Monday, May 8, 2017

Sadie's Stroll

The official narrative tells us that Linda Kasabian returned to the walkway just outside the house at Cielo Drive while the murders were taking place. She stood at the location marked by the "LK" in this picture. When Kasabian reached the "LK" she saw Wojciech Frykowski fall through the bushes at the

north end of the porch  that location is marked too but barely visible to the right in the photograph. When she arrived, Susan Atkins came out of the house and a short conversation ensued between Atkins and Kasabian. This included the emotionally charged plea by Kasabian to ‘make it stop’. Atkins then suddenly remembered her missing knife and went back inside. Sharon Tate was allegedly alive at this time, alone and inside sitting on the couch. Krenwinkel was chasing Abigail Folger across the front lawn and Watson was attacking Frykowski a short distance to her left (also marked on the photograph as "A” and “F 2" respectively).

The only eyewitness to report this event is Linda Kasabian.

Here is what Kasabian said about the event the two times she testified.

At the Tate-LaBianca trial……

Q. (Bugliosi) You say you ran toward the house?
A. I ran toward the house.
Q. The house you ran to is the one that is shown in People's 4 for identification?
A. Yes.
Q. What happened after you ran toward the house?
A. There was a man just entering out of the door and he had blood all over his face and he was standing by a post, and we looked into each other's eyes for a minute, I don't know however long, and I said, "Oh, God, I am so sorry. Please make it stop." And then he just fell to the ground into the bushes.

And then Sadie came running out of the house, and I said, "Sadie, please make it stop." And then I said, "People are coming." And she said, "It's too late." And then she told me that she left her knife and she couldn't find it. And while this was going on, the man had gotten up, and I saw Tex on top of him, hitting him on the head and stabbing him, and the man was struggling, and then I saw Katie in the background with the girl, chasing after her with an upraised knife, and I just turned and ran to the car down at the bottom of the hill.
Q. Now, when you told Sadie that people were coming, was that the truth?
A. No.
Q. Why did you tell her that?
MR. KANAREK: Immaterial, your Honor.
THE COURT: Overruled.
A. Because I just wanted them to stop.

Q. After Sadie told you that she had lost her knife inside the house, what did Sadie do, if you recall?
A. I believe she started to run back into the house. 

And at the Watson Trial…..

Q: What is the next thing that happened when you ran towards the house?
A: A man came out of the front door and he was staggering and he had blood all over his face and he looked at me and I looked at him. He was leaning against the pole and he fell.
Q: To his left or to hit right?
A: Towards me -- to my right.
Q: To your right, which would be to his left?
A: Yeah.
Q: What is the next thing that happened?
A: Sadie came running out and I said to her, I said, "Sadie, please, make him stop"; I said, "People are coming."
Q: Were people, in fact, coming?
A: No, I don't think so.
Q: Why did you tell Sadie that?
A: I don't know. I was afraid; I just wanted her to stop; and she said something about that she left her knife in the house, something like that, and then the next thing I knew, the man was right there that had fallen down and Tex was right there and he was hitting him over- the head and just kept stabbing him and stabbing him and stabbing him to the ground; and Katie was in the background chasing a woman. She had a knife and I just turned and I ran back to the bottom of the hill to the car, and I laid on the ground.

Look at the underlined parts. Notice the change? In Watson’s trial Kasabian is suddenly directing her emotional plea directly at Watson. At the previous trial it is a more general request- a subtle difference that makes me want to ask her why she changed her testimony.

Where's Linda?

In order for Sadie's Stroll to have occurred Kasabian has to return to the area near the front door marked by the “LK” in the picture. If this never happened then the stroll never happened. So stepping into the shoes of Bugliosi does any other evidence corroborate her story?


Watson, in his book, Will You Die For Me, seems to lend some support to Kasabian's claim.
“He [Frykowski] was enormously powerful, fighting for his life as he dragged the two of us [Tex and Sadie] across the hall toward the front door, knocking over the trunks.
As we staggered out onto the front porch, he kept screaming, “Help me. Oh God, help me!” I
stabbed him over and over, blindly, the whole world spinning and turning as red as the blood that was smearing and spattering everywhere. Finally I shot him twice and he slumped onto the stone porch.

I looked up and realized Linda was standing on the walk, staring at me in horror. She must have been there when we first came out, as well, since I could suddenly remember her screaming to Sadie, “Make it stop!” and Sadie shrieking back that it was too late.”

