Monday, December 3, 2018

A Look at The Evidence (Part: 7): The Truth? The Whole Truth? And Nothing But the Truth?

Other Posts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7


> On the morning of August 9, 1969, Sharon Tate (Polanski) was found lying dead on the floor of the living room at 10050 Cielo Drive. He body lay at the foot of a couch that had been draped with an American flag. She was lying with her back against the base of the couch. Her body from the waist down was lying on her left side, her left hip on the floor, her knees pulled up towards her stomach pointing at the fireplace. Her upper body was turned towards the couch so that she was almost lying on her back with her shoulders resting on the floor. Her right arm was lying on the right side of her head with her forearm resting on her forehead. Her left arm was resting on her chest. She had been stabbed sixteen times. 

[Aside: I have no intention of including crime scene photographs in this post. If you question my description, above, you can look it up on your own. Also, I apologize in advance, again, for discussing these horrible crimes and Sharon Tate’s murder in a ‘clinical’ fashion. I mean absolutely no disrespect.]

While I was researching a previous post, something struck me about the position of Sharon Tate’s body when considered in light of the physical evidence: something is clearly missing from the official narrative. 

The Official Narrative


So, what is the official narrative? Frankly, I don’t know for sure. I think the commonly accepted scenario goes like this: 

While Charles Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel pursued WojciechFrykowski and Abigail Golger out onto the front lawn of Cielo Draive, Sharon Tate remained in the living room and made no attempt the escape. In another, slightly different version offered by Ed Sanders, in The Family(at page 215 of the 2002 version) Sharon did make an effort to escape but was brought back to the living room couch where she was ultimately murdered. 

When this terrible event occurred, the eyewitnesses usually tell us that Atkins held Sharon Tate’s arms while Watson stabbed her in the chest. Then the murderers left. Only Atkins acknowledges returning to Sharon Tate’s body when she reentered the house to write ‘something witchy’ on the door. 

There are only two people who acknowledge they were eyewitnesses to Sharon Tate’s murder: Atkins and Watson. I say ‘acknowledge’ because both Atkins and Watson place Krenwinkel at the scene at the time of her death. To my knowledge, Krenwinkel has never admitted she was present. At her 1993 parole hearing she claimed she reentered the house only as Atkins and Watson were leaving. At her most recent parole hearing she claimed she was hiding near the guest house at the time and never reentered the house.
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“INMATE KRENWINKEL: I just couldn't continue on [entering the guest house]. So I stopped. I just went in the back and I wait until everything quieted down and I went out when it was all quiet and I left with Tex and Susan.
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I personally believe she was there and I think the parole board does as well, which is part of the reason why we will not be hearing from her again until 2022. 

Here is what the eyewitnesses said about that event. 

Atkins 
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SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, his whole outfit was mod. It looked like an Indian, East Indian outfit.
Then Tex told me, Sharon Tate wanted to sit down, so I took her over and sat her down on the couch. She said all I want to do is have my baby and I knew I had to say something to her before she got hysterical and while I was talking to her I knew everything I was saying to myself, I wasn’t talking to her. “Woman, I have no mercy for you” and that was myself to only me. When the Folger girl started to go outside, Tex and Katie went outside and I just stayed there with Sharon. I’m not sure whether Katie went outside or not. Then Tex came back in and said “Kill her” “Katie said to kill her”. I reached to grab ahold of her arms, I didn’t want to kill her, so I grabbed ahold of her arms and said, “Tex, I can’t kill her, I’ve got her arms, You do it.” And Katie couldn’t kill her. So Tex stabbed her in the heart and he told us to get out. We, Katie and I, went running outside looking for Linda because we didn’t see her and yelling for her but we didn’t want to yell too loud. When Tex came out I said Tex do you have my knife?, and he said no. I said Katie do you have my knife and she said no. So I said Linda must have it, I think I gave it to her. And he said, Sadie, go back and write something on the door. I didn’t want to go back into that house.
PAUL CARUSO: I don’t blame you.


SUSAN ATKINS: I didn’t want to go back into that house but something made me go back in the house and I got the towel that I had tied the man’s hands with and I went over to Sharon Tate and I flashed, Wow, there’s a living being in there – I want it but I couldn’t bring myself to cut her open and take the baby. I knew it was living, I knew it wouldn’t live.

[Discussion about Atkins’ knife]
.
SUSAN ATKINS: And I reached down and turned my head away and touched her chest to get some blood and proceeded to go to the door and the only thing I remember being instructed to write on the door was “Pig” so I proceeded to take my hand and write “Pig” with the towel and threw the towel back and ran outside.

(Transcript of Taped Interview of Susan Atkins at the offices of Paul Caruso, December 1, 1969. Cielodrive.com)
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A (Atkins): Yes, and then I saw Tex go back outside and then he came back inside and at that time Katie and I were standing by Sharon and she was out of her mind.

*****
Q (Bugliosi): Did Tex do anything to Sharon Tate at that point? 
A: Tex told me to kill her. 
Q: To kill Sharon? 
A: Yes, and I couldn't. I just -- in order to make a diversion so that Tex couldn't see that I couldn't kill her I grabbed her hand and held her arms and then I saw Tex stab her in the heart area around the chest. 
Q: You saw Tex stab Sharon in the heart area? 
A: Yes. 
Q: With a knife?
A: Yes. 
Q: What is the next thing that happened? 
A: Then I saw Sharon fall to the floor off the couch and we went, all three of us, went out the front door. 

(Cielodrive.com. Susan Atkins Grand Jury Testimony (Kindle Locations 612-636). Kindle Edition.)
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Folger, Tex, and Pat all ran out onto the lawn after Frykowski, and it was there that the bodies of Miss Folger and her lover, Frykowski, ended up, unbelievably battered and punctured.

*****
Suddenly, I was alone in the house with Miss Tate and Sebring’s body. The bedlam had turned to silence. It was so quiet that I could hear the gurgle of Sebring’s blood. Miss Tate had fallen on the couch and continued to weep. 
 I turned to her. “Shut up, you bitch. You’re going to die.” 
Immediately Tex was back in the room. “Kill her,” he said. 
I grabbed her and held the knife to her. But that’s as far as I could go. “I can’t, Tex.” 
“Kill her!” he yelled. 
“I can’t.” 
He snarled, “Get out of the way, then.” He plunged the knife into her.”

(Atkins, Susan. Child of Satan, Child of God (p. 142). Menelorelin Dorenay’s Publishing. Kindle Edition.)
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“I went over to the woman that was pregnant, and she--God—she asked me for mercy, and she begged for mercy and I told her I didn’t have any, and that she was going to die. And then Tex came back in and said, “Kill her.”

And I said, “I can’t”.

And so, he did, and we left.” 

(Susan Atkins, 1978 Parole Hearing, Cielo drive.com)
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Atkins also confessed to the murder to Virginia Graham and Ronni Howard while in jail due to the Gary Hinman murder, although on each occasion time she told a different story. 

Virginia Graham
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Q (Bugliosi): What else did Sadie say that she did?
A (Graham): She said that she was holding Sharon Tate’s arms behind her, and that Sharon Tate looked at her and said she was crying and she said to her, ‘Please, please don’t kill me, I don’t want to die. I just want to have my baby.’

She said, “And I looked Sharon straight in the eye and I said to her, ‘Look, bitch, you might as well face it right now, you’re going to die, and I don’t feel a thing behind it’ and in a few minutes she was dead.”

Q: Did Susan Atkins say whether she in fact killed Sharon Tate?
A: Yes, she did.
Q: What did she say?
A: She said “I killed her”. 

(Virginia Graham testimony, Tate-LaBianca Trial, Cielodrive.com)
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Ronni Howard
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A: When the people were brought out of the room, and after everything happened in regards to the--- Sadie told me that Sharon could not believe, what was happening. She said she bad a look on her face that was--she just couldn't believe. it.

And she just begged, she said "Please, just let me have my baby”. And Sadie said “I have no feelings for you, bitch, you’re going to die” and proceeded to stab her.

And I asked her where did you stab her, in the stomach?  And Sadie said, “No, I stabbed her in the Chest."

*****
Q: Did Sadie say anything about how it felt to stab a person?
A: Yes.  She said it feels like going into air, like into nothing. 

She said, "When you stab a person its better than having a climax.”

She said, “Actually, it’s a form of sexual release anyway to stab a person because the whole world is one big intercourse anyway, whether it’s smoking, eating or anything that goes in and out, so it’s a form of sexual release.”

And I asked her, I said, “You mean it’s like a drug habit?”

She said, “That’s right, the more you do it the better you like it.”

Q: Did Sadie say whether or not Sharon screamed?
A: Yes.
Q: What did she say?
A: She told me, she said when she [Sharon Tate] screamed it kind of did something to her and sent some kind of rush through her, whenever she screamed she said she would stab her. She told me, she said, ‘I just kept stabbing her until she stopped screaming.’

