Susan Atkins 12/1/69 Caruso/Caballero Interview

Monday, July 6th, 2015

atkins-caruso-caballero

On Monday, December 1, 1969, Judge William Keene signed an order, requested by Attorney Richard Caballero, authorizing the removal of Sadie Mae Glutz, aka Susan Atkins, from the Sybil Brand Institute, between the hours of 2:30pm and 10:00pm. Atkins was taken to 425 South Beverly Boulevard, Beverly Hills – the law offices of Paul Caruso – where she was interviewed on tape by Caruso and Caballero for the purpose of determining a plea. The following is the transcript of the taped interview.

SUSAN ATKINS: About two months prior to meeting him I was in an apartment in San Francisco and I was on LSD up on the roof and I just looked at the city and I couldn’t handle it. And I remember reaching up with my hands and there was no sky, just blue in my hands, and there was no depth to it.

PAUL CARUSO: You were close to the sky?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, and I asked if God, just stop this world and take me off of it. About two months later, after travelling around for two or three months, I ended up in a house in San Francisco on Lime Street. It was primarily dope dealers. I got involved with them and then one day a little man came in with a guitar and started singing for a group of us that were together. And he sang, the song that hit me hardest was “The Shadow of His Smile” and his voice, his manner, just more or less hypnotized me – mesmerized me. I was just absolutely in love with him. I didn’t know him and I also felt I was in competition with him because he got more attention than I did.

PAUL CARUSO: That’s normal.

SUSAN ATKINS: And I asked him if I could play his guitar. Now, I didn’t know how to play the guitar, I knew maybe one or two chords on the guitar. And he said to me, sure, and handed me his guitar. And I looked at it and I thought to myself, I didn’t say it, I said I can’t play this and he turned around and he looked at me, straight in the eye, and said you can play that if you want to. And immediately I knew he was in my head and, wow, nothing like this ever happened before and it blew my mind. I was just with him from then on.

PAUL CARUSO: What was his name?

SUSAN ATKINS: Charles Manson.

PAUL CARUSO: You say he was a short man?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

PAUL CARUSO: How old a man is he?

SUSAN ATKINS: 36, 37 years old.

PAUL CARUSO: And did you play the guitar?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, I handed it back to him after that. I plucked with it but handed it back. And he left and came back, you know, in about a period of two days and he took me off. You know, took me for a walk. Said do you want to go for a walk with me and and I said yes. I felt really privileged because all the girls in the house were just in love with him, his whole mannerism and the way he spoke. And we walked about two blocks away from where our house was to the place where he was staying in San Francisco and he took me into his room and said I want to make love with you and I said okay. Have you ever made love with your father. I said no. He said have you never thought about it? And I got kind of embarrassed and said yeah, like two or three times. He told me to take off my clothes. I took off my clothes. There was a full length mirror in the room and he said notice yourself in the mirror. I couldn’t look at myself. He said, go ahead, look at yourself in the mirror – look how beautiful you are. I looked and I turned away and he pushed my head back and said Look, you’re perfect. And I said well, yes, it’s okay and while he was making love with me told me to imagine I was making love with my father to get me through that particular hangup that I had about my father. And about when we were through, it didn’t last long, it was better than I’d ever had it before. It was the most beautiful experience I’d ever experienced. He took me back to Lime Street house and then he left. And then he brought over two girls the next day, a girl by the name of Lynn Fromme and Patricia Krenwinkel and a Mary Brunner and said that they’d just gotten a school bus and they were going to paint it black and fix up the inside and he asked, a couple of other girls, a girl by the name of Ella, I don’t know what her last name, Ella Bailey and another girl I don’t know what her name is and asked if they wanted to go along with him and I felt hurt because he didn’t ask me. And so I was talking to the other girl and they said well, if you want to go, ask him! Well, I didn’t ask him.

PAUL CARUSO: You were too shy?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, I wanted him to ask me —

PAUL CARUSO: You wanted him to ask you? —

SUSAN ATKINS: Right. I wanted him to ask me. And he came back and was getting the two girls ready to go in the school bus with him and I was upstairs, it was a three story house, and he was talking to another girl. And at the time I had what I called “the little man” who was in jail —

PAUL CARUSO: I know what the name means. Were you a “working girl” at the time?

SUSAN ATKINS: No. I had just quit working as a topless dancer. He came up to me and said, “Well, are you going to go with me or aren’t you?” I said, “Well, what about my old man in jail?” And he said, “What do you mean ‘your old man’? Don’t you mean your victim?” I flashed, Wow, he’s right. I went downstairs and packed two changes of clothes, some of my mother’s things that I had with me, put it in a suitcase, put it in the bus, and off we went. And for about a year and a half all we did was travel around in that bus. Five girls and Charlie.

PAUL CARUSO: How did you live in those days?

SUSAN ATKINS: People gave us things. Charlie had such a way of communicating with us we were just all together in the bus going through our changes, getting to know each other, getting uninhibited so we could make love each other freely. And he put me through a few changes with Lynn and he would make love with Lynn and I’d feel jealous and so would everybody else in the bus for the simple reason he always picked her. In all three years he only made love with me six times.

PAUL CARUSO: That’s strange. You’re a very attractive girl.

SUSAN ATKINS: Thank you. I’m aware of that.

PAUL CARUSO: Self-confidence. You should have it. That’s why it’s a shame for anybody to put you down because you shouldn’t be put down. You should have self-confidence.

SUSAN ATKINS: That’s what Charles did for three years – he gave me my faith in myself back to me. One of the good things he did for me. Showed me how to be a woman and not to be a man-trap. In other words, I can control men if I wish to, but that’s not my place and I realize that now.

PAUL CARUSO: Are you over Charles yet or does he still fascinate you?

SUSAN ATKINS: He fascinates me and I still fear him. Not too long before were arrested in the desert he called me out away from the rest of the girls and he said, “Sadie, you’re not, that’s what he called me, he named me Sadie Mae Glutz about a year and a half , to destroy, to kill my ego.

PAUL CARUSO: — to destroy your entity —

SUSAN ATKINS: Right. He said you’re not afraid of me enough and I don’t know what it’s going to take to put that fear in you but you’re just not that afraid of me. And when he said that, I really became afraid of him and often times I would do things – I knew I was strong – I was stronger than most any of the girls there – I knew it. I would go through my changes and I would go through my changes silently; more than openly and I knew I had a lot of influence with a lot of the girls. He even told me that once. He said that, You have more influence over these girls than any of the other girls. That you’ve almost got more influence over them than me, but I’m not going to let that happen.”

PAUL CARUSO: When you did things for Charles, shall I call you Sadie? What do you prefer I call you?

SUSAN ATKINS: It doesn’t matter.

PAUL CARUSO: I’d rather call you Susan. When you were doing things for Charles, did you do them to please him?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

PAUL CARUSO: Everything you did for that guy?

SUSAN ATKINS: For him and the more I would do things to please him, the more he would tell me, don’t do it for me, do it for yourself. I don’t care about you. I just love you completely.

PAUL CARUSO: Did you ever feel any limit for what you would do for Charles?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, but then again I did because I was never asked to do things for him. All the other girls were asked to do things for him because he knew I was capable of doing things for him. And he wanted to give the other girls that chance —

PAUL CARUSO: — to do it themselves —

SUSAN ATKINS: — to prove themselves to themselves.

RICHARD CABALLERO: —–

PAUL CARUSO: What would you say is the worst thing you ever did for Charles?

SUSAN ATKINS: Cop out to what’s happening right now, what I’m being indicted for.

PAUL CARUSO: What’s that?

SUSAN ATKINS: Confess to killing, even though I didn’t actually kill.

PAUL CARUSO: Confess killing whom?

SUSAN ATKINS: Gary Hinman.

PAUL CARUSO: You didn’t do it? Is there anyone else you hurt for Charles

SUSAN ATKINS: Hurt?

PAUL CARUSO: Or killed or destroyed anyone?

SUSAN ATKINS: I stabbed a man five or six times, but I would say that was in self-defense. I was ordered by a man by the name of Tex to kill a man. But I hesitated and because I hesitated the man got his chance to attack me and I luckily enough had a knife in my hand because the man was big he could have just one whack —

PAUL CARUSO: — What was that man’s name, do you recall?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, I don’t. I’ve only heard it a couple of times and seen it on the paper.

PAUL CARUSO: Who? Was that one of those men that was involved in the Tate?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, the biggest man, the one that weighed about 190 pounds.