If we assume Watson 'wrote' his book after reviewing the 'Tex Tapes' (or if Chaplin Ray acted as editor after listening to them) his statement might be reliable as those tapes were recorded before the memories of the eyewitnesses could be influenced by the statements of others (but not his own self interest).

There are some differences between his account and Kasabian's account. Watson claims he and Atkins were carried out the door in combat with Frykowski. He claims he shot Frykowski on the front porch where he then fell. He places Kasabian at the scene when Frykowski is shot and when he first falls onto the porch. Kasabian reports none of these events.

These differences mean Watson’s account doesn’t corroborate Kasabian because when these events occur, according to Kasabian, Kasabian is not even present. Remember she arrives as Frykowski is stumbling out the door, alone. He then staggers and falls through the bushes. She next sees Watson on the lawn although she oddly doesn’t describe how he got there. Why ‘oddly’? Look at the picture. They must have crossed the walkway directly at her feet.

Watson does corroborate the ‘make it stop’ discussion. The problem I have with his report is how he phrases his recall saying that Kasabian 'must have been' present and places that incident chronologically before he remembers seeing Kasabian. He assumes she must have been there before he noticed her. His memory, as written, is strikingly similar, in my opinion, to what I would expect with ‘eyewitness conformity’- what happens after an eyewitness hears another witness describe the events and uses that second witness to fill in the gaps in his own memory of the incident. And, of course, his memory of this incident doesn’t line up chronologically with Kasabians: Atkins isn’t engaged with Frykowski when the statement is made and Watson is over in the yard.


Atkins certainly doesn't support Kasabian's testimony. In fact, on the two occasions, once in an interview with her attorneys, Caballero and Caruso and once before the Grand Jury she never mentions the stroll. Instead, Atkins claims both times that Kasabian is 'missing in action' during these events.

Atkins: Then he motioned for us to come and stand behind the couch and we left Linda outside to listen for sounds.
Atkins: 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., Interview of Susan Atkins by Caballero and Caruso, December 1, 1969.
Q: Did all of you girls enter at that time?
A: Only two of us entered, one stayed outside.
Q: Who stayed outside?
A: Linda Kasabian.

Q: Do you know where she was outside?
A: No, I don't.

Q: You saw Tex stab Abigail three or four times?
A: Yes, While he was doing that Katie and I were looking for Linda because she wasn't anywhere around. In fact, we started calling for her. We didn't want to call too loud, and then Tex walked over to Frykowski and kicked him in the head.

Q: Were you looking for Linda at that point?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you know where Linda was?
A: No.

Q: Is this the electric button?
A: Yes, and we proceeded to walk down the hill to the car. When we got to the car we saw Linda Kasabian in the car. Susan Atkins Grand Jury Testimony (Kindle Locations: various). Kindle Edition.

Atkins goes so far as to suggest no one knew where Kasabian was. She had disappeared. Atkins and Krenwinkel are described wandering about the grounds calling her name. The stroll is never mentioned.

Now, Atkins does make a statement that is at least interesting.

Atkins: Linda had evidently heard some noise and went back down and sat in the car so we had no watch for the outside., Interview of Susan Atkins by Caballero and Caruso, December 1, 1969.

This means at some point Kasabian probably did say she heard a noise. Put there is no context for the statement meaning it might have been Kasabian’s excuse for returning to the car. In fact, that seems to be what Leslie Van Houten is alluding to further down.

A few years later Atkins changes her whole story (not a surprise) and Kasabian is suddenly there but in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
“Strangely, right in the middle of the battle for life [with Frykowski, inside the house], Linda came into the house, obviously terrified, horror-stricken. “Do something!” she screamed. “Sadie, can’t you stop it?”

Still struggling, I somehow managed to converse with her. “No, I can’t do anything!” I yelled.”

Slosser, Bob; Atkins, Susan. Child of Satan, Child of God (p. 141). Menelorelin Dorenay’s Publishing. Kindle Edition.

In Atkins’ rewrite of history she actually has Kasabian enter the house twice. In one of the most bizarre twists, Atkins, who spent most of her adult life trying to prove she didn’t kill Sharon Tate, actually uses the second occasion to put a knife back in her hand. A fourth knife, it should be noted, that cannot exist based on her and Kasabian's statements.
Just then, Linda came back in. “Give me your knife,” I yelled. “I’ve lost mine.” Apparently Linda did give me her knife, for I soon had another one. My own turned out to have fallen between cushions on the couch and was to be found by the police the next day.

Slosser, Bob; Atkins, Susan. Child of Satan, Child of God (p. 141). Menelorelin Dorenay’s Publishing. Kindle Edition.