(Testimony of Ronni Howard at the Tate/Labianca Trial, Cielodrive.com)
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Watson

The first time Watson discussed that night during his trial Watson denied stabbing Sharon or even being in the house when she died. He subsequently adopted a version of Atkins’ tale. 
_____

Q: What happened then?
A: And I was -- I remember I was kind of running or jumping back and forth behind the couch and making funny noises and Sadie said, "Watch out" or something like that and I turned around and I emptied the gun on this man.
Q: You say emptied the gun on this man?
A: Yes.
Q: How many times did you shoot him, if you know?
A: I don't know. I just shot, you know. I don't know how many times I shot him.
Q: Did you do anything else?
A: Then I went around the couch and started stabbing him.
Q: This is the same man that you shot?
A: Yes. Patricia was already over there stabbing him and I went over and I did the same thing.
Q: How long did that take or last?
A: Until Sadie hollered at me and she was fighting and stabbing a man going out the door.
Q: What did you do about that, if anything?
A: I remember Sadie hollering, "Tex, Tex," a bunch of times and I ran over and started hitting him with the gun.
Q: After you hit him, did you do anything else?
A: I hit him for a while and then there was a little lapse of time, I believe, and then Sadie was still stabbing him on the ground and I walked over and stabbed him some more.
Q: While he was on the ground?
A: Uh-huh.
Q: He is now outside of the house; is that correct?
A: That is correct.
Q: On the lawn?
A: On the lawn.
Q: Did anything else happen?
A: Then Katie came running over and grabbed me by the arm and said something like, "There's one over here," or something. I don't know what she said but she said, "come over here," and we ran over and there was just a woman lying there that had blood all over her and stabbed her.
Q: Did these people, or these people that you stabbed, or the objects that you stabbed, have any form?
A: They had form but I really didn't see any faces, you know, or expressions or -- they were just blobs of, you know --
Q: Did you have a rope with you that evening?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did you carry a rope up the hill or into the house?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did you tie any people up in that house?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did you throw a rope over a rafter or anything of that nature?
A: No, I did not.
Q: I think you told us now you shot and stabbed somebody in the house; is that correct? 
A: That is correct.
Q: And then you stabbed some people outside of the house; is that correct?
A: That is correct.
Q: Do you remember where the couch was in the house?
A: The couch was kind of in the middle of the room longways, up and down, up and down the room.
Q: Where were the two people that you stabbed in the house in relation to the couch?
A: Well, I only stabbed one person.
Q: I am sorry --the one person in the house.
A: In front of the couch, laying longways, laying --
Q: Parallel or perpendicular to the couch?
A: It was the opposite way of the couch.
Q: That would be perpendicular to the couch?
A: Perpendicular to the couch.
Q: How about the other person, do you remember if that was a man or a woman?
A: Had on blue jeans and stuff. I guess it was a man.
Q: How about the other person?
A: The other person was laying at the end of the couch up toward the room where they came out of perpendicular to the end of the couch, on down from the end of the couch.
Q: Did you touch either of those bodies after you had shot and stabbed them?
A: No.
Q: Did you move them?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did you tie anything to them or tie them together?
A: No, I did not.
Q: After you left that room and went outside, did you go back into the house again?
A: No, I did not.

(Charles Watson’s testimony, People of the State of California vs. Charles Denton Watson, Cielodrive.com)
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But then, on cross examination, he changed his story. 
_____

Q (Bugliosi); Now, just for the record, did you kill all seven of these people?
A (Watson): Yes.
Q: So, you also killed Sharon Tate, then; is that correct, the female Caucasian depicted in people's 87?
A: As far as I know, yes.

(Charles Watson’s testimony, People of the State of California vs. Charles Denton Watson, Cielodrive.com)
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Several years later, Watson adopted Atkins’ version of events. 
_____

“Finally, I stood up and went back inside with Katie. Sadie was sitting next to Sharon on the couch as the pathetic blond woman sobbed, begging us to take her with us and let her have her baby before we killed her. It was the first time I'd realized she was pregnant, and for a moment it almost seemed like a good idea. But then Katie hissed, “Kill her!” and Charlie's tape whirred, “Kill her!” inside my head and I looked at Sadie. But she just sat there holding Sharon, so I reached out and made the first cut across her cheek. Later, Prosecutor Bugliosi, because of some things Susan-Sadie bragged about in jail in one of her attempts to get attention, was convinced that it was she who killed Sharon Tate, but his suspicion was not true. It was my hand that struck out, over and over, until the cries of “Mother . . . mother . . .” stopped. Suddenly it seemed very quiet. It was over.” 

(Will You Die For Me?, by Charles Watson as told to Chaplain Ray Hoekstra, Copyright 1978, renewed Copyright 2010 by Steve Housden, pp 71)
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[Aside: Notice both Atkins and Watson also consistently blame a third party for telling them to kill Sharon Tate.  Watson blames either Krenwinkel or Manson’s ‘ghost’ and Atkins blames Krenwinkel and Watson.] 

Although there is no consistent version of the official narrative it can be summed up like this: Sharon Tate never left the living room and when she was killed, Atkins held her arms and Watson stabbed her in the heart. This narrative exists because of Watson and Atkins. The physical evidence tells us there has to be something more to the story that they are not telling (or in Atkins’ case didn’t tell before she died). 

Let’s face it, neither Atkins nor Watson has much credibility. Atkins changed some aspect of her story every time she told it and Watson initially denied being in the room at all when Sharon Tate was killed.  Watson has apparently forgotten the name Jerome ‘Shorty’ Shea and today will not discuss his ‘life crimes’ at parole hearings, probably because he can’t keep the story clear in his own head or maybe because he doesn’t want to sin again by lying. Atkins apparently forgot she did a lot more than just stab Wojciech Frykowski a couple times in the leg, she murdered him. 

We should be very suspicious of any narrative based upon the testimony or statements of these two. They lied, repeatedly. Put another way if you can’t corroborate what they say with some objective evidence, then what they say is likely, wrong. It is that simple. Remember, their story claims Atkins held Sharon Tate, Watson stabbed her in the heart and they left. 

The Physical Evidence


The autopsy report lists the wounds Sharon Tate suffered that night. There are some errors in the report, which were explained by Dr. Thomas Noguchi during his testimony at the trial. Piecing the two sources together here is a description of the sixteen wounds: 


1. Chest. This wound was 1.5” in length. 
2. Chest. 1 ¾” in length.
3. Chest. 1.5” in length.
4. Chest. 1” in length.

Each of these wounds, above, was considered by Noguchi to be a fatal wound, as we shall see, Wound #1 was all that was needed. 

5. Upper portion of the right side of the abdomen. Length: 1”
6. Back. 1” in length.
7. Back. 1” in length.
8. Back. 1” in length.
9. Back. 1” in length, potentially fatal
10. Back. 1” in length.
11. Back. 1” in length, potentially fatal
12. Back. 1” in length.
13. Back (marked, erroneously, as #5 on diagram). 1” in length.
14. Right upper arm. 1.5” in length.
15. Left upper arm. 1 ¼” in length.
16. Back of the right thigh. 1” in length.

Sharon had also suffered two incised (slashing) wounds to the back of her left forearm and two abrasions (rope burns to her left cheek and jaw line).

Was There More Than One Weapon?


The first thing you might notice about Sharon Tate’s wounds is that most of them are one inch in length and a few are larger. This may mean she was struck by more than one weapon. It also may indicate nothing at all. 

The two wound sizes do not necessarily mean two weapons inflicted the wounds because a blade can make a wound with a larger length then the width of the blade depending on a number of factors including the angle. The opposite, however, is not possible with a deeply penetrating wound: a larger weapon cannot make a smaller wound. So, here the wounds could have all been inflicted with one weapon. 

Ronni Howard told Sergeant Patchett that everyone stabbed Sharon. This might be evidence of multiple weapons. The problem, again, is it is coming from Susan Atkins, who also told Howard she stabbed Sharon Tate and at other times says she lost her knife in the struggle with Frykowski, which happened before Sharon Tate was murdered.

So, at best all that can be said is that the physical evidence on this issue is inconclusive. 

Wounds to Her Back


Of Sharon Tate’s sixteen stab wounds nine of them were inflicted on her back or the back of her thigh. Neither eyewitness offers any explanation for these wounds or any of the wounds other than the first four listed above.  If you accept what Watson and Atkins say as accurate then only wounds 1-4 ever happened and sometimes it is only Wound #1. After those, they all left the scene.

If we believe the official narrative the wounds to Sharon Tate’s back don’t exist. More importantly, if we believe the official narrative they can’t exist. 

How exactly did anyone strike Sharon Tate in the back if Atkins was behind her holding her arms? If Atkins held her arms the whole time it is rather obvious that Tate’s back would be protected by Atkins’ body. If Atkins and Tate were seated and Atkins was holding Sharon to the side, her back is protected by Atkins and the back of the couch. And if Sharon was sitting on the couch then how is it at all possible she received a wound to the back of her right thigh? She can’t. 

Those nine wounds to Sharon Tate’s back mean that the official narrative is, taken in a light most favorable to Watson and Atkins, incomplete. Without giving them the benefit of the doubt, the official narrative is wrong. 

The Importance of Wound #1


It simply cannot have happened the way Watson and Atkins describe Sharon Tate’s death. And that is partly because of Wound #1. In the autopsy report Wound #1 is described as follows: 

“Location- left pericardial area penetrating 4th intercoastal space, pericardium, left ventricle of heart severing the descending branch of the left coronary artery.” [Emphasis added]

Those last nine words are the key. 

During the trial, when questioned on cross examination, Noguchi estimated that the victims could have remained physically active for about 10 to 15 minutes after receiving a potentially, fatal wound. More current research suggests that the period of time could have been even longer, up to 30 minutes. (Thoresen S.O. and Rognum T.O., Survival Time and Acting Capability After Fatal Injury by Sharp Weapons, Forensic Science International, Vol 31, 1986)
However, this opinion was offered by Noguchi in response to questioning about Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski to explain their movements. In Sharon Tate’s case Wound #1, severed her left coronary artery. This would have led to unconsciousness and death in a matter of seconds. 

“Especially vulnerable is the left anterior descending coronary artery which supplies the anterior wall of the left ventricle. Stabbing wounds which transect [sever] this small vessel may be expected to result in sudden death”. [Emphasis added]

(Vincent Di Maio,  J. M.,  Di Maio, Dominick J., Forensic Pathology, Second Edition, Boca Raton: CRC Press 2001)

In other words, Wound #1 would have killed Sharon Tate instantly. That means that any wound inflicted more than a few seconds after Wound #1 would have been inflicted after her death. They would be post mortem wounds. 

