Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lauren Willett's murder: November 10/11, 1972

"The victim was subsequently identified as James T. Willett, twenty-six, a former Marine from Los Angeles County. This information appeared on radio and TV newscasts on Friday, November 10.

On Saturday, November 11, Stockton, California, police spotted Willett’s station wagon parked in front of a house at 720 West Flora Street. When refused entry to the house, they broke in, arresting two men and two women and confiscating a number of pistols and shotguns.

Both women had Manson Family X's on their foreheads. They were Priscilla Cooper, twenty-one, and Nancy Pitman, aka Brenda McCann, twenty. A few minutes after police entered the residence, a third female called, asking to be picked up and given a ride to the house. The police obliged, and also arrested Lynette Fromme, aka Squeaky, twenty-four, ex-officio leader of the Family in Manson’s absence.

The two men were Michael Monfort, twenty-four, and James Craig, thirty- three, both state prison escapees wanted for a number of armed robberies in various parts of California. Both had the letters "AB" tattooed on their left breasts. According to a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, the initials stood for the Aryan Brotherhood, described as "a cult of white prison inmates, dedicated largely to racism but also involved in hoodlum activities, including murder contracts . . ."

While in the house, the police noticed freshly turned earth in the basement. After obtaining a search warrant, they began digging, and early the following morning exhumed the body of Lauren Willett, nineteen. She had been shot once in the head, her death occurring either late Friday night or early Saturday morning, not long after the identity of her slain husband was revealed on news broadcasts.

Questioned by the police, Priscilla Cooper claimed that Lauren Willett had killed herself "playing Russian roulette."

Although, like Zero, Mrs. Willett was not able to contradict this story, the Stockton police were far more skeptical than had been LASO."
-HS pg. 623

-Taming the Beast pg.52

"Shortly thereafter, police in Stockton noted that James Willett’s station wagon was parked outside the A.B.-family house. The police had a warrant out for bail-jumping against the A.B. member who had used Willett’s ID.

When they visited the house, the cops noticed electrical cords leading from outlets across the floor and down through a trap door. They obtained a search warrant and raided the building, discovering the body of Lauren Willett, dead just twenty-four hours, beneath fresh dirt in the cellar."
-The Family pg.476


  1. Very odd crime scene. Did the Willetts know Manson or his people personally???? Although Manson has killed both strangers and people known to him it would still be very good to find that out.

  2. Tom & Reni were not criminals. They were naive and idealistic. I felt that they should have not left LA to travel with these people. I begged them not to go. I still miss Reni and constantly worry about Heidi who went to live with Tom's parents.

  3. Dear Anon,
    I'm close with Heidi Willett. She's been trying to find people who knew her parents when they were in California. Email me if you would like to get in touch with her.