PAUL CARUSO: I think that was Wojciech Frykowski.

SUSAN ATKINS: Wojciech Frykowski.

PAUL CARUSO: You know I represented a suspect in that murder. You know that or don’t you know that? If you don’t know, I’ll tell you that a man named Harrigan was arrest– well, not arrested by the police, but he was a prime suspect. So Harrigan and I went down to the police station and they interrogated him for about 4 hours —

SUSAN ATKINS: Is this the man that was in the guest house?

PAUL CARUSO: No. That was William Garretson, the man who worked there, and I think Steven Parent was the young boy who was killed in the car.

SUSAN ATKINS: His death I felt very bad about when I saw it happen.

PAUL CARUSO: Really? I was under the impression he was the last person killed.

SUSAN ATKINS: No, he was the first.

PAUL CARUSO: How did that happen?

SUSAN ATKINS: We were instructed to go to this particular house. It was at night and I had no knowledge of what was happening until we actually got there.

PAUL CARUSO: Who instructed you to go to that house?

SUSAN ATKINS: Charlie. Charlie instructed me and Tex and name also Charles, a girl by the name of Linda and Katie – Patricia Krenwinkel.

PAUL CARUSO: Where were you when he instructed you to go there?

SUSAN ATKINS: Spahn’s Ranch.

PAUL CARUSO: Is that the place in the desert?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, that’s the mansion up in Chatsworth.

PAUL CARUSO: In Chatsworth. I don’t mean to interrupt you . I’m fascinated with this story. Please tell me what else happened.

SUSAN ATKINS: Well, Charlie instructed us to go there and gave us a car and and told us all to get two changes of clothes, basically black, and we had been buying black clothes for what we call creepie-crawlies, we go around and creepy-crawlie people’s houses – we wouldn’t take anything – just for the experience of getting the fear and bringing ourselves to now. And he instructed us to get the clothes and our knives and such and such, and four of us got in the car and started going up to this place. Now Tex explained to us the situation at the house because he had seen the house. He’d been up in the house. The house used to belong to Terry Melcher.

PAUL CARUSO: Doris Day’s son.

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes. We know Terry very well. The reason Charlie picked that house was to instill fear into Terry Melcher because Terry had given us his word on a few things and never came through with them. So Charlie wanted to put some fear into him, let him know that what Charlie said was the way it is, just what he said. the way it is and his philosophy, most people call it. And we, he explained the set up of the house for us and had a set of bolt cutters with us, and ropes and a gun. One rope, that was a gun and each one of us had a knife.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Susan, I just want to interrupt you one moment. You said to me before about the gun, yesterday when we spoke in jail, that was Charlie’s gun, wasn’t it?

SUSAN ATKINS: I can not say for sure whether it was Charlie’s gun or not. All I know is that that gun was used in previous killings.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Is that then the gun that Charlie used to kill the Black Panther?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: And is that the gun that he used to target practice out on the ranch with?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: And is that a long gun? Can you describe the gun?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Can you recall at all what it looked like?

SUSAN ATKINS: I know it was a heavy gun.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Was it an unusual type of a gun?

SUSAN ATKINS: No. Just looked like a gun to me.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Well, was it short gun?

SUSAN ATKINS: Like a western gun.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Like an old-fashioned gun?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, something like that, I would imagine. I don’t see a picture in my mind right now. If I flash on it, I’ll let you know. I believe, we drove up to the house, turned the car around, you know the set-up of the house, turned the car around and parked it between the gate and a neighbor’s house. We got out of the car, this is going downhill, we got out of the car and got the bolt cutter. Tex climbed up the telephone pole and snipped two wires, hoping that they were the telephone wires – one happened to be for the telephone and one for the —

RICHARD CABALLERO: — utilities?

SUSAN ATKINS: — Utilities. Yes, utility line. Then we got back in the car, drove it down the hill and parked the car at the base of hill, up aways, so it wouldn’t look too suspicious. We walked back up the hill. We didn’t touch the gate because we didn’t know if it was electrified or not but you know there’s a slope on the driveway? Well, we climbed up that hill and there was a small place where we could climb over the fence. So we went over the fence, four of us, and all of a sudden we saw light coming out and we knew it was a car and Tex told us to lay down and be still, so we all just did, exactly what he said, just laid down and be still. And just as the car drove into our sight, couldn’t actually see what happened, but I heard Tex say, “Stop – halt” and he had the gun on this young boy and I heard the boy say, “Please don’t hurt me – I won’t say anything and the gun went off four times. And Tex came back and said come on and we proceeded to go, you know how the front door is? Well, there’s a window right next to it. He lifted up and opened the window, went inside and around and opened the front door. We had no idea how many people were in the house. When we got into the living room, there was a man sleeping on the couch and his head was, the back of it was facing me. Tex went around in front and the man woke up thinking it was a friend of his. He said “What time is it?” – I forget the name he said, and Tex stood in front with with the gun and said don’t move or you’re dead. Then he motioned for us to come and stand behind the couch and we left Linda outside to listen for sounds. It surprised me that nobody heard the gunshots but they weren’t that loud. It was a very quiet gun. And then Tex let me in and said go check the other rooms. So I went down the hall to Abigail Folger’s bedroom and Sharon Tate’s bedroom.

PAUL CARUSO: There’s one bedroom at one end of the hall and one bedroom at the other end of the hall.

SUSAN ATKINS: Right. And there were two, like this.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Right.

SUSAN ATKINS: I went in Abigail Folger’s room and she put her book down and looked at me and I smiled and waved and looked in and saw Sharon Tate and the other younger man – the shorter man —

PAUL CARUSO: Jay Sebring?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes. They were talking and didn’t see me. And I looked back at Abigail Folger and said, What are you reading”?

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did you know the people’s names at that time?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, I didn’t. I came back out and I told Tex, there’s three more in there. And so he told me take the rope and tie up what ever, his name is —

PAUL CARUSO: Jay Sebring? Sharon Tate?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, this is the man that was on the couch. The man —

PAUL CARUSO: Wojciech Frykowski

SUSAN ATKINS: Frykowski. And I was shaking so bad I couldn’t tie his hands but I got the rope around and couldn’t pull it tight. And he just, he was so petrified he just laid there and didn’t say a word. And he kept asking Tex, “What do you want? What do you want?” “Who are you?” And Tex said, “I’m the devil, I’m here to do the devil’s business.” And, “We want all your money. Where’s your money?” He said, “My money’s in the wallet on the desk” and Tex told me to go over and look on the desk and I said, “Tex, it’s not there”. And then Tex said “go in and get the other people and bring them out here.” So I took my knife and I went in and stood by Abigail Folger’s bed and said “Go out in the living room” and “Don’t ask any questions”. And I went into Sharon Tate’s room and told them to go out in the living room. And the three of them were pretty much terrified by what was going on. And Tex took the rope and tied it to Sebring and Tate together and put the rope over the —

RICHARD CABALLERO: — beam

SUSAN ATKINS: Did all three of them that way. No, before I go to that. He, Jay Sebring, came into the living room and said “What’s going on” and Tex said, “Go over and sit down”. Jay Sebring proceeded to advance on Tex and Tex shot him. And he fell on the floor. I think he fell on his side because I saw him laying on his side. And Sharon went through a few changes, (laugh), quite a few changes.

PAUL CARUSO: What do you mean by changes?

SUSAN ATKINS: Oh, her facial expressions – she said “Oh my God, no.” Miss Folger didn’t say anything, she just stood there.

PAUL CARUSO: You say Sharon Folger – you mean Abigail Folger?

SUSAN ATKINS: Abigail Folger – I don’t know why I keep saying Sharon. and —

PAUL CARUSO: What did he throw over the beam? Did he throw the rope over the beam and then tie them?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, he tied them up and then pulled it tight, and then threw it over so they couldn’t move either way.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What did they pull over her head?

SUSAN ATKINS: They didn’t put anything over their heads. They didn’t have anything over their heads when we left, except Sharon Tate – I threw a towel over her head.

RICHARD CABALLERO: When you threw the towel over her head, was her head near Sebring’s?

SUSAN ATKINS: Sebring and Sharon Folger —

RICHARD CABALLERO: Sharon Tate.

SUSAN ATKINS: Sharon Tate was laying curled up near the couch and Sebring was coming out this way from the fireplace and their heads were probably close together.

