‘It Was Horrible,’ Caretaker Relates
Saturday, August 16th, 1969
Los Angeles, Aug. 16 – William E. Garretson, the only person found alive after the massacre at actress Sharon Tate’s Benedict Canyon estate, yesterday described the murder scene as “horrible,” but could shed no light on the five slayings.
Talking with newsmen for the first time since his release from custody Monday, Garretson, 19, a caretaker at the estate, said he had stayed up until daybreak the night of the murders but heard nothing. He said one of the dogs he kept in the guest house where he stayed barked during the night but he was not alarmed.
He said, however, he became uneasy about dawn when he found the telephone in the cottage was dead, but he did not go outside to investigate. Police said phone lines to the estate had been ripped out.
Garretson’s attorney, Barry Tarlow, told newsmen he would not allow the youth to answer any questions about “sex or drugs” at the request of the police department.
Tarlow said he personally felt “sex and drugs” were the key points in the case. There have been reports that narcotics were found on the estate and in the car of men’s hair stylist Jay Sebring, one of the victims, but police would not confirm this.
Garretson was taken into custody last Saturday at his cottage on the estate after discovery of the brutal murders with ritualistic overtones.
In addition to Sebring and Miss Tate, 26, the eight-month-pregnant wife of Roman Polanski, director of the film “Rosemary’s Baby”; coffee heiress Abigail Folger; Voityck Frokowsky, a friend of Polanski; and Steven Parent, a friend of Garretson, were slaughtered. Polanski was in London at the time.
Garretson was released from custody Monday after undergoing extensive questioning and voluntarily taking a lie detector test.
Garretson said he “didn’t know what was coming off” when he was seized by police while asleep in his cottage.
He said police showed him the bodies of Miss Folger and Frokowsky on the lawn of the estate and he glimpsed Parent’s body in the victim’s car parked in the driveway but did not recognize his friend whose head had been disfigured by the gun blast that killed him.
“It was horrible,” Garretson stammered as he recalled the murder scene. “I was shocked.”
Garretson said he came home the night of the murders about 10p.m. and was visited by Parent about 11:45. Garretson said Parent left about 12:15 but he did not take him to the door nor see if he went directly to his car.
Garretson said he stayed up listening to “rock” music on his stereo and writing letters until daybreak, but heard nothing.
He said he tried to use the telephone to call for the time about dawn but found the telephone in the cottage dead. However, he did not investigate and went to sleep.
Police continued their policy of silence on progress of their investigation.
There are many unanswered questions here and the dead are not at peace.
The poor kid. It ruined his life.
He must have heard the gun shots and screams.
He simply hid and never told the truth.
George Vreeland Hill
I read that he was wearing headphones when listening to music….I had a set of such headphones back in the day (1971), and they are NOT like the ones of today. They were big and bulky and covered ones entire ear with foam padding, designed to keep out outside noise so the listener would only hear the effects of true stereo sound. I remember wearing my headphones with Zepplin cranked up while in my room and never heard my mother pounding on my bedroom door a mere five feet away.
If he was wearing headphones, than I believe he never heard a friggen thing except the music he was listening to!
Also…flew out to LA, visiting my boy 4 thanksgiving and since I have interest in true crime events, (My videos about the “Shanda Sharer” case R on youtube) my boy and I went out to Spahn Ranch. While there some guy pulls up and starts yelling at us, than takes our picture…this was on I believe Dec 2nd, 2015. I now believe this guy is someone who hangs or comments on these Manson/Tate websites and watches over places like Spahn. We (me and my boy) are/were also aware that there still some nut-job family members who worship the place. All I can say is this to that person…be very careful whom you fu*k with out there, I’m an old Chicago streetfighter, barroom bouncer, and martial artist…My boy who is in his mid thirties is a professional trainer, Martial Artist, Boxer, and Cage Fighter…we will fu*k you up if you mess with us like you tried to do.
So if you people hear anything form this guy, or see some pics about this, (He thought we were carving our names in a tree) lead him to this post.
