• Boy, 11, Found Tate Murder Gun, Had Hard Time Convincing Police

Boy, 11, Found Tate Murder Gun, Had Hard Time Convincing Police


Steven Weiss, age 11, said he found the revolver on a hill behind his home in Sherman Oaks on September 1, 1969

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 4 – A 11-year-old boy found the gun allegedly used in the mass killings in the home of actress Sharon Tate less than a month after the slaying but had a hard time convincing police to look at it, the youth testified in Los Angeles today.

Steven Weiss told a packed Los Angeles Superior Court that he found the 22-caliber revolver on a hill behind his home in Sherman Oaks on September 1, 1969.

“I brought it to my dad by picking it up by the tip of the barrel because I wanted to preserve the fingerprints,” the sandy haired sixth grader testified. “I was careful not to touch the rest of the gun.”

The police officer called to the home by the boy’s father wasn’t as careful, the youth said and “touched it with both hands all over the gun.” The officer, the boy said, then emptied the gun of two live cartridges and seven shell casings, fingering them all.

It was three and a half months later that the boy again called Van Nuys police to remind them that the gun, which had been the most sought-after weapon in the country since the Aug. 9, 1969 massacre murders at the Tate home, was poosibly in their property room. “We told him they had this gun and we thought it might be connected with the murder,” the boy testified.

It was only at this point that police’ matched the gun with bullets found in the victims and at the scene of the Tate murders. The gun apparently was thrown over an embankment into the boy’s yard about a mile and a half from where clothing allegedly used in the murders was found.

Thursday, two fingerprints of the slain actress were identified as belonging to two of the “Manson family” members charged with her murder. However, 25 other fingerprints were found at the home by police experts who admit they have been “unable to match them with known persons.”

Similarly, fingerprint experts testified at the trial of Charles Manson and three of his girl disciples that there were six unidentified fingerprints found at the home of murdered market owner Leno LaBianca.

The mystery fingerprints — and the lack of any fingerprints in obvious places throughout both the Tate and LaBianca homes — seemed to offset dramatic prosecution testimony that one fingerprint was found of Patricia Krenwinkel, one of the female defendants, and one fingerprint of Charles “Tex” Watson, who is charged with the Tate-LaBianca murders but is fighting extradition in Texas.

Both were lifted by police investigation from the actress’ Benedict Canyon home.

Miss Krenwinkel’s left little finger was found imprinted on an inside back door of the pregnant actress’ bedroom, Officer Jerrome Boen testified. It was found midway on a French door, which leads from Miss Tate’s bedroom to the pool area of the exclusive home, he said.

Watson’s print — his right ring finger — was found near the edge of a front door six to eight inches above the doorknob, Boen said.

Four fingerprint experts took the witness stand Thursday to build the prosecution’s case against Manson, Miss Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Susan Atkins.

Final expert to testify — Officer Harold J. Dolan of the police department’s scientific investigation division — said although 10 points of identity were necessary to match fingerprints, he found 18 in Watson’s case and 17 in Miss Krenwinkel’s imprint.

“We lifted 50 latent prints from the Tate home,” Dolan said under direct examination by Deputy Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi. “Twenty-two matched with the victims’ fingerprints; three were not good enough for comparison, and 25 could not be matched with known persons.”

Dolan said the prints of Miss Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Polish playboy Voityck Frykowski were found on furniture in the home. Only one print was found of Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring — on a bottle of beer found in the master bedroom.

Under cross examination by chief defense counsel Paul Fitzgerald, Dolan’ admitted another print was found on the bottle, but police could not match it with anyone.

Two mystery fingerprints also were found near the one identified as belonging to Miss Krenwinkel on the French doors.

Also unidentified were several prints around the window frame which police believe was the “point of entry” of the murderers. A fingerprint on a telephone in the master bedroom, another on a white ashtray in the living room, some on a tape and tape case in the Iiving room, one on a rocking chair in Miss Tate’s bedroom and several on the outside of the three cars in the driveway were labeled as “not matched up with any known human being.”

At the LaBianca home, 19 of 25 fingerprints found were attributed to either Mr. or Mrs. LaBianca or Mrs. LaBianca’s son, Frank Struthers Jr. Six were unidentified.


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One Response to Boy, 11, Found Tate Murder Gun, Had Hard Time Convincing Police

  1. Bill says:

    Read some of the transcript… I will save the rest for later… article… all fascinating stuff…

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