by Francesca Bacardi | Thu., Sep. 21, 2017 3:00 AM
Just because some of the world's most notorious criminals are serving multiple life sentences in prison doesn't mean they haven't been keeping busy. In fact, people such as the Menendez brothers, the Charles Manson "family" and more have gotten college degrees, married and more.
With so much time on their hands, these criminals have had to figure out what to do with themselves, as most of them have been denied parole (some even on multiple occasions).
So what is life like behind bars? Read on to hear more:
Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool
Exactly 13 years after being acquitted of Nicole Brown Simpson's and Ron Goldman's murders in 1995, the former NFL star was charged to 33 years in prison, with eligibility for parole after nine, for armed robbery of sports memorabilia from a dealer at a Las Vegas hotel.
In July 2017, he was granted parole and will be released from the Nevada Lovelock Correctional Center as early as Oct. 1, 2017. While in prison, however, Simpson watched the FX adaption of his alleged crimes in The People v. O.J. Simpson. "Cuba [Gooding Jr.'s] portrayal I feel indifferent about," Simpson said.
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
The Menendez brothers were found guilty of murdering their wealthy parents, entertainment executive José Menendez and his wife Mary "Kitty" Menendez in 1989. They're both serving life sentences without parole, but since entering prison they've both gotten married. Lyle married long-time pen pal Anna Eriksson in a ceremony attended by Lyle's Aunt Marta Menendez and presided over by Judge Nancy Brown. But the couple divorced on April 1, 2001, after Anna reportedly discovered that Lyle was "cheating" on her by writing to another woman.
In November 2003, Lyle married Rebecca Sneed at a ceremony in a maximum security visiting area of Mule Creek State Prison. In June 1999, Erik married Tammi Ruth Saccoman in a prison waiting room.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Charles Manson and his "family" which included Susan Atinks, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten all were convicted of their murders. Convicted in 1971, Manson is serving nine concurrent life sentences in California, but he has been denied parole 12 times.
Krenwinkel and Van Houten are both incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in Chino, Calif., but Krewinkel has been denied parole 13 times. Van Houten, on the other hand, was denied parole in June despite a recommendation that she be released. Atkins, known as "Sexy Sadie" during their murder spree, was denied parole 18 times before dying of natural causes in 2009, at 61, becoming the first and only Manson killer so far to die behind bars.
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AP Photo/Justin Sullivan, file
He's on death row in California for the murder of his pregnant wife Laci Peterson. Scott is appealing his conviction, but California voters this year will have to vote to either speed up executions or do away with the death penalty entirely.
Wende Correctional Center; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
The man who killed John Lennon, now 61, has been up for parole nine times throughout his sentence, which was 20 years-life. When he first entered prison, Chapman fasted for nearly a month before he was forced to eat. Chapman has claimed to have found Jesus while in prison and also worked as a legal clerk and kitchen helper. His wife, sister, friends and members of the clergy consistently visit him.
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Convicted of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, Mitchell has been behind bars since 2011 and will remain there for life. Prior to entering prison, however, Mitchell remained in a psychiatric facility since 2005 as he was deemed incompetent to stand trial.
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The lone murderer convicted in Meredith Kercher's death—Amanda Knox and her boyfriend were acquitted—received 16 years. Since entering prison Guede has opened up about Kercher and everything that allegedly happened, maintaining his innocence the entire time. "I cannot get another day in prison for killing Meredith," he told an Italian TV station. "Justice for Meredith has not been done."
He added, "When I was found in the house of the crime I fled because I was afraid. No one would believe me. I thought: N--ro found guilty found. The subsequent investigations, conducted badly, have shown that I was right."
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Perhaps one of the most prolific serial killers in American history, Cullen, a former nurse, is said to be responsible for more than 300 deaths, although he originally confessed to 40. He's serving numerous life sentences with no chance for parole. In 2006 he decided to donate his kidney to an ex-girlfriend's brother.
Al Aaronson/NY Daily News via Getty Images
Known also as the Son of Sam, Berkowitz arrested in 1977 and sentenced in 1978 for killing numerous people. While behind bars in 1987, Berkowitz became an evangelical Christian. According to his personal testimony, his moment of conversion occurred after reading Psalm 34:6 from a Bible given to him by a fellow inmate. In the same testimony, he claimed his involvement with the cult had been a major factor in the Son of Sam murders
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AP Photo/Joshua Trujillo, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, pool
The serial killer known as the Green River Killer was initially convicted for 48 murders but eventually confessed to nearly double that number. As part of his plea deal to avoid the death penalty Ridgway has helped authorities locate the bodies of many of his victims. "I want to prove them wrong," Ridgway once said. "I want to prove there's 80 bodies out there, or 85 or whatever."
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers premieres Tuesday, September 26 at 10/9c.
(This story was originally published Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.)
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