If it was a family member…fu*k-you, I played halfback on a semi-pro Chicago football team when younger and Tex Watson is a pussy and never would have made our team.
ya know….been reading some of the websites an blogs lately and it is unbelievable what some people are saying…conspiracy, drug deals gone wrong…ect
One debate that seemed to go on for weeks at a blog was about the damage to to Steve Parents car an the damaged fence, turned into all kinds of nutty assumptions…I’m guessing these people do not drive or have never backed into something with their car before. I’m sure LAPD came to the same conclusion as I did after i read it…the kid was is a driveway he never was in before, with a tight turning radius, plus it was very dark, and he simply hit the fence…than took off. Probably thinking, “Oh fu*k, I’m stoned and better get out of here”…It is called the human element. KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid.
What they seem to not consider is that ALL of the suspects (cold blooded murderers) acted EXACTLY as FBI profiler John Douglas would say they would…though his books would not come out till years later…they acted the same as ALL nut-job killers do after their first kill. Also, first time killers always work in their comfort zone where they know the land, layout, and potential victims, as to why Cielo Drive was chosen in the first place!…Tell them people to read a few books, especially the John Douglas ones…”Journey Into Darkness” would be a good start.
Another thing…people are saying the blood evidence does not match the crime… yea, so! again the human element…LAPD fu*ked up this evidence because they are human beings and not robots. Bugiloisi even said as much…and they call him the bug, how disrespectful.
Tate an Sebring were never on the front porch (LAPD blood evidence fu*k up) Garretson never heard a thing cuz he was some 30yards away in another building… stoned, listening to music with 1969 headphones on an totally focused on other things…the last thing on his mind was that such a horrific event was going on almost half a football field away.
…it is called logic
another thing…why did no one hear the shots, not only do these people do not drive, they never shot a 22cal…not much louder than an air rifle. A friggen firecracker is louder as i can attest to using both….these people watch to much friggen TV and lac logic.
Even one of the girls stated the the gun was really quiet…yea, it’s a 22cal, not a 38cal or 45cal
If I may elaborate on one thing that i posted above, (they acted the same as ALL nut-job killers do after their first kill)
They ran…to the desert… back home like Tex, Linda an Pat…the others ran away in their mind but would have physically had they not been busted in the desert, where at that moment in time they felt secure.
Another thing I read… “Charlie Manson cam back to fu*k with the crime scene”…LOL. to them people i say fu*k you, you are an idiot…it is called logic.
Bodies,Blood, Murder…an Charlie is going to go back after he went through so much effort to distance himself from the crime scene…hope them people are NEVER on a jury where someones life is at stake as that is the most asinine thought to ever enter the logic of true crime in the history of the world… Are these people “Family” members trying to spread disinformation???
OK…watched some of Stoner’s videos and apparently the people who tried to harass us are from that church as they approached from the road that Stoner pointed out that they own. Unlike Stoner’s encounter…they RAN from us.
May have something to do with my resemblance to a younger Manson and the fact I had a knife in my hand as I approached them while yelling back at them…LOL
“Fu*k, Charlie’s back!”…then they ran away.
We walked around there for well over an hour and were never bothered again. Actually we parked in the church parking lot and no one bothered us.
Tell Stoner that if he wants I could hook him up with my boy since he lives in LA and has a mild interest in this case, also could act as muscle if necessary. He worked security 4 an Alice Cooper charity event a few years ago, amongst other things. He is a good level headed guy as to why he was hired for the event, as well as his Martial Arts and Cage Fighting experience.
Why did I have the knife in my hand? Was widening the bark away from what appeared to be a bullet hole in one of the trees, to see exactly what it was an then take a pic of it…turned out to be a large nail pounded into the tree many years ago, so we left it alone after that.
Since I do resemble a younger Manson, tell Stoner i could wander around the ranch in the treeline just off the trail for his Holloween tour…LOL!! Give me an excuse to fly out an visit my boy.
Scratch that last comment, I’m much taller and more muscular than the sissy boy Manson, I’d have to stand in a hole.
