Monday, February 27, 2017

Miss Scarlet in the Living Room with the Knife

At the outset I apologize in advance to anyone who takes offense at the clinical discussion, below, of the wounds inflicted on the victims at Cielo Drive. Dreath

The official narrative tells us that three knives were carried by the murderers to Cielo Drive. Bugliosi
tried both before the Grand Jury and during the trial to increase this number to four by having Watson carry his own knife. He did this due to the defensive knife wound to Steven Parent. His chief witness, Linda Kasabian, never supported his effort. Susan Atkins, before the Grand Jury, was hesitant to confirm Bugliosi's theory. So we are left with three knives.

Two of these knives are described by Kasabian and Atkins. We know there was a folding "Buck" knife that had a 3/4 inch diameter blade. There is a knife described as having tape on the handle. Based upon the autopsy reports this knife probably had a one inch blade. The third knife is never fully identified by either witness but, again, based upon the autopsy reports and testimony of Thomas Naguchi probably had a one or more likely a one and one half inch blade.

We also know that when the killers got out of the car and walked back to the gate of Cielo Drive the knives were in the possession of Krenwinkel, Atkins and Kasabian. After that, the evidence regarding possession of the knives is not as clear because somewhere between climbing the fence and the front door of the house Watson came into possession of a knife. This knife was used to attack Steven Parent, used to slash the screen on the entry window and used to stab every victim in the house.

We are also told that Atkins lost her knife at some point during her struggle with Voytek Frykowski and that knife, according to the official narrative, landed, blade-up, in a chair in the living room.

We know two knives were thrown out the window of the car on the way back to Spahn Ranch. These would have logically been 'the taped knife' and the third knife. I will call the third knife 'the other one'.

So we have three knives:

The Taped Knife

The One Left Behind and.....

The Other One

The Taped Knife

We know that one knife used at Cielo Drive had tape on the handle. According to Kasabian this is the knife she obtained from Larry Jones before leaving Spahn Ranch that night.

Q. Was one of the 3 knives, the one that Larry Jones gave you?

A: Yes.

Q. Was there anything unusual about the knife?

MR.KANAREK: Calling for a conclusion, conjecture, your Honor. Immaterial.

THE COURT: Overruled.

A. It had tape wrapped around the hilt, the top of the knife.

We also are led to believe that this is also the knife wielded by Krenwinkel during the murders.

Q. You can answer this yes or no, Linda. Did Katie say that --- I am talking about Patricia Krenwinkel now --- did she say why her hand hurt?

A. Yes.

MR.KANAREK: I object.

Q. What did she say in regards to that?

MR.KANAREK: I object on the grounds of conclusion, hearsay, and no materiality.

THE COURT: Overruled.

A. She said when she stabbed that there were bones in the way and she couldn't get the knife through all the way, and that it took too much energy or whatever, I don't know her exact words, but it hurt her hand.

Q. Did she say anything about the grip of the knife?

A. That is why her hand hurt.

We are left with the impression from these two moments in the testimony that this knife was transferred from Kasabian to Krenwinkel when Krenwinkel left the house and walked over to Parent's car to borrow the knife from Kasabian. However, it should be noted that Kasabian never actually directly identified which knife she had when they entered the property or which knife she gave to Krenwinkel.

The witnesses are not consistent, however,  regarding the Taped Knife.

On December 1, 1969 Susan Atkins was taken under court order from jail to the office of her attorney Paul Caruso. The purpose of this trip was to prepare a plea on behalf of Atkins.

When Atkins appeared for this interview Kasabian was not in custody. That didn't happen until December 4th. Kasabian was on the other side of the country and hadn't had contact with any Family members for several months. I point this out only because it means that Atkins could not have known what Kasabian was going to say. So what did Atkins have to say? (Thanks to for the interview.)

PAUL CARUSO: She died. What kind of knife did you have?

SUSAN ATKINS: A buck knife, with black tape wrapped around the handle. I don’t know if the police ever found it or not.

RICHARD CABALLERO: What makes you think it was black tape? Is that the way you recollect it?

SUSAN ATKINS: That’s the way I recollect it. I know we had one buck knife and it had black tape wrapped around it because the handle was broken off. Just a little piece.

RICHARD CABALLERO: The handle was broken?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, before we went there.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did it say anything on the blade of the knife.

SUSAN ATKINS: Not that I know of.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Did it say “buck” ?

SUSAN ATKINS: It probably did. I know it was a buck knife.

RICHARD CABALLERO: How new or old was the knife?

SUSAN ATKINS: It was fairly old.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Where did you get the knife from?

SUSAN ATKINS: From the Ranch. It was stuck in wood. I don’t know where the knife actually came from.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Had you seen other knives there that had tape around them? At the ranch?

SUSAN ATKINS: One or two. Yes, I believe one.

RICHARD CABALLERO: You say it had black tape around it. Could that have been that one of the knives brought there that night had black tape around it for perhaps did not have?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, because I remember it having the tape around it, I remember holding it. And I remember looking at it and wow, that’s going to leave fingerprints.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Okay, when you stabbed Frykowski in the leg, is that the knife that you left there, or the other knife.

SUSAN ATKINS: I can honestly say I don’t remember what knife I left there.

PAUL CARUSO: Did you have another knife up there?


PAUL CARUSO: Only took one knife there.

SUSAN ATKINS: I only took one knife there. Everybody had a knife.

RICHARD CABALLERO: The knives were exchanged. Therefore you may have left a knife different from the one that had the black tape around it, is that right?

SUSAN ATKINS: That could be a possibility but I remember asking when we got back in the car did anybody have the knife with the tape around it and they said no.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Things were pretty excited at that point. And you stopped in the car and as you will relate in a few minutes, you wanted to get rid of it? But first of all, there was another knife there, that might have been there a buck knife too? Do you have knowledge that there was another knife that might have been a buck knife?

SUSAN ATKINS: No, I don’t.

PAUL CARUSO: Susan said they all had knives.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Yes. This is crucial because the police have a knife and that's what we're trying to get to because there's a good chance that you left a different knife there.

At this point in the interview the discussion regarding the taped knife ends and is never discussed again.

Atkins is sure she has the taped knife but she also calls it a "Buck" knife. If we ignore Kasbian's testimony for a moment, Atkins' memory appears reasonably sound. She even says when they returned to the car she asked if anyone had the taped knife and reports that everyone said 'no'. This adds detail. She also distinctly remembers looking at the knife in her hand and thinking about finger prints. These details are indicative of actual memories and add credibility to her statements.

Atkins also had absolutely no reason to lie about the taped knife in this scenario. She is being interviewed by her attorneys. This interview, it was thought at the time, would never see the light of day.

Kasabian identifies the taped knife as the one given to her by Larry Jones but does not actually identify it as the knife she gave to Krenwinkel. This is left to Bugliosi's inference and becomes part of the official narrative through no witness. She also doesn't describe which knives she threw out the window of the car but does state that her "Buck" knife was not in the car.

Atkins, based upon all other evidence, however, probably is wrong. And there just might be a reason she wants the taped knife and not the Buck knife.

The other interesting comment in the exchange, above, is this:

RICHARD CABALLERO: The knives were exchanged. Therefore you may have left a knife different from the one that had the black tape around it, is that right?

Atkins never mentions exchanging knives in this interview or before the Grand Jury. The only place the subject comes up is right here. We do know she has been interviewed previously at the jail because Caballero alludes to those conversations.

RICHARD CABALLERO: Susan, I just want to interrupt you one moment. You said to me before about the gun, yesterday when we spoke in jail, that was Charlie’s gun, wasn’t it?

Unfortunately, we don't know what was discussed the previous day at the jail regarding the knives so a mystery remains: who actually had the taped knife when the killers entered the property and how were the knives exchanged? This comment about an 'exchange' (if we knew the details) may also answer the question: how did Watson end up with a knife before the attack on Steven Parent. It might also confirm or refute Krenwinkel's stroll to Parent's car to acquire Kasabian's knife.

The One Left Behind

This knife was owned, originally, by Linda Kasabian and is a folding buck knife. It was found blade up in a chair located in the living room of the house.

The official narrative would lead us to believe that this knife was used by Atkins to stab Voytek Frykowski several times in the leg and likely was 'lost' by Atkins when she and Frykowski fell into that chair during their scuffle. Per Atkins:

"Somehow he managed to turn my head, he [Frykowski] was still holding my hair and he was behind me. He fell in the chair behind me, that was next to the couch this way [indicating] and he was fighting and I was kicking him and I proceeded to stab him three or four times in the leg*****"

The First Homicide Report identifies the location where the knife was found.

"#4, A "Buck", clasp type knife found under the seat cushion of an overstuffed chair, which was located in the living room seven feet south of the north wall of the living room and four feet east of the west wall of the living room."

