Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Charles Manson’s Cellphone Troubles

Charles Manson wants to reach out and touch people… from prison. The 78-year-old cult leader has been busted with cell phones in his prison cell twice already. This week, a Manson devotee was arrested for trying to smuggle another yet another phone to Manson behind bars.

Craig Carlisle Hammond

Craig Carlisle Hammond, aka 'Grey Wolf'

On Sunday, a regular visitor of Manson’s at Corcoran State Prison named Craig Carlisle Hammond, 63, attempted to sneak a cellphone wristwatch past the prison guards, likely planning to provide it to Manson. But corrections officers noticed the illicit watch and confiscated it. The 63-year-old Hammond was immediately arrested and taken to a nearby jail for booking. He posted $30,000 bail and was released a few hours later with an April court date on charges of possession of an illegal communication device, attempting to bring a cellphone into a prison and conspiracy.

Charles Manson prison photo 2013

Charles Manson prison photo 2013

Back in 2009, a flip phone was found under Manson’s bed after authorities got wind that he’d been calling and texting people across the country and in Canada after a Manson recording was played on the television series Inside Edition. Authorities confiscated another cellphone from Manson in 2011. However, the additional punishment for Manson — who will likely never be set free, although he is eligible for parole — is minimal. He received an additional 30 days of time for the 2009 incident.

Cellphones in the hands of prisoners has been a widespread problem in California jails, and authorities are rightly concerned that inmates might use those phones to intimidate witnesses or to run outside criminal organizations.

In 2011 California enacted a law making it a misdemeanor to possess an unauthorized phone in jail or to bring one into a prison. The penalties for that crime include up to six months in jail and fines of no more than $5000.

Hammond, who was given the nickname “Grey Wolf” by Manson himself, now faces the specter of prison time, just like the criminal mastermind he so admires.

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