Youth Hits Tate Case Link
Monday, September 8th, 1969
DAYTON, Ohio, Sept. 8 – William Garretson, the Lancaster, Ohio, youth who was jailed briefly after the bizarre mass murder near Hollywood last month, said he was so far removed from the activity at the Roman Polanski mansion that he didn’t even know Sharon Tate was a movie star until after her death.
Garretson, 20, and his attorney, Robert Cohen of Los Angeles, were guests on a one hour television talk show with host Phil Donahue here.
Garretson, who lived in a building away from the mansion, said he saw Miss Tate occasionally and knew her only to say hello to.
Miss Tate, Polanski’s 26-year-old pregnant wife, was murdered Aug. 9 along with four others at the home of Polanski, a film director who was in Europe at the time.
Garretson, who earned room and board plus $35 a week and free dry cleaning for tending three dogs and a bird, was arrested and jailed shortly after the bodies were found. He was later released for lack of evidence.
The youth since has filed a $1 million false arrest suit against the city of Los Angeles. Cohen said Garretson is also asking $50,000 in punitive damages and an undertermined amount for loss of future earnings.
Cohen also said Garretson charges the city with false imprisonment and invasion of privacy. He complained that police allowed his client to be photographed behind bars and without proper attire.
Garretson said he was aware that Polanski was associated with the film, “Rosemary’s Baby,” but otherwise he said he had little to do with the residents of the estate where he worked.
“I wouldn’t say it was a swinging place,” Garretson offered in reply to a question. The attorney said there were a number of theories about who committeed the murders, and that he personally believed more than one person was involved.
“I think from the mere logistics it would have to be more than one person,” Cohen said.