Sharon Tate, Friends Died One By One, Lawyers Say
Thursday, December 4th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 4 – Despite her pleas to “Let me have my baby,” actress Sharon Tate and four others were killed one by one by members of a nomadic hippie-style band dressed in black for the occasion, two attorneys said yesterday.
The next night, members of the same group selected a house at random, stabbed to death a wealthy market owner and his wife to show they hadn’t lost their nerve — then showered and had a snack, the attorneys said.
Lawyers Richard Caballero and Paul Caruso in separate interviews gave information they said they obtained from their client, Susan Denise Atkins, 21.
She was a member of a band led by Charles Miller Manson, 35, a student of the occult who called himself “God,” “Jesus” and “Satan.”
Miss Atkins, the attorneys said, was one of the five dressed in black — she called the garb her “creepy crawl” clothing — and was at the slayings but had “nothing to do with the murders.” The attorneys said she told them she was under Manson’s “hypnotic spell.” Miss Atkins is charged with murder of a man with whom Manson once lived.
Police have made no accusations against Manson. He is the dominant figure in a hippie-style group, some of those members are accused of the slayings.
Manson was at a preliminary hearing in Independence, near Death Valley, yesterday where he is held on two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of operating a stolen vehicle. The charges stem from raids on his followers’ commune last October. Authorities say the group ran a stolen car operation.
Caruso told an interviewer the five at the Tate slaying scene were two men and three women. Caballero said it was one man and four women.
Shot or stabbed to death at the $200,000 rented Tate home last Aug. 9 were Hollywood hair stylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Polish playboy Voityk Frokowsky and Steven Parent, 18, a friend of the caretaker.
After a five-hour interview with Miss Atkins, Caruso gave this account of her recollection of the Tate slayings:
“Two men and three girls went to the residence. One man had a gun. The girls had knives. They parked their car so they would be able to get away quickly.
“They were dressed in black clothing and a man with wire cutters went up a pole outside and cut phone and electrical wires.
“They saw Parent starting to leave. He got into his car and was shot. Then a man went through an open window inside and opened the front door. The others went outside.
“Frokowsky was lying on the couch. Sharon Tate and Sebring were talking in her bedroom. The Folger girl was in another bedroom reading a book.
“Tate and Sebring were told to stay in the bedroom. Then they were brought out. Miss Tate became very apprehensive. She wanted to make sure her baby was not harmed. That was virtually all she pleaded about, ‘Let me have my baby.’ But she was killed.
“Sebring said very little. He was killed. Frokowsky attempted to escape. As he ran through the front door he was hit on the head with a gun butt. Miss Folger handed them all the money she had, $73, and they took it and killed her anyway.
“The group had a close call getting away from there. They made some noise and a woman at a nearby house came out in the park but they got away without her taking their license number.”
Miss Tate’s baby, a boy, died with her.
Police are seeking grand jury murder indictments against seven members of the hippie-style band in the Tate slaying, and in the slaying of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, wealthy owners of a Hollywood market chain.
Under arrest in different parts of the country on warrants in the Tate case are Linda Kasabian, 20, taken into custody in Concord, N.H.; Chalres D. Watson, 24, who surrendered in McKinney, Tex., and Patricia Kernwinkel, 21, apprehended in Mobile, Ala.
Police in Los Angeles were seeking indictments against them and “four or five others.” Authorities declined to name the others.
At least 12 persons are to be called before the grand jury in sessions starting tomorrow. Miss Atkins has been listed as a “tentative” witness.