Suspect Hunted in Tate Murders Quizzed, Freed
Tuesday, August 19th, 1969
Aug. 19 – A man described in an all-points bulletin in Canada as a prime suspect in the Sharon Tate murder walked into Los Angeles police headquarters Monday, was questioned and then released.
Thomas Michael Harrigan, 27, was freed after almost two hours of questioning.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had put out a broadcast asking for the arrest of Harrigan and three other men in connection with the murder of Miss Tate and four other persons early Aug. 9. The RCMP said it was acting on authority of the LAPD.
But LAPD interest in the quartet faded quickly after Harrigan and his attorney, Paul Caruso, talked to homicide detectives Monday.
Harrigan said he had an alibi for the night of the murders, and the other three — all friends or acquaintances — were out of the state that night.
Harrigan said he was a friend of Voityck Frokowsky, who was killed with Miss Tate, hair stylist Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Steven Parent.
He said the other three men named in the RCMP broadcast — Harris Pickens Dawson, William Doyle and Charles Tacot — were also friends of Frokowsky.
Tacot and Doyle are at Ochos Rios, Jamaica, and Dawson “is working in upper New York State as a truck driver,” Harrigan said.
After talking to Harrigan, police said they were no longer seeking Tacot, Doyle and Dawson, although they would question them if they became available.
Harrigan said he had been at the Tate home Thursday, Aug. 7 — the day before the party that ended in the multiple murder. He said it was the first time he had met Miss Tate. Present were the actress, Frokowsky and Sebring, he said. He wasn’t invited to the Friday party, he said.
The RCMP had described Harrigan as “wanted for murder” and termed the four “narcotics-hippie” types.
The broadcast said “warrants are available” in Los Angeles.
But no charges were filed against Harrigan, and he was not booked. “I don’t use narcotics,” he told newsmen.
“Call him an old-fashioned beer-drinking Irishman,” said Caruso.
Harrigan said he didn’t know he was wanted until he heard a television broadcast saying he and his friends were being sought in the Tate case.
He told police, and, later, newsmen, that he had been at a party at the home of Eddie Roberts in Manhattan Beach on Aug. 8. He stayed until about 1 a.m. Aug. 9, he said. Roberts, 26, went to the police station to verify Harrigan’s story.
The murders are believed to have occurred at about midnight in Benedict Canyon, 20 miles from Roberts’ house.
Newsmen asked Harrigan if he thought the nickname of Dawson — “Pick” — might have had something to do with police seeking him. Written on the door of the Tate home in blood was a word police said was “pig”. Could it have been written as “Pic,” by one of the victims?
“I never heard that before,” said Harrigan.
Harrigan, a Canadian, attended St. Patrick’s College in Ottawa. He is a personnel consultant. He has been in the Los Angeles area since January, and said he met Frokowsky through friends.
Frokowsky, a Polish emigre, was a close friend of Roman Polanski, Miss Tate’s husband. Said Harrigan of Frokowsky: “He was a beautiful human being.”
At the Tate-Polanski home in Benedict Canyon the word on the door was still visible. To a newsman at the scene it looked more like “Pig” than “Pic.”
By DIAL TORGERSON