The man best known for putting Charles Manson away and penning the best-selling book on the Manson Family's murderous spree died Saturday at age 80, reports the AP. As the New York Times reports, Vincent Bugliosi was the unknown and "intense, ambitious" Los Angeles prosecutor who "stepped into the role of a lifetime" and tried Manson and three of his followers—Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten—in one of America's most sensational trials. The trial detailed how Manson influenced dozens as a cult leader, and the media pounced on the entwinement of sex, drugs, and The Beatles' single "Helter Skelter." Manson, 80, is serving a life sentence.
Bugliosi detailed the gruesome murders—which included Sharon Tate, the pregnant actress married to director Roman Polanski—and the subsequent investigation and prosecution, in his 1974 book, Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders. The best-selling release won the 1975 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime book and inspired two television movies. The Minnesota-born attorney went on to publish a dozen more books, including Reclaiming History—a massive examination of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that took more than 20 years to complete. Bugliosi’s son, Vince Jr., said it was his father’s proudest work, per the Times. Bugliosi is also survived by his wife of 59 years, Gail, and a daughter, Wendy. He had fought cancer in recent years.