Linda Kasabian Completes 18-Day Stint on Stand; Testimony Unshaken
Thursday, August 20th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 20 – Tate-LaBianca murder eyewitness Linda Kasabian was excused yesterday after spending 18 days on the stand at the trial of Charles Manson and three female followers.
Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older excused Mrs. Kasabian at 12:01p.m.
The 21-year-old witness, during her marathon testimony, said she saw two of the murders outside the Benedict Canyon estate of actress Sharon Tate in the early morning hours of Aug. 9, 1969.
She also has said Manson “had a whole bunch of people killed” and implicated his three codefendants — Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, both 22, and Leslie Van Houten, 20 — in the murders.
Her testimony ended after Judge Older cut short crossexamination by defense attorneys Irving A. Kanarek and Ronald Hughes. Their line of questioning was objected to by both the prosecution and another defense attorney, Paul J. Fitzgerald, as being irrelevant and immaterial.
Mrs. Kasabian has been granted immunity from prosecution for turning state’s evidence and although she once was a codefendant, the murder charges against her have been dismissed.
The young woman, who has been under police protection since being freed nearly a week ago, was expected to leave Los Angeles for New Hampshire where she will join her children, Tanya, 2, and Angel, 5 months.
Although all four defense attorneys made strenuous attempts to break Mrs. Kasabian’s story of two nights of murder, the petite blonde did not crack.
The defense also has tried to show that Mrs.Kasabian was lying from jealousy due to Manson’s rejection of her.
But the young woman has candidly admitted extensive drug taking, stealing money and extramarital relationships with numerous men, including the 35-year-old Manson.
Following a lunch break, the prosecution called graduate student Timothy Ireland to the witness stand to establish the approximate time of the murders at the Tate home.
Ireland said he worked last summer for the Westlake School, about three-fourths of a mile from the murder scene.
He said he was outside during the early morning hours of Aug. 9, 1969. At about 12:40 a.m. He said he heard a man screaming:
“Oh God, no. Please don’t. Oh, God, No. Please don’t — don’t — don’t. Please don’t.”
He said the screams came from the direction of the Tate home.
Although he drove around the neighborhood, he saw nothing, he said.
Defense attorneys asked Ireland how he could remember the exact words.
“You don’t forget things like that,” he said. “I said them over many times to myself.”
Also testifying were Rudolf Weber of 9870 Portola Drive, Beverly Hills, and 16-year-old James Asin, a student at University High School, who lives two doors away from the Tate home on Cielo Drive.
Weber corroborated Mrs. Kasabian’s testimony about the alleged murder party stopping at a home after killing the actress and the others.
She said they stopped at the home to hose blood off themselves.
With her, she said, were Miss Krenwinkel and Miss Atkins and Charley Watson 24, the remaining codefendant who is still fighting extradition from Texas.
Asin said he called police after Miss Tate’s maid, Winifred Chapman pounded on his door and said “there was blood and bodies all over.”
He said he called the police about 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 9 and they arrived at the Tate estate within 20 minutes.
Mrs. Chapman already has testified, but it was believed she would be recalled sometime today to tell of finding the five bodies.
Mrs. Kasabian became involved in Manson’s “family” of hippie nomads about a month before the murders when she went to live at the Spahn Ranch near Chatsworth, the cult’s stronghold.
She testified she once believed Manson to be “the Messiah” or “Jesus Christ,” but when she looked into the eyes of dying Polish, playboy Voityck Frykowsky, she felt her former leader was really “the devil.”
Frykowsky was one of the five persons slain at Miss Tate’s home. The other murders occurred the following night at the home of market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife.
Mrs. Kasabian also has testified that Manson was not at the Tate estate, but was at the LaBiancas’ Los Feliz District home shortly before the couple was slain.
The prosecution has admitted Manson apparently did none of the actual murders himself, but contends he was the mastermind who ordered the killings.
Mrs. Kasabian was only the eighth prosecution witness, and deputy district attorneys Aaron H. Stovitz and Vincent T. Bugliosi have indicated they have 81 more persons to call to the stand:
The big prosecution job now will be to corroborate Mrs. Kasabian’s testimony. Miss Atkins allegedly confessed to the murders last fall, but changed her story and now probably will not testify at the trial.
This means that Miss Atkins’ testimony before the County Grand Jury, which indicted Manson and the others last December, probably will not be introduced at the trial.
However, the prosecution’s ace in the hole, as far as Miss Atkins’ story is concerned, is her alleged remarks to a former cellmate about the murders.
The former cellmate, Ronnie Howard, has been subpoenaed to testify.