Sharon Tate had no post-mortem wounds. Post mortem wounds at the time were identified by the lack of evidence of bleeding from the wound and in the tissues around the wound. The ability to isolate wounds inflicted immediately post-mortem is difficult especially in 1969. As time passes between death and a subsequent wound, however, the task of identifying post mortem wounds, even in 1969, becomes easier. 
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Q (Bugliosi): Did it appear, doctor, that any of the stab wounds on Sharon Polanski’s body were inflicted after death?
A (Noguchi): I did not see any wound I would call as a post-mortem wound as inflicted after death.
_____

This means that every wound inflicted on Sharon Tate had to be inflicted either before Wound #1 or fairly quickly thereafter. It is difficult to explain the lack of post mortem wounds, given Wound #1, under any theory, except one: all the wounds happened at the same time and likely before Wound #1.
  
This means that someone had to stab Sharon Tate in the back before or closely following Wound #1 and that means the official narrative is wrong. 

The Defensive Wounds


Defensive wounds? Yes, that is what those incise wounds are on her left forearm. Sharon Tate, like Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski had defensive wounds. 
_____

A (Noguchi): Defense wounds are not always clearly differentiated from the ordinary type of wounds, except as stab wounds, in our opinion, that occur when the hands are involved in trying to take a knife or knife-like sharp instrument away. It often results in an incised wound on the palm or back of the forearm. 

This is a quite consistent finding in many cases which I personally have handled where there is someone trying to stab the individual and the decedent is trying to either take a sharp instrument away or trying to guard himself from further stabbing. 

Oftentimes the right-handed person shows more defensive wounds on the left hand; the left-handed person often uses the right arm or right hand to guard himself.

*****
Q (Bugliosi): Now, what do you mean by incised?
A (Noguchi): Well, this is a medical term. An incised wound can easily be referred to as a cut. Further, I would say a sharp cut rather than a cut from a dull object. 
Q: And these two incised wounds were to Sharon Tate’s left forearm?
A: Yes, sir.

(Testimony of Thomas Noguchi, Tate-LaBianca Trial, Cielodrive.com) 
_____

Noguchi does not state that Sharon Tate’s incise wounds are defensive wounds, although it is more accurate to say Bugliosi never asked. Bugliosi elicits testimony about Folger’s and Fykowski’s defensive wounds (the testimony at the top) but not the incise wounds to Sharon Tate’s left forearm, except as noted in the lower quote, above. 

It is highly probable that a modern medical examiner would have almost instantly identified these two wounds as defensive wounds. This is especially the case since the likelihood of there being defensive injuries increases with an increasing number of stab wounds. (Hunt A.C., Cowling R.J., Murder by Stabbing, Forensic Science International, Vol 52:107-112, 1991.)

I believe Bugliosi avoided this topic with Noguchi because Sharon Tate having defensive wounds would undermine the testimony of both Graham and Howard. Their testimony is extremely important to Bugliosi. The importance is not that Graham and Howard convict Atkins, they help, for sure, but Kasabian convicted all of them. 

Bugliosi wants the testimony of the jail house informants because Graham and Howard are the sources for that horrific statement by Atkins: “Look, bitch, you might as well face it right now, you’re going to die, and I don’t feel a thing behind it”. And Howard describes Atkins stabbing Tate over and over until she ‘stopped screaming’ while enjoying an orgasmic experience. Forget guilt, those statements are dynamite for the death penalty. 

If Sharon Tate has defensive wounds from trying to block her attackers that means at some point she was not held by the arms as described by Atkins and Watson. And that means their account is wrong. 

Summary of the Evidence


Three aspects of the physical evidence are utterly inconsistent with the official narrative (1.) Sharon Tate has multiple wounds to her back and the back of her right thigh (2.) she has defensive wounds and (3.) Wound #1 would have been almost instantly fatal, which means there cannot be a significant delay between Wound #1 and Wound #16.

Possible Explanations


Someone Returned


Under this theory Watson (or someone else) goes back to Tate’s body and inflicts a series of wounds after wounds 1-5. There is some evidence that supports this. Watson is described as going back around and stabbing Folger again and kicking Frykowski to ensure they were dead. He also stabbed Sebring while he was lying on the floor dying, including four times in the back. Maybe Watson went back inside at some point and inflicted these wounds on Sharon Tate. 

Atkins made this observation during her Grand Jury testimony, which might support this hypothesis. 
_____

Atkins: I didn't want to go back anywhere near the house and so I just blanked my mind and walked into the house and picked up the same towel that I had tied Frykowski up with and walked over to Sharon Tate's body and she seemed to have been cut up a lot more than when I had last seen her.

(Cielodrive.com. Susan Atkins Grand Jury Testimony (Kindle Locations 612-636). Kindle Edition.)
_____

Atkins also said this to Caballero and Caruso which may create a space for the wounds to have been inflicted. 
_____

“So Tex stabbed her in the heart and he told us to get out. We, Katie and I, went running outside looking for Linda because we didn’t see her and yelling for her but we didn’t want to yell too loud. When Tex came out I said Tex do you have my knife?, and he said no.”
______

But, how did he do it? 

The final resting position of Sharon’s body would make it extremely difficult (I would say impossible) to inflict additional wounds on her back. That part of her body is lying within inches (if that) of the couch or the floor. Watson either had to move the couch and move it back or he rolled her over 180 degrees after he stabbed her. 
Assume Sharon ended up after the initial attack lying on the floor facing in the opposite direction. Her back is facing the fireplace not the couch. If Watson came back and stabbed her after his initial assault, he could have knelt down and inflicted the wounds to her back if she was in that position. But then he would have had to roll her over towards the couch 180 degrees for no apparent reason. To make this work, given the blood stains, he also has to roll her over 180 degrees exactly where she was without changing her location (in other words ‘spin’ her in midair). She certainly wasn’t in any condition to roll completely over on her own. 

Second, according to the official narrative, after killing Sharon, Watson left the house with everyone else and only Atkins ever returned to write ‘PIG’ on the door. So maybe it was Atkins who inflicted the wounds. But according to both Atkins and Kasabian by that time Atkins didn’t have a knife. 

I was also able to find only one reference to Watson going back into the house after the first attack on Sharon Tate. Ed Sanders in The Family(at page 216, 2002 edition) claims Watson did go back inside but Sanders, as always, cites no authority for this statement. 

There is this testimony by Atkins before the Grand Jury. 
_____

Q: This is right outside the residence?
A: Yes, we walked right over to this area here. 
Q: Where it says "light" and, in parentheses, it says "blue"?
A: That is correct. 
Q: Were you looking for Linda at that point? 
A: Yes. 
Q: Did you know where Linda was? 
A: No. 
Q: Where was Tex at that point? 
A: He was walking towards Katie and me in this direction.

(Cielodrive.com. Susan Atkins Grand Jury Testimony (Kindle Locations 625-630). Kindle Edition.)
_____

This, combined with her statement to Caruso and Caballero might be a reference to Watson walking out of the house. Unfortunately, while we have access to a diagram that shows the blue light you can’t tell from the testimony the direction of Watson’s approach. 

But there is another problem with this theory. Remember Wound #1? None of Sharon Tate’s wounds were post mortem. She would have died from Wound #1 within a matter of seconds. So, if Watson returned to her it had to be very quickly after the initial attack and Atkins would have still been in the room. 

Then there is the added problem of Wound #16. When he stabbed Folger, kicked Frykowski and even stabbed Sebring it was to ensure they were dead.  Wound #16 was a stab wound to the back of Sharon’s right thigh. Why stab her there given his motivation? A ‘miss’? That is a pretty big miss to an immobilized target.

And, of course, Watson (or Atkins) returning to inflict more wounds does not explain the defensive wounds. 

Somebody Moved the Body


There is evidence that supports this theory. The detectives on the scene, who unlike us, actually saw it, believed Sharon Tate’s body had been moved.
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“It appeared to investigating officers that someone had handled the victim, as in moving her from one location to another and the blood from the stab wounds had been smeared over other parts of the body.”

(Tate First Homicide Investigation Progress Report)
_____

Greg King in Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders actually offers the bizarre theory that Manson returned to Cielo later that night with a comrade and carried Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring out onto the front porch, argued and then carried them back into the living room. Oh, that damned blood evidence and the lengths we go to explain it.

The rope being over the towel wrapped around Jay Sebring’s head and the abrasions to Tate’s cheek (rope burns) led to Noguchi’s opinion (with the able assistance of defense counsel) that Sharon had been hung.  

If Sharon Tate’s final resting place was not her initial resting place (wherever that may have been) then it is possible that all of the wounds could have been inflicted under the first theory. Watson launches his initial assault. He returns to inflict more wounds and the body is then moved as a result of the attempted hanging. 

Some of the problems here, however, remain the same as the first theory. All 16 wounds have to inflicted before or shortly after Wound #1 and moving the body doesn’t explain the defensive wounds or the wound to the back of her thigh. 

She Defended Herself or She Ran


Under this theory Sharon Tate does not sit passively waiting to be killed. She either fights back (defends herself) or, perhaps, she tries to flee. Viewed in this light Sharon Tate’s wounds are remarkable consistent with those of Frykowski and Folger. All three, show evidence of defensive wounds. All three have wounds to their back (some potentially fatal) their thigh and wounds to their chest or heart area. 

If there was a general melee with Atkins and Watson or if she was attempting to escape, Sharon Tate’s wounds are, in fact, remarkably similar to the wounds suffered by Frykowski and Folger both of whom acted in that fashion. Does that prove that she ran or defended herself? No, but it is the only scenario that explains all of the wounds. 


