|Charge(s)||Attempted assassination of a US President|
|Penalty||Life in prison|
|Parents||William Millar Fromme|
Charles Manson and Manson Family involvementIn 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.
Assassination attempt on President FordOn 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 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".] 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.
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.
"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."