• Tate’s Hanging Told In Court First Time

Tate’s Hanging Told In Court First Time

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 22 – The county coroner said Friday in Los Angeles that although actress Sharon Tate was stabbed to death a year ago, indications were that she also had been hanged.

Dr. Thomas T. Noguchi, who performed the autopsy on the 26-year-old actress, said Miss Tate had rope burns on her neck and the left side of her face.

“In my opinion,” Dr. Noguchi testified at the trial of alleged murder mastermind Charles Manson and three female followers, “the decedent was hanged.”

Miss Tate, wife of Polish film-maker Roman Polanski, was eight months pregnant with a son when she was stabbed 16 times, Noguchi said.

He testified, however, that the unborn child showed no stab wounds and died 15 to 20 minutes after his mother. Of the 16 stab wounds, Noguchi added, five in the chest and upper abdomen were fatal. These penetrated Miss Tate’s heart, lungs and liver, the coroner added.

The possible hanging of Miss Tate was mentioned during examination of Noguchi by court prosecutor Vincent T. Bugliosi.

It was not further detailed, as Bugliosi stopped his line of questioning when the defense objected on grounds of improper foundation.

A nylon rope, about ¾ of an inch in diameter, was found tied around the necks of Miss Tate and another victim, men’s hairstylist Jay Sebring, when their bodies were discovered in the actress’ Benedict Canyon estate on Aug. 9, 1969.

The rope, which, joined Miss Tate and Sebring, was tossed over a beam in the living room of the home, where the bodies were discovered.

Noguchi said he ordered the rope cut in two pieces before bodies were removed and taken to the morgue in downtown Los Angeles. Each piece, however, was left attached to the victims.

Also killed at Miss Tate’s home were coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Polish playboy Voityck Frykowsky and Steven Parent of El Monte, an 18-year-old visitor at the caretaker’s cottage. Parent apparently did not know the actress or the others.

Manson, 35, and co-defendants Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, both 22, are accused of the Tate murders, along with the slayings a day later of market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.

The fourth co-defendant, 20-year-old Leslie Van Houten, is accused of the LaBianca murders only, although she, along with the others, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Noguchi used a near lifesized diagram with the front and back outlines of a human form to illustrate the exact locations of the stab wounds on Miss Tate’s body.

Although the black and white drawing did not indicate the sex of the victim, the diagram was labeled “Sharon Tate Polanski.”

The seven-man, five-woman jury sat impassively as Noguchi described each of the 16 stab wounds in detail. He also said Miss Tate had been cut twice on the left forearm, but those were not stab wounds, only slashes.

The coroner said the fatal wounds were:

— Three near the left breast which penetrated the heart and the lungs.

— One on the upper left chest which penetrated the lungs.

— One in the upper right abdomen which penetrated the liver.

Noguchi also began his testimony on the 20-year-old Miss Folger, but only got as far as saying she died of “a stab wound of the aorta,” the large blood vessel leading from the heart.

It was expected he would testify on the number of times Miss Folger was stabbed when
he resumed the witness stand on Monday.

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