San Jose Mercury News
December 5, 1969, p. 17
Details Of Los Angeles Murders
By DIAL TORGERSON
The Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES From many sources, this is the first detailed account of the Tate and La Bianca murders:
Steven Parent was the first to die at the home of Sharon Tate. He was shot to death as he was trying to leave the estate as a band of black-clad murderers were coming in.
The other four died more slowly, some of them pleading to be spared, under the shots, blows and stabs of persons alleged to be members of a wandering hippie band.
The next day, fearing they had "lost their nerve," the band struck again, claiming two more victims, Leno and Rosemary La Bianca.
It all began at least six months before the August murders.
Witnesses indicate the murders were ordered by Charles Manson, 35.
A professional criminal since the early 1950s, he had become the leader of a car-stealing commune of wanderers who called him "God," "Jesus," or, sometimes, "Satan." Many of his followers were women who satisfied his sexual fantasies. His domination over the band was termed "hypnotic."
Manson hoped to become a musician. Terry Mescher, 27, son of Doris Day and a television producer with good show business connections, had refused to help further Manson's career.
As revenge for Melcher's rejection, Manson told his followers to kill "the pigs" at the home. By then Melcher had moved out of the $200,000 residence. Director Roman Polanski and his wife, Miss Tate, moved in in February. Manson didn't know who lived in the home.
But he had been there with Melcher. He knew it was a secluded spot. Manson is believed to have sent his terror squad to the house on Aug. 8.
Charles D. (Tex) Watson apparently climbed a telephone pole and cut the telephone and a power line leading into the home and the out-buildings.
One of the band of four pressed a button. The gate swung open. Linda Kasabian, 19, Watson, Susan Denise Atkins, 21, and Patricia Krenwinkel, 21, waited outside.
There were six people inside.
Miss Tate was in her bedroom. Abigail Folger, 26, who had been staying there, was in another bedroom. Her boy friend, Wojciech (Voityck) Frykowsky, 37, was lying on a living room couch. Somewhere in the house was Jay Sebring, 35, a Hollywood men's hair stylist.
Just leaving was the Parent youth, an 18-year-old friend of the caretaker, William E. Garretson, 19, who was in a guest house at the far end of the sprawling estate.
Parent was getting into his father's Rambler sedan to leave when the party, dressed in black, walked in.
Before Parent could get the car started, a man, apparently Watson, thrust the pistol in the window and fired repeatedly. Parent died behind the wheel.
Then the killer crept into the house through a window. There had been a small party earlier, but all was quiet. Frykowsky was asleep. The man in black went to the front door and opened it to admit the girls.
The girls awakened Frykowsky and tied him up. He cried:
"What do you want, money? I'll give you money!"
The other house guests ran in. Sebring, a karate student, came into the living room, and was shot, then stabbed. He died beside the living room couch.
Miss Folger ran in. She was stabbed, but not killed. Miss Tate either came in or was dragged in from the bedroom.
Frykowsky broke loose from his badly knotted bonds and ran toward the door. He was clubbed in the face with the pistol. He kept running. Watson shot him in the back. He fell on the lawn near the front door.
Miss Folger tried to run. She headed toward the south end of the property, possibly remembering that Garretson and five dogs, one of them a big Weimaraner, were there.
The man caught her on the lawn and stabbed her. She fell, the victim of repeated blows, beneath a tree on the grass. It was there that she was found dead the next morning.
Then it was Miss Tate's turn. She was 8 1/2 months pregnant.
Other members of Manson's family had spoken of how they loved children, and everywhere the band moved, children were part of the entourage. Miss Tate pleaded with the black-clad trio:
"Please let me have my baby!"
She was stabbed, time and again. But the blows were directed toward her upper torso. The stomach wasn't touched. It was found out later that a perfectly formed baby boy died with her.
Although Miss Atkins, 21, later said that she and one of the other girls did some of the stabbing, most of it was believed to be the work of the man and that the girls held the victims.
Garretson said he heard the dogs barking, and neighbors later told of hearing the dogs, screams, and what could have been shots. Garretson stayed in his room and didn't leave it. None of the neighbors called the police.
The killing was all over by 12:30 that Saturday morning. There were some final touches:
The killers wiped their hands on a towel. One of the women used the bloody towel to write the word "pig" on the front door. The towel was placed over Sebring's head, like a hood. A nylon cord looped around Miss Tate's and Sebring's necks was thrown over a rafter in the open beam ceiling.
The three women and the man returned to the Chatsworth movie ranch where Manson led a group charged with stealing Volkswagens and turning them into dune buggies for resale. The intruders took with them $73 from the victims. There was more there that they hadn't bothered to take. Robbery was not their motive.
At the ranch they reported: "We got five piggies."
The next day there was some talk among the group as to whether they had lost their nerve.
Manson had apparently once been at a party in the area where wealthy grocery chain owner Leno La Bianca lived with his wife, Rosemary.
At random the La Bianca home was picked as the scene of the next killing. The Manson band hated affluent people. The La Bianca home, a $50,000 residence at the top of a hill, had an expensive car and a trailered speedboat parked in front.
The La Biancas, who were caught by surprise where they were found he in the living room, she in a bedroom were tied up. Two men and a woman member of the group left, and a man and two women launched another orgy of murder.
La Bianca's head was covered with a white hood. He was stabbed to death, his chest was pierced with a meat-carving fork, and the words "war" and the letters XXX were cut into his flesh.
Mrs. La Bianca was stabbed so repeatedly her back was almost cut to shreds.
After the killing, the trio calmly took showers at the home and then helped themselves to food from the refrigerator. When they left there was a message there, too, written in blood on the refrigerator.
It said: "Death to pigs."
Law enforcement agencies said these two murder cases may have accounted for only a part of the hippie commune's toll.
A musician slain last July is believed to have been a victim of the gang.
Authorities are also investigation the possibility they killed several others:
A member of the commune known as "Shorty" who was believed to have been hacked to death at the hippie gang as a lesson to members to follow Manson's orders.
A narcotics pusher.
And a member of a rival motorcycle gang.
But, officials said, no death list of prospective victims was found. Manson, they said, was a man who acted by whim.