Federal Agent Discounts Drugs As Motive in 5 Coast Slayings
Friday, August 15th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15 – A narcotics investigator for the Government said today that drugs that were found at the home where the actress Sharon Tate and four other persons were found slain last weekend were not considered to be a motive for the slayings.
“It looked like there might have been only enough for a party,” said the investigator for the Bureau of Narcotics. “There certainly was not enough to be considered commercial in scope.”
The agent said that the drugs found at the home included hashish, a form of marijuana, and methedrine, a hallucinatory drug sometimes called “speed.”
Meanwhile, the caretaker at the Beverly Hills mansion, William E. Garretson, who had been held for three days for questioning in the killings, held a news conference today. He said his attorney had told him not to answer questions about drugs or sex.
Reports Police Request
Barry Tarlow, the lawyer, said the police had asked Mr. Garretson not to discuss these topics at the news conference. The attorney added that he personally felt that drugs and sex were key points in the investigation.
The five persons who were slain included 18-year-old Steven Parent, who had visited Mr. Garretson on Friday night, when the killings occurred. Mr. Garretson, who is 19, had been hired by the owner of the estate to look after three dogs for the summer.
The owner was touring Europe and had rented the rambling hillside home to Miss Tate and her husband, Roman Polanski, the film director, who was in London at the time of the deaths.
Mr. Garretson, who was living in a small yellow cottage several hundred feet from the main house, said that he left his cottage about 9 P.M. Friday night and hitchhiked to the Sunset Strip in Hollywood to buy groceries.
He said he returned home about 10 P.M. and that Mr. Parent came by to see him about 15 minutes before midnight to show him a clock radio. Mr. Garretson said his friend left about 12:15 A.M., after making a telephone call.
The caretaker said he stayed awake until dawn, writing letters and listening to music on his record player. Before going to sleep, he said he tried to call a time-of-day service but found that the telephone did not work.
At one point during the predawn hours, Mr. Garretson said that one of the dogs he was caring for, a Weimaraner named Christopher, barked but that he attached no significance to it. The other two dogs were French poodles. The dogs are now being cared for by an animal rescue service.
Mr. Garretson said that he was awakened by policemen who burst into his cottage about 9 A.M., pointed pistols and rifles at him.
“I didn’t know what was coming off,” said the slender brown-haired young man. He said he asked the police, “What’s wrong, what’s wrong?”
This crime was so weird and bizarre…
– Thomas T. Noguchi
Showed Him 2 Bodies
They took him to the lawn in front of the main house and showed him the stabbed bodies of Abigail Folger, 26 years old, and Voityck Frykowski, 37. He said that he did not know Miss Folger, who was a member of a coffee family, and that he thought Mr. Frykowski, who was Polish, was Mr. Polanski’s brother.
The police showed him the body of Mr. Parent, who had been shot in the head, but did not take him in the house to view the bodies of Miss Tate and Jay Sebring, a 35-year-old hairdresser who had achieved fame because he cut the hair of a number of actors.
Mr. Garretson was released from jail on Monday after taking a lie-detector test and being questioned for two days. His lawyer said the young man planned to return to his home in Ohio.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which has 19 detectives assigned to the investigation, has not given out any theory about the killings.
The County Coroner, Thomas T. Noguchi, said the victims had been stabbed so brutally and “this crime was so weird and bizarre that we are showing photographs of the bodies to a psychologist and a psychiatrist who are consultants to our staff in an effort to determine from them a behavior evaluation of the killer.”