There is some evidence from the eyewitnesses that Sharon Tate may have defended herself. Unfortunately, it comes from the penalty phase of the trial where the testimony of the defendants is particularly unreliable. 
_____

Atkins

Atkins: And the man let go of me and he started to run, and I went to run after him, and then I looked over and Katie was calling “Help.”

She was fighting with two women. And the darkhaired [sic] woman had ahold of Katie’s hair and was pulling on it and Katie was fighting and she called for Linda, and Linda came in, and I ran to the pregnant woman because she was staring to take the rope off her neck. 

And I put my arm around her neck and I had her head in my arms, and then I saw Tex come back to the man on the floor with the rope around his neck and he was stabbing the man. 

I was still holding onto the woman.

*****

Tex came back in and he stood over and he looked at her and he said, “Kill her.” And I killed her. 

And I just stabbed her, and she fell, and I stabbed her again.

She put her arms up, and then her arms fell. 

I don’t know how many times I stabbed her. I don’t know why I stabbed her. 

*****

I just know she [Kasabian] gave me a knife during my battle with this blond-headed woman.

(Susan Atkins Testimony. Tate-LaBianca Trial, Penalty Phase. Cieoldrive.com)
_____

Krenwinkel

Krenwinkel: “And Sadie brought some other people into the room and I remember tying someone’s hands and then I remember looking up and Sadie was fighting with two other women and I ran to one and I started to fight with the woman and I had a knife in my hands and she took off running out the door.”


(Quoted in Tate Defendant Admits to Killings, Los Angeles, UPI. February 19, 1971)
_____

The problem, of course, is that any theory based upon Tate fighting back, defending herself or fleeing is wholly at odds with the pleading, emotionally overwhelmed and passive Sharon Tate that appears in the official narrative. The problem with the official narrative is that it does not come close to explaining all of the injuries to Sharon Tate. It may be accurate as far as it goes, certainly someone (likely Watson) stabbed her in the heart, but something significant is missing. 

That ‘something’ may explain a number of anomalies in the evidence: 

The purple hair ribbons found draped over the front door. (Ed Sanders. Manson Trial Pessimism. Los Angeles Free Press. November 13, 1970)

The abrasions on her neck.

The rope around Jay Sebring's neck. 

The presence of her blood on the front porch. 

It could also provide an answer to the mystery why Sharon Tate stayed in the living room. Everyone else left that room and she had three exits available (four if you count the loft). 

Maybe she didn’t just sit there and plead for the life of her baby. And even if she never reached the front porch maybe she didn’t sit there passively waiting for the end. I like to believe she didn’t. And at a minimum, the physical evidence of her injuries says…..she didn’t. 

Pax Vobiscum

Dreath




66 comments:

Doug Smith said...

Another fine post David! My mind is racing now and, I should be sleeping. Let the discussion begin!

Torque said...

Excellent contribution. It has often been said that the best evidence is forensic. Even so, although the wounds to the victims don't lie, the killers obviously do. Yes, agreed, there is something missing from the killer's collective testimony that does not add up.

My feeling is that the attack at Cielo happened extremely fast. Watson, in his book, said that from the time they entered the property, to the time they left, was about 20 minutes. This would have included everything that was said and done.

Point being that the attack was extremely frenzied, and carried out without much thought. The killers were no doubt stunned and frightened that the Cielo victims fought back and ran, as they did.

Here's a question: when Susan took (Sharon) over and sat her down", just from where was Sharon being taken? Ostensibly Sharon was being taken to the couch.

If we consider the purple ribbons at the front door, can we really say that Sharon was wearing them that night. If we look at the morgue photos, we see Sharon's hair is up, not down around her shoulders. I would not think she would have been wearing the hair ribbons with her hair up. Perhaps they were just laying outside, along with any other objects, like a lantern, chairs, a flower basket.

And, speaking of the wounds, what can be said about the "small indentation pressure mark," at the location of Sharon's tail bone? This is plainly called out in the written diagram of Sharon's body in the autopsy report. First thing that comes to my mind is that Sharon dropped or fell a considerable distance, and landed rather hard, for that mark to be made.

Perhaps most striking is the blood evidence around Sharon. In the color photos of Sharon and Jay on the living room carpet, there is a (to me) very wide area of blood around Sharon. Indeed, enough of an area to encompass the full length of her extended arms and legs. No doubt she could have struggled with the killers here in an effort to ward off their attack. Her leg wound could also easily be sustained in such an attack. Or could that have occurred on the front step?

Many questions, to be sure, but there are three people who could answer them with complete certainty. I won't name any names, but their initials are: Charles Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian.

AstroCreep said...

David- amazing post.

My issue has always been the rope- 43’ of rope over a beam that was very low. The two running ends tied to two of the victims necks, presumably standing. That equals roughly 16’ of rope. The rope around Sebring’s neck while he’s lying on the floor doesn’t account for this. I believe it’s possible that the killers intended to hang the victims post murder. Initially the rope is present and thrown over a beam to subdue the victims- as you mention, Sharon starts to remove the rope at some point after people leave the room.

In other words, if you believe the official narrative that the rope is around Sharon and Jay to keep them from running, and the rope is tight enough to choke them if they move- and the length of rope is over the beam, when Sebring falls to the floor, it chokes Sharon and Sebring can’t fully fall to the floor. The rope length is fixed and if one side goes down, the other goes up. Like a see-saw.

Robert C said...

Well from David's info my theory is Tate is running around like the others getting repeatedly stabbed until she 'goes down' whereupon at some point the fatal stab is inflicted and further stabbing is slowed or ends. Then they try to string up Tate and Sebring post-mortem to give it that 'witchy' thing but it all becomes too complicated so Tex 'calls it' and they leave before any police arrive (anticipated from the gun shots). I dunno … gee it sounds like a horrible possibility to me.

AustinAnn74 said...

I think the crime was even more gruesome & cruel than we already know. It horrifies me to even think about how petrified ST (and the others) really was. I do believe she was in such shock, she couldn't move. Remember what that skank, SA said in the interview she had with her attorney? She laughed when describing ST's facial expressions and her going through "changes" from fear. She had to sit there and watch her ex-boyfriend, who she probably still cared for deeply bleed out after being shot & stabbed to death. I have no doubt Krenwinkel and Atkins took turns stabbing ST along with Tex Watson. The torture & fear these beasts caused their victims is reason enough alone to keep them incarcerated for life. Of course, Susan is gone and CM himself, but the others are right where they belong, even if they wouldn't hurt a fly now. Look what they did for crying out loud? It's one of the worst crimes I've ever read/studied. The only one that was on the same level of horror was the toolbox killers in the 70s.

Peter said...

Nice post. Pretty gruesome. I go with the body was moved in an attempt to stage the hanging but that plan was abandoned. Where was the body in relation to the beam?

Seems that at least some of the wounds were inflicted to ensure Sharon was dead.

Tex probably attempted the hanging. They brought all that rope so it would seem that was considered an important part of the plan.

David said...

Peter,

http://cielodrive.com/10050-cielo-drive.php

The beam is almost directly above the back of the couch. The rope, however, was 'beyond' the couch, where it was over the beam.

I apologize for the gruesomeness. I worried about that when I wrote this post.

Peter said...

It's an interesting paradox. We're all interested in the people and the motives, but few if any of us are here to revel in the brutality of the crimes that they committed. But then we wouldn't find it half as interesting had they not committed those crimes in the way that they did.

AstroCreep said...

I don’t think anyone here has ever glorified the brutality of the case BUT, you can’t have one without the other. I find people here tend to be very lenient on family members (at times). And in that regard, I love when Austin Anne chimes in or others to keep it real. These were brutal acts- and as Bugs and the judge mentioned long ago- if this weren’t a case for the death penalty as punishment, then what case is?

I’ve commented many times about VF and his will to survive. He fought for his life- I just wish he’d been able to gut one of the killers during his fight.

Bugs also never had the burden to prove what the killers intended to do to the bodies after the murders but using Susan Atkins as a point of reference- they wanted to cut out their eyes and squish them on the walls- they wanted to cut off their fingers- they wanted to hang them- I believe there’s some truth in that.

I find the search for that truth far more interesting than motive because as far as I’m concerned, that ship has sailed.

Robert C said...

You really can't have a serious Manson Blog without getting into sordid detail at times.

I've (and maybe others) said this before but we had a guy (Tex) and three gals versus three guys (including Garretson) and two gals. The element of surprise and a gun made the difference.

But I've often wondered what if Sebring managed to wrestle away the gun, Fry pitched in to settle Tex's hash, and the two women grabbing kitchen knives or cleavers and making a stand against skinny Atkins and shorty Krinwinkle, all carrying the day. Even better if wimpy Garretson came out to help presuming Kasabian was off wandering around down by the car.

That is, I wonder to what extent Chuck and Tex and others thought they had a clear advantage that night going to Cielo ?

beauders said...

Bittaker and Norris are worst killers I have studied. I listened to the Lynette Ledford cassette in part once never again.

beauders said...

I think if Sebring hadn’t been murdered almost immediately he and Frykowski may have overpowered them.

Peter said...

Garretson was a six foot plus HS varsity athlete.

grimtraveller said...

