Murder House Caretaker Threatens False Arrest Suit
Saturday, August 16th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16 – A young caretaker questioned in the mass murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others at her Benedict Canyon estate has threatened to sue for false arrest.
William Garretson, 19, told newsmen he went shopping for groceries, entertained a friend and stayed awake till dawn writing letters and listening to music the night of the massacre.
The victims were the pregnant actress; her former fiance, hair-stylist Jay Sebring; Polish film producer Voityck Frokowsky; coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and Steven Parent, Garretson’s friend.
Garretson said he was unaware of the murders until police burst into his bedroom early Saturday and led him to the bodies of Frokowski and Miss Folger, lying on the lawn, and Parent, slumped over the wheel of his car.
Garretson said he was unable to recognize Parent because of the damage to his head from the bullets which killed him.
Police released Garretson Monday and have arrested no other suspects. Homicide detectives refused to confirm or deny published reports an informant who believe he knows the killers had given them the names of three possible suspects, including an aspiring young actor.
Garretson said he would sue the city for false arrest, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy and violation of his Constitutional rights. He said he was not advised of his right to remain silent until several hours after his arrest.
The informant reportedly told police he was invited to the party at the home of Miss Tate and her film producer husband, Roman Polanski, the night of the murders. Polanski was in London at the time.
The informant, a Polish emigre who knew Frokowski, said he worked late that night and never went to the Polanski home. He reportedly believes Frokowski was the prime target in the mass murder because of his involvement with narcotics distributors.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that detectives had been guarding the informant since Sunday, when he first spoke with investigators.
Police have declined to comment on reports that drugs were found in Sebring’s car and that a “commercial” quantity of drugs was found in Miss Folger’s bedroom
Police have been checking every rumor in the bizarre case, which involved four members of a social set described as “rich hippies.” It is believed that Parent, 18, was unacquainted with the other victims and may have been killed when he saw something as he left the estate after visiting Garretson.
Garretson, the only person found alive on the premises early Saturday, was held for questioning over the weekend and released after he voluntarily underwent a lie detector test. Police said there was no evidence against him.