Gory Overkill at Tate Home Told by Coroner
Monday, August 24th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 24 – Coffee heiress Abigail Folger was stabbed 28 times and Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring died of 7 stab wounds and a gunshot as they both attempted to fend off blows from their killers, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury was told today.
Los Angeles County Coroner Thomas T. Noguchi, testifying in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial, said the San Francisco socialite drowned in her own blood.
Sebring, a former fiance of actress Sharon Tate, bled to death, the coroner said, adding, however, that three of his seven stab wounds and the bullet which penetrated his lungs each would have been fatal.
Miss Folger also was “overkilled,” according to the Japan-born pathologist, in that 5 of her 28 stab wounds were fatal.
Both victims, the doctor testified, had wounds which indicated they were attempting to ward off the knife blows.
In clipped tones, and using a life-size diagram of the bodies, Dr. Noguchi pointed out that four of Miss Folger’s stab wounds were in her face, one in the ear, and five in the area of her neck. One of the neck wounds, he said, caused massive hemorrhage into her windpipe. Three of her six chest wounds, he said, were fatal,one penetrating the aorta, the large blood vessel leading to her heart. He said a stomach wound also was fatal.
Sebring, the doctor said, had been beaten about the face, apparently with a fist, before being stabbed in the chest and back. Three of the chest wounds were fatal, he said, as was the bullet which penetrated his left lung. A portion of the bullet was found in Sebring’s shirt.
Noguchi said the gun was not fired close to the body. No powder burns were found.
The four defendants — hippie leader Charles Manson and his three girl disciples,
Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — sat quietly during the grisly testimony. They did not chat with one another as has been their custom during the 2 1/2-month-old trial.
Meanwhile, earlier today, Judge Charles Older denied a motion by Manson that sheriff’s officers stop harassing him, in County Jail. Judge Older claimed “there was nothing unusual about what is being done” to Manson.
“There have been no special procedures set up for him and I see no evidence of harassment. I find the procedures used by the sheriff to be reasonable,” Judge Older said.
By MARY NEISWENDER