But at about the same time she was telling us Kasabian entered the house twice she told the parole board it was once. 

“Board Member DeLeon: Who went into the house with you originally?

Inmate Atkins: Pat Krenwinkel, Tex Watson, myself and Linda Kasabian was told to stay outside and watch. She only came in one time.”, Transcript of Atkins' 1978 Parole Hearing

But again, no stroll. 


In her 2016 parole hearing Krenwinkel also places Kasabian in the house but in her case she has her leave before the mayhem begins and never sees her until it is over.
INMATE KRENWINKEL: Then, when we got inside the house, I think it was -- I'm trying to remember. When we first got in the house there was a man on the sofa and I believe that was Mr. Frykowski. And he was in -- and he was on the sofa. And of course he asked, you know, what are you doing here. And at first, Tex just tried to, was -- said, oh we, something -- we want your money. And he asked -- and he said for any, and he looked down the hall and he told us, Susan to go down the hall and see if anybody was there besides the man there. And he had a, he had a gun on him, Tex had a gun on him. And Susan -- and so Susan went down the hall and I'm -- I think, I'm trying to remember when he told, he told Linda to go out and keep watch. So Linda went out and Susan went down the hall and she came back and said, yes there's, you know, there's some people in a, in a bedroom.
But it’s not surprising Krenwinkel is little help because Kasabian never mentions any interaction with her and Krenwinkel removes herself completely from any contact with the rest after she attacks Folger.

INMATE KRENWINKEL: I stabbed her. And she pled for her life and I continued to stab her. And then, eventually, I went and I heard Tex on the porch and he was, he was fighting with someone on the porch and I went over and told him that I didn't really know if she was still alive or dead. And he told me to go to the back house and kill anyone that was there.
INMATE KRENWINKEL: And so I went to --
INMATE KRENWINKEL: I went to the back house.
INMATE KRENWINKEL: And I just stood there. I didn't enter.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER CHAPPELL: Okay. And how come you didn't enter?
INMATE KRENWINKEL: I just didn't. I didn't. I just stopped. I just didn't.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER CHAPPELL: And you -- but you don't know why you stopped? I mean, you're at a point, right, where you, I mean, you just told us that if you didn't do what was told to you, what was instructed to you, you know, you would be killed or you would be sacrificed.
INMATE KRENWINKEL: I just couldn't continue on. 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.
INMATE KRENWINKEL: And we went down to the car.
So under Krenwinkel’s version of events Kasabian is sent off by Watson to stand guard and is never seen again. Notice, however, the timing and location of Watson’s command to go check the guest house. This should have been right about the time Kasabian arrived on the scene. Kasabian is not mentioned.

Leslie Van Houten

And while Leslie Van Houten wasn't present that night her 'mentor', Krenwinkel told her what happened.

Miss Van Houten: *** And then the next morning Sadie was watching the news, I think. Somehow I found out that they had done it. Oh, no. I asked Katie, and she told me.
MR. PART: What did she say?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: She said that — that they had murdered five people; that they didn’t know there were going to be that many at the house; and they didn’t know who the people were; and there were a whole lot of them.
MR. PART: Well, was Katie — this Patricia Krenwinkel was she out on — in the Tate murders?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Um-hmm, yes.
MR. PART: The so-called — the Tate murders?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Tex and Sadie and Katie were on the inside, and Linda was supposed to be on the outside.
That’s the way the story
And then —
So I was feeling kind of bad, because I didn’t get to go.
I was sure hoping that if we did it again I could go.
MR. PART: Why in the world would you want to go out and kill somebody?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Because it had to be done. It had to be done just in order for the whole thing to be completed, for the whole world’s karma to be completed we had to do this., Interview of Leslie Van Houten by Marvin Part, December 29, 1969.

Notice how Van Houten describes Kasabian’s role. She was 'supposed to be' outside. In my experience this is usually followed by a 'but' which usually then confirms that she 'wasn't'. This is just the kind of thing that makes me go 'hmmm'. 

One piece of physical evidence corroborates Kasabian's story.  That is the broken bushes on the north end of the porch where she claimed to have seen Frykowski fall. If she wasn’t there how would she know about the bushes unless you subscribe to the theory Bugliosi told her? 

Although the testimony of her co-conspirators provides more questions then answers about her actual presence on that night let's give Kasabian the benefit of the doubt based on that broken bush. Certainly, we know Atkins does tend to leave important parts of the events on these two nights out of her reports whether she is under oath or not. Krenwinkel didn’t interact with Kasabian. Van Houten wasn't there and while Watson places her at the right place at the wrong time he at least places her on the walkway.