Peter said...

we wouldn't find it half as interesting had they not committed those crimes in the way that they did

I'm squeamish. I'll discuss the gory details because they are there but I have to say, given the overall scope of the entire story from Charles Manson's birth right up to the latest wranglings of Leslie Van Houten's parole scenario, it would make no difference to my interest if the perps had just gone in, shot the victims once and left. If everything else played out exactly as it has done....I'd gladly forego having to hear the details of the deaths and my interest would still range as highly. I don't like to hear about the details of anyone's murder and the more brutal or bizarre {a la Nielsen, Kemper, Kurten, Haigh or Dahmer, for example}, the less I want to hear about it.
I'm reminded of back in '95 when I first read "The Garbage People" and I was completely shocked and pretty sickened by the death photos that were in it. This was pre~internet {at least in England} and actually seeing the pictures came as a huge bucket of ice water in the face. I thought it was in pretty poor taste and I ended up chucking the book away. I can still see the grey bin I threw it in.
How times change; I wouldn't do that now, but I have no fascination with how people actually were killed.

AstroCreep said...

I don’t think anyone here has ever glorified the brutality of the case BUT, you can’t have one without the other

This is more how I've approached it.

I find the search for that truth far more interesting than motive because as far as I’m concerned, that ship has sailed

I guess because "that truth" is so tied up in both the motives and what went on to happen to the perps, I find it all intriguing, not least for the questions it raises. For me it's like the Magical Mystery Tour version of "I Am The Walrus" with the addition of McCartney's bass, the horns, violins, cellos, crazy Mike Sammes singers backing vocals and the live broadcast of a Shakespeare play on the radio being fed into the mix against the Anthology version which just has the vocal, electric piano, guitar and drums without the adornment. Both have incredible panache but the MMT version goes beyond ordinary all the way through.

Robert C said...

Peter said: " Garretson was a six foot plus HS varsity athlete. "

Very hard to believe. In all pics I've seen, other people tower over him and he's slight of build. Maybe everyone else in the pics were 7 foot ? He also participated in his HS wrestling program but 'varsity athlete " … maybe it was a very small school ?

Peter said...

My mistake. I thought you were talking about Steven Parent

AstroCreep said...

A few observations and questions: SA testifies at the grand jury. She sanitizes her role in stabbing anyone- the wounds match every other statement she made to others- ‘stabbing was a release’ - ‘stabbing into pillows’ - etc etc. It’s why Sharon and others have as many wounds as they did.

Hair and fibers: the hair pulling Susan complains about: seems that VF would have hairs in his hands or at least one hand. They mention bagging the hands to preserve fibers, has there ever been mention of hair in VF hands? Not a single SA hair found on him after yanking her head like that? He’s not a small dude and he was fighting hard-

The rope: sometimes it’s around VF, other times is around AF neck and connected to Sharon over the beam, yet ends up around JS neck and connected to Sharon. The rope seems to move around a lot. Who was moving it and when?

Steve Parent: he played into Tex’s hand. It’s midnight, there are wires across the gate, dude with a knife and/or gun approaches my car from the brush, I’m gonna floor him and crash the gate. Violent criminals prey on our natural instinct to be polite- Jay Sebring tried reason for example.

The important part is to have a plan and know what you’re willing or not willing to do in a high stress situation. Rehearse that plan. Continually ask yourself “what would I do if XYZ happened right now”.

Peter said...

And never underestimate a kick to the groin.

David said...

Totally off topic. I apologize to the author of this post.

I had a chance today to speak with a psychologist who I discovered is very well versed in the history of psychotherapy. At one point I asked this question: "Would it have been normal for someone [Abigail Folger] in, say 1969, to see their psychiatrist every day of the week?"

His answer:

"Absolutely. That was the model for the psycho-analytical process then. A process developed at the University of Michigan during the 1960's, early to mid 60's. Well, five days a week...the norm was four. Every day at the same time, usually Monday through Thursday. In fact you scheduled that for two years ahead and completed it before you 'graduated to the couch' [his air quotes]. If you missed a session you still had to pay for it even if you cancelled weeks in advance and you were billed weekly, not monthly, typically. Totally normal, that is what was done. That was the psycho-analytical process. Well, part of it."

I stand corrected in earlier posts.

Dan S said...

Bittaker called that "pillow talk"- when he was on the witness stand! Some things you can't unwitness. If i heard that tape I'd have nightmares for life

grimtraveller said...

Robert C said...

The element of surprise and a gun made the difference

It's no coincidence that in each of the 'murders' {I include Lotsapoppa in that} except that of Shorty, a gun was a major leveller in rendering the victim[s] helpless and/or obedient.

David said...

Totally off topic. I apologize to the author of this post

Don't waste your dreath David. He won't listen. You can't reason with that guy !😀

David said...

Yes, Grim, Dreath is a dick. Don’t trust him.

Robert C said...

Grim … in your avatar is that you playing the cello ? And you now list teaching assistant instead of truck driver -- is that a recent change ?

AustinAnn74 said...

beauders, how did you get to listen to that horrendous tape? I don't think I ever would, even if it was on the internet. I couldn't stomach it. I watched a documentary on the toolbox killers and it disturbed me for days. I also saw Stephen Kay in it. He was the prosecutor and was brought to tears when a reporter asked him about hearing that tape. When they played it in the courtroom, several people ran out.

HellzBellz said...

It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon....
It was hot that night, but not as hot as the night before,.... Still, it remained warm enough so that many residents of the area slept with their windows open, in hopes of catching a vagrant breeze.
So then you have Sebring & Tate ...in the Bedroom having a conversation ...Folger Reading a Book...Frykowsky ,nodding out,, on the Sofa ..... Then all the sudden 4 Gunshots in your lets say ,BackYard, ....and NOBODY goes to see what the Fuck is going on Outside ? No..All just keep in Bedroom...Reading, Talking, and sleep on the couche...?
Please Bloggers.. Your humble opinion on this ???

AstroCreep said...

HellzBellz- I too have issues with this but think the caliber being .22 and the barrel oriented inside the car makes all the difference in making a long barrel pistol sound more like some distant firecrackers. The detectives did do a sound test and fired a gun of some sort, but that was in regard to Garretson and his headphones. Also, pretty sure they didn’t fire the weapon into a car.

Guns were also not as restricted then as they are now. I grew up next door to the owner of a chain of Porsche/BMW dealships- he liked to shoot crows in his backyard with a 12 gauge shotgun at all hours of the day. It never woke me up in the early morning and was a few hundred feet away from the very loud report.

When I think of the sounds of the .22 caliber Buntline Special, I mainly think of Abigail reading the book. Quiet and focused.

One last thought- vegetatation baffles noise and the whole back of the property was heavily vegetated.

Peter said...

What would you think if you were living in some swank LA enclave? What would you do? Run outside with a flashlight because you heard a couple of pops? Call the Police? No. You would go back to reading, talking.,dozing. And maybe see if you heard something else.

Peter said...

Narator voice: only then, it would be too late.

grimtraveller said...

HellzBellz said...

It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon....

It's a scene setting way to open a book of such magnitude and I wonder who said it, if anyone. My vote would be Susan Atkins in conversation to either Ronnie Howard or Virginia Graham.

So then you have Sebring & Tate ...in the Bedroom having a conversation ...Folger Reading a Book...Frykowsky, nodding out,, on the Sofa ..... Then all the sudden 4 Gunshots in your lets say ,BackYard, ....and NOBODY goes to see what the Fuck is going on Outside ? No..All just keep in Bedroom...Reading, Talking, and sleep on the couche...?
Please Bloggers.. Your humble opinion on this ???


Judging by the way the threesome got into the house and the location of the gate in relation to the bedrooms, if no one heard a sound that alarmed them, I wouldn't be surprised. Someone may well have heard a faint sound, but if one is concentrating on a good book or in the midst of a conversation or asleep, particularly in a house in which you feel safe, well, sounds may just be that, sounds. Let's face it, over a 4 hour period that night, there were a range of sounds heard in the dead of night and the Police weren't exactly inundated with worried calls.

Robert C said...

in your avatar is that you playing the cello ? And you now list teaching assistant instead of truck driver -- is that a recent change ?

When I was 12 and 13 I was learning the cello and I thought I'd escape French homework as it clashed with French on Friday mornings. But My French teacher said I'd still have to do the homework so I lost interest in the cello. Also, given that in those days there was danger from IRA terrorism in London, getting the cello on the bus was often an adventure with my huge suspect package ! A couple of decades later, I regretted being so shifty and got a cello, which I played very crudely. In the avatar, I'm playing {in rather unorthodox fashion, like I tend to do most things !} a double bass. That picture was taken a couple of weeks ago. I've not played since 2012 so I'm trying to get my hands used to the agonizing stretches again. Between 2004 and early 2012, I tried to go the samples route {I like to record as a hobby}, having sold my previous double bass when our second child was on the way. I tried so many different samples but none of them ever got close to a convincing double bass sound so in the end I thought I'd just go back to the real thing. It's a killer on my hands and neck but such is the price for authenticity, even badly played authenticity !
I started a teaching assistant course in 2015 and for part of it I had to do 50 hours in a school. I was volunteering an afternoon a week and my 50 hours were up pretty quickly but I loved it and continued and went up to 2 afternoons then after a year was offered a part time job which I accepted. I actually did the two jobs {driving and TA} side by side until August of last year. Having been loading & delivering for 20 years, I was done. I've been working part time in the school as my lone job since last year. The pay cut was swingeing but I don't care, I love the work. Whereas for 2 years I had to struggle against falling asleep in quiet periods in the classroom because I was up at 2.25am and after delivering, straight to the school, it's nice to be fresh throughout.

AstroCreep said...

Not a single SA hair found on him after yanking her head like that?

They did find hair which, once Susan blabbed, was generally assumed to be hers but it couldn't be proven in court. If it had been today with DNA technology, they would have been able to. Because Atkins recanted and pleaded 'not guilty' the hair evidence was part of trying to tie her to the scene.

grimtraveller said...

I can't recall where the hair was found. I don't think it was in Wojiciech's hands though.

David said...

I agree with AstroCreep and will add this.