RICHARD CABALLERO: I know the incident about the towel that you were relating to Mr. Caruso, but what I want to ask you is when you did so —

SUSAN ATKINS: I didn’t even look – I just threw it.

RICHARD CABALLERO: So, could it have fallen therefore over Jay Sebring’s head as well?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Okay, that explains it.

PAUL CARUSO: How did Frykowski get away? You didn’t tie him very well?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, but he didn’t move for a while and then – Tex proceeded to tie them up – Sebring – I had taken the rope off of him and proceeded to bind his hands with a towel I found in the bathroom. I didn’t do a very good job of that, evidently I wanted the man to get away. I don’t know, subconsciously I was thinking. I know I wasn’t thinking consciously at all. Then Tex said to him “Where’s your money” and Sharon or Abigail said “My money’s in my wallet” and Tex instructed me to go get it out of her wallet. And I untied her and she led me back and I told her, “You get it out”. She handed me $72.00 or $73.00 and said that’s all she had and said do you want my credit cards? And I said no. She put the wallet back in and I proceeded to lead her back into the living room and tied her back up and put the rope back over the beam. And one of the ladies said “what are you going to do with us and Tex said, “You’re all going to die.” And this caused immediate panic. And Tex told me to kill the big man, Frykowski, well I went over to him and I raised the knife and I hesitated. And as I hesitated, he reached up and grabbed my hair, he started pulling my hair. So I had to fight for my life as far as I was concerned. I still had the knife. Somehow he managed to turn my head, he was still holding my hair and he was behind me, he,fell in the chair behind me, that was next to the couch this way and he was fighting and I was kicking him and I proceeded to stab him three or four times in the leg and then while this was going on, Abigail started getting loose and was fighting with Katie. Linda had evidently heard some noise and went back down and sat in the car so we had no watch for the outside. Well as this went on there was a lot of confusion going on, I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I remember seeing Frykowski going outside and as he was going outside he was yelling – for his life, he was screaming, really loud. And I said Tex, help me. Do something. Tex went over and hit him 5 or 6 times over the head with the butt of the gun, broke the gun handle, the gun wouldn’t work any more, and proceeded to stab him. While he was stabbing the man was still screaming – I’m surprised nobody heard anything. And he was pretty much half dead on the porch – that’s why all the blood was there, I imagine. About this time I was holding Tate because she —

RICHARD CABALLERO: Just a minute – did Frykowski get shot?

SUSAN ATKINS: No. Not that I know of.

RICHARD CABALLERO: As he was running out when – Paul, is it your recollection that Frykowski was shot?

PAUL CARUSO: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: As he was running out and you called to Tex, he caught up with him and grabbed him from the back – front the back, the gun wasn’t loud as you say, but couldn’t Tex have fired once and shot him in the back?

SUSAN ATKINS: He may have —

RICHARD CABALLERO: Frykowski had a bullet hole in his back. Now would that make sense – from the story that you’re telling us?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: That would not be inconsistent with anything you saw there?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, it wouldn’t.

RICHARD CABALLERO: After that shooting is probably when he hit him on the head. Because he was shot.

SUSAN ATKINS: But I don’t remember him being shot.

RICHARD CABALLERO: In the excitement, the gun going off, I can understand that.

SUSAN ATKINS: I was holding Sharon, I grabbed her in a neck hold –

RICHARD CABALLERO: I want to ask one more question. When Tex first approached, when you called Tex to help you with Frykowski, Tex approached Frykowski, was Tex approaching, did he approach him from the back? That’s what I want to know.

PAUL CARUSO: Frykowski was going out, wasn’t he?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, but I don’t ‘remember because I was on the floor. Sharon was starting to get herself loose from the rope and the Folger girl had already broken loose and was fighting with Katie and I was just standing there watching, there wasn’t much I could do. I had given my knife, I thought, to one of the other girls, the girl that was outside. Evidently I didn’t because she didn’t have it when we left so I figured I had lost it in the house, which threw paranoia into me as we left. I went over and got Sharon and put her in a head lock. She didn’t fight me, I just held her. Then she was begging me to let her go so she could a her baby and Katie was calling for me to help her because Folger was bigger than Katie and Katie had long, long hair. She was pulling on Katie’s hair and Katie was calling for me to help her. So I called to Tex to do something. Tex came back into the house and reached up to stab Folger and she looked at him and said, “You’ve got me, I give up” and Tex stabbed her and she was on the floor. I think he stabbed her in the stomach because I saw her grab down here. And then Tex went back outside because the other man, Frykowski, had gone outside and was on the lawn by then, still running and calling for help and he proceeded to continue killing him. I would imagine that was

PAUL CARUSO: Do you remember where Frykowski’s pants were? Did that make an impression on you?

SUSAN ATKINS: Where his pants were?

PAUL CARUSO: Do you recall if his pants were up around his abdomen or did they fall, do you recall?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, I don’t recall. I know they were strange looking pants.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What do you mean strange looking?

SUSAN ATKINS: They had some sort of pattern on them.

PAUL CARUSO: Were they mod?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, his whole outfit was mod. It looked like an Indian, East Indian outfit.

Then Tex told me, Sharon Tate wanted to sit down, so I took her over and sat her down on the couch. She said all I want to do is have my baby and I knew I had to say something to her before she got hysterical and while I was talking to her I knew everything I was saying to myself, I wasn’t talking to her. “Woman, I have no mercy for you” and that was myself to only me. When the Folger girl started to go outside, Tex and Katie went outside and I just stayed there with Sharon. I’m not sure whether Katie went outside or not. Then Tex came back in and said “Kill her” “Katie said to kill her”. I reached to grab ahold of her arms, I didn’t want to kill her, so I grabbed ahold of her arms and said, “Tex, I can’t kill her, I’ve got her arms, You do it.” And Katie couldn’t kill her. So Tex stabbed her in the heart and he told us to get out. We, Katie and I, went running outside looking for Linda because we didn’t see her and yelling for her but we didn’t want to yell too loud. When Tex came out I said Tex do you have my knife?, and he said no. I said Katie do you have my knife and she said no. So I said Linda must have it, I think I gave it to her. And he said, Sadie, go back and write something on the door. I didn’t want to go back into that house.

PAUL CARUSO: I don’t blame you.

SUSAN ATKINS: I didn’t want to go back into that house but something made me go back in the house and I got the towel that I had tied the man’s hands with and I went over to Sharon Tate and I flashed, Wow, there’s a living being in there – I want it but I couldn’t bring myself to cut her open and take the baby. I knew it was living, I knew it wouldn’t live

PAUL CARUSO: She died.
What kind of knife did you have?

SUSAN ATKINS: A buck knife, with black tape wrapped around the handle. I don’t know if the police ever found it or not.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What makes you think it was black tape? Is that the way you recollect it?

SUSAN ATKINS: That’s the way I recollect it. I know we had one buck knife and it had black tape wrapped around it because the handle was broken off. Just a little piece.

RICHARD CABALLERO: The handle was broken?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, before we went there.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did it say anything on the blade of the knife.

SUSAN ATKINS: Not that I know of.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did it say “buck” ?

SUSAN ATKINS: It probably did. I know it was a buck knife.

RICHARD CABALLERO: How new or old was the knife?

SUSAN ATKINS: It was fairly old.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Where did you get the knife from?

SUSAN ATKINS: From the Ranch. It was stuck in wood. I don’t know where the knife actually came from.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Had you seen other knives there that had tape around them? At the ranch?

SUSAN ATKINS: One or two. Yes, I believe one.

RICHARD CABALLERO: You say it had black tape around it. Could that have been that one of the knives brought there that night had black tape around it for perhaps did not have?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, because I remember it having the tape around it, I remember holding it. And I remember looking at it and wow, that’s going to leave fingerprints.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Okay, when you stabbed Frykowski in the leg, is that the knife that you left there, or the other knife.

SUSAN ATKINS: I can honestly say I don’t remember what knife I left there.

PAUL CARUSO: Did you have another knife up there?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

PAUL CARUSO: Only took one knife there.

SUSAN ATKINS: I only took one knife there. Everybody had a knife.

RICHARD CABALLERO: The knives were exchanged. Therefore you may have left a knife different from the one that had the black tape around it, is that right?

SUSAN ATKINS: That could be a possibility but I remember asking when we got back in the car did anybody have the knife with the tape around it and they said no.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Things were pretty excited at that point. And you stopped in the car and as you will relate in a few minutes, you wanted to get rid of it? But first of all, there was another knife there, that might have been there a buck knife too? Do you have knowledge that there was another knife that might have been a buck knife?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, I don’t.