In this picture that is the chair marked by the arrow.

The only available evidence says that Atkins lost her knife sometime during the altercation with Frykowski. There was, indeed, a Buck folding knife found wedged in the chair. The problem is this knife apparently didn't stab anyone.

"Granado found the second knife in the living room, less than three feet from Sharon Tate’s body. It was wedged behind the cushion in one of the chairs, with the blade sticking up. A Buck brand clasp-type pocketknife, its blade was ¾ inch in diameter, 313/ 16 inches in length, making it too small to have caused most of the wounds. Noticing a spot on the side of the blade, Granado tested it for blood: negative."

Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders (p. 42). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

There was no blood on the knife and according to Bugliosi, the size (diameter) of the knife blade does not match 'most of the wounds' (this will prove inacurate). There also apparently was no blood on the chair or the floor near the chair. One has to assume that somehow between striking Frykowski and ending up being discovered in the chair any blood was wiped from the blade.

And that probably happened. In his testimony Granado says he removed the knife from the chair and placed it on the wet bar behind the chair for the fingerprint guys. When he got it back it was covered in fingerprint 'dust'. So it is possible any blood was removed in that process. Granado seems to lay the blame there in his testimony.

One would hope that Granado et al, confronted with multiple stab wounds on multiple victims and finding a 'random' knife, would take extra care to check the knife and location for blood and maybe even try to track down its origin. Remember, LAPD sent a detective all the way to Massachusetts to check on a story by a suspect about purchasing a Buck knife. It appears, instead, that the knife was 'mishandled'.

What we do know is that whomever wielded this knife did a bit more damage then Atkins (or Bugliosi) would lead us to believe.

Per Frykowski's autopsy report:


The left leg shows 8 stab wounds.


These stab wounds are similar. Each measures ¾ of an inch in length and about 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches in depth. They are perpendicular to the skin surface. None are fatal."

These wounds fit this knife and at first look corroborate Atkins' story. But do they really?

Naguchi later testifies that three of these wounds are to the back of Frykowski's left leg and five are to the front of his leg.

At least to me the 3/4 inch blade of the Buck knife inflicted all of these wounds. That would seem to support the theory that this was the knife used by Atkins in her struggle with Frykowski because she admits stabbing him in the leg or at least stabbing 'something' behind her.

But a review of Frykowski's autopsy report quickly reveals that this same knife could also have inflicted all of the wounds to Frykowski's back.


Stab wound #1 ***** This stab wound measures ½ inch and shows one sharp medial edge, one dull lateral edge. The depth of this stab wound is ¾ inch.

Stab wound #2***** The depth of the wound is ¾ inch and it measures ¾ inch by size.*****

Stab wound #3***** This wound measures 3-1/2 inches deep and it measures ¾ inch in length and shows one sharp upper edge and one dull lower edge. The deepest portion of this wound penetrates one inch into the posterior portion of the left lung.

Stab wound #4*****This wound measures 3-1/2 inches in depth and measures one inch in length. It shows two different edges, one sharp lower edge and a dull upper edge, the deepest penetration of this wound goes into the posterior aspect of the right lung.

Stab wound #5 ***** This wound measures 3-1/2 inches in depth and it measures ¾ inch in length. It shows two different edges, one sharp lower edge and one dull upper edge. This wound penetrates as deep as the left kidney.

Wounds #3, #4 and #5 are 3/4 inch or one inch in length and deeply penetrating. A larger width knife could not inflict these wounds. A one inch blade cannot inflict a deep 3/4 inch wound. A 3/4 inch blade if used in a particular fashion could possibly inflict the one inch wound.

Naguchi testified that wounds #3 and #4 were 'fatal wounds' meaning they would be fatal if medical treatment was not received. He later, on cross examination, opined that treatment had to happen within 10 to 15 minutes.

Naguchi: There were five stab wounds on the back. These again are labeled 1 through 5.

No. 2 is located in the vicinity of stab wound No.1 but is slightly below the location of stab wound No.1. It measures, I believe three-quarters on an inch in length, penetrating into the right lung. I would say this would be a fatal wound.

No 3 was found on the left side of the mid-back. It measured one inch in length, penetrating deep into the left chest cavity, piercing the left lung. I would consider this also a fatal wound.

Obviously,  Naguchi confused the wounds. His testimony describes wounds #2 and #3 as fatal wounds. From the autopsy report #2 clearly would not be fatal. He has confused #3 and #4 from the report and referred to them as #2 and #3 during his testimony. But from the descriptions you can figure out what he means (even if he also gets the 'lungs' wrong).

Is the knife long enough to inflict these wounds? Yes.

Q: By Mr. Bugliosi: Showing you the large blow-up, does it appear to be an enlargement of the small photograph, People’s 122?

A: [By Granado]: Yes.

Next I move on to G27, which is a buck-type knife, which closes up—it is a pocket type knife, buck, having a three-quarter inch diameter blade 3-13/16 length blade.

The blade is 3 and 13/16 inches (or nearly four inches) in length. The wounds are 3-8/16 deep.

So it seems that Atkins minimized her assault on Frykowski when she testified before the Grand Jury and was interviewed by Caballero/Caruso. In fact, it appears she likely was directly responsible for Frykowski's death.

Assuming Atkins attacked Frykowski first and Watson attacked second and she used this knife, she inflicted these wounds before Watson joined the attack and two were fatal. He had 15 minutes to live. It is fair to say Atkins stabbed Frykowski to death.

Perhaps Atkins gave a clue to what really happened after she decided to tell practically anyone who would listen to her about the crimes while she was being held in jail on the Hinman case. Virginia Graham testified that Atkins said she had, in fact, attacked Frykoski as he fled.

Q: After Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring entered the living room, what did Susan Atkins say took place?

A: She said that the other man-

Q: Now, when you say 'other man,' did she indicate that this was a man other than Jay Sebring?

A: Yes, sir, she did.

Q: What did she say about this other man?

A: She said that the other man ran past her, and as he ran past her she stabbed him four or five times. He got to the door and he started screaming for help. He got out onto the front lawn and he was screaming, 'Help, help, somebody please help!' And with this she put her hand on her hip and she said to me, 'And would you believe that he was screaming "Help, help," and nobody came?'

If Frykowski at some point did run past Atkins and she did attack him, logically, those wounds would be to his back. Wounds #3 and #4 are to Frykowski's back.

No other wounds on any other victim measure 3/4 inch. This supports the theory that Atkins lost this knife at about this time- during her altercation with Frykowski- after inflicting these wounds.

There is, of course, another problem with Atkins' testimony if we view the altercation between Atkins and Frykowski, logically and compare that to her story. Atkins claims Frykowski was behind her and grabbed her hair. She claims she swung the knife backwards and hit 'something'.

Atkins: Somehow he got hold of my hair and pulled it very hard and I was screaming for Tex to help me, or somebody to help me, and Frykowski, he was also screaming. Somehow he got behind me and I had the knife in my right hand and I was -- I was -- I don't know where I was at but I was just swinging with the knife and I remember hitting something four, five times repeatedly behind me. I didn't see what it was that I was stabbing." Susan Atkins Grand Jury Testimony (Kindle Locations 557-558). Kindle Edition.

If Atkins was standing with her back to Frykowski with the knife in her right hand, as described, she would logically strike his right leg not his left leg unless she was swinging across her body (a difficult maneuver). She also logically would strike the front of his leg under either scenario. Frykowski has no wounds to his right leg and three of the wounds inflicted by this knife to his left leg are to the back of his leg a location she can't possibly reach based upon her description (unless Frykowski is doing the Twist). I can't see how she could inflict any of those wounds standing with her back to Frykowski.

The autopsy reports suggest that Atkins' story is not at all, accurate. It is probable that she was  facing Frykowski at one point (when she struck his left leg) and at another point was likely behind him stabbing him in the back (fatally) and the left leg several times.

The Other One

Very little is known about this knife but it was the probably the knife used by Watson. The autopsy reports suggest that this knife had a 1 to 1.5 inch wide blade.

If the blade was 1.5 inches in width this knife inflicted the fatal wounds on Sharon Tate and all of the wounds on Jay Sebring as well as seven stab wounds on Abigail Folger. (Sharon Tate also had eight, one inch wounds to her back.) This is consistent with the official narrative and places the knife in Watson's hands: stabbing first Sebring, then Folger and lastly, Sharon Tate. Based on that narrative this knife should also be responsible for many of the wounds inflicted on Frykowski.