My 2 cents:

Usually the 'gunshot question' comes up with the victims ran to the front door and that is where the attack occurred. Hence the unexplained Sharon Tate and maybe Jay Sebring blood on the porch. But the official narrative (Kasabian and Atkins) is fairly consistent until they enter the house.

There are some issues with how the wires were cut. Of course, there is the broken fence. It is also (IMO) highly unlikely LK ever 'saw' Parent being shot. In fact the physical evidence supports that. The others didn't.

There is a question why LK didn't see an open window.

But there is physical evidence- a slashed screen- that strongly supports the official narrative.

And the two stories- LK and SA are fairly consistent to that point.

So I don't think anyone heard the shots.

I'd also add that Abigail Folger was about as far as you could get from the shots in the house, at the back of the house. If Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring were not whispering that would have been a 'baffle'. If Frykowski was snoring that too.

David said...

Grim said: "I can't recall where the hair was found. I don't think it was in Wojiciech's hands though."

The cloths.

David said...

Grim said: "Having been loading & delivering for 20 years, I was done. I've been working part time in the school as my lone job since last year. The pay cut was swingeing but I don't care, I love the work. "

Good for you, Grim!!!! Well done, sir!

Robert C said...

Grim -- excellent -- working toward changing jobs for greater happiness is a success story.

AstroCreep said...

Grim- the hair was found on the clothing found by the news crew. It matched Susan Atkins hair- animal hair was also found and Mrs. Chapman testified it looked like it came from Sharon’s dog.

starviego said...

I don't have the source but I remember reading that Coroner Noguchi was of the opinion that the killer had gone around and re-stabbed all the victims while they were prone on the ground. That may account for the thigh wound on Sharon.

StillGrooving said...

AustinAnn74 said...
beauders, how did you get to listen to that horrendous tape? I don't think I ever would, even if it was on the internet. I couldn't stomach it. I watched a documentary on the toolbox killers and it disturbed me for days. I also saw Stephen Kay in it. He was the prosecutor and was brought to tears when a reporter asked him about hearing that tape. When they played it in the courtroom, several people ran out.


I read the transcript of the tape, and I just can't imagine listening to the agony of that poor girl. What a tragedy! In his closing remarks, Kay commented that he wished he could ask for some suffering to be inflicted upon Bittaker, that the death penalty just wasn't punishment enough. I agree. Lawrence Bittaker remains incarcerated on death row at San Quentin State Prison. All this time and that POS is still alive.

A friend of mine from HS was murdered in 1979. She went missing from a very small town in a rural part of Ohio, months before her body was found in some nearby woods. Her body was found unclothed, her hands bound behind her back. No suspects were ever identified and her murder remains unsolved. So, anytime I read of serial murderers active during that time period, I find myself researching the crimes, hoping to find a connection that may bring some closure to her murder.

Peter said...

I still don't think a couple of .22 shots into a car 100 or so feet away outside would be enough to send everyone in the house running to the front door. At most maybe a "Hey, did you just hear something?" and a few moments of sitting still and listening.

beauders said...

I actually heard the tape on youtube. There was a camera person filming the people running from the trial with the tape playing in the background. It was horrible the most horrible thing I have ever heard. I don't know how Steven Kay lived with having to hear it all the time as he prepared for the trial then during the trial. I know he needed to go to therapy to work through it after the trial. The lead detective committed suicide because of Bittaker and Norris, he had a fear that they somehow they would escape prison and get his wife and daughter. He thought if he was gone they might leave his family alone. Bittaker isn't quite so arrogant now, he's an old man and is scared to die. He said that in another interview on Youtube. To tell the truth if I could get too Bittaker with a weapon and kill him I would be willing to go to prison, that is how offended I am that this monster is still alive. If you study the Hillside Stranglers they were very similar to Bittaker and Norris the only real difference is that they started out with prostitutes. Poeple should remember that no little girl says she wants to grow up and be a prostitute. It is mental illness, addictions and/or really bad circumstances and desperation that lead people to that lifestyle.

grimtraveller said...

Pax Vobiscum said...

So, what is the official narrative? Frankly, I don’t know for sure

I've long been irritated by both the phrase and the notion of an official narrative, that is, the idea that every aspect of what happened has been told either in full or in some kind of logical, foolproof, sequential order; even without focusing on it, that is observably not the case. Even as a first time reader of HS, making sure it was suitable for my younger sister, one could see there were gaps. That's the way I take the perps' stories, as recollections with gaps which could be because they don't recall, because they didn't see {either through not looking or because they weren't at that particular scene at that particular moment when something happened}, because they are or were lying because they don't want to be associated with a particular action.
Certain things count against the 4 ~ eg, Linda's immunity and the 2009 Parent car revelation, Shorty {Tex}, "Kill her !" and the recent "I was hiding by the guesthouse" {Pat}, and Susan's innumerable changes of story.
But with all these things in mind, I do believe much of what they revealed back in the day. Between them, they do give some shape to events but it's long struck me that there's no way that any of them could provide a complete picture. For example, in his first book, Tex states, in regard to the murder of Sharon, "I reached out and made the first cut across her cheek." I remember a few years back, MHN pointing out that Sharon did not have any cuts on her cheek and a cursory glance at her autopsy confirms this, she doesn't. So, is Tex lying ? Or is he conflating ? Because Abigail had horrible stab wounds to the face.
On the other hand, Susan describes Sharon being stabbed by Tex in the "heart area around the chest" yet she had 16 wounds all over her body, so even without even being skeptical, one can see that something doesn't match up. There again, it's ambiguous ~ the way she puts it on both Dec '69 occasions, it's not specific whether it's one stab or 10. To further muddy the waters, on the two occasions that she later says she was lying, she admits to setting about Sharon with a knife and stabbing her continually. But Tex also stated that he stabbed her "over and over, until the cries of 'Mother, mother' stopped," which indicates multiple knife blows, which could be his descriptive of stabbing all over the body. Susan holding Sharon's arms might've been to prevent any more defensive movements with the arms on Sharon's part. I also think the wound that is called #1 from which she would have died almost instantly would have been one of, if not the final stab. Tex recalls in his book that after Sharon stopped calling out, "Suddenly it seemed very quiet. It was over." That could be one of those memories, the significance of which, was lost on him when he relayed it, that bears out what the evidence is indicating.
The ON is full of gaps partly because most stories are. Even calm ones. Recollections aren't studied live journalistic reports. And often, physical evidence points to possibilities rather than makes solid conclusions in terms of a narrative. I'm not a lawyer but one thing that struck me continually through reading the transcripts of the trial was the way in which the prosecution case didn't rely on any one aspect. It was a case of a whole series of things working together, physical and circumstantial evidence, testimonies of disparate parties, recanted stories, philosophy etc. It's most certainly true that one can't rely singularly on what the killers have said, but it's also true that whatever physical evidence the Police initially found needed some kind of context and for better or for worse, the killers have supplied quite a bit of that.

grimtraveller said...

Funnily enough, during the trial in some bits of his summing up, the prosecutor freely acknowledged that there were things they simply did not know how they happened or when. It obviously was not lost on him that this could only mean that he did not have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In fact, when Daye Shinn tried to reinstate the deal that had been made with Susan Atkins and Richard Caballero back in '69, one of Bugliosi's arguments was that Atkins hadn't been entirely forthcoming under the terms of the deal, such as it was. I was also interested to note that he made comment on the pools of blood that could only have belonged to Sharon or Jay and admitted he was at a loss to explain it ~ but he implied that things had gone on that he hadn't been told about {for whatever reason}. It's hard to reach any other conclusion. The same thing applied to the marks on Sharon's neck.

beauders said...

Grim if you look at one of the morgue photos of Tate it appears that she was slashed it’s certainly not as defined as Folger’ and there is a lot blood on the area but it is there.

AustinAnn74 said...

Now I remember hearing the the screams when they showed the people running out of the courtroom. I won't read the transcript either. I think the Hillside Stranglers were tame compared to the Toolbox killers. I am so glad they are scared. They should be!

Dan S said...

Nice bass! The col s gonna miss your shirt

grimtraveller said...

beauders said...

if you look at one of the morgue photos of Tate it appears that she was slashed it’s certainly not as defined as Folger’ and there is a lot blood on the area but it is there

Most of the pictures around are B&W and very grainy and not particularly clear but there is one quite large colour one that's a lot clearer and it doesn't look like a slashed cheek to me. I notice that she was found on her left side and the lividity {where the blood settles} therefore collected on the left side. She had blood in her mouth and as it was slightly open, blood would leak from it and run down the cheek and congeal. You can see similar marks on the parts of her arms where no stab wounds occured.
During the trial, Dr Noguchi is asked about the cheekbone area of Sharon's face and the only wounds that come up are two abrasions that the doc thought were caused by hanging by rope.

Pax Vobiscum said...

Ronni Howard told Sergeant Patchett that everyone stabbed Sharon. This might be evidence of multiple weapons. The problem, again, is it is coming from Susan Atkins, who also told Howard she stabbed Sharon Tate and at other times says she lost her knife in the struggle with Frykowski, which happened before Sharon Tate was murdered

If it's that 25th Nov one with Patchett and McGann, it's a bit of a higgledy piggledy merry go round of accuracy and mishearing things which become assumptions of stuff that she may not actually have been told, like Shorty being killed in the desert. She doesn't actually say that Susan told her that everyone stabbed Sharon. She said "she said that a couple of girls held Sharon's legs. I think it was Charlie held her arms, but I guess they took turns stabbing her. But then she said, now I don't know if the other guy came into the house or not but she said that a couple had to check the upstairs to see if anyone was up there. Now I don't know if that is when they found the other guy or girl or not. But there was somebody upstairs. I don't know if it was just the guy or what." She fills in with her own assumptions or possible conflations.
Like the Virginia Graham interview the next day, it's nonetheless a fascinating piece because we see in embryo and in a vague yet haphazard sort of way {rather reflecting Susan Atkins and the way she told the story} a number of elements that went on to assume a great degree of importance {one of which, was that they called themselves a family}. She does tell Patchett that Susan said Sharon's face was cut. She does mention Black people rising up and getting violent due to the murders. She also says that Susan's take on the reason no one heard the Parent shots is because when they got into the house, the stereo was playing.


grimtraveller said...

