Star Witness in Manson Family Trials Dies in Tacoma
It was called the end of an era. It shook America to it's core. Those of a certain age that remember the chill that crept across the country in the aftermath of the Tate-Labianca murders still think 'Boogeyman' when the name Charles Manson is uttered.
Manson and his followers lived a commune lifestyle on Spahn Ranch in the 1960s. The ranch was an old movie set that the 'family' decided to make their own. It was there that Manson created a world that would culminate in 'Helter Skelter' and convinced his followers action needed to be taken.
The Tate Murders
Sharon Tate, who attended Chief Joseph Junior High (now Middle) school and Columbia (now Richland0 High School in Eastern Washington and was named Miss Richland in 1959, was the most high profile victim of the Manson Family. Tate had recently married director Roman Polanski and was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with their first child in August of 1969.
On the evening of August 8th Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and Wojciech Frykowski were murdered in Polanski's home at 10050 Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills. The murders were carried out by Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkle, and Susan Atkins. Linda Kasabian was on the property as the "lookout" but did not take part in the murders.
The LaBianca Murders
The following evening Manson joined Watkins, Krenwinkle, Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Clem Grogan at 3301 Waverly Drive in Los Angeles, the home of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary. Watkins, Krenwinkle and Van Houten murdered the couple with the rest, including Linda Kasabian, waiting outside. A third murder was planned but Kasabian claimed she thwarted that plan.
After the family members were arrested and tied to the murders, Linda Kasabian accepted an immunity deal to testify against Charles Manson and the members of the family that took part in both murders. Kasabian was the star witness that helped prosecutors convict Manson and other members of the 'family'. In the late 1980s Kasabian would move to Tacoma and changed her last name to Chiochios to help escape attention. In 1996 she was arrested in Tacoma, along with her daughter, for drug possession.