Oddly, none of the wounds to Voytek Frykowski match this knife as a 1.5 inch blade. Aside from the 3/4" wounds (discussed above) the autopsy reveals the following wounds (length):

Back: one (1") and one (.5")

Anterior Trunk: five (1"), two (1.25"), one (.5") and one (.25")

Left Arm: sixteen (1")

Right Arm: three (1")

None of these wounds initially appear to result from the third knife.

I can offer no solid explanation for this anomaly. A smaller knife could inflict a larger wound and depending on the taper to the point any knife could inflict a smaller wound if it is superficial. A larger knife should not be able to inflict a smaller deeply penetrating wound. If Watson's knife had a 1.5 inch blade the remaining wounds to Frykowski are too small.

I would have expected at least some of Frykowski's wounds to be 1.5 inches or larger like those suffered by Jay Sebring, Sharon Tate and Abigail Folger. They are not.

Is it possible the knives changed hands multiple times? Perhaps, but the opportunity for this to occur is missing from the official narrative and, of course, no one says that happened. If Krenwinkel had the taped knife (one inch blade-capable of inflicting these wounds) Krenwinkel is never described as being near Frykowski giving Watson an opportunity to receive her knife.

Of course it is also possible this third knife had a one inch blade and not a blade 1.5 inches in diameter, but then the multiple, uniform 1.5 inch wounds from a larger blade on three victims become the anomaly.

Another explanation could be an error in the autopsy report.  Russell Henry performed the autopsy on Abigail Folger and Jay Sebring. Thomas Naguchi performed Sharon Tate's autopsy and Gaston Herrera performed Voytek Frykowski's. It could be that Herrera 'read' the ruler (literally) wrong although confusing an inch with an inch and a half is a pretty big error when the goal is to record the wounds in case a murder weapon turns up. Then again Herrera initially missed the second gunshot wound to Frykowski.

At the time of the autopsies Naguchi didn't know how many weapons he was dealing with so the anomaly would likely not have drawn his attention even if he saw it.

The physical evidence goes a long way towards answering one question: it is probable the "Buck" knife with it's 3/4 inch blade did not kill Sharon Tate. Bugliosi knew this and yet persisted, right to the end, in believing Atkins stabbed Sharon Tate. She did not. The knife that killed Sharon Tate likely also wounded Sebring and Folger.

Testimony of Thomas Naguchi, MD

Naguchi testified at the trial and concluded that the weapon or weapons used in the murders had a blade of one to one and a half inches in width.

Q: What is the width of the blade?

A: Yes, I have an opinion.

Q: Okay. What is your opinion on that?

A: The width of the stabbing weapon can be calculated from the stab wound on the surface of the skin. Many had a one-inch length. Others had one and a half inches.

Q: From one to one and a half inches?

A: So that my opinion would be, as a maximum width would be between one inch and one and a half inches.

His testimony is interesting. Naguchi follows the appropriate procedure when examining an expert even though Bugliosi fails to do so. It is also kind of humorous that with all of Kanarek's objections there is none here when Bugliosi's question is objectionable.

The first question (above) should be 'do you have an opinion regarding the width of the murder weapon?' Naguchi actually answers that question even though it is not asked. He knows the drill. He simply says 'Yes, I have an opinion.' Naguchi then offers the basis for his opinion without being asked- the skin surface wound- Bugliosi should have asked that question next. Naguchi answers the unasked question for Bugliosi again. He then delivers his opinion regarding the maximum width.

Naguchi does not mention the 3/4 inch deeply penetrating wounds to Frykoski or those to Frykowski's left leg while he discussed the possible murder weapon (above). There is no way to prove it but this omission may relate to Bugliosi's belief Atkins killed Sharon Tate. The knife found in the chair has a 3/4 inch blade. Mentioning this fact might possibly alert the defense to the fact that knife likely did not inflict any wounds on Sharon Tate. And that might have been used by the defense to question Virginia Graham's testimony. Mr. Shin does not follow up on this issue (and neither do any other defense counsel) when cross examining Naguchi. Also notice Naguchi says 'maximum' width. He, at least recognized the 3/4 inch wounds existed. To me that is rather ironic: if Bugliosi avoided the 3/4 inch blade because of his desire to connect Atkins with Sharon Tate he missed the evidence that rather closely ties her to inflicting fatal wounds on Frykowski. If the knife found in the chair is Atkins' knife and it has a 3/4 inch blade it (and by extension Atkins') she fatally stabbed Frykowski.

Other Corroboration

There is one way to further corroborate that (1.) Atkins did not stab Sharon Tate and (2.) she did fatally wound Frykowski: People's Exhibit #39 (the knife). If we had a clear image of the knife we could determine if it was sharp on both sides. I was unable to locate such an image. Naguchi testified that the wounds to Sharon Tate were made by a weapon that either was sharpened on both edges or at least partially sharpened on both edges (Bugliosi asks Kasabian about sharpening knives for this reason). The fatal wounds to Frykowski are, per the autopsy report, from a single edged blade (note the 'dull' reference to the edge of the wounds above). If People's #39 is sharpened only on the cutting edge this would tend to confirm both theories.

This knife (right) is not People's #39 but it is a Buck #110 or a mock-off of a Buck #110, like People's #39.

This knife is not sharpened on both edges. Note that if you move the six inch ruler (left) to line up with the tip of the blade the blade is nearly four inches long.

[As an interesting aside Krenwinkel was asked at her most recent parole hearing whether she stabbed Sebring. She was not asked about stabbing Tate or Frykowski. Why Sebring? Why did the DA ask the question? It's a seemingly random question from the DA that makes you go hmmmm- and think about those Tex Tapes- either that or the DA just doesn't know what she's talking about, which is equally plausible since she also said Kasabian slit the screen....unless she did and the tapes say so...hmmm.]

Hercule Poirot: "For me it is truth. I want always truth."

So here is what I believe happened.

Watson's statements about the Devil and killing everyone would have heightened the stress in that room beyond belief. That would begin to trigger nature's reaction: fight or flight.  Shooting and then stabbing Jay Sebring triggered a flight response in two of the victims. It likely also caused Sharon Tate to 'freeze'- go into shock.

Atkins' statement about people going through 'changes' seems to confirm that fact. Then Watson tells Atkins to kill Frykowski. She hesitates and he gets free of his bonds and heads for the door- flight.

Atkins then strikes, stabbing Frykokowski five times in the back and in the back of the left leg, somewhere near the north end of the couch. Perhaps at that time he also feels as though he is blocked by the blue trunks and determines to fight.

Confronted with the attack and  his effort to flee blocked, Frykowski now turns to 'fight'. He turns on his assailant and grabs her hair pulling her head back as she proceeds to stab him in the leg (now facing him but her head pulled back so she can't see what she is hitting). He disengages from her perhaps by falling into the chair at the north end of the living room on top of her or he pushes her there. She loses her knife and ends up on the floor. He then heads for the door, wounded and reeling, probably with some sense of his injuries, knocking over the blue trunks

PAUL CARUSO: Frykowski was going out, wasn’t he?

SUSAN ATKINS: Yes, but I don’t ‘remember because I was on the floor.

He attempts to escape, and now Watson attacks, firing two shots and pursuing.

Meanwhile, Abigail Folger makes her escape- again, a natural response-flight. She, in part, is taking an unconscious cue from Frykowski. Her 'partner' flees. She flees. Abigail wrestles with Krenwinkel but can't control her and is wounded, perhaps several times. She then disengages and flees again like Frykowski.

It should be noted that while Atkins testifies about Watson's assault on Abigail- going to help Krenwinkel and stabbing Folger- Watson does not confirm this event in his book, which allegedly was drawn from the November 1969 Tex Tapes. This (below) is his first mention of Abigail Folger after the chaos ensues.

"As Frykowski sank down on the flagstones, Sadie yelled that someone was getting away. I looked across the lawn and saw Abigail Folger dashing toward the fence with Katie behind her, knife raised. Blood was already streaking the white nightgown." Will You Die For Me?

Of further interest is the fact Atkins never 'narcs' on Krenwinkel. Not once in her Grand Jury testimony or her Caruso/Cabellero interview or in her admissions as told by Virginia Graham or Ronnie Howard that I could find does she ever describe Krenwinkel specifically stabbing anyone. Instead she implicates only Watson.

Frykowski heads for the door, Watson in pursuit and Folger heads for the pool, Krenwinkel in pursuit. Atkins gets up from the floor, now alone with Sharon Tate [until Kasabian enters the room]. A few moments later Watson and Krenwinkel return.

And justice

While writing this post any doubt in my mind that Atkins (now deceased), Krenwinkel and Watson should ever receive parole vanished. While all of the murders were brutal, the murder of Sharon Tate was simply horrifying.

