NOTORIOUS PEN PALS, CORRUPTION AND 40 YEARS OF COPS AND COURTS

By Kate Neiswender

The first time you meet author Mary Neiswender she’s in jail, face-to-face with Charlie Manson:

“I remember the first time I saw him smile: ‘So you’re Mary.’ I smiled back: ‘So you’re Charlie.’”

So begins “Assassins… Serial Killers… Corrupt Cops,” the memoir of the woman who spent 40 years covering the LA waterfront, politics and “cops and courts” for the Long Beach Press-Telegram, then part of the Knight- Ridder chain of newspapers. In the 1970s and 1980s, Mary Neiswender was perhaps the number-one name in investigative journalism in California, winning every award that could be garnered. She was given commendations from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the City of Los Angeles, the State Legislature, the Criminal Courts Bar Association, Sigma Delta Chi (the journalism fraternity), plus investigative reporting and writing awards from the Associated Press, United Press International, the Los Angeles Press Club and many more. Twice, she was nominated for the Pultizer Prize.

Kate Neiswender has a land use and litigation practice in Ventura. She grew up answering the phone for her mother when Charlie Manson and other serial killers called the house from jail, which happened often.

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