PAUL CARUSO: Susan said they all had knives.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Yes. This is crucial because the police have a knife and that’s what we’re trying to get to because there’s a very good chance that you left a different knife there.

PAUL CARUSO: They showed my client Harrington several knives, when they were questioning him and he couldn’t identify any of them. Now, Susan, you started to tell us about going back in the house and grabbed the towel you used to tie up and you took it over to Sharon Tate. Was she bleeding very much?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes and I could hear the blood inside her body gurgling – It was the same sound I’d heard with Hinman.

PAUL CARUSO: That’s the death rattle.

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes. Is that what they call it? It’s not a very pretty sound.

PAUL CARUSO: No, it’s terrible.

SUSAN ATKINS: And I reached down and turned my head away and touched her chest to get some blood and proceeded to go to the door and the only thing I remember being instructed to write on the door was “Pig” so I proceeded to take my hand and write “Pig” with the towel and threw the towel back and ran outside.

RICHARD CABALLERO: When you say “touched her chest”, that was with the towel?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did you write “Pig” with the towel?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes with the towel. Then I threw, I didn’t know what to do with the towel, so I just threw it back in the house.

PAUL CARUSO: Were you the last one to leave?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

PAUL CARUSO: So you’re going back to the car now. Were they all waiting for you?

SUSAN ATKINS: We, I walked to the front gate and the rest of them were standing on the other side, just about the little platform that we stepped down, that you go down into the front lawn, and walked down around the car, Katie, Tex, Katie and Tex were standing near the car.

PAUL CARUSO: Where’s Linda?

SUSAN ATKINS: Linda had disappeared on us and we didn’t know where she was and we called for her. But we didn’t want to go around, didn’t want to even go anywhere near that area. We were instructed to go to the next door neighbor’s house and to do the same thing.

PAUL CARUSO: Who instructed you to do that?

SUSAN ATKINS: Charlie.

PAUL CARUSO: Tex?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, Charlie.

PAUL CARUSO: Tex’s name is also Charlie but in the relation of the incidents for the purpose of clarity, she is always going to refer to Tex as “Tex”.

SUSAN ATKINS: Now, we went, you know the button that you use to open the gate? Tex pushed that button, but I don’t think he used his fingers, I think he used his arm or something. And we picked up our clothes which we had stashed by the gate, we all knelt and picked up our second change of clothes, walking down the road not too conspicuous, and Linda was in the car. She had started to start the car and Tex told her to get over, excuse the expression, what the fuck did she think she was doing? We got in the car and there was nothing but just [long drawn out sigh]

RICHARD CABALLERO: What?

PAUL CARUSO: Exhaustion.

SUSAN ATKINS: Exhaustion.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did anybody have blood on them?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, we all did. And proceeded to change our clothes in the car as we were driving. Now we went for a ride to look for a place to dump the bloody clothes. Now this, I saw that last night and you’ll see the change. As we were driving we flipped off the route down a couple of side streets to look for a dark house and we found one. We got out of the car, walked up the street, found a house with no lights on, hoping there would be nobody home, and we found a big house. All I remember is that it was a big house with a lot of shrubbery around it, the front. We looked for the hose, turned the hose on, went out in the street and proceeded to wash ourselves off. All this happened spontaneously, we didn’t plan anything that happened, it was all spontaneous. All of a sudden we heard an old man and an old woman coming out – what are you people doing and blab, blah, blab. The old woman said my houseman belong to the Sheriff’s —

PAUL CARUSO: Reserve?

SUSAN ATKINS: — Something like Deputy Reserve, he belonged to the Sheriff’s Department of Los Angeles County and he was going to report this. What are you doing? And Tex just looked at them, smiled, and said, “We’re just getting a drink of water. Sorry we disturbed you.” And the old man said, “is that your car down there?” And Tex said, “No, we’re walking.” And the man said “I know that’s your car down there.” Tex said, “Okay, girls, get in the car” and we double fast walked to the car. Now, all the weapons were not in the car. Before we went to that house we went for a drive up Mulholland Drive, before we went to the house to wash off, we went for a drive and we drove along the side of a deep embankment, I don’t remember where it was, it was dark, and I didn’t pay any attention, and Linda had all the weapons, all but the one knife, up in the front seat, and Tex said, “Does anybody have a white rag”? in order that if somebody saw us throwing something, we could throw the white rag while we were throwing things out of the window. And we proceeded to throw all of the clothes. We stopped one time. Linda got out of the car, threw all the clothes over as far as she could, over the side of the embankment.

PAUL CARUSO: On Mulholland?

SUSAN ATKINS: On Mulholland Drive. I believe that’s the road.

PAUL CARUSO: You were on Benedict Canyon. That’s where the Cielo Drive address was. How far was the second house from the Tate house?

SUSAN ATKINS: I don’t know. I have no idea. We drove around quite a bit. I wasn’t paying any attention. I was just stunned.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Susan, before we leave that point, when you say you got rid of all the weapons, did that include the gun?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Now, if you were to go with me in a car and we were to leave that house, do you think that by sense of direction you might get me anywhere near where the gun was actually thrown?

SUSAN ATKINS: [Sigh] I don’t know.

PAUL CARUSO: Do you recall if you went east or west?

SUSAN ATKINS: I don’t know, Tex was driving. I just sat in the back seat slumped down.

PAUL CARUSO: Do you think if we got you in a car and left from that residence that you might have some general feeling of, you might be able to develope a picture for yourself.

SUSAN ATKINS: Well, I’ve got a picture in my mind and all it shows me is the side of the mountain and the road —

RICHARD CABALLERO: That’s what I thought – that you would be able to say this looks like the spot.

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

PAUL CARUSO: Dick, you have a good idea. Susan, where were you sitting in the car.

SUSAN ATKINS: In the passenger side in the back seat.

PAUL CARUSO: Okay, so you were in the right rear. Was the mountain to your left or was it to your right?

SUSAN ATKINS: The mountain was to my left and the embankment, the hill going down, to my right.

PAUL CARUSO: That’s very encouraging. That’s good. That’s a big help.

SUSAN ATKINS: And then after we disposed of all the weapons, then we continued to drive until we got down to a residential area, I know it was close to Sunset Boulevard. Then we got in the car and the man and woman were walking behind us and we were walking fast. Tex got in the car and started it, and the woman kept saying, take their driver’s license, number, but he didn’t have anything to write it down with. He got in the car and started it and the man came up and reached in to take the keys, evidently he knew there was something suspicious going on, and Tex flooded the car, put it in low and took off. Practically broke the man’s hand from what I could see. I just flashed, wow, that was a strange house to pick, out of all the houses – and then we drove down the road and made a couple of turns and stopped at a gas station. The purpose for stopping at the gas station was we were almost out of gas. We bought some gas and the three of us girls took turns going into the bathroom checking for blood spots and making sure we were clean. Tex did the same. But all the way out I noticed there was blood on the car and I hoped that nobody had seen it.

When we got back to the Ranch we got out of the car and went directly to the cafe which was our —

PAUL CARUSO: Hangout?

SUSAN ATKINS: — yes, the whole ranch was my hang out, our home, and I went in the kitchen and got a rag and proceeded to wipe down the whole car for blood. I didn’t know where it was but I knew if there was any it would be on the steering wheel and on the handles well, I didn’t touch anything else. Charlie came out and said what are you doing home so early? Tex and Charlie walked off and talked. We went down to the end of the boardwalk and went into what we call the bunkhouse and there was Brenda (who’s known as Nancy Pitman), and Katie and Linda and Tex and Charlie and we all sat back – I almost passed out —

RICHARD CABALLERO: What’s Linda’s last name?

SUSAN ATKINS: I don’t know Linda’s last name, she hasn’t been with us for very long.

PAUL CARUSO: Susan, do you recall where you came out on Sunset Boulevard?

SUSAN ATKINS: Well —

PAUL CARUSO: Do you know Beverly Hills very well or Hollywood or near Scandia?

SUSAN ATKINS: lt was down further.

PAUL CARUSO: You mean west, toward Beverly Hills?

SUSAN ATKINS: You know the auto store that has all the far-out cars?

PAUL CARUSO: Oh! On Sunset Boulevard near Stefanino’s. Do you know where Stefanino’s is?

