Arrest Three Hippies In Sharon Tate Murder Case
Tuesday, December 2nd, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2 – Two women and a man, members of a wandering band of hippies, were under arrest today in different parts of the nation in the slaying of actress Sharon Tate and six others here last August.
Police said they would seek murder indictments against “four or five” other persons. They said five women were being held here as material witnesses.
The honey-blonde actress and four others were murdered at Miss Tate’s Bel Air mansion Aug. 9. The following day, several miles away, a wealthy merchant and his wife were killed in a so-called “copycat” slaying.
Under arrest were Charles D. Watson, 24, of Copeville, Tex., Patricia Krenwinkel, 21, of Los Angeles, and Linda D. Kasabian, 19, also of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Times said members of a hate-oriented, cult band of hippies were suspected of the seven slayings, as well as at least four other “grotesque” murders in the Los Angeles area.
The Times said police believe the victims were killed both to “punish” them for their affluent life style and to “liberate” them from it.
The newspaper said the police break in the case came two weeks ago when a young woman member of the hippie band told a police informer of the mass murders, recounting details which police said could be known only by the killers.
The arrests, the search for Miss Kasabian and the indictments to be sought culminate an intensive investigation by 19 detectives, Police Chief Edward M. Davis told a news conference Monday.
Detectives have concluded, Davis said, that the nomadic hippies “who committed the Tate murders” also stabbed the owners of a chain of markets, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, to death.
The Los Angeles County grand jury is being asked for indictments against “all of the suspects, those we have named in warrants and four or five others, in all seven of the killings,” said Police Inspector Peter Hagan.
Miss Kasabian was arrested today in Concord, N. H., and booked as a fugitive from justice. Police declined to reveal the circumstances of the arrest. They said she was pregnant.
State troopers had been hunting through hippie colonies in the Taos area of north-central New Mexico for Miss Kasabian, accused in a Los Angeles murder warrant of killing Miss Tate, three of her jet-set companions arid a friend of the teenage caretaker on Miss Tate’s estate.
Miss Krenwinkel, who pulled a hat over her head as police approached, was arrested Monday in Mobile, Ala., on a warrant almost identical to Miss Kasabian’s. Miss Krenwinkel’s attorney said she “knows absolutely nothing about the cases” and will fight extradition to Los Angeles.
Watson, accused in a warrant of killing only the caretaker’s friend, Steven Parent, was arrested Sunday in McKinney, Tex., by his sheriff cousin, who summoned him to jail from Copeville by telephone.
The bodies of Parent, 15, and Miss Tate’s jet-set companions —Hollywood hair stylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Polish playboy Voityck Frokowsky—were found scattered in and around the actress’ home.
In both the Tate and LaBianca cases, police said, some of the victims were hooded and the word “Pig” was scrawled in blood. Police termed the killings “bizarre” and “ritualistic.”
“The suspects,” Davis said Monday, “appeared to live together in what might he described as a commune… It could have had some religious connotations connected with it”
At the time of the slayings, the group lived at the Spawn Movie Ranch west of suburban Chatsworth, Davis said. They then moved, the chief said, to “near the Death Valley National Monument in Inyo County.”