My apologies for linking to that site with the morgue shots. It's not pleasant and it makes me wince. But it has among the clearest pictures I've seen and thought on balance that it was important to the topic at hand.

CarolMR said...

Grim, the most chilling thing about the autopsy photo of Sharon is the smile on her face. At least it's chilling to me for some reason.

grimtraveller said...

Pax Vobiscum said...

Those nine wounds to Sharon Tate’s back mean that the official narrative is, taken in a light most favorable to Watson and Atkins, incomplete. Without giving them the benefit of the doubt, the official narrative is wrong.
This means that someone had to stab Sharon Tate in the back before or closely following Wound #1 and that means the official narrative is wrong


Among the truest things Atkins ever said are the words "in what sequence, I don't know."
The phrase "official narrative" is sometimes confusing because at some points it seems to mean "what the killers said" and at other times it seems to mean "what Bugliosi said" and at other times still, it seems to mean "what Linda Kasabian said." To spice up the confusion somewhat, it even carries a further meaning of "what the court records say."
I also have to reiterate that there isn't a good or less bad light that the killers could be shown in. The whole picture has always really been a combination of the physical evidence and the words of the killers. And those words have always been incomplete, even when put together. Which makes conclusions on what they haven't said inescapable.

I personally believe she was there and I think the parole board does as well, which is part of the reason why we will not be hearing from her again until 2022

I believe she was there too. But there isn't any physical evidence that puts her there absolutely. My belief that she was there is solely and totally based on what Susan said in '69 and what Tex reiterated in his book 9 years later. So Pat's presence at Sharon's murder is a good example of how something can be accepted from known liars even though there's no real evidence to support it outside of those known liars. So "We should be very suspicious of any narrative based upon the testimony or statements of these two. They lied, repeatedly. Put another way if you can’t corroborate what they say with some objective evidence, then what they say is likely, wrong. It is that simple" has a place, and a large one, but, at least to me, not exhaustively.

There is some evidence from the eyewitnesses that Sharon Tate may have defended herself. Unfortunately, it comes from the penalty phase of the trial where the testimony of the defendants is particularly unreliable

As unreliable as the penalty phase testimony of the women is, as much as it is full of lies, bullshit and a lot more besides, it's not all to be dumped. There's actually quite a bit in there that I buy. There are descriptions of their lives, circumstances explaining how they fell into certain situations, various feelings they held at different points and even things that may have happened during the murders that aren't to be immediately dismissed even though the purpose was to put the hat on Linda and absolve Charlie. Susan said that the aim was to mix truth with lies and I think they succeeded in that insofar as it's nuanced. So I would no longer rule out Sharon having tried to defend herself. Even with the story Susan tells, there's a modicum of that {added to the defensive wounds on her arms}. Even if she was scared, in shock or frozen and just trying to keep the sofa between them, there's that.

Dan S said...

Nice bass! The col's gonna miss your shirt

I'd send it to him but I chucked it in 2010 or whenever it was, just after I took the picture.

grimtraveller said...

CarolMR said...

the most chilling thing about the autopsy photo of Sharon is the smile on her face. At least it's chilling to me for some reason

It isn't pleasant. She's the only one with a "smile."
But smiles are strange things that can actually mean a variety of things. When babies are just born and they're asleep and they smile, midwives tell us it's them having wind even though many parent want it to be that baby is happy and contented. Some people smile while they're crying. A wry smile often accompanies frustration and some people in pain look like they're smiling.

Torque said...

Excellent contribution. It has often been said that the best evidence is forensic. Even so, although the wounds to the victims don't lie, the killers obviously do. Yes, agreed, there is something missing from the killer's collective testimony that does not add up.

Here's a question: when Susan "took Sharon over and sat her down," just from where was Sharon being taken? Ostensibly Sharon was being taken to the couch

When one looks at the crime shots, we usually see the front room from one particular angle but in this picture {it's the colour one 4 rows down with Hurkos the mystic in the blue shirt}, we get an interesting view of the living room in proximity to the window, the hall and the front door.

David said...

Grim said: "The phrase "official narrative" is sometimes confusing because at some points it seems to mean "what the killers said" and at other times it seems to mean "what Bugliosi said" and at other times still, it seems to mean "what Linda Kasabian said." "

No, Grim, I'm sorry, the official narrative here is very simple and not confusing at all (I'm a little surprised you dispute it). It says: Sharon Tate sat paralyzed with fear on the couch. Later, Susan Atkins, after saying some horrific things to her, held her arms and Tex stabbed her once or several times in the chest. She fell to the floor and they left.

Whatever nuances you wish to add to that (brought back to the couch etc.), that is what the official narrative is and likely anyone on this blog would describe her death that way.

And that official narrative is wrong.

Instead, as someone mentioned above (sorry, can't remember who), it is highly probable that there was far more chaos, a more general 'combat' perhaps triggered by the shooting of Sebring. And the available physical evidence says Sharon was part of that general melee. And frankly that scenario better explains the events and especially Watson's actions.

Whether Sharon ran to the front door and was attacked first, there or never did, we don't know. Whether she and Abigail fought with Atkins or Krenwinkel we don't know. How the wounds were inflicted on her back and the back of her thigh or how she received defensive wounds we also don't know. And we likely never will know.

But the physical evidence says this:

Her blood is on the front porch. I would add 'is conclusively'.

She has wounds to her back and the back of her thigh.

She has a defensive wound.

Wound #1 would have killed her instantly.

Within moments every other wound would be identifiable as post mortem. They were not.

That evidence conclusively establishes that the narrative, above, the official narrative, did not happen and, in fact, it could not happen.

David said...

Grim said: "we get an interesting view of the living room in proximity to the window, the hall and the front door."

That angle is towards the bedroom hall, not the front door.

Robert C said...

David said: " Instead, as someone mentioned above (sorry, can't remember who), it is highly probable that there was far more chaos, a more general 'combat' perhaps triggered by the shooting of Sebring. And the available physical evidence says Sharon was part of that general melee. "

T'was me ... I think … [ Well from David's info my theory is Tate is running around like the others getting repeatedly stabbed until she 'goes down' whereupon at some point the fatal stab is inflicted and further stabbing is slowed or ends. Then they try to string up Tate and Sebring post-mortem to give it that 'witchy' thing but it all becomes too complicated so Tex 'calls it' and they leave before any police arrive (anticipated from the gun shots).]

Certainly could explain stab wounds all over, like with Fry, plus her (and Sebring's) blood out front leaving only the question of sequence and who was really there doing what. Right now there are still two and possibly three alive who could answer that. I think it's time for some truth serum injections for them.

But I have a feeling Tate at some point made a sprint for the door, got outside on the walkway near that door before being caught, stabbed a lot in the back and thigh, and dragged back inside whereupon she runs out of energy and begins her plea with Atkins. On the couch or sitting on the floor in front of it, she eventually gets the fatal chest stab(s).

I can even envision Sebring pulling or dragging Tate out the front door to make a run for it while Tex (and maybe Atkins) is dealing with Fry outside and Krinwinkle, Folger. Then Tex notices, diverts his attention and intercepts Sebring & Tate with Atkins coming out of the house (or with Tex) up behind them on the front porch/walkway. After some stabbing action by both they get them back into the house where Tex simply shoots Sebring at this time, then returns back outside to Fry, gets called over by Krinwinkle to finish off Folger, while Atkins is having her conversation with Tate in custody. Eventually PK and Tex reconvene in the house where Tate is eventually snuffed, then they all try to do something witchy with the rope but it's too complicated for their addled brains so they make a run. I don't know where Kasabian would fit into any of this if she were actually there rather than floating around down by the car. Does all that make sense ? I dunno …

Overall I think it was unscripted panic and chaos all around rather than orderly elimination of the house denizens. I recall upon being briefed Charlie didn't like the way it went down which sets up the next butchery session with the LaBianca's, this time with Charlie leading the way.

beauders said...

The Hillside Stranglers tortured their victims, to me that is the similarity between the two pair of murderers.

Torque said...

Robert,
Yes, even though wounded by the bullet in his chest, Jay may have had the strength to pull Sharon out the front door, hoping to get away while Susan and Tex wrestled with Voytek. Jay, already wounded, could easily have deposited blood on the front porch, and perhaps Sharon would have received her first wound there--possibly the leg wound.

As David has indicated, the blood evidence on the front porch is compelling. It begs to be explained. The great limitation to that explanation, to me, is that none of the killers have discussed Jay or Sharon being on that porch. The blood evidence suggests they were there. That said, I think what is needed is a sketch--or computer-aided depiction--of the possible choreography of the movement of Jay and Sharon to the porch, and then back into the living room where they were found the next morning.

This same kind of analysis was produced for the possible movements of Steve Parent's car, as it backed into the fence. I think that diagram can be found here on the blog, although I don't recall the exact post. David, I believe that was your work?

One thing that Susan said about Sharon always interested me. Namely, that Sharon was the last to die because she had to watch the others die first. If Sharon was in the living room the entire time, is it very likely that she could have seen what was going on outside? That's doubtful. Perhaps Susan was merely referring to the possibility that Sharon would have known what was happening to the others, but not necessarily seeing them being killed.

Robert C said...