Consider for a moment: she sits in that room having watched the carnage around her, her closest support lies on the floor mortally wounded.  She likely heard what occurred on the lawn. One sits there goading her 'I have no mercy for you, bitch'. Then she hears these monsters return and discuss her fate. The crazy eyed one snarls "Shut up, you bitch". The other one hisses 'kill her'. The third responds 'Katie said kill her'. The first then says 'she can't'. And by his own admission Watson's first blow was knowingly 'non-fatal' -to her face, designed to silence her- perhaps not unlike a similar blow to Abigail Folger. 

The inmates......"Lack a depth of insight into the grisly crimes"

77 comments: said...

I've always found this knife situation to be dubious. This is a strange exchange between McGann and Bugliosi during the grand jury. This would be the last time they used this photograph, which incidentally was taken the day that LAPD talked to both Virginia Graham and Leslie Van Houten. This was also the day Richard Caballero was put onto Atkins' case, something the defense would later say that Evelle Younger had a hand in.

Exhibit 30

Q BY MR. BUGLIOSI: I show you Grand Jury Exhibit 30 for identification, Sergeant.
Do you know what is shown in that photograph?
A: Yes, the buck knife is shown along with a scabbard, I suppose you would call it.
Q: Did you observe this buck knife on the premises?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: Where did you observe it?
A: It was wedged between the lower seat cushion and the back of an overstuffed chair located right here.
Q: In the living room of the Polanski residence?
A: Yes.
Q: Did it have any blood on it at all?
A: No blood on the weapon.
Q: What did you identify as being at the bottom of this photograph?
A: This is a scabbard or a holder for some type of knife.
Q: A container for the knife?
A: Yes.
Q: Where did you find this scabbard?
A: This was not found by me, this was found at a later time.
Q: Inside the residence?
A: No.

David said...

Cielo said: "I've always found this knife situation to be dubious."

Exhibit #30 is not Peoples Exhibit #39. #30 has a photograph tag there of 11-26-69. People's #39 is the actual knife found at Cielo. Now if you mean no knife was really found there at all....ignore my response.

PS: There appear to be a couple images is used missing from the post but one is not People's #39. said...

Yeah, I'm not meaning to confuse the two exhibits

I'm not confident the knife was actually found there

David said...


That means you have to assume someone 'planted' the knife, doesn't it? I have to ask-why bother?

I do think there are a couple pieces of evidence that support it as the knife:

1. Atkins said she lost her knife.

2. Two and not three knives were thrown out the window.

3. Granado says he got it back with finger print 'dust' on it.

I personally believe someone seriously mishandled this knife but that is my opinion.

I also don't think it changes anything unless you start saying the autopsy reports are also wrong. said...

Perhaps, I should just say something doesn't seem right about it. The scabbard makes no sense. I find it interesting that photo was used at the Grand Jury (which occurred only a week after LAPD first talked to Graham and Howard) and then never again. If nothing else, it shows how everybody wasn't on the same page in those early days.

David said...

I don't disagree with any of that.

There certainly was no scabbard at Cielo and the photo was taken way after the fact and to the best of my knowledge doesn't directly relate to anything (raid/arrest).

Unknown said...

I'll take professor plumb in the library with the candlestick...

Nice job as usual ;)

Unknown said...

That's a great argument Dreath. Causes me to rethink Atkins' culpability. Noguchi was clearly error prone, and your analysis sits well with other things about which he was innacurate. Just one thing towards the end about Kasabian coming in the room - presumably an error/typo ?, unless I'm missing something. Anyway, thanks that was quite a joy to read.

Unknown said...

PS if anyone has an Exhibits List from the first TLB trial (June '70 to Apr '71) please tell me. I could not find it in the material supplied by the DA. Analysing the first TLB trial and appeal without the Exhibits List is a bit like filming Gone With the Wind on an Apple iphone - I mean you can do it, but it isn't quite the same thing.

David said...


Thanks. Right now, that comment about Kasabian is an opinion, hence the italics.

cielodrivecom said...

What exhibits are you looking for?

Unknown said...

Not particularly the exhibits themselves at this stage. Just would like to know what actually went into evdidence, and what did not. Only the List can tell me that.

cielodrivecom said...

I can give you that. Give me a few days

Dambuster said...

Fascinating interpretation. Well thought out.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Great job Dreath, again. I'm confused whether you think Atkins went out on the lawn area and witnessed Krenwinkel chasing Folger there, and Watson finishing off Frykowski and Folger, or if you think Atkins never made it out there because she was on the floor and then guarding Sharon Tate.
It's easier for me to imagine she stabbed Frykowski in the back while he tried to flee than that she stabbed him in the back of the legs while he fled, since it might be too low. I would picture that might be done during a struggle with him and he was turning around.
Oh gross.

Unknown said...

Cielo that would be awesome, thanks !

Unknown said...

I've always found it a bit gross too that Atkins had some sort of gonorrhea puss discharge from sores on her feet. So she was barefooted. It was probably spraying all over the place whilst she struggled with VF. Is that gross enough, or should I keep going LOL.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed reading this and it was very well written.I agree with you one hundred percent that none of them should ever be free!!!

AustinAnn74 said...

I have always thought the technicians & police screwed up the crime scene. There was cross contamination, blood mixups, etc. The evidence doesn't really support the narrative of the crime according to the putos responsible for the carnage. Will the public ever know exactly what happened? No, probably not.

David said...

Mr. Humphrat,

I call that 'Sadie's Stroll' and no I don't think it happened. Certainly, all the wounds to Frykowski's leg (front and back) could be the result of the struggle.

cielodrivecom said...

The investigators are just compiling data. The District Attorney's office took that data and provided the narrative. Then Bugliosi writes Helter Skelter where he presents just about everybody as idiots, with the exception of himself and Kasabian. Perhaps Bugliosi plants the seed of incompetence so whenever you come across evidence that doesn't fit his narrative you will just write it off because you think those investigators were substandard. Tune Bugliosi out, look at the evidence compiled and consider the alternative, that the investigators were competent. Then revisit Bugliosi's narrative and honestly ask yourself if it makes any sense.

Vince's criticism of LAPD throughout Helter Skelter seemed very calculated. For example, take this passage from HS where Vince talks about Jerry DeRosa, one of the first officers that arrived at Cielo Drive


Escorting Garretson down the driveway, DeRosa located the gate-control mechanism on the pole inside the gate. He noticed that there was blood on the button.

The logical inference was that someone, quite possibly the killer, had pressed the button to get out, in so doing very likely leaving a fingerprint.

Officer DeRosa, who was charged with securing and protecting the scene until investigating officers arrived, now pressed the button himself, successfully opening the gate but also creating a superimposure that obliterated any print that may have been there.

Later DeRosa would be questioned regarding this:

Q. “Was there some reason why you placed your finger on the bloody button that operated the gate?”

A. “So that I could go through the gate.”

Q. “And that was intentionally done?”

A. “I had to get out of there.”


Boneheaded move on DeRosa’s part. That said, what purpose does this passage serve other than to reinforce how stupid LAPD were? Vince really went out of his way there because he knew full well the print had already been obliterated by Winifred Chapman, when she pushed the button when she left prior to LAPD arriving.

Unknown said...

I'm going to let the big boys have this discussion because you guys obviously study the minutiae much more deeply than I

But I think the police were just about as incompetent as they could be. From not connecting the crime scenes to constantly lsrrjng Charlie and the others go around breaking the law while they were on parole or probation.

To me the cops look as bad as anyone associated with this case.

And whereas there is no doubt Bugs propped himself up to be the hero in his book ...

In many ways he was a hero and smartest guy in the room...

In my opinion

David said...


Great comment. This especially: "Tune Bugliosi out, look at the evidence compiled and consider the alternative, that the investigators were competent."

Turn off what you know from Helter Skelter (or any other book) and even the 'spin' (when it happens) applied by Bugliosi to the evidence in the trial.

Physical evidence does not lie. Simply discarding A or B as error because they don't fit the story is forming a conclusion and cherry picking the physical evidence to fit it. Start with the assumption there is no story and build your own. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable (only one out of 750+ eyewitnesses saw the Titanic break in half) for legitimate reasons and Atkins, at a minimum, 'lies by omission'.

That is not to say mistakes were not made, they were.

cielodrivecom said...

Mistakes were made, no doubt about that.

David said...


I for one am not saying the cops didn't make mistakes (Galindo was at Tate on the 10th for Christ's sake. Granado never typed the blood pool at the north end of the porch and God knows what is up with that Buck knife.).

All I'm saying is don't assume there is an error every time something doesn't fit what Atkins or Kasabian say (the basis for the official narrative-HS). For example the physical evidence does not support the conclusion the killers put the rope around the necks of Tate and Sebring before they were dead/dying. Should we ignore that because Atkins (or Watson) says it was?

