Manson follower to speak in Vallejo
A generation ago, Dennis Rice decided to throw his lot in with convicted killer and cult leader Manson. Older now, and evidently much wiser, Rice spends his time traveling to prisons worldwide telling his story of redemption. The former Manson Family member will tell his story at Vallejo's "The Door" - Christian Fellowship Church on Oct. 12, and the public is invited, Pastor Stuart Reblin said Tuesday.
During the free presentations in Vallejo, at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Rice, who now lives in Tempe, Ariz., said in a phone interview Tuesday that he will recount how he spent seven years in prison for trying to break Manson out, and how he later found God. He said he runs the nonprofit Free Indeed Ministries. His Web site is manson2jesus.com.
Rice will make a stop in Vallejo during a lecture tour of Bay Area correctional facilities including San Quentin and county facilities in Oakland and Martinez, Reblin said.
"I've never heard him before, but I've heard he shares his life story with the Manson gang and his life before he became a Christian," Reblin said. "I understand he communicates a very positive testimony of new life, and the ability of a person's life to change."
Rice says he was a loose cannon in 1960s Los Angeles when the Tate-LaBianca murders rocked the country in 1969.
"I was a jack-of-all- trades, when I wasn't stealing,"
Deciding "nothing short of the Second Coming of Christ or a revolution were necessary to solve America's problems," Rice went to visit Manson in jail. Based on that visit, he and his four children, age 2 to 10, moved in with "Manson Family" members who weren't already behind bars.
"We played music in the evenings and ate dinner together, and the ladies would go out Dumpster diving during the days to bring back food," Rice said. "And we planned for the day Charlie would be released."
| IF YOU GO|
What: A free presentation by former Manson Family member Dennis Rice.
When: 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12.
Where: 'The Door' - Christian Fellowship Church, 315 Henry St., Vallejo.
There was a shared vision of the future, he said.
"Charlie and the others were convicted of the murders and sentenced to die," Rice said. "In order to save them we held up an Army surplus store to obtain enough guns to break them out of jail."
That didn't work out
as planned, and Rice spent the next seven years in prison, where he "was introduced to the real Jesus Christ," he said.
For the past 25 years, Rice has shared his life-altering experience with inmates nationwide about "the One who has come to set them free," he says.
"It was a cathartic moment, when I realized that Charlie wasn't
Jesus Christ, that I had based my whole life on something that was wrong and not true," he said.
Pastor Reblin said that having someone with as bizarre a tale as Rice's speak to his
congregation is an important learning opportunity.
"There's an odd fascination in our society with the criminal lifestyle," Reblin said. "Despite the glorification that goes on, there's a huge price to pay personally and societally, and (Rice) discusses the deception in that. And at a time when so many are searching for answers, we are very fortunate to have him coming to Vallejo."
• E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at RachelZ@thnewsnet.com or call 553-6824.