3 Women, 2 Men Indicted In Sharon Tate Slayings
Tuesday, December 9th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9 – A grand jury which deliberated only 20 minutes has indicted three young women and two men from a desert commune on murder and conspiracy charges in the bizarre slaying of actress Sharon Tate and four other persons.
The Los Angeles County grand jury yesterday also indicted the same five and another young woman member of the band in the murder of a wealthy grocer and his wife the day after the Aug. 9 Tate killings.
The jurors took secret testimony from 22 witnesses in two days.
Afterwards the jury foreman indicated the key testimony, as expected, came from a defendant who freely admitted her role in the seven slayings — and is herself accused of an eighth.
Charged with the murder of the blonde actress, three friends and a youth were the commune leader, Charles M. Manson, 35, the star witness, Susan Denise Atkins, 21, Charles D. Watson, 24, Patricia Krenwinkel, 21, and Linda Kasabian, 20.
The same five plus another girl, Leslie Sankston, 19, were indicted in the murders of Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.
The indictment charged that Watson, Miss Atkins, Miss Krenwinkel and Mrs. Kasabian went to the Bel Air estate of Miss Tate and her husband, film director Roman Polanski, who was out of town. Miss Tate, hair stylist Jay Sebring, Polish playboy, Wojciech “Voityck” Frokowski, spelled Frykowski in the indictment, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and young Steven Parent were slain.
How and by which of the accused the indictment did not specify, but it said Mrs. Kasabian remained outside the house while the killings went on.
The bearded, long-haired Manson was charged with the Tate slayings even though, by Miss Atkins account, accepted in the indictment, he was not present. The district attorney contended the cult leader, said to have hated the wealthy, conspired in the crimes and could be charged with them.
Miss Atkins told her attorneys, and presumably the grand jury, that Manson had hypnotic-like powers over his largely female clan.
Superior Court Judge William B. Keene set arraignment for tomorrow morning for the three defendants in custody here, Miss Atkins, Mrs. Kasabian and Miss Sankston
Watson was in McKinney. Tex., and Miss Krenwinkel in Mobile. Ala. where they were arrested on murder warrants issued previously. Manson was being held in Independence, Calif. charged with possessing stolen cars.
Manson was one of 23 persons arrested in two raids at a commune near Death Valley last October Ten were charged with a variety of offenses, including auto theft.
Three of the 10, teenage girls, were the last witnesses heard by the grand jury Monday. Deputy Dist. Atty. Aaron H. Stovitz said they shed no light on the seven slayings.
Another witness was a former member of Manson’s “family,” Daniel DeCarlo, who recently testified in a murder trial that Manson once sliced off a man’s ear with a sword.
The slashing victim, musician Gary Hinman of Malibu, was subsequently slain by Robert A. Beausoliel, one of Manson’s followers, and Miss Atkins were charged with the murder.
Beausoliel’s trial ended in a deadlocked jury and he is awaiting retrial. Miss Atkins has yet to be tried.
While in jail, authorities say, she told about the Tate slayings to her cellmate, who told police.
Her attorney, Richard Caballero, said he advised her to cooperate fully with police in the hope authorities would deal leniently with her. He said she did not commit any of the murders.
Caballero has said Miss Atkins told him the four went to the estate dressed in black clothing, shot Parent — who was in his car, preparing to leave after visiting the estate caretaker — and cut power and telephone lines before stealing up to the house.
One climbed through a window and opened a door. Soon Miss Tate and the three others were stabbed and shot – Miss Tate after pleading, “Let me have my baby,” the attorney said. She was 8 1/2 months pregnant.
The next night, to prove they hadn’t lost their nerve, clan members fatally stabbed the LaBiancas, then showered and snacked in their home, her attorney quoted Miss Atkins as saying.
After the slayings, the young nomads moved suddenly by bus from a ranch outside Los Angeles to Death Valley, where they lived in abandoned buildings, sunbathed in the nude and reportedly operated a stolen car ring.
Manson, known as “God,” “Jesus,” and “Satan” to his followers, was said to practice an occult kind of religion and to boast he possessed a gift of prophecy.