Unknown said...

i have always been a proponent of following the evidence. That's why I still won't rule out HS as a motive. It has the most evidence to support it of any motive I have looked at.

My only point is that I do think the cops did a lousy job. A kid had to find the gun and even he knew how to handle evidence.

Unless bugs embellished that too lol

Who knows. I just think the cops come out of this case looking foolish in my opinion. As foolish as anyone else. said...

Sounds like the gun story was embellished as well. At least the Dragnet part of it.

Unknown said...

sorry this is a test - PC problems

Unknown said...

Some people like scientific certainty about facts, or something close to it. Others, like Saint, tend to satisfy themselves with a lower standard of proof of, say, comfortable satisfaction. Neither is right or wrong. I tend to be of the Saint school of comfortable satisfaction.

I felt very comfortable about the facts affecting legal liability of all defendants (incl. CM) when I read the early records of interviews between SA, LVH and CW in 1969. These documents are highly probative of the facts for two reasons. First, they are contemporaneous. According to recent research, memory is generally speaking unreliable, even for "stand-out" events in a person's life. Secondly, the interviews were cloaked by client/lawyer privilege. The defendants would have understood that what they said was confidential and could not be used against them. Therefore, they would be more inclined to speak the truth. This is the very reason for the privilege.

Finally, to play the devil's advocate, why wouldn't the appeal judgment suffice to know what happened? That was the most authoritative statement of the facts and relevant law that has ever been written about the TLB murders. It was written by three judges who were in 1976 three of the most eminent experts in the business of fact finding. Also, arguably, they became the world's foremost authorities on the facts of this case. (Bear in mind that what they did not write about was subject matter about which there was no dispute. That is to say, where a particular subject is not covered by the judgment, by and large you can safely assume that you accept the prosecution's version). There's not many cases that have so much said about them by such eminently qualified experts. It is somewhat bemusing that there is any mystery left about the murders. And into the bargain we now have those early client/lawyer records of interview, which never ordinarily become available in litigation, and are like manna from heaven for anyone interested in working out the case. Is anything more really needed?

Just to play the devil's advocate, if you wanted to know "everything" about

cielodrivecom said...

I don't think anyone is suggesting anything radically different happened. The thrust of events is still the same

Unknown said...

But surely not. There appears to be great controversy about Helter Skelter (?). It almost jumps out at me every time I open a web site LOL. And there seem to be many other minor controversies, bubbling along, hence the web and blog sites and interest shown by so many people.

So let's apply my method. That is to say, let's look at what the appeal judges said about, for example, HS. Now unless I'm mistaken (and I'm not being facetious - it is now some months since I opened it up), they said nothing relevant about HS in the judgment. The undoubted inference from that is that CM never disputed in the appeal court anything alleged by the prosecution about HS. This absence of dispute is dripping in probative value. It speaks more powerfully than anything - any other single fact - that what the prosecution said about HS was true and correct. So is there much point in squabbling about HS? I suspect not.

Other controversies in the case can be resolved the same way - by working backwards from the appeal judgment. This is the way most lawyers work out things to do with cases which have gone as far as an appeal court - starting there and working backwards. If you start there, then you get a much better handle on what Manson really disputed and what he didn't dispute. If (against his own interests) he didn't dispute something then London to a brick on (Aus slang for "for sure") he himself considered it indisputable. As with all legal issues, there are vagaries and exceptions, but these are the general rules, the starting points if you like. Nor am I saying everyone is foreclosed from investigating HS, but the context needs to be recognised that HS is frankly set in concrete and it sank to the bottom of the harbour many moons ago. A very heavy burden of proof is cast upon those seeking to retrieve it and make it a live issue. Certainly more is required than, for example, casting it aside because it is too far out to be believable, as a lot of people seem inclined to do.

Now, Dreath's work is interesting because it does open up new areas which were not litigated. For example, the exact extent of Atkins' culpability (ie how many people did she really kill?).

I rest my case ! (that's an Americanism BTW, we are rebuked here if we use such terms LOL).

cielodrivecom said...

I was talking about this post and the comments on it, not the internet at large.

David said...


I'm not sure where you are coming from. Are you saying the court of appeals 'decided' factsX-Y and Z because no one challenged X-Y and Z? I assume not, they review the same transcript we do. If the trial record is wrong, they are wrong.

Garbage in-garbage out.

The issue of Atkins and Sharon Tate illustrates the point. I think most of us agree Atkins could and did not stab Sharon Tate. Further I personally think the physical evidence confirms that. The appellate court had Graham's testimony, Howard's, Atkins' letters, etc.

Are you saying because Atkins never challenged the fact she stabbed Tate on appeal therefore she did, case closed? I mean I am quite sure the appellate court would have told you in 1976 Atkins stabbed Tate. And they would be wrong.

Am I missing something here? Help me out.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I had to delete that it made me feel old lol

Plus pre-algebra was as far as I got :)

Hey I am in a good mood tonight and don't want to spoil the mood....


All of those who support Charlie and anyone else in his family who participated in TLB please go back and read the last paragraph of this post..

And then - please, with all due respect, go stick it straight up your ass. It is without doubt one of the most indefensible things that has ever happened.

I will argue with anyone that this was NOT typical or common at that - or any time.

You cannot make a pregnant woman watch her friends be slayed, then kill her last and write in her blood and explain to me it is not so extraordinary.

It is the sickest thing I have ever heard and you cant simply blame Bugs for it being so crazy that we are still talking about it today.

The people who did it are lucky to be alive. To argue that this was anything other that it was is an insult to intelligence.

Although to argue over why they did it is not :)

Unknown said...

ok for the record I will put it back- but then I will smoke some weed and have some Silver bullets and watch POTUS embarrass me again...





First= X squared
Outer= -3X
Inner= +4X
Last= -12

after combining like terms we get X squared +X - 12


Unknown said...

Don't worry about where I'm coming from. That may be the polar opposite of where I arrive LOL.

I just need to think through a few things and then I'll come back to you. I can't take it any further than the following at this stage:

1.The Atkins/Tate issue is not comparable to what I'm talking about on Manson/Helter Skelter. Atkins/Tate is distinguishable because something out of the ordinary developed independently of the appeal proceedings - i.e. Tex admitted against interest that he stabbed Tate and that Atkins did not stab Tate. No such admission against interest has been made by Bugliosi about HS, so whatever was found in 1971 and 1976 by Courts about HS remains, I suspect, as prima facie inferences (or "assumptions") which have not yet been displaced, and therefore significance continues to attach to them at least for our purposes. But allow me to check some things before I dogmatically adhere to this;

2.Appellate litigation is not as simple as just looking at the transcript and then if the transcript is wrong then the appellate judgment is wrong. It is not garbage in/garbage out. For a start, those propositions overlook the principal role of an intermediate appellate court which is assigned the task of, inter alia, assessing errors in fact finding (subject of course to normal constraints placed upon intermediate appellate review - eg credibility issues etc.). The appeal court's very purpose is to, inter alia, question the transcript, albeit within the framework of the issues as defined by the parties and the court's carefully delimited powers.

Cielo, thanks I'll take your word for it there's nothing controversial on this post. And for now all i can do is crack open a tinnie, point Percy at the porcelain,and watch my fave movie Crocodile Dundee, which will help the thinking process no end.

David said...


FOIL made me laugh and spill my beer. Thanks.

Simon said:

"[T]hey [the appellate court] said nothing relevant about HS in the judgment. The undoubted inference from that is that CM never disputed in the appeal court anything alleged by the prosecution about HS. This absence of dispute is dripping in probative value. It speaks more powerfully than anything - any other single fact - that what the prosecution said about HS was true and correct.

Actually the appellate court relied heavily on HS as corroboration of Kasabian’s testimomny against Manson and to connect him as the 'ring leader'. They summarize the testimony of Barbara Hoyt, Dianne Lake and Paul Watkins together with an unnamed witness who said Manosn told him:

'Well, I have come down to it, and the only way to get going is to show the black man and the pigs is to go down there and kill a whole bunch of these fuckin' pigs.'"

Anyone know who that was?

They said:

“The testimony of these several witnesses tends to confirm that Manson was the originator and purveyor of a warped fantasy. The consistency of the statements reveals an intense obsession on Manson's part to see the fulfillment of his prediction. The similarity between the Helter Skelter prophesy and the manner in which the Tate-La Bianca murders occurred is sufficiently great to be characterized as strong circumstantial evidence to corroborate the testimony of Kasabian.”

And later they say…..

“Where the identity of the accused is in issue, his prior conduct may, under proper circumstances, be admitted to prove intent, motive or knowledge of a particular plan and scheme [HS] that reasonably tends to connect him to the crime in question.”