SUSAN ATKINS: I think so.
(Unintelligible; too many people talking at one time)

SUSAN ATKINS: And when we got back to the Ranch, I almost passed out. I was sitting there trying to pay attention to what Charlie was saying, and I just couldn’t handle it. I laid back on the floor and I felt as though I was being killed.

PAUL CARUSO: (Unintelligible) seance. Like a seance.

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, it was. Then I went in and laid down.

PAUL CARUSO: Did Tex or Charlie tell you never to tell this story to anybody? Ever threaten you in any way?

SUSAN ATKINS: They told that if I betrayed the trust that they had in me that I would be killed.

PAUL CARUSO: Who told you that?

SUSAN ATKINS: Charlie. He told me many times that if I, especially in the last year, Sadie, you’ve been with me two years now, for a long time, he said if you ever decide to leave, I’ll take you and hang you upside down and slit your throat and use you as an example for everybody else.

RICHARD CABALLERO: So you knew you couldn’t leave.

SUSAN ATKINS: That’s right.

RICHARD CABALLERO: How did you come to the house, how did you enter? Let’s go over that very carefully.

SUSAN ATKINS: Tex went through the window, came around the front door and unlocked it and opened it and let us in the front door.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What about the gates?

SUSAN ATKINS: The gates? We didn’t go over the gates because we didn’t know, it they were electrified, whether there was an alarm system that we didn’t want to set off, so we went up alongside the embankment and climbed over the fence. In fact, I got caught on the barbed wire, it wasn’t barbed wire, but I got caught–

PAUL CARUSO: Pierced edge, rough edge.

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, pierced edge.

PAUL CARUSO: But no one was in the living room when you went into the house? Sharon and Jay Sebring were in the bedroom —

SUSAN ATKINS: And Folger was in her bedroom

PAUL CARUSO: And Frykowski —

SUSAN ATKINS: Was in the living room on the couch, laying down.

PAUL CARUSO: There was one person on the couch.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Susan, after you went back to the Ranch, after the killing in Sharon Tate’s residence, did Charlie say anything? To you or to the group – whether you were present or not – what did you hear that Charlie said or do regarding the Tate residence?

SUSAN ATKINS: Nothing. He just acted as though it never happened. Charlie is the type that he lives each second for each second and pays no mind to what happened two seconds, that’s how much now he is.

RICHARD CABALLERO: How was it that he directed you to go to the Tate residence?

SUSAN ATKINS: Through Tex.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What, was he present?

SUSAN ATKINS: He just told me to do everything Tex said to do.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did he tell you where you were going?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Now did you know that that house had originally been the one used by Mr. Melcher?

SUSAN ATKINS: Tex told me.

RICHARD CABALLERO: When?

SUSAN ATKINS: On the drive up there.

RICHARD CABALLERO: To your knowledge, had Charlie been up to that house before?

SUSAN ATKINS: Tex told me that he and Charlie had been there before – that’s why they chose the house.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did he say he had been up there with Charlie or just Charlie alone?

SUSAN ATKINS: He stated, I believe, I’m not sure, so don’t quote me, that he and Charlie had both been up there together.

PAUL CARUSO: Was it Charlie that told you to get the black clothes?

SUSAN ATKINS: Tex.

PAUL CARUSO: Who originally told you to get the black clothes for the “creepy crawlies” as you called it.

SUSAN ATKINS: Well, Charlie had pretty much control over everybody but as I said before Charlie usually, in fact, all the time, he said “you people are not my people. You belong to yourselves and you do what you want to do.”

RICHARD CABALLERO: Why was it Charlie directed you to the Melcher house, what used to be the Melcher house, and did not come along himself?

SUSAN ATKINS: That I do not know.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did he ever mention it or not?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did Tex ever mention it to you?

SUSAN ATKINS: No. I never questioned Charlie what said, I just did it.

RICHARD CABALLERO: I told you the police are pretty well convinced that Charlie was present at the Tate place.

SUSAN ATKINS: I know he was not.

RICHARD CABALLERO: You related some of the story of what happened in the Tate Case to some girls up in the jail, did you not?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: And you had a conversation. Did you use the name Charlie?

SUSAN ATKINS: I did not use any name that I recall. I know I talked about Charlie –

RICHARD CABALLERO: Well, Susan, as I told you, there is a girl in the jail that has related to the police that – substantially all that you have told me as having been a conversation that she had with you except that she says you used both names, Tex and Charlie, and you said that Charles climbed up and cut the telephone wires.

SUSAN ATKINS: Well, I may have said Charles, but I don’t remember saying Charles. I know it was Tex –

RICHARD CABALLERO: You say you may have said Charles – why is that?

SUSAN ATKINS: because I know Tex’s name is also Charles. I haven’t called Tex Charles but maybe two or three times to his face and that was only when Charlie was not there.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Okay, now we’re going to discuss what happened the next few days, going into what you and we have before called “The Beverly Hills killing” because you thought it was in Beverly Hills. You’ve come back from the Tate killing and clear through to the Beverly Hills episode.

SUSAN ATKINS: Well, I got back to the Ranch and as I said earlier, Charlie and Tex and Brenda and Katie and me were in the bunkhouse talking. And Linda was there. The reason I don’t remember Linda a lot is because she was not prominent in my mind. She wasn’t with us for more than a month. Then I went in and slept for a while and when I woke up, it just hit me, I didn’t want to. Also I wanted to go and look at the news reports because I knew it would be in the news. I went into what I call the trailer, there’s an area that’s located next to Mrs. Spahn’s house and there was this little TV in there. I turned on the news and that was the first thing that hit. I went wild and quick like ran out and got Katie and told her to come watch television with me, it was on the news. I called Linda in and I called Tex in and I called Clem in, because Clem knew about it. Charlie wasn’t awake.

RICHARD CABALLERO: You say Clem had known about it. Who was Clem.

SUSAN ATKINS: Clem is one of the men who lives at the Ranch.

RICHARD CABALLERO: When you came back from the Tate episode, was Clem there?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, in fact, he was in the bunkhouse with us.

RICHARD CABALLERO: And was Charlie there?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Was the killing discussed in front of Clem?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Okay, go ahead.

SUSAN ATKINS: We watched the newscast and it kind of, it really helped me to know that the people were as important as they were – it blew my mind and there were a few comments made, well, the soul really picked a good one this time. Just happened to have been Sharon Tate, a movie actress, and it happened to have made nationwide and worldwide news which we had no knowledge that that’s what it would do. There was a comment made that what had happened had served it’s purpose, that was to instill fear in man himself.

PAUL CARUSO: The establishment?

SUSAN ATKINS: The establishment. That’s what it was done for. To instill fear – to cause a paranoia. To also show black man how to go about taking over white man. I just put it out of my mind as best I could. I couldn’t. For two days I just had nothing but pictures of what was happening and flashes on the Hinman case. It was just so vivid I just accepted it and sat and watched the pictures in my mind. I continued to appear normal on the Ranch and did my work on the Ranch and that night we all got together and smoked some grass and sang some songs. I think I made love with Clem, I’m not sure who I made love with or if I even made love that night. And, next day, I would look at Katie and Katie would look at me and we both would know that that was the utmost thing in our minds, that we couldn’t put it out of our couldn’t minds, it was right there. And I’d look at Charlie and he’d wink at me and give me reassurance that everything was okay, was going to be alright. He didn’t have to say it – I just felt it. Tex seemed his normal self, just as happy and go-lucky as could be. But everybody on the ranch was pretty quiet. Everybody on the Ranch knew by then there had been a killing but they didn’t know who had done it. They had their suspects because most of them knew that we had gone out the night before. Went through the next day pretty normal, took care of things that had to be taken care of at the Ranch. I forget, I believe the next night, Charlie told me to get two changes of clothes, and a knife,we were going to do it again. I gave a sigh and he said do you have any remorse? I said no, knowing that all the time inside they did. And he knew it? Because he knows me inside-out – in fact, he knows what I’m doing right now.
It’s killing him as much as it is killing me. Linda and Katie, Clem and Tex and Leslie, all got in the car. We all had our things together, knives, and I think there were two guns or one gun, and we just drove around. We went over to Pacific Palisades, Pasadena, we drove around and stopped at two ‘houses, Charlie got out of the car, we drove around the block —

RICHARD CABALLERO: Who was driving?

