‘3 Woman All In Black Aided In Tate Slaughter’
Friday, December 5th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 5 – Five persons dressed in black and equipped with weapons and a bolt cutter killed actress Sharon Tate and four others and left with $73 from the victims, an attorney said Wednesday.
The next night, attorney Paul Caruso added, the same group picked a house at random and stabbed to death a wealthy market owner and his wife – then took Showers in the house and had a snack from the refrigerator.
Caruso, a veteran Los Angeles criminal attorney, represents Susan Denise Atkins, 21, a member of a band of nomadic hippies.
Police say several members of the group performed the Tate murders, those of the market family, and may have been involved in others.
Caruso told a newsman that Miss Atkins, who is charged with a murder in the Malibu area, told him in a five-hour interview that she was one of the five who went to the Tate mansion in Bel-Air. He gave this account of her story:
“Five people dressed in black approached the Polanski residence (Miss Tate was the wife of Polish film director Roman Polanski).
A man used a pair of bolt cutters to cut the electric lines, then crept around the side of the house, opened a window, then opened the front door and the others entered.
“Then the homicide took place. Parent (Steven Parent, 18, a friend of the caretaker) was killed outside before they entered. Frokowsky (Voityck Frokowsky, friend of Polanski) was hit on the head with the butt of a pistol, then killed. Two were killed on the lawn. They got $73 from the whole homicide.”
Caruso did not identify the five, but said three were women and two men.
The slayings the next night, he said, occurred because it was feared the Tate killings might have caused the group to “lose their nerve.”
Others slain were Miss Tate, her former fiance, hair stylist Jay Sebring, and coffee heiress Abigail Folger.
Another attorney for Miss Atkins, Richard Caballero, said she told him the hippie group was a quasireligious “family” headed by Charles M. Manson, 35, who she said exercised a hypnotic influence over others.
“We belong to him, not to ourselves,” Caballero quoted her as saying of Manson. Manson’s followers called him “God” and “Satan,” Caballero said.
Manson, 35, is awaiting a preliminary hearing at Independence, Calif., near Death Valley, where the group lived in a military style desert commune. Sheriff’s deputies say the group stole cars and four-wheel drive vehicles. Manson is charged with possession of stolen property.
Miss Atkins attorneys said Manson was not at the scenes of the Tate slayings and those of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, the market owners.
Los Angeles Police, who are preparing a grand jury case against at least seven persons, have not made any charges against Manson in the slayings.
Manson was one of 23 persons arrested, most of them women, in two raids at the desert commune last October. Ten were held on a variety of charges including auto theft.