But how/why would the defense bring up HS? Would they say….

HS wasn’t the motive. Copycat killing was the motive. I don't think that helps get the conviction overturned.

I don’t think the presence or absence of a challenge by the defense as to the accuracy of the HS evidence or a direct ruling by the court on the accuracy of HS means anything. It is interesting, though that the court saw HS as tying Manson directly to the crimes.

Unknown said...

Dreath you were an instant favorite of mine, and if my simplicity- and willingness to demonstrate it- can give you a chuckle I am pleased...

And I hope you don't spill too much beer as I am sure you drink a much higher quality than me lol

Unknown said...

In answer to Saint's questions, as I understand them, yes I would expect CM to raise HS in order to rebut it. I would expect him to say: "HS, which is a key plank of the prosecution's case against me on several levels, is absolute bulldust for the following reasons (read out Mr Stimson's arguments), and for these reasons your Honours would not be satisfied that the Pros. proved this preposterous Helter Skelter theory against me against me, and therefore they have failed to prove a motive against me, and they have failed to corroborate LK about it so you'd be more suspicious about her, and they have failed to link me to the murder scenes in the way they allege. For these reason alone, you would set aside my conviction". As to copycat, yes I would expect him to argue: "copycat was a motive just as the girls who testified on my behalf said it was, and it totally exculpates me because it postulates that I knew nothing about any crimes. That is another reason the convictions against me should be set aside".

Now the question you have to ask yourself (Clint Eastwood style - "punk!" - JOKING !) is : if you were CM and you believed those quoted words in the above paragraph were true and correct, wouldn't you want your lawyer to advance those things on your behalf? I mean the alternative is execution/life prison. I mean call me old school, but I'd favour release over those options.

Now the difficult question upon which I, maybe others too, want to think through is the extent which the law actually required him to beat his drum against HS in these ways so as to head it off at the pass. Because the onus of proof always rests on the pros., he didn't have to prove anything as such. But when the prosecution's case about HS kept getting bigger and better as the trial progressed, and bearing in mind HS is an evidentiary matter - a circumstance if you like - which didn't have to be proved beyond doubt, I suspect it got to the stage where at least an evidentiary onus did start to fall upon CM to start engaging with and rebutting HS. I strongly suspect this means that at least by the time he got to the app court, his failure to even try to rebut it spoke heavily against any suggestion taht it was false or bogus or whatever.

Now I still haven't got to the tinnie, but its time for Percy again !!

PS could I remind everyone that HS was only offered up against CM. It was the way the Pros personally got at him despite him not being at the murder scenes. I think there may be a belief it was advanced against all of the defs. If so, that tends to hijack the debate into other things.

Unknown said...

Sorry maybe those questions were Dreath's questions, not Saint's, anyway they were the questions about "how/why the defense would bring up HS, what would they say" to that effect. And again, HS only went in against Charlie so "defense" should read "Charlie".

It was Flynn who testified that Charlie said "well I have come down to it . . . ". And yes the app court talked about it as corroboration, which only goes to prove my point that the app court apparently attached importance to it. For them, HS intensely incriminated CM (or some such language). Which is all the more reason to suspect that the point had been reached where Charlie did need to rebut the allegations against him, and that he didn't do so speaks against his innocence (he says delicately dancing around questions of right to silence and onus of proof LOL).

Unknown said...

Aha, he says with a tremendous sense of self-satisfaction, countered by the knowledge that such feelings have often proved catastrophically wrong. I suppose I'm only talking to myself now, oh well anyway.

My trusty criminal law text from 1977 starts out with this gem:

Unknown said...

Oh something just happened, anyway it is a treatise on burden of proof (which is what this debate seems to be all about), and after much arcane discussion it ends with this proposition: "the evidentiary burden of proof is perhaps best understood as a theoretical expression of the fact of common experience that if (prosecution) makes a cogent accusation against [defendant], [defendant] is well-advised to take practical steps to defend himself". I just would have thought this was classically applicable to Charlie if not during the trial, then at the latest in the app court. Jury and app judges are both fact finding tribunals. He should've said something upstairs (app court) and the fact that he didn't proves beyond any doubt, if proof was needed, that HS was a factor in these murders in every way that the pros alleged.

David said...

The appellate courts are supposed to determine the sufficiency of the evidence (the amount of evidence) If there is evidence the jury (or the court) could have used to reach their decision the decision stands. The argument, above, is really about credibility- any time you say 'that's bullocks' you are arguing credibility. Now if you say this evidence proves that evidence is bullocks you are not. The problem the defendants had on appeal is they presented no defense- no evidence.

Here is a short example of how this works from the Manson appeal.

Krenwinkel on appeal argued the trial court should have given an instruction to the jury an a defense known as 'compulsion' (she is arguing that there was evidence for this defense). The issue on appeal becomes: was there sufficient (enough) evidence (in the transcript we all read) to support the defense. The defense is saying 'yes, there is' and 'had the jury heard about this defense they might have acquitted her'. Here is what the court says:

"Compulsion as a legal defense requires evidence that the accused acted upon reasonable cause and belief that her life was presently and immediately endangered if she refused to participate. [This is the law. It states what the defense means.] ******Here there is no evidence that Manson's instructions were accompanied by any threat. Simply following orders is not a defense under the facts of this case. An instruction on compulsion was neither required nor appropriate. [This is their review of the transcripts we all read concluding there is nothing in those to support the defense.]

This short example nicely illustrates how it works on appeal.

Also to be a little more on point with the blog this is really Krenwinkel's lawyer's argument at her last parole hearing- her lawyer is trying to say she was so 'battered' by Manson she acted under compulsion. Remember this appeal as that comes around again. It will be interesting to see if he gets reminded of this appeal.

Simon said:

"And yes the app court talked about it as corroboration, which only goes to prove my point that the app court apparently attached importance to it."

Allow me to refresh your memory about what you said: ""[T]hey [the appellate court] said nothing relevant about HS in the judgment."

Maybe I could get you to perhaps comment on the post I actually wrote. I'd really appreciate that because, well, I spent quite a bit of time on it and would like to hear your thoughts on that instead of HS, which seems to be a recurring topic for you on every post. Thanks.

Unknown said...

No wuccas (Aus for no worries). So the gag on HS means I can't correct you where you fall into error? Bummer, it would be useful. Anyway, if all I can talk about is your post on Atkins, well it is great but maybe I said that before, hopefully not repeating myself. Not sure where it takes us in terms of the justice of the case but, apart from that, it is a bottler of an argument (very good argument)!

Cheers beers !

starviego said...

Simon says:

"But when the prosecution's case about HS kept getting bigger and better as the trial progressed... I suspect it got to the stage where at least an evidentiary onus did start to fall upon CM to start engaging with and rebutting HS. I strongly suspect this means that at least by the time he got to the app court, his failure to even try to rebut it spoke heavily against any suggestion that it was false or bogus or whatever."

Excellent point!

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

If Tex is to be believed he was in speed first night.

If Tex is not to believed he wasn't lol

But in either case. Things happen. Evidence is important to verify and support testimony where possible.

But things happen. Coincidences. Accidents. Whatever.

This was a very stressful, confusing, panicked and adrenalized event. Asking the people involved to recollect exactly what was where and who said and did what verbatim is a very tough ask.

There were bound to be some errors and discrepancies. Also bugs probably pianted his picture in a manner that let him shine brightest.

But again I say go back to the last sentence of this post and think about what they did. We know they did it if not why.

I am glad he got them and they paid.

The rest is speculation and puzzle solving.

To me the most important thing is that he got his guy and greatly reduced the chance anything like that happened again at the hands of those people.

The fact that those people and what they did inspired loyalty and friendship to people who hadn't previously known them scares me a little frankly.

But to each there own as long as they keep their hands to themselves


Unknown said...

Although I'm very much a wuss - I was no angel growing up

I did a few things I regret as a teenager. And the one or two times I went inside somewhere I wasn't supposed to be or took something from the local school at night as a prank lol...

I was so nervous and scared that the whole experience seemed to go by in a blur. I was shaking and scared and I'm sure that night at Cielo was my experience multiplied by a thousand for them.

They were experienced scumbags but not killers. I'm sure it was trying to pull memories out of panicked flashbacks.

I don't hold them literally verbatim to their exact stories. They all generally say the same thing happened and most of the real evidence supports it.

Bugs made himself look better but he didn't event those crimes to get rich. He got rich for being in the right place at right time and being smart enough to capitalize on his luck.

If anyone else was in his shoes the same thing would have happened and we would be picking their private life's apart because some of us just won't be satisfied with this case being as strange as it is.

For some there needs to me more.

I get who mythos and George need there to be more. It gets Charlie off the hook

But why the insistence from

This vexes me greatly ...