SUSAN ATKINS: Charlie. And he was talking the whole time. I forget what he was telling us, he was just talking, to keep us so we wouldn’t be thinking about what we were doing. Stopped at one house, Charlie got out, we went around the block and Charlie came back. We picked up Charlie and he said, “Man, there were pictures of children in that house. I just couldn’t do that.” He said there may come a time when we we might have to kill some children but it would in order to save the children that are coming with us. And so I accepted that and we drove asleep around. I fell asleep. I slept. I felt tired, thoroughly exhausted. I hadn’t slept, I just couldn’t sleep. And when I woke up we were parked and I looked around and I recognized the area as being the area where I had taken an acid trip with Charlie and the girls and a few people in the house. What I considered the Beverly Hills area.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did you recognize it as such or did someone tell you that?

SUSAN ATKINS: I recognized the area because there was a house close, if you will look at the reports, it had a long fence, big high wall, the house right next to that, and the house right next to that is the house that we took the acid trip in. Charlie got out of the car —

RICHARD CABALLERO: I want to stop you there. We discussed this before. This house that made you recognize the area, did you discuss it with Charlie then?

SUSAN ATKINS: No. Not at that particular time.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Okay, fine. We’ll get to that later.

SUSAN ATKINS: Charlie got out of the car, went in the house and we all just sat there very quiet, didn’t make a sound, lit a cigarette, in fact we all lit a cigarette and sat there and smoked and didn’t say anything. Charlie came back to the car and called Tex out and Tex and Charlie went into the house. Now I dozed off and after I dozed off, I had a dream – it was so visual it was actually what was happening in the house – I could see Charlie tieing the man up and talking to him, tieing the woman up. And then he came back to the car and I woke up.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did Charlie go in with a weapon?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, with a gun. He crept into the house, that’s what he told me when he came back to the car. He instructed Katie and Leslie – I hoped he wouldn’t ask me to do it and he didn’t because he picked up on those vibrations – told Katie and to go into the house with Tex and Katie and Tex and Leslie went into the house which left Linda and Clem and me and Charlie and he instructed them to hitch-hike home when they were through. I said, “Charlie, isn’t that the house we took the acid trip in with Harold in?” and he said, “No, it’s the house next door.” I said “Oh” and that’s all that was said about it. On the way out he picked up the woman’s wallet, which had her identification and credit cards in it and we took the opposite direction from which we came and dropped the I.D. off at a gas station. Linda went into the gas station and left the waIlet in the gas station, the women’s restroom, hoping that a black woman would find it and pick it up and use the credit cards, which would direct the police to black people, instilling more fear into white people. Then we drove around, just kept driving around, ended up at the ranch, but the idea was Charlie had wanted Clem and Linda and me to go to another house and we would do two simultaneously, in one night, to instill fear into white men.

PAUL CARUSO: Charlie colored?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, he’s not.

PAUL CARUSO: But he reacts to the black people pretty much?

SUSAN ATKINS: He spent most of his life in jail. He spent about 20 years.

PAUL CARUSO: What did he get out of the LaBianca’s?

SUSAN ATKINS: Nothing that I know of.

PAUL CARUSO: Just credit cards and wallet?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, and we didn’t even use those, we just dumped those.

RICHARD CABALLERO: You went back to the Ranch then?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Some time later the people that were left in the LaBianca house, the one that you call the Beverly Hills episode, came back. At that time did they relate to you —

SUSAN ATKINS: I got Katie to tell me because Katie and I are close.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Before you got Katie to tell you, had you by this time had any conversation with Charlie regarding that house next door?

SUSAN ATKINS: Oh —

RICHARD CABALLERO: When did that come in?

SUSAN ATKINS: On the drive back, I believe he mentioned the house next door was the house where we took the acid trip. That’s all I can recall. I don’t remember what I told you yesterday.

RICHARD CABALLERO: That’s what you told me yesterday. You said that you knew the area and he said that’s the house where we had taken an acid trip, including yourself, that you hadn’t recalled exactly, but indicated you had been there. Is that correct?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, sound about right.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did Charlie say anything as to why he picked the house next to the one where you had had the acid trip? Was there any symbolism there or any reason?

SUSAN ATKINS: Not that I know of.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Let me refresh your mind. You gave me an answer yesterday when I asked you why would you pick that house. And I asked you did you know any of the people around there?

SUSAN ATKINS: We knew the people next door –

RICHARD CABALLERO: Okay —

SUSAN ATKINS: — but we didn’t know if they were still living there or not. And if they were, it would probably be to instill a lot of fear in them because they just totally blanked out on us – they were people who had given us their word and then backed out on it.

RICHARD CABALLERO: So you don’t know them, just like Terry Melcher, is that correct?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: So that’t the reason Charlie picked that house, on purpose rather than just indiscriminately. Do you have an opinion now —

SUSAN ATKINS: — No, I don’t have any opinions at all.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Okay. Now tell me what Katie told you and or Tex or, who was the other girl in the house?

SUSAN ATKINS: Leslie.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Tell me what any one of the three told you and who said what, when they came back.

SUSAN ATKINS: Katie was the only one that said anything to me.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What did she say?

SUSAN ATKINS: Katie said they got into the house and they took the woman into the bedroom – Leslie and Katie took her into the bedroom – or something and tied her up and put her on the bed and put a bag or a cloth over her head and proceeded to talk to her how everything was going to be okay, she wasn’t going to be hurt, it was all going to be all right. Katie told me she knew she was talking to herself, not to the woman, just to reassure herself, that everything was okay, all perfect, was going to be good, while Tex was in ing room with the man. She said the woman heard her man, her husband being killed, and she panicked, started fighting, knocked over her lamp and fought and screamed, “What are you my husband, what are you doing to my husband,” and all time Katie was stabbing her and Leslie was trying to hold her and Katie just kept stabbing her. I forget how many times she said she stabbed her.I don’t even think she knows. Up until the time she was dead, the woman kept saying, “What are you doing to my husband?” and Katie told me that’s what the woman was going to live with, that’s the thought she’s going to carry through infinity. And I said, “Yes, you’re right there.” She said after they were through they went in and wiped off all the fingerprints, at least that’s what she said they did. Wrote helter-skelter on the refrigerator, “Death To All Pigs” or something to that effect on the door, in the corner of the living room in the people’s blood. Then went over and took showers in the people’s house, changed their clothes, went into the refrigerator and had something to eat, she saw a fork – I can’t remember whether she said it was a kitchen fork or one of those long forks —

PAUL CARUSO: — Carving fork —

SUSAN ATKINS: Carving fork. She said she just saw it and she flashed who, that will scare somebody and she picked the fork up and went over and left the fork in the man’s stomach. She said she reached over at it, took it, hit it and just sat and watched; she watched it wobble and said she was fascinated by it. She said Tex had carved “Pig” in the man’s chest.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did she say that she actually saw “Pig” or did she say that she saw some writing on the man’s chest?

SUSAN ATKINS: She said “pig”, I believe.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Could it have been another three letter word?

SUSAN ATKINS: It could have been.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Does the word “war” —

SUSAN ATKINS: — yes —

RICHARD CABALLERO: — have any significance to you?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, it does.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Tell me what it has for you?

SUSAN ATKINS: That’s what Katie said.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Why did you say “pig” a few minutes ago?

SUSAN ATKINS: Because “pig” is instilled in my mind from what I wrote on Sharon’s door.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Suppose I had just made up the word “war”, would that change your mind?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Why wouldn’t it?

SUSAN ATKINS: Because Katie, when Katie told me I flashed and said wow, pretty far out.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Why? Tell me what you thought about it.

SUSAN ATKINS: Why I thought it was pretty far out?

RICHARD CABALLERO: Yes, if it really was “war”.

SUSAN ATKINS: The thought behind it, I don’t think I really had a thought behind it at that particular time, but I believe, I logically believed I thought Katie said the word “pig” but now that you say the word “war” was carved in the man’s —

RICHARD CABALLERO: I didn’t say that. I said if it had

SUSAN ATKINS: Well, if it had. That’s what was written on the man’s chest.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Now, if I tell you I don’t know what the word was, what would you say? What word would you say was on his chest?

SUSAN ATKINS: War. And then she said they just —

RICHARD CABALLERO: — Did she tell you why she wrote “war”?

SUSAN ATKINS: She didn’t do it.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Oh, did she tell you why Tex did it?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

PAUL CARUSO: Tex did it on the chest, then.

SUSAN ATKINS: At least when we do things together, we never ask each other why. We just accept it if that’s what you’ve done.

