• Sharon Tate Murdered One Year Ago Today

Sharon Tate Murdered One Year Ago Today

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 9 – One year ago Saturday actress Sharon Tate, eight months pregnant, sunbathed by her swimming pool, talked by transatlantic telephone to her director husband in London, and thumbed through a book of names for the baby.

A year ago today, she was dead, butchered on the living room floor of her Benedict Canyon home, the bodies of three other persons scattered around the grounds.

For the past two weeks, the jury in the Sharon Tate murder trial has listened to a fragile, pigtailed blonde describe what happened at Miss Tate’s house the night of Aug. 8, 1969, and at the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the next night.

Linda Kasabian, 21, said she watched as Charles “Tex” Watson fired four shots into the head of Steven Parent, 18, and left him slumped in his auto inside the gates of the Tate residence.

Moments later, she said, she heard the screams of men and women from the house, and rushed to the door to see Polish director Voityck Frykowsky, Miss Tate’s houseguest, stagger out, his face bloody, and die on the lawn.

She said she watched Patricia “Katie” Krenwinkel chase Abigail Folger, Frykowski’s girlfriend, with an upraised knife.

“I didn’t know there were two other people in the house (Miss Tate and hairstylist Jay Sebring) and when I found out Miss Tate was pregnant, I was really upset,” she said.

Mrs. Kasabian, who admitted under cross-examination she had made no effort to alert neighbors or summon authorities, sobbed when she was shown gory pictures of the victim’s bodies, photographed by police the next day.

“Oh, God,” she gasped.

“How could you do that?” she shouted to the defendants, Charles Manson, Miss Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten.

“I can’t believe they would do such a thing,” she said of the four defendants, with whom she lived at the Spahn movie ranch for more than a month prior to the slayings.

“Are you sure you don’t mean that you couldn’t do such a thing?” asked defense lawyer Irving Kanarek.

“I know I didn’t do it. I didn’t have it in me to do such an animalistic thing,” she replied.

When Kanarek suggested she had run into the house with a knife and was unable to recall it because she was in a state of shock at the time, she shouted:

“I just know I didn’t do it, Mr. Kanarek.”

The small New Hampshire woman testified she accompanied Watson, Miss Krenwinkel and Miss Alkins to the Tate home because she was asked to do so by Manson, leader of the hippie cult.

She said she went along with Manson to the LaBianca home the next night, even after witnessing the murders the previous night, and with the knowledge there would be more killing, “because Charlie told me to.”

She said Manson tied up the LaBiancas and ordered his followers to kill them, because he was displeased that the Tate slayings “were too messy.”

The prosecution will ask the court this week to grant Mrs. Kasabian immunity from prosecution in the cases, in exchange for her eyewitness testimony.

A courtroom photo was, by Mrs. Kasabian’s account, the first time she had visualized what went on inside the Tate mansion that night of Aug. 9, 1969. She had testified that she witnessed three slayings that occurred outside the residence. But she said she was not aware until later that Miss Tate and another victim lay dead inside.

The photo showed Miss Tate, lying on a rug on her right side, clad only in a bra and bikini panties and stabbed 16 times.

The Sharon Tate in the picture that shocked Mrs. Kasabian bore no resemblance to the Sharon Tate that Hollywood knew.

The daughter of an Army officer, she lived in many places during her childhood. She was a beauty queen at age 16 and a cheerleader at an American high school in Italy when her father was stationed there. The short, trim-goated father was a regular spectator in the early phases of the trial.

Miss Tate grew into a budding movie sex symbol, blonde and shapely. She displayed her figure nude in one of her early pictures. Her career reached a peak when she played the role of Jennifer in “Valley of the Dolls” — the pathetic part of a blonde movie goddess who took her own life rather than face breast surgery for cancer.

The young actress married Polish movie director Roman Polanski, who was in London at the time of her slaying. Perhaps because of her nomadic upbringing, Sharon traveled the world with her husband, so-called master of the movie macabre — his best known picture was “Rosemary’s Baby.” Around them gathered an international set of so called “beautiful people.” Three of the latter were among the four visitors who died with her a year ago.

Described as insecure, often lonely, Miss Tate referred to herself at times as “sexy little me.”

Her death came a year ago as she was said to be pleading with her slayers to “let me have my baby.”

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One Response to Sharon Tate Murdered One Year Ago Today

  1. Silentseason says:

    I am left wondering what would have happened had either Debbie Tate or Winifred Chapman or both had stayed the night on 8-8-69. Manson was supposedly reluctant to kill children and an African-American being murdered wouldn’t have worked with his insane “Helter Skelter” prophecies. I suspect since Watson was in charge of the events on this particular night that there would have been additional killings.

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