Vol. 78, No.220 & 226.
  5. ^ ‘Squeaky’ had brief stay in S.J. , The Record Sunday, August 9, 2009 page A9
  6. ^ a b c ‘Visiting Friend’ Clan Girl Says Murder Charge a ‘Coincidence’, Stockton Record. Friday, November 17, 1972, Vol. 78, No.224.
  7. ^ Davis, Stephen (1985-07-04). "Power, Mystery And The Hammer Of The Gods: The Rise and Fall of Led Zeppelin". Rolling Stone (451). Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  8. ^ "The Evolution of the Personal Protective Function". House Security Review. 1995-05. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  9. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Squeaky Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  10. ^ "Double Indemnity". Time. 1975-12-29.,9171,945442,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  11. ^ Brown, Angela K. (2009-08-04). "Manson follower 'Squeaky' Fromme out of prison". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  12. ^ a b United States Secret Service. "Public Report of the White House Security Review". United States Department of the Treasury. Retrieved 2007-01-03. "Just seventeen days after the Fromme incident, Sara Jane Moore fired a bullet at President Ford in San Francisco. As President Ford exited a downtown hotel, Moore, standing in a crowd of onlookers across the street, pointed her pistol at him. Just before she fired, a civilian grabbed at the gun and deflected the shot. The bullet missed Ford but slightly injured a bystander. Moore was a known radical and a former FBI informant." 
  13. ^ a b c "`Squeaky' Fromme unrepentant, still devoted to Manson.". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 2005-09-26. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  14. ^ "Women who tried to kill Ford still locked up". The News & Observer. 2006-12-26. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  15. ^ a b "After 34 years, Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme to be released". CNN. 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  16. ^ "Would-Be Assassin 'Squeaky' Fromme Released from Prison". ABC. 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  17. ^ "Woman who tried to kill Ford released from prison". Reuters. 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  18. ^ Fusco, Jennifer (2009-09-14). "Would-be Ford assassin 'Squeaky' Fromme moving to Marcy". Observer Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 


  • Bravin, Jess (1997). Squeaky: The Life and Times Of Lynette Alice Fromme. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312187629. 

External links

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