David said...

Saint said:

"This was a very stressful, confusing, panicked and adrenalized event. Asking the people involved to recollect exactly what was where and who said and did what verbatim is a very tough ask."

I agree totally. For example Kasabian does not need to 'lie' to be factually wrong (although I do believe Atkins lied 'by omission'). As Simon rightly pointed out somewhere up there the passage of time (even days) can distort memories. So too can the level of stress associated with the event. In high stress situations studies strongly suggest eyewitnesses focus on strange details and miss the bigger picture (remember Atkins seeing the dog at the window?). Eyewitnesses also tend to focus on weapons and details about the weapons perhaps even having no memory of the person holding the weapon. Multiple interviews of a witness can distort their memory (remember how many times VB interviewed LK?) and how you interview that witness can distort memories. Talking to or seeing reports of other eyewitnesses can also distort memories (Remember Atkins' story being published?). The identity of the interviewer can also effect memory. Eyewitnesses tend to report information to police officers that supports guilt.

All of these can not only distort what an eyewitness remembers but can even fill in gaps and become part of their memory of the event. Memories are like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing. We naturally seek to fill those holes and subconsciously borrow from other sources to do so. That does not mean the witness is lying.

For example: Elizabeth Loftus has spent decades on this subject. In one study in 1974 subjects were shown films of car accidents and then asked how fast were the cars going when they smashed/hit/bumped/crashed into each other? When the question contained a word like 'crashed' or 'smashed' the witnesses uniformly estimated the speed of the cars as significantly faster then when words like 'bumped' or 'hit' were used even though the film was the same in each case.

Memory is a fickle thing.

David said...

Saint said:

"But why the insistence from Others??"

If you are referring to me I simply enjoy trying to see if I can put pieces together to complete the picture. For me its not about proving VB is wrong. I think he's right. I think HS was the motive and I think it is essential to his case. It also is not about proving LK lied. I don't think she did (like I said above). for me it is about trying find answers to questions like 'why is the fence knocked down?' or 'where did those glasses come from?' or 'why does the clock say 12:19 (only to have several people here answer that one in about 10 seconds, lol)?'

Unknown said...

I was not referring to you.

There have been many over thecreats who have grilled me hard over my refusal to accept HS CANT possibly be the real motive.

I wonder how anyone of us can know that for sure and why it is so important to some that. bugs had to have made it up or invented it.

I get what you are doing, but I promise that many others raise these types of questions only to try and raise so many questions Charlie's guilt can be in doubt.

And others will applaud your dilligance because anything that gives fuel to the Bugs lord argument is welcome and encouraged.

I too welcome and encourage dissection of facts and exploration of truth.

But to get the truth as it is. Not to prove what I want the truth to be


David said...

Saint said:

"I too welcome and encourage dissection of facts and exploration of truth. But to get the truth as it is. Not to prove what I want the truth to be "

That's one of the hardest things I have noticed in doing research 'in the case' versus say when did Dennis Wilson cut Charlie off. I call that 'outside the case'. You know you tend to 'see' something and set out to prove it even seeing things that are not there unless you are very careful.

This post originally was about some discrepancies I thought I saw in three photos of the crime scene. I was all prepared to say the cops altered the crime scene. I found them when I was trying to find pictures of the chair. So I made up some diagrams with arrows and such on the pictures- all ready to unleash the 'truth'. Then I reached out to cielodrive to see if he had a picture that showed the whole area I was looking at....and he quickly said 'ah, you are looking at photos taken months apart'.

Unknown said...

It's one of the hardest lessons I am learning in life accepting facts as they are and not trying to find alternative facts to make mad I wish they were.

Unknown said...

I'm at the airport on phone typing with thumbs. Sorry for typos.

It's an excellent post. I really think your an incredibly insightful and bright guy whom I agree with it seems on just about everything with this case!!

Gotta fly ;)

David said...

I hope you are off to somewhere fun and not Saginaw for business.

David said...

Hey Charlie was right- just looking in the wrong place:

Lapinot said...

That was excellent. I've read it a few times and haven't found anything unconvincing. I just have a question about the last paragraph - I think Katie has denied being present for Sharon Tate's killing; is it the general feeling here that she was?

David said...


Those quotes are a combination from Watson's book ("Katie hissed kill her."), Atkins' own account at the Grand Jury and her interview with Caballero and Caruso ("Katie said kill her."). Atkins and Watson place Krenwinkel in the room when Sharon Tate was murdered.

Lapinot said...

Thanks. I can't actually find the quote from Patricia, just a paragraph of this article:

'However, Patricia denies witnessing when Sharon Tate was killed.'

If Tex and Susan agree it seems likely they're right. Although if, for example, Tex had read Susan's 'Story of 2 Nights of Murder' in 1969 he might have followed aspects of that.

David said...


Certainly Tex could have. That's why I for one want the 'Tex Tapes'. It is said that his book was 'drawn from' those tapes. Atkin's interview with Caballero is before she testified at the Grand Jury. That said, there are discrepancies between them and as I hope you can tell from the post at least once the three enter the house I no longer believe Atkins' story is accurate, even that given to Cabellero.

Now, it could be said that because she is telling her attorney, in private, the interview is more reliable, that that fact increases the reliability. Typically, I would agree but don't anymore after looking at this and a few other pieces of evidence that weren't related to this post.

grimtraveller said...

Dreath said...

We also know that when the killers got out of the car and walked back to the gate of Cielo Drive the knives were in the possession of Krenwinkel, Atkins and Kasabian. After that, the evidence regarding possession of the knives is not as clear because somewhere between climbing the fence and the front door of the house Watson came into possession of a knife. This knife was used to attack Steven Parent, used to slash the screen on the entry window and used to stab every victim in the house

Which just adds to the general confusion of the matter. We're never told exactly when Tex came into possession of a knife. He, in his "recollections" speaks of using a knife but he never specifies if and when one of the women handed it to him. He seems very clear about Atkins being on the floor and Frykowski running for the door and him stabbing him in the back {as does Linda}.
I don't know what it points to but I still find it noteworthy that Susan recalls the gunshots to Parent and Sebring but not to Frykowski, and nor does Linda, even though they followed the trajectory of his run for freedom {Atkins before, Kasabian, once he'd reached the front door}. But I do think that there are going to be things that happened that may defy explanation regardless of how evidence is interpreted. An example of that is Atkins stabbing Frykowski on his left leg from a really awkward position. When one is struggling in a life or death clinch, normal "rules" of physics may not apply ! It's a bit like those stories of women lifting cars from on top of their babies when ordinarily such a move just would not happen.
Mysteries abound. Linda heard sounds of people shouting from the house, but didn't hear the Sebring gunshot. Come to think of it, we're never told that Pat came outside to ask Linda for her knife other than by Linda. One could assume she'd given it to Tex but that's never said. And Susan doesn't mention Pat leaving the house for any reason. Nor does Tex.
I think we'll always have an incomplete picture of what happened in any exact chronology because people were going from memory of an event they never envisaged having to tell as opposed to being roving reporters covering something live.

grimtraveller said...

Dreath said...

The inmates......"Lack a depth of insight into the grisly crimes"

Then, now or forever ?

Robert C said...

And .... I've forgotten if Tex said he did it but could one of the women have used the knife against Parent before Tex stepped in with the gun ? That was one scenario and then as they approached the house at some point 'a' knife went into the hands of Tex to cut the screen ?

David said...

Grim said:

"Then, now or forever ?"

Forever. The quote is from Watson's latest parole hearing and I agree with it. Of course that is my opinion. Nothing I have read suggests the opposite. As soon as one of them admits to trying to hang Sharon Tate after she was mortally wounded, not before, and explains why it was done perhaps that would influence my opinion.

And Grim said: "But I do think that there are going to be things that happened that may defy explanation regardless of how evidence is interpreted."

I agree but I also believe the evidence is as clear as it can get:

Whomever stabbed Frykowski in the leg also inflicted at least one fatal wound to his back. And whomever inflicted the wounds on the other victims could not have inflicted these wounds. Since Atkins admits stabbing Frykowski in the leg, I think we can say she inflicted that fatal wound.

I also think Atkins actually tells us when she starts to leave things out (or starts lying). Right here:

Q: What happened next?
Atkins: Then he got away from me. Mr. Frykowski got away from me. He started running towards the front door which was open and screaming bloody murder, yelling for his life, for somebody to come help him. Tex went -- that whole period right there is very confusing to me. Susan Atkins Grand Jury Testimony (Kindle Locations 560-563). Kindle Edition.

From that moment of 'confusion' Tex becomes her focus and is the only one who strikes anyone. Atkins lies by omission- she leaves things out.

grimtraveller said...

