Panic Sweeps Movie Colony
Tuesday, August 12th, 1969
Los Angeles, Aug. 12 — Panic infected the movie colony today in the wake of two gruesomely similar multiple murders as police dropped charges against the only suspect they had in one of them.
Teenage houseboy William Garretson, who slept nearby while movie star Sharon Tate and four companions were sadistically slain, was released yesterday. His lawyer said murder charges against him were dropped.
Garretson, near tears, was put in protective custody to give him a chance to recover. His lawyer, Barry Tarlow, said he was still considering whether to file charges of false arrest against Los Angeles police.
Whispers that a psychotic killer was after wealthy resident “of isolated homes in the Hollywood hills continued after the murder of Miss Tate and the four others was followed a day later by that of a rich supermarket owner and his wife in a plush home 12 miles away.
IN BOTH SETS of slayings the word “Pig” was smeared in blood at the murder scene, hoods covered the heads of males slain and women had cords around their throats.
Police have indicated that the two blood-baths were unconnected. They said the more recent murders of grocery chain owner Leno La Bianca, 44, and his wife Rosemary, 38, were those of a psychotic cashing in on the publicity of the so-called Tate murders.
But fear-stricken Hollywood residents rushed to buy guns yesterday for self-protection.
MISS TATE’S husband, director Roman Polanski, was whisked into police protection and seclusion at a Beverly Hills home about five miles from the rented hilltop house where his pregnant wife, clad only in a bra and black Bikini panties, was found dangling from a beam.
He was being questioned about his wife’s associations and a friend of the dead actress said police have widened the search to include a friend of Miss Tate’s two murdered house guests Voyteck Frykowski, 37, and coffee heiress Abigail Folger, 26
Tarlow yesterday said another victim, 18-year-old Steven Parent, was a friend of Garretson’s and had been visiting him in the guest house on the grounds. He said Parent must have driven to the front of the house right into the carnage and was shot in the chest through the front window of the car.
The fifth victim at the Tate house was Jay Sebring, hairstylist and former fiance of the actress.
Friends of Polanski yesterday spoke of the discovery of an American flag over a sofa at the house, giving rise to speculation that the killer or killers belonged to a fanatic political group.
Tarlow said when asked if Garretson feared for his life because of possible leads he gave to police that “he gave no names of people he considered suspects.”
Police were watching the homes of all possible suspects who had not returned home during the gory weekend.
By BRUCE RUSSELL