RICHARD CABALLERO: I appreciate that. Now let me ask you do you remember what you were told?

SUSAN ATKINS: I believe and I feel and I can see her sitting and talking to her saying “Tex carved the word ‘war'” on his chest.

PAUL CARUSO: With what?

SUSAN ATKINS: She didn’t say with what.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did you, in the conversation as you recollect it, do you know if it was — do you have a picture of a spreading of blood or of a carving into the body? What? Something just written on him, scratched into him or carved into him – that’s what I want to know.

SUSAN ATKINS: She said “carved”. And she said it was almost dawn but they got out of the house and creepy-crawled —

PAUL CARUSO: In their black clothes?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, they had changed their clothes. They were wearing regular street clothes..

RICHARD CABALLERO: What did they do with their other clothes?

SUSAN ATKINS: Threw them away in somebody’s garbage can.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Near there?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, I think she said they walked quite a few blocks. They had to walk quite a few blocks, I guess about a mile.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What about the gun?

SUSAN ATKINS: Charlie took the gun. Tex didn’t go in with a gun.

RICHARD CABALLERO: So while Charlie was in there, had they killed the people yet?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Why didn’t Charlie stay?

SUSAN ATKINS: Because he was going to take Clem and Linda and me to another house.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Why didn’t you go to another house?

SUSAN ATKINS: Because we couldn’t find one.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did Charlie look for some?

SUSAN ATKINS: Mmmn, I fell asleep because I was tired. I was really tired.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Had you ever gone into the house?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, I never entered the house.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Charlie was the first one in?

SUSAN ATKINS: .Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: While Charlie was there, were the people tied up?

SUSAN ATKINS: He went in and told the man, here’s what he related to me, he said, “I’m not here to hurt you. Just be calm, it’ll be okay. Just sit down and be still.” He tied them up with pieces of leather he wore around his neck and he came and got Tex and Leslie.

RICHARD CABALLERO: With leather Charlie wore around his neck? Is that what he tied them up with?

When he told you, when he related that to you, that this is what he did, how he told the man to be quiet and I’m not going to hurt you, and tied them with leather, who was present?

SUSAN ATKINS: Tex, Leslie and Katie and Clem and myself, we were all there.

PAUL CARUSO: This was after he came out of the house?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, and he told Tex, he said, “Now, the last time you blew it. You panicked the people. He said “don’t panic the people, let them think it’s going to be okay so they’ll at least go in peace.”

RICHARD CABALLERO: Is there anything else you know about that particular episode other than what you have just told us?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: There again was Charlie directing you and the others?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

PAUL CARUSO: When Charlie said “last time you panicked”, do you know to what he was referring?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, he had told the people – Tex had told the people “You are going to die”

PAUL CARUSO: Where was this?

SUSAN ATKINS: At the Tate house.

PAUL CARUSO: At the second, the LaBianca, he said very cooly —

SUSAN ATKINS: — very cooly and let them think it’s going to be okay, be nice to them, don’t cause them to panic, to put more fear in them than what they already have.

PAUL CARUSO: Let them live in peace to infinity?

SUSAN ATKINS: Right.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Do you recall any kind of animals at the LaBianca residence?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Was anything said?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, Katie said there was a dog there.

RICHARD CABALLERO: And what did she say about that?

SUSAN ATKINS: She said the dog was, just sat and watched the whole thing and the dog came up to them and wagged it’s tail, and she reached down and patted it on it’s head.

PAUL CARUSO: Wasn’t much of a watch dog, was it?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did you say that they had put something over the LaBiancas’ heads?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What was that?

SUSAN ATKINS: I think she said pillow cases, I’m not sure.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Who did all the writing on the walls? In the LaBianca case?

SUSAN ATKINS: Katie said Clem – Leslie did it. And I think Tex wrote because it was up high. I don’t know for sure whether Tex die it or not.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What did they take from the house?

SUSAN ATKINS: Nothing that I know of other than the woman’s wallet.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did they look for other things.

SUSAN ATKINS: Not that I know of.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Was anything other than money – all that was taken at the Tate house, if you recall?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, $73 or $74.00.

RICHARD CABALLERO: From where?

SUSAN ATKINS: Abigail Folger’s wallet.

PAUL CARUSO: How about narcotics, Susan. Were any narcotics taken or seen?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

PAUL CARUSO: Anybody see any?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, but I know they turned on just looking at the house and looking at them, they hide it from society, but I knew they did.

PAUL CARUSO: You could read them loud and clear?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

PAUL CARUSO: What does Katie look like?

SUSAN ATKINS: Katie has got – about my height, but long, beautiful, thick brown hair – I imagine it comes down to about here –

PAUL CARUSO: Down to the waist?

SUSAN ATKINS: Almost. About the middle of her back and it just covers her whole head. She’s got blue eyes, pretty blue eyes, very attractive, large ears and she says they’re big so I can keep my hair behind my ears, and she has hair, prominent, growing down around her neck, through the chest area, very hairy arms and legs, very graceful.

PAUL CARUSO: Where is she from?

SUSAN ATKINS: Los Angeles.

PAUL CARUSO: Is she? Does she have a family here?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did you find out later the name of these people as being LaBianca?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did you know or do you know of anyone of the group, of your family, did they know any of the LaBianca children. Was anything said about that?

SUSAN ATKINS: Katie said she had some children and that the children would probably be over on Sunday. Katie didn’t say that she heard this from the woman, but just from the type of people that the daughters or sons would probably be over for Sunday dinner and find their bodies and blow their minds.

PAUL CARUSO: Did you ever read in the paper about the LaBianca murder?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

PAUL CARUSO: You didn’t hear it on TV or see anything at any time?

SUSAN ATKINS: No.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Didn’t you try and listen to the news to hear about it again?

SUSAN ATKINS: I was tired of listening to the news. All I heard on the news was Tate, Tate, Tate. I just shut it off.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Now all of this followed the Hinman, is that right?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Now you must be getting hungry. We’ll make arrangements about getting something to eat and then we’ll talk about the Hinman matter, which is the one you are currently charged with in Santa Monica. Now I told you when you came in today that I heard they were going to file murder complaints against you and all of the others, that everybody is in custody. Do you know that?

SUSAN ATKINS: That’s 26 people.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Why 26 people?

SUSAN ATKINS: Because that’s how many were arrested out in the desert.

RICHARD CABALLERO: No. I’m talking about those involved, in these matters that we’ve been discussing. Everyone is in custody, including yourself. Hopefully, we will be able to prepare a defense, as you have already honestly indicated to me that you were mesmerized by this Svengali-type individual, Charlie, and we are going to have to try to put our best foot forward, to try and convince everybody, maybe even the Grand Jury, because in the final analysis, if we can convince them it will be to your benefit. That’s all we’re concerned with, is your benefit. Okay, now we’ve got to get you something to eat, including some ice cream.

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13 Responses to Susan Atkins 12/1/69 Caruso/Caballero Interview

  1. Jean Harlow says:

    Do you have a copy of the transcript discussing Gary Hinman’s murder?

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. chatsworth charlie says:

    RICHARD CABALLERO: Who did all the writing on the walls? In the LaBianca case?
    SUSAN ATKINS: Katie said Clem – Leslie did it. And I think Tex wrote because it was up high. I don’t know for sure whether Tex die it or not.

    “Katie said Clem – Leslie did it”

    Whooops…….

  3. Lee says:

    This transcript convinces me even further that NONE OF THEM should ever step foot into the free world again, including Leslie Van Houten. What they put their victims through is beyond nightmarish. I find it unreal that Charles Manson has hundreds of idiots spewing complete bullshit that he is innocent, etc. He isn’t innocent of a damn thing. Then you have Tex Watson blabbing on a daily basis that he has been forgiven by God and that people that don’t forgive have bitterness in their hearts, etc. He has even gone as far as to say that “people” meaning Mrs. Tate get sick with diseases & die if they don’t have forgiveness in their hearts. Then, back to the girls, Hairy Krenwinkel has ultra feminists making documentaries about her, suggesting that she has served enough time, etc. The list of repulsion goes on & on. These people have made a success of their lives behind bars, but do not deserve to ever step foot outside of a prison, unless it’s in a pine box or ash urn. Make no mistake about it. There is a damn good chance that these people murdered more than they got caught for. I am of the school of thought that they were responsible for Karl Stubbs murder in Olancha. You see, they had ties to Olancha and back then, you didn’t have a lot of giggling, young girls being involved in brutal murders. It was rare and that is exactly what Karl Stubbs said happened before he died. There were giggling girls and a guy there. A witness also saw some young people. Hippies weren’t in the habit back then of murder, but the Manson Family was. This transcript is sickening. Susan Atkins laughed while talking to these lawyers about Sharon Tate going through “changes” when she witnessed Jay being shot. How cruel is that?

