Susan Atkins’ Last Parole Hearing

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Sept. 13 – Just after 8 p.m., on September 2nd, 2009, Parole Commissioner Tim O’Hara told James Whitehouse that the latter’s wife, Susan Atkins, was “not suitable for parole because the inmate currently poses unreasonable risk of danger if released from prison.”

O’Hara and Deputy Commissioner Jan Enloe had deliberated for an hour after listening to four hours of arguments, for and against, the parole of Susan Atkins.

Atkins, paralyzed by brain cancer, slept through most of the hearing on a gurney. Her only participation came when her husband/attorney, James Whitehouse, helped her recite Psalm 23.

Patrick Sequeira argued against parole for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. While members of Jay Sebring’s family and Debra Tate made statements on behalf of their loved ones.

Susan was given a three year denial, the minimum parole denial period under Marcey’s Law.

Twenty-two days later, late in the evening of Thursday, September 24th, Susan Atkins passed way.

While parole denials and Manson family members go hand in hand, Atkins’ death bed denial likely means most of those connected to the Tate-LaBianca killings will die – as their original sentences intended – within a California prison.

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Twisted: The Devil’s Business

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Next Tuesday, Investigation Discovery will debut a new show about the Manson murders called “Twisted: The Devil’s Business.”

Show Description: Charles Manson and his so called ‘family’ would become the most infamous killers of the 20th Century. Their series of brutal and seemingly senseless crimes would shock the world. But how did so many young people fall under the spell of one man?

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Coming Soon: The Audio Archives

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Dallas, Tex., Aug. 24 – We are currently sorting through hours upon hours of audio interviews recorded during the Hinman, Tate, LaBianca and Shea investigations. In the coming months, we will begin posting these historic recordings, all digitally remastered from the originally reel-to-reel tapes. Recorded in 1969 and 1970 by Inyo County Sheriffs, LAPD, LASO and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, the tapes include interviews of Manson family members, associates and witnesses. 

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Temporary & Last Minute Moves

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

4053 Woking Way. The LaBianca’s home from 1963 to 1968

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 8 – It was November, 1968. Richard Nixon had just won the presidential election, defeating Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace. NBC had just angered football fans across the country, when the network aired Heidi, instead of the last minute of the Oakland Raiders’ epic comeback win over the New York Jets. The Beatles had just released their self-titled double White Album. And in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles, grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary were in the process of moving.

For the past six years, the LaBianca’s had called 4053 Woking Way home. Woking Way wasn’t so much a street as it was a curve in the road. It winds in between Parva Avenue and Amesbury Road in the hills overlooking Silverlake.

The house at 4053 Woking Way was big – just over 6,000 square feet – and had a fantastic view of downtown and the pacific. It’s living room had vaulted ceilings and a staircase that led up to a Juliet balcony. The French-Normandy styled house was built in 1932 by Walt and Lillian Disney. It was equipped with a screening room where Walt reviewed studio dailies.

Rosemary LaBianca’s JW Robinson credit card with Woking Way address

But for Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, the Woking Way house had become a financial burden. So that November, The LaBianca’s made arrangements to sell the Disney house and buy Leno’s mother’s home.

The house at 3301 Waverly Drive was no stranger to Leno LaBianca. His mother and father had purchased the home in 1940, and Leno and his sisters had grown up there. The white stucco, two bedroom home was modest, especially compared to the Disney house. It was perched high atop a sloping front yard, where, at family get-togethers, Leno’s children, nieces and nephews would lay sideways and roll down the hill, racing each other to the bottom.

But although the Waverly Drive house was filled with memories, the move back was only supposed to be a temporary one. Leno’s long term goal was to move away from the city and build a horse ranch.

Three months later, and 11 miles west of Los Feliz, Sharon Tate Polanski had plans to spend the day with real estate agent Elaine Young. Sharon and her husband Roman Polanski had spent much of their first year of marriage living at 1600 SummitRidge Drive.

1600 SummitRidge Drive

The 2-story Cape Cod styled house at 1600 SummitRidge Drive sat high up on the hill overlooking Benedict Canyon. The Polanski’s were renting it from Sharon’s Valley of the Dolls co-star Patty Duke.

Columbia pictures had hired Bruce Lee to give Sharon martial arts lessons in preparation for her role in The Wrecking Crew. After Sharon introduced Lee to Roman, the martial artist would come by and teach the couple kung fu in the driveway of the SummitRidge house.

Sharon loved the SummitRidge Drive house, so Roman made an offer to buy it. But for whatever reason, Polanski and Patty Duke’s husband Harry Falk, couldn’t agree on a price.

In February of 1969, a newly pregnant Sharon began looking for a more permanent place for the couple to live and raise their child. Roman was scheduled to work on the script of Day of the Dolphin in London. Sharon herself, was booked to star in the Thirteen Chairs. With filming in Italy two months away, Sharon had little time to find a place to call home.

Elaine Young and Sharon looked at properties all over Los Angeles. Sharon finally settling on the secluded home at the end of Cielo Drive. The rustic farm house at 10050 Cielo Drive had been vacant for about a month. It’s previous tenants, Terry Melcher and Candice Bergen, had moved out shortly after New Year’s.

Roman Polanski signed the extended lease on February 12th, the same day opening statements began in the Sirhan Sirhan trial at the Hall of Justice.

Five months later, both the Polanski’s and LaBianca’s moves proved to be most unfortunate, when both of their new homes were invaded by a group dressed in black. Their futures were savagely erased, and forever linked to pure madness, speculation, and slander.

Both the Woking Way and SummitRidge Drive houses still stand today. 4053 Woking Way was recently on the market and sold for $3,700,000 on August 26, 2011. 1600 SummitRidge Drive has undergone some recent improvements and is currently on the market with an asking price of $5,395,000.

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Coming Soon: The Photo Archives

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Dallas, Tex., Jul. 26 – In the very near future, cielodrive.com will launch our photography archive. We have worked painstakingly, restoring several hundred photographs, one-by-one. And after thousands of hours of work, the restoration project is close to being finished. 

From the widely circulated, to the rare and never published or seen. Photographs from the Tate and LaBianca investigations, the August 16th Spahn Ranch raid, mugshots and trial evidence. All restored, in both color and black & white.

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