Shut up tough guy. Sounds like u had a chance to not be a pussy when u left the ranch. Keep sounding tough online ” street fighter”. Showed ur real colors when u tucked ur tail and ran off
I now actually believe that Garretson did not hear anything. I did not believe this story for years at first. The reason I believe it now is because of the house that I live in. It’s not big. It has cathedral ceiling about 20 ft at the highest up to the 2nd floor 1/2 story where there is an open balcony with 2 bedrooms up there. For years, I had my bedroom upstairs. It could really be pretty noisy up there with tv & voices from downstairs, even with the bedroom door closed. The phone in the kitchen easily woke me up even with closed door. And alot of outside noises. We moved our bedroom to downstairs & it is so much quieter. Surprisingly, the outside noises aren’t as loud. The downstairs bedroom is the same distance from the kitchen as the upstairs bedroom, but I barely hear the phone with the door closed. Sometimes I dont hear it all. Since I worked nights, slept during the day, I was very keen to the difference in noise level. Obviously, the cathedral ceiling was sending the noise upstairs. I would assume the sound of the gunshot went up & then who knows where it will travel bouncing off the canyon.
I’m here in LA again…plan to protestor Van Houten’s parole…she should have been put to death like all psycho murderers. Look up the “Shanda Sharer” case, I took the video that eventually led to murderer Hope Rippie’s appearance on Dr. Phill
Tough guy??? how badly do you want to find out?… See you at the prison on April 14th
the acoustics of the area is weird there were people miles away that heard screams and gun shots but people a house aways did not.
Garretson wasn’t wearing headphones.Read his original testimony in 1970.”Question: How loud were you playing your stereo?.Garretson: It wasn’t very loud…it was just enough so that I could hear it.Question: Well,if you were in another room of your guesthouse,could you have heard it?.Garretson: Faintly”.
The house they died in was torn down correct? The Tate house ?
I’m confused. Why is Garretson now saying that he looked out the window and saw a man on the lawn bent over another man and two women running towards the guest house?
He also heard someone say ‘Stop, Stop, I’m already dead’ but he didn’t go out and investigate or call the police.
this is all directly out of his mouth from an interview on the Tate La Bianca Radio Program recorded in October, 2011
Could someone from the site with more knowledge maybe explain what has been written, if anything, about the inconsistency between what Garretson said at trial and what he is saying now?
You think maybe Garretson just changed his story to make himself more important. Maybe he never did hear or see anything but just wanted to make himself more famous…I am thinking that waiting 42 years to change your story all of a sudden is a bit odd.
I recall those headphones, I sat listening to a rock station in St. Louis MO the night of the Olympics in Munich, and I was listening to my sounds, wonderful rock music and I kept staring at the TV wondering “Why is Mark Spitz crying?” I didn’t know what had happened or cared because all I cared about was the music…
Polanski ordered Sharon’s death, paid Manson to do the deed. I knew it back in ’69. I thought it was STRANGE how the talk of Satanism and orgies at Cielo was hushed up QUICKLY, then to find out that Bug Vince Bugliosi was a Mafia lawyer, and that the LAPD was notorious at losing evidence. In fact the entire case was mishandled by them.
He heard and saw everything. . .he hid away, in the guest house, until daylight. He knew what was happening, but he wasn’t armed and didn’t want to die. That’s what happened. Plain and simple.
I have heard those tapes where Garretson says he heard ” I am already dead”. He ( Garretson ) also says a woman knocked on his door with a baby wrapped up. WTF.
i think this guy went always was goofy>
Yes…that’s what I thought. .
Even if he did hear screams or gunshots, you can’t blame him for staying away from the house and hiding. Though, any reasonable human being should call the police if they hear gunshots and screams coming from a house where the line is also dead.
It’s not unreasonable of him to claim he didn’t hear because I know that when I listen to music, every other sound blends in with the music.
The phone lines were cut.
you guys are missing the most important part of the “i listened to music all night and didnt hear anything” theory….the reason it doesnt matter is that Parent was killed almost immediately after leaving the guest house…within 5 minutes…and the other main murders occurring with 10-15 minutes after that..im quite sure sure Garretson didnt immediately start writing and listening to music in that short time…..he def heard something and simply got scared and hid…
another thing…the “im already dead” that Garretson claimed he heard??…he stole that quote from Patricia Krenwinkel from an interview she did with Diane Sawyer in 1994….
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