Manson was crazy (I think we can safely conclude that) from before the song of course. He believed that the Beatles were the fallen angels and that he would need to take over the world together with the Beatles and (of course) with Satan. When Helter Skelter was released, he saw it as a sort of message that it was time to take over the world, he thought Helter Skelter was the name of the final racial war during which the blacks would try to take over (which he was due to prevend, as he believed) and so he thought that the White Album was a sort of message that the war had arrived.
Because of these believes, Charles wanted to commit a few murders, hoping black people would be blamed for it, and that way he would start the war. Also, he and his cult "The Family" would hide in the mountains for a few months, multiply to big extend, then form their own army to take over the world and rule the world along with the Beatles and Satan.
So Charles asked his cult members for murders, and murders were what he got: 6 of his cult members (most of these six were female, which is kinda remarkable as most serious murder cases involve male killers) got into the house of actress Sharon Tate and murdered her and her 5 guests. Tate was 8 months pregnant and asked to spare her child, but her killer (who was also female) said "I don't give a f***, you bitch" and then stabbed her to death. On the walls, they wrote "Pigs" and "Helta Skeltah" (note the false spelling) in the victims blood.
Charlie then came to see their 'work' and said they made it too filthy and too much blood splatter, so that they had to do it all over again. Because of that command, the LaTiata murders were committed.
Of course, no one blamed the blacks, as this whole racial war existed only in the minds of the cult members. Manson (who didn't murder anyone himself, he used his charismatic influence on the cult members in order to have them doing the dirty work) and his followers were sentenced to death. Because of a law change in California that time, the death sentences were changed to lifetime imprisonment.
Charles is now 73 years old and still in jail. He asked for parole several times but was refused every time. During parole interviews he has several times used very violent language ("if I start killing myself really, there'd be none of you left" was literarly said to a judge) and because of violence against other inmates, he is in an isolation cell currently. He will probably never be released from jail. The other Family members that were caught (including the ones who did the murders) are all also still locked up. Manson still has followers though, there is an internet site where people declare their love for Manson and share his believes regarding racial wars (that is the scarying thing: some people today still believe his nonsense)
Note that Charlie has recorded music himself prior to the murders. He used to sing songs to his Family members in order to influence them. Some of these recordings were released to pay his trials, most notorious is the album "Lie: the love and terror cult" which has a high cult status. Out of curiosity I must admit having gained an illegal copy, and I must say it sounds almost like Bob Dylan but with more violent and paranoid lyrics. Very high "camp" atmosphere, you can almost picture Charles sitting around a camp fire singing to his cult members at a ranch. The songs "Sick city", "Mechanical man" and "Look at your game girl" were later covered by Marilyn Manson and Guns'n'Roses.
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)
Capital punishment = murder
THE PASSION OF LOVERS IS FOR DEATH (Bauhaus, 1983)