  4. johnnyseattle says:

    ‘….That’s all we’re concerned with, is your benefit. Okay, now we’ve got to get you something to eat, including some ice cream.’

    Sounds like that was a specific inducement -the ice cream- as the attorney was quick to add that there would be ice cream along with a meal. That and getting out of jail for a few hours.

    It is so surreal that given the high profile nature of these murders and her role in it that her attorneys were able to work out a situation to get her out of jail for even a few hours. Perhaps there was security.
    What if the family had learned -and give her big mouth that isn’t hard to imagine- that she was going to be at her attorney’s office. Can you imagine the publicity if she had been freed by them? Or murdered by them?

  5. Fred Bloggs says:

    Fascinating interview.
    The more I read the actual words of the killers on the wider TLB saga {included in this would be Crowe, Hinman & Shea}, the clearer things become. It’s important looking at these specifically 1969 interviews because they occur before the manipulation and false testimonies and changed stories and retrospective reinventions began to take place.
    Firstly, it’s clear that Helter skelter was uppermost in the minds of Susan, Pat {because she wrote it}, Leslie and Tex. They all come to it in slightly different ways but it’s there in their words or actions. Which means it was in Charles Manson’s mind too.
    Secondly, it’s really interesting that Susan speaks of the hope that a Black person would find Rosemary LaBianca’s wallet and use the credit cards. And her talk of putting fear into the white man of the black man. Not a bean about Bobby Beausoleil being freed from jail. Nothing about a copycat crime. By this stage, having already given up the names, were it truly a copycat there’d be nothing to lose in saying so. Bobby was already going down. Also of note, she says nothing about Linda ever being in the Tate house. In fact, because Linda hadn’t turned state’s evidence at this point {she wasn’t even in custody}, Susan is almost dismissive of her presence saying “The reason I don’t remember Linda a lot is because she was not prominent in my mind. She wasn’t with us for more than a month” which is rather different to the stand that she was taking not long before she died. Also emerging here is the hint of multiple motives because she speaks of or alludes to getting money, sending a message to Terry Melcher {although how he was supposed to decipher the message is anyone’s guess}, scaring the establishment and helping the Black man “to take over.”
    Thirdly, it’s interesting that this early on, she’s adamant that she never killed anyone or wanted to. It’s bizarrely consistent with the last thing she ever ever said in “The myth of helter skelter” {itself a confusing irony, now} and in one of her last parole hearings about not having been directly responsible for anyone’s death. If you check it out, She says her reasons for bragging about killing Sharon Tate were self protection in jail and then later, in the penalty phase of the trial, to ensure Charlie didn’t get the death penalty.
    Fourthly, this is a significant interview because it represents the first time that the law enforcement agencies actually had any idea of exactly who had done what and who was involved in which crimes.
    I was thinking that she rather conveniently leaves out what happened after Charlie dropped her, Linda & Clem off after the LaBianca team was despatched but thinking about it again, the three of them didn’t actually commit any offense.
    It was also interesting that she says Charlie threatened to kill her if she snitched. Interesting because she says that later, he threatened her regarding her son and interesting because she told anyway.
    Also of note was her perceived closeness with Pat Krenwinkel. They weren’t ever close again after this !
    There’s so much of consequence here but already, we can see Charles Manson as being the leader of ‘the family’ but in that ambiguous, nebulous, amorphous way that has characterized much of his subsequent telling of events, saying things like “you people are not my people. You belong to yourselves and you do what you want to do” while making it clear what they were to do.

  6. edog says:

    Please post the tape recording audio if you’ve got the files. Thank you for the lengthy transcript.

  7. Gena says:

    When I read the book by Ginny Good (Sandra’s sister) boyfriend, I emailed him with questions and comments. He lived up in SF in 67 and said he remembered seeing Charles at some parties, he said he sat in a corner usually alone playing his guitar. He said he wasn’t exactly charismatic at that time.

  8. maudes harold says:

    Thanks for sharing this Cielo.

    Charlie’s techniques can be seen in Susan’s comments.

    These early dated interviews are fascinating and invaluable.

  9. andy says:

    very interesting, thanks for posting this.

  10. Black Heart says:

    I just recently ran across this post. Thanks Cielo.

    Rather clear from this interview that CM called the shots.

    Susan was an arrogant snot and manipulator. In the beginning of the interview the lawyer complimented her on her attractiveness and by the end of the Q&A they were buying her ice cream.

    Arrogance and simple laziness ran through all these girls with the exception of perhaps Snake who was a mere child, and it seems a sweet one at that, according to Tex. The last girl picked up by Charlie, Schram, was a know-it-all, better than thou, judgmental skank. Brunner was dumb as a Copeville fence post.

    In this interview, Susan showed no concern for what she had done and described the events as if they were everyday inconsequential occurrences. Scary to think that had she not blabbed they might have gotten away with the TLB murders. Bug essentially had two fingerprints of individuals who could claim they were at Tate’s house on other occasions. Tex could back that up.

    Makes you think about how many other murders the gang did where Susan wasn’t around to see and blab about. In other discussions, Susan talked some about their bus trip back east but gave it short shrift and didn’t elaborate too much. She never gave details about the route and towns they visited. I’ve wondered how many runaways and hitchhikers they picked up, robbed, raped, and killed along the way. Since they needed money, how many robberies did they commit on that trip? How many creepy crawls?

    In this interview Susan didn’t say anything to clear up the conflict between the Tate crime scene evidence and the perpetrator’s accounts of what happened. Sharon’s and Jay’s blood outside has been discussed endlessly over the years and it’s still a mystery how it got there. I like to think Sharon was outside going for Jays loaded gun in his car. Would that fate had allowed her to reach it!!!

    None of these criminals have admitted stabbing Sharon in the back some eight or nine times. Tex said he stabbed Sharon in her chest, killing her. Who did the back work?

    Susan in the above interview didn’t mention their raid on Nadir’s apartment. I think Linda made this up to show herself different from the rest and the Bug bought it. I don’t know if Clem ever mentioned this either, tho he might have.

    Evidence, including her own words suggests Linda was in the Tate house more than once during the murders. Because she was the state’s witness, she could blackmail the other participants as to what really went on and shut them up about her part. Linda of course, at trial, had to minimize her involvement. If Linda told what the murderers did to Sharon and how they hung her up and tortured the poor terrified screaming woman, this would mean that Susan et al would never get out of CIW. This allowed Linda to shut them up about what she did. Remember, it was years before Linda admitted going through deceased Steven’s wallet looking for money. What a ghoul.

    I think it likely that Linda is the one who put the blood, Type O, on the gate button, not Tex. In this interview, Susan said that Tex used his elbow to push the button, which could leave blood of course. In her first book Susan said they went back over the fence and not through the open gate. If that is factual, then we have left only Linda with blood on her hands.

    To me Helter Skelter is not incompatible with the copycat motive.

  11. Stephen Craig says:

    In terms of how/who stabbed Tate in the back, I read/heard an interview with either Atkins that before the killers left the resident, Tex went around to each of the bodies, and essentially, stabbed each of them some more just to make sure that they were all dead. Atkins went on to explain that she knew this because she had seem him going from body to body, and that in the case of Tate, Atkins noticed that Tate seemed more “cut up than before”. If you recall, Atkins had said that Tate originally had been stabbed a few times in the chest area and then collapsed onto the floor. It is after this, and before they exited, that Tate, and the others, were treated to another round of attacks by Watson,

  12. Fred Bloggs says:

    Stephen Craig says:

    In terms of how/who stabbed Tate in the back, I read/heard an interview with Atkins that before the killers left the residence, Tex went around to each of the bodies, and essentially, stabbed each of them some more just to make sure that they were all dead. Atkins went on to explain that she knew this because she had seem him going from body to body, and that in the case of Tate, Atkins noticed that Tate seemed more “cut up than before”

    Atkins relates this to the Grand jury. Check out the Grand jury testimony under the Susan Atkins heading.

  13. Badhabit30 says:

    Im a sick fuck! Since i learned of this crime back in 2008 it hasnt stoped to fascinate me.

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