Pt 1.

PAUL CARUSO: How did Frykowski get away? You didn’t tie him very well?

SA: No, but he didn’t move for a while and then – Tex proceeded to tie them up – Sebring – I had taken the rope off of him and proceeded to bind his hands with a towel I found in the bathroom. I didn’t do a very good job of that, evidently I wanted the man to get away. I don’t know, subconsciously I was thinking. I know I wasn’t thinking consciously at all. Then Tex said to him “Where’s your money” and Sharon or Abigail said “My money’s in my wallet” and Tex instructed me to go get it out of her wallet. And I untied her and she led me back and I told her, “You get it out”. She handed me $72.00 or $73.00 and said that’s all she had and said do you want my credit cards? And I said no. She put the wallet back in and I proceeded to lead her back into the living room and tied her back up and put the rope back over the beam. And one of the ladies said “what are you going to do with us and Tex said, “You’re all going to die.” And this caused immediate panic. And Tex told me to kill the big man, Frykowski, well I went over to him and I raised the knife and I hesitated. And as I hesitated, he reached up and grabbed my hair, he started pulling my hair. So I had to fight for my life as far as I was concerned. I still had the knife. Somehow he managed to turn my head, he was still holding my hair and he was behind me, he,fell in the chair behind me, that was next to the couch this way and he was fighting and I was kicking him and I proceeded to stab him three or four times in the leg and then while this was going on, Abigail started getting loose and was fighting with Katie. Linda had evidently heard some noise and went back down and sat in the car so we had no watch for the outside. Well as this went on there was a lot of confusion going on, I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I remember seeing Frykowski going outside and as he was going outside he was yelling – for his life, he was screaming, really loud. And I said Tex, help me. Do something. Tex went over and hit him 5 or 6 times over the head with the butt of the gun, broke the gun handle, the gun wouldn’t work any more, and proceeded to stab him. While he was stabbing the man was still screaming – I’m surprised nobody heard anything. And he was pretty much half dead on the porch – that’s why all the blood was there, I imagine. About this time I was holding Tate because she —

RICHARD CABALLERO: Just a minute – did Frykowski get shot?

SA: No. Not that I know of.

RC: As he was running out when – Paul, is it your recollection that Frykowski was shot?

PC: Yes.

grimtraveller said...

Pt 2
RC: As he was running out and you called to Tex, he caught up with him and grabbed him from the back – front the back, the gun wasn’t loud as you say, but couldn’t Tex have fired once and shot him in the back?

SA: He may have

RC: Frykowski had a bullet hole in his back. Now would that make sense – from the story that you’re telling us?

SA: Yes.

RC: That would not be inconsistent with anything you saw there?

SA: No, it wouldn’t.

RC: After that shooting is probably when he hit him on the head. Because he was shot.

SA: But I don’t remember him being shot.

RC: In the excitement, the gun going off, I can understand that.

SA: I was holding Sharon, I grabbed her in a neck hold –

RC: I want to ask one more question. When Tex first approached, when you called Tex to help you with Frykowski, Tex approached Frykowski, was Tex approaching, did he approach him from the back? That’s what I want to know.

PC: Frykowski was going out, wasn’t he?

SA: Yes, but I don’t remember because I was on the floor. Sharon was starting to get herself loose from the rope and the Folger girl had already broken loose and was fighting with Katie and I was just standing there watching, there wasn’t much I could do. I had given my knife, I thought, to one of the other girls, the girl that was outside. Evidently I didn’t because she didn’t have it when we left so I figured I had lost it in the house, which threw paranoia into me as we left. I went over and got Sharon and put her in a head lock. She didn’t fight me, I just held her. Then she was begging me to let her go so she could a her baby and Katie was calling for me to help her because Folger was bigger than Katie and Katie had long, long hair. She was pulling on Katie’s hair and Katie was calling for me to help her. So I called to Tex to do something. Tex came back into the house and reached up to stab Folger and she looked at him and said, “You’ve got me, I give up” and Tex stabbed her and she was on the floor. I think he stabbed her in the stomach because I saw her grab down here. And then Tex went back outside because the other man, Frykowski, had gone outside and was on the lawn by then, still running and calling for help and he proceeded to continue killing him

A mad scene all round.
I'm curious about 2 things, one was that Susan told Kitty Lutesinger that she'd stabbed a guy 3 or 4 times in the legs and he pulled her hair. Nothing about stabbing him anywhere else or in any other context. What's interesting is that it was a private, pre~arrest chat which indicates that it might be truthful.
I'm also curious as to whether Susan, during the calamitous penalty phase when she said she stabbed Sharon, ever attested to stabbing Frykowski anywhere other than the legs.
What she apparently said to Virginia Graham that VG related during the trial needs to be put into context because Atkins also told her {as VG states in her 26/11/69 police interview} that she'd stabbed Gary Hinman 4 or 5 times ~ and we know that isn't true. What Graham relates in the cop interview is almost the same as Atkins' other statements that you quote from ~ even though she freely admits to stabbing Sharon in them. Why draw the line at admitting she stabbed Frykowski ?

grimtraveller said...

That is, why not, if she was bigging herself up to Virginia Graham as this murderer of Gary Hinman and Sharon Tate {both of which we know didn't happen} would she only admit to fighting with Frykowski and stabbing him in the legs ? Why not go the whole hog to Lutesinger, Graham and Howard and admit to doing in Frykowski too ?
Just the scene she describes above and the fact that she cannot remember something so blam blam in yer face as someone being shot twice, shows the confusion she's talking about. If you take it out of the context of us reading it coldly on a page and picture 3 or 4 things happening very fast at the same time and rolling into each other and Tex being called upon to assist in each of the happenings with doors opening and people running away and someone crying and someone dying and blood flying.....
Who'd want to be an investigator ?
Of course when all is said and done, Atkins could have dealt a fatal blow to Frykowski, just as Van Houten could have done so to Rosemary LaBianca the next night. But to me Atkins' one looks much more doubtful, admittedly, given what all the talking parties have said on the matter.

grimtraveller said...

Robert C said...

I've forgotten if Tex said he did it but could one of the women have used the knife against Parent before Tex stepped in with the gun ?

When I first started reading the debates on various TLB sites this was one of the raging debates that I noticed doing the rounds. There was speculation that Linda had actually slashed at Parent after he'd been shot, that Pat had slashed at Parent.....
When I raised a quizzical eye, I got told off and it was put to me that if one was simply going to go with the narrative that no one has yet disputed including the 4 that were actually there, then what was the point of even engaging in discussions ?
But no Robert, what you propose is just an internet conspiracy theory. Even in the penalty phase debacle, there's no disputing Tex as the killer of Parent. It's kind of a "re~write the scene and let your imagination run wild" kind of thing.

David said...

Grim said: "But to me Atkins' one looks much more doubtful, admittedly, given what all the talking parties have said on the matter."

I agree with you if you ignore the physical evidence. My evidence professor in law school used to have a saying the difference between physical evidence and eyewitnesses os that physical evidence can't lie.

grimtraveller said...

Physical evidence can't lie but even physical evidence needs interpretation as it is neutral. It is incontrovertible that Watson and Krenwinkel were at Cielo Drive. Their prints were there. It is another step altogether to say that they committed murder. The physical evidence proved nothing other than they were there at some point. It is Atkins' eyewitness account, not the physical evidence that got them indicted and it was Kasabian's eyewitness account that helped convict them.

bucpaul2812 said...

AustinAnn74 said...

"I have always thought the technicians & police screwed up the crime scene. There was cross contamination, blood mixups, etc. The evidence doesn't really support the narrative of the crime according to the putos responsible for the carnage. Will the public ever know exactly what happened? No, probably not"

This totally puts me in mind of the Jeffrey MacDonald case that happened about 6 months later. Almost identical to what happened at Cielo Drive, thr crime scene in the MacDonald case was rife with cross contamination, blood mixups, etc. We even have accounts of NEIGHBOURS being allowed to walk round a crime scene that wasn't cordoned off. I know forensics at the time was pretty much in its' infancy compared to now and DNA profiling didn't exist but still...I get the general impression cross contamination of crime scenes were pretty much part and parcel of the territory during that era.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grimtraveller said...

cielodrivecom said...

I don't think anyone is suggesting anything radically different happened. The thrust of events is still the same

While the thrust is still the same, Susan Atkins fatally stabbing Wogiciech Frykowski to death with less emphasis on Charles Watson being the only one would be pretty radically different.

David said...

Grim said: "........Susan Atkins fatally stabbing Wogiciech Frykowski to death....... "

Which is precisely what happened. In fact it is the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence.

Although Watson added a few dozen of his won.

Vickie said...

This is the only logical conclusion.