Sebring was stabbed seven times (along with Sharon) at least in part if not all (seemingly) on the porch. That's enough to leave blood traces on the porch. Pushed back into the house and seeing Sharon also injured Jay may have gone on the offensive with Tex who then shot him and then kicked in his face.

Tex was purported to have informed most or all the victims up front they were going to die. Part of his initial speech about being the devil there to do the devil's work. It's the likely catalyst to get the victims moving, all of them including Sebring & Tate. This was something Charlie felt was a big mistake.

grimtraveller said...

David said...

the official narrative here is very simple and not confusing at all (I'm a little surprised you dispute it)

I wasn't actually referring to the official narrative here, I was speaking generally.

That angle is towards the bedroom hall, not the front door

Thanks.

AustinAnn74 said...

I don't think Sharon & Jay were out on the front porch at all. I think the police & other personnel trampled over the crime scene and contaminated the whole area. Remember the first officers on the scene? They walked in the house, stepped all over the place, then went outside by way of the front door. One of them also ruined a bloody print on the gate button. CSI they were not! Just an opinion....I said it already and I'll say it again, I think the crime was much, much more gruesome than the perps explained it. I think the victims suffered a lot more than what they've explained. Susan Atkins saying she put her hand up to stab, then an invisible force magically held it there, so she couldn't stab is f*cking ridiculous. I don't know who was more bloodthirsty out of the girls, her or Pat. Tex is a seperate entity all on his own. We're talking about the participation of the women. How come the next night, Tex made sure everyone's hands got dirty, including Leslie Van Houten's? You think he'd have to coherse Sadie Mae Glutz into stabbing someone? She loved blood! I think Pat & her both participated in stabbing poor Sharon. Rereading excerpts from the crime scene & autopsy reports convinces or should convince every, single reader that life in prison is the only justifiable punishment for these monsters.

grimtraveller said...

AustinAnn74 said...

Remember the first officers on the scene? They walked in the house, stepped all over the place, then went outside by way of the front door. One of them also ruined a bloody print on the gate button

Hadn't Mrs Chapman already used the gate button to get out in her panic ?

David said...

Grim said: "Hadn't Mrs Chapman already used the gate button to get out in her panic ?"

Yup. I also don't think 'tracking' can explain the blood on the front porch. Further had it been 'mixed' it would no test as a type.

Robert C said...

It's my understanding that there was ** a lot ** of blood out on the porch. Even in the late 60's I don't think the police would be ignorant of clod-hopping around in the blood on the scene and then tracking it all over the place. I don't recall blood tracks everywhere anyway which you'd expect with tracking, just blood pools ?

AstroCreep said...

If we’re talking blood inconsistencies, I’ve always had issue with the gun (and grips) testing positive only for Sebring’s type- given it was used to club VF 13 times on the head, where’s his blood? I attribute this to a few possibilities- the gun grips were kicked about when the first officers were securing the scene (possibly stepped on by boots/shoes with JS blood on it)- Tex may have had Sebring’s blood on his hands when Tex interacted with the gun etc.

There are pictures of the front porch blood evidence. To be honest, it looks like only one pool of any volume (about a liter) and jives with what Linda says about VF falling into the bushes. The other blood stains aren’t of significant volume and look like they came from clothing or hands smearing around, not pooling from a large wound. Head wounds bleed profusely and the blood on the porch would be about right (timing wise) to be VF’s gunshot wound and head wounds to be pumping- he’s fighting for his life and his heart is racing. Later on the lawn, he bleeds very little. His pants are soaked from when he’s more upright.

Bleeding slows over time and is unlike what you see in the movies. Many gunshot wounds bleed more internally than externally. Sebring seems to have very little blood where he’s ultimately found on the carpet while Sharon is a different story. I believe she was stabbed and died right there at the couch, based on the amount of blood found where she’s lying.

Type of blood being found in multiple locations tells one story, but volume of blood found tells another.

CarolMR said...

It seems as if Cielo didn't have any air conditioning. In that heat? Was that common in that area for 1969?

grimtraveller said...

AustinAnn74 said...

I don't think Sharon & Jay were out on the front porch at all. I think the police & other personnel trampled over the crime scene and contaminated the whole area. Remember the first officers on the scene? They walked in the house, stepped all over the place, then went outside by way of the front door....CSI they were not!

I initially wondered about that but I don't see how that blood could have made it to where it did by the time the cops were arriving. It would have been so much closer to dry and therefore really difficult to move.

I think the crime was much, much more gruesome than the perps explained it. I think the victims suffered a lot more than what they've explained

Well, the perps didn't ever really go into meticulous detail, did they ? "When he didn't do what Tex said, Tex shot him"/ "He stabbed her in the chest area"/ "I stabbed over and over"/ "He stabbed her in her middle area" etc, etc. Whenever someone was asked how many times a person was stabbed, one doesn't get answers that added up to 102 on the Cielo night. The answers were pretty general.
When Bugliosi spoke about the crimes being the most savage and nightmarish in the annals of American crime, he had in mind the results of the crimes which included stuff he hadn't initially been aware of like Sharon being hung, which, among other things had told him that he did not have the full explanation of everything that happened that night.
Even the explanations of how the victims suffered were always kind of nonchalant. For example, Susan's description of Abigail being stabbed doesn't emphasize Abigail's pain. But when I stopped and really thought about her grabbing her side and falling, I thought of how much that must have hurt. Then x that by 28 in other very sensitive places, even if death followed relatively speedily. I'm not saying the perps' descriptions should have emphasized these things, just that they didn't. The morgue photos and autopsy findings tell their own kind of story.
Ironically, if Sharon died the way it is posited in the post, I find that less gruesome {in the sense that it's preferable to go down fighting} than the way it has generally been described.

AustinAnn74 said...

Do you (y'all) think Susan told an accurate account of what happened to Ronnie Howard & Virgina Graham? If so, why would she leave out something as big as Sharon & Jay being out on the front porch? As for Sharon being hung, the rope was around her neck and Tex pulled it to make them stand on their toes. That's choking, isn't it? That's an attept to hang someone, yes? That's why she had rope burns on her neck. Also, Zharon was cut on the face, wasn't she?

grimtraveller said...

AustinAnn74 said...

Do you (y'all) think Susan told an accurate account of what happened to Ronnie Howard & Virgina Graham?

I don't know. The reasons she gave for telling the story to them, I can see that, in part. But it's Susan Atkins. She also told Nancy Jordan {according to Nancy, not Susan} that she was involved in Sharon's murder, indeed, that she killed Sharon. She actually told her this {according to Nancy, who was her friend and had been invited to Spahn by Randy Starr where she took part in an orgy} before she'd told Ronnie or Virginia. She stated in Robert's book "Death To Pigs" that after Susan had told her all this stuff {including that it was weighing heavily on her head}, that she ended up in the infirmary "because she has a lot of female trouble." It was when she returned to the dorm that she was moved next to Ronnie and Nancy sort of describes their burgeoning friendship. The reason I added "but it's Susan Atkins" after understanding her reasons for telling Ronnie and Virginia is that Nancy was an old acquaintance, she didn't need to try to impress her, she didn't try to big up herself, on the contrary, she acted vulnerably and lastly, Nancy wasn't supposedly trying to sexually hit on her, which she included as part of the reasoning behind saying what she said to the duo. Yet she told Nancy who wasn't hitting on her, who was friend, whom she wasn't trying to impress the same thing she told the other two.

If so, why would she leave out something as big as Sharon & Jay being out on the front porch?

Why would she leave out them being hung ?
Although Susan was the first to provide an actual explanation of what actually went on in the house, from the start there were gaps in her tale. There were gaps in her tale of the night the LaBiancas were killed and there gaps in her tale of the death of Gary Hinman. And in each case, big gaps. There are a number of reasons for these, ranging from the credible to the hugely suspicious.

As for Sharon being hung, the rope was around her neck and Tex pulled it to make them stand on their toes. That's choking, isn't it? That's an attempt to hang someone, yes?

No. An attempt to hang someone ensures their body is suspended in the air so they can't tiptoe or stand or clamber onto a surface and they can't breathe, hence, they die. If they're already dead, they're simply and limply suspended.

That's why she had rope burns on her neck

Possibly, but that also might not actually burn the neck. The doc made the point that the abrasions were caused by what amounted to the serious tightness of the rope. Which would happen in a suspension.

Also, Sharon was cut on the face, wasn't she?

No.

David said...

Austin Ann,

One of the key pieces regarding the possibility of an attempt to hang Sharon is the fact Noguchi testified the abrasions happened during the agonal stage. That means well after the pulling the rope claim by Atkins et al.

The forensics from Sharon's wounds actually says that is not possible and supports your idea. If wound #1 is instant death, which it is, then the 'atonal' stage is a milli second. Unless other potentially fatal wounds happened before wound #1. Then you have 10-30 minutes.

Could Noguchi have determined that timing, generally, in other words, if she had survived for a few moments?

My answer: A qualified 'yes'. He didn't mention hanging in the autopsy report. He did at trial based upon a second review of the photos. That's not the best forensics. Not even close.

He is really basing his opinion on the nature of the abrasions. There, Grim is absolutely correct they are consistent with suspension, not the killer's narrative and a coroner today would likely draw that conclusion.

[Aside: all this 'science' was very new back then and defense counsel had a very hard time dealing with it, which is evident in this trial with the 'no questions' of Granado.]

The big problem with Noguchi's opinion is how he could determine the timing from photos, a year after the autopsy.

He can't.

Pre-mortem-agonal-post mortem back then was a pretty hands on/eye test/ microscope evaluation. One he didn't make.

And, of course, his statement is utterly inconsistent with the fact wound #1 killed her instantly.

What a tangled web.