Hippie Girl To Tell All In Tate Murder
Friday, December 5th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 5 – When the Los Angeles County grand jury opens its two-day hearing into the Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca murder cases this morning, the second witness is scheduled to be a soft-spoken, angelic-looking young woman who is accused of being a participant in at least eight brutal and senseless killings.
And Susan Denise Atkins, who preferred to be called Sadie Glutz by a band of allegedly murderous hippies, is expected to admit to playing a role in the slaying of seven persons Aug, 9 and Aug. 10.
Until 3 1/2 years ago, her lawyer Richard Caballero, 39, was a highly successful prosecutor here. During his eight years in the district attorney’s office, he obtained from juries the impressive total of five death penalties.
Now Caballero is a dynamic defense attorney. When he was appointed last week to defend Miss Atkins, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mario Clinco referred to him as “one of the finest lawyers in the state of California.”
It was his experience trying death penalty cases that prompted Caballero to suggest that Miss Atkins be a witness before the grand jury — and tell it all.
“She won’t hold anything back,” said Caballero of the young woman he describes as being “wiped out mentally.”
“She will tell the grand jury exactly what happened in both the Tate and LaBianca cases,”
And, he added, when she tells her story she will be testifying against herself, not against some six other members of the hate-oriented tribe of 20th century nomads who are accused of killing:
— Actress Sharon Tate, hair stylist Jay Sebring, Polish playboy Wojcieh (Voityck) Frokowsky, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Steven Parent, all on Aug. 9 at Miss Tate’s estate.
—Wealthy grocery store executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, on Aug. 10 in their home.
Miss Atkins already is charged with the slaying of Gary Hinman, a musician killed in July at his home.
Caballero explained that he wants to put Miss Atkins’ role in the bizarre slayings in its proper perspective.
“I feel by taking this approach and having her present her story now, it will help to show her state of mind to the grand jury and especially to the prosecution in its later determination of whether to seek the death penalty,” he said.
Her tale of bloody killings ordered by the strange cult’s leader, Charles Manson, 35, if told at some later trial, according to Caballero, might be open to the suggestion it was fabricated.
He said Miss Atkins’ defense when the ease is tried will be that she was temporarily insane and not responsible for her acts because she was under the spell of Manson, whom she thinks of as “a very beautiful man.”
Deputy Dist. Attys. Aaron H. Stovitz and Vincent T. Bugliosi, two of Los Angeles County’s most relentless prosecutors, are expected to seek an eight-count indictment, one of conspiracy and seven of murder.
They reportedly will present evidence that Manson, Miss Atkins, Charles D. Watson, 24, Patricia Krenwinkel, 21, Linda Louise Kasabian, 20, Steve Grogan (also known as Clem Tufts), 18, and Leslie Sankston, about 20, all members of Manson’s so-called “Family,” conspired to commit murder.
In addition, it is understood, seven counts of murder, with those slain at both the Tate and La Bianca homes listed as the victims, will be sought against Manson, Miss Atkins, Watson, Miss Krenwinkel and Mrs. Kasabian.
Only two counts of murder, of the LaBianca couple, will be asked against Grogan and Miss Sankston, it was learned.