The problem I have is the stroll just doesn’t make any sense to me unless Sharon Tate is unable to act.

The Stroll and Sharon Tate

Several people have approached the question this way: why didn't Sharon Tate run? One site even said she tried and Krenwinkel stopped her. I tend to align with those who think Sharon’s lack of action in the face of wanting to protect her unborn child is at least, curious. After all she had been told they were all going to die and she saw everyone else attacked or killed. Why not get up and run, arm yourself, go lock the front door, hide in the bathroom, climb up in the loft and pull the ladder up or just climb up there. But that isn't my point. 

I’d like you to look at this from Atkins' perspective: Why would Atkins leave Sharon Tate sitting alone on the couch and walk outside? I have never been able to satisfactorily answer this question.

I can think of four possible reasons and none of them make sense to me:

1. To help Watson
2. To help Krenwinkel
3. Some other reason
4. She was leaving the scene of the crime- it was over

#1 and #2- helping Watson and Krenwinkel. Atkins doesn’t have a knife. You could say she was going to go hold the victims down, I suppose. Of course, that, then, asks us to understand her motivation. Why would she think going to help was necessary when she was inside when she originally made the decision to take the stroll. Maybe a better way to put it is why did she think that was more important then guarding Sharon Tate.

Then I’m left with this: if Atkins was going outside to help someone why didn't she actually help someone and instead just turn around and go back inside? I guess she might have thought she had her knife tucked in her belt or something (she wasn’t wearing a belt). She then might have realized she didn’t have her knife right then and headed back inside to get it so she could help. But since she didn’t have a place to put the knife that would mean she suddenly realized she didn’t have it in her hand. 

#3 is the catch all. What would be important enough to leave Sharon unattended? I couldn’t come up with anything that made sense to me. I couldn’t think of any other reason Atkins would walk out that door.

Maybe you could argue it was to get another knife? Remember there are three knives. Kasabian doesn’t have one and Atkins, Krenwinkel and Watson clearly do and Atkins knows this. In her book she does ask Kasabian for her knife but that happens inside the house. According to Kasabian, Atkins doesn’t ask for Kasabian’s knife. And Atkins actually says ‘oops I forgot my knife’ and goes back inside, something she wouldn’t say if she wanted one from Kasabian.

To me that event- going back in to get her knife- is the key to #3. Every reason I could think of seemed to fall apart when Atkins goes back inside to get her knife. In other words, something important enough to bring Atkins away from Sharon Tate and outside, would seem to demand that it be completed. Let’s say she was bringing Watson a knife or someone on her end called for help. She doesn’t finish the act that is the motivation for stepping outside. She turns around and goes back inside and doesn't come back out at least as long as Kasabian is present.

To me that leaves #4 as the only possibility: She was leaving or at least there is nothing to take care of inside the house. To me this is the only explanation that makes sense but it means Sharon Tate was already dead or dying. When Atkins confronts Kasabian she is concerned about her missing knife, not Sharon Tate. When Kasabian confronts Atkins she is leaving the house. Absolutely nothing described by Kasabian suggests anything other than Atkins was leaving the scene or had no intention of going back inside until suddenly remembered she had misplaced her knife back inside. If the stroll happened I think Atkins' actions are telling us Sharon Tate was already incapacitated. She didn’t need to be concerned about what Sharon Tate might do.

Did the stroll happen: In my opinion not if Sharon Tate was alive. No one has ever provided a satisfactory explanation to me why Atkins left Sharon Tate alone, walked outside and returned to get her knife. I think this event may have happened but that Sharon Tate was already mortally wounded. In fact, since I don't trust the eyewitnesses, I think the evidence establishes that this is indeed the scenario. 

One Last Jab At Linda

Look at this picture (to the right). It is taken from within a few feet of the Kasabian “LK" in the picture
above, looking in the direction of the pool in broad daylight. Yes, it was taken after the events of that night. You can't see the pool. But Kasabian says, at night, from here, with her line of sight further obscured by looking through light from the porch into darkness in the distance, she saw the pool:

Q. Do you recognize the gate here?
A. The gate, yes; and the driveway and the buildings; even the swimming pool. 
Q. You say even the swimming pool. Did you notice the swimming pool that night?
A. Yes. When I went back I got a faint glimpse of it.
Look carefully. Can you see the pool? Per Kasabian, this is as close as she ever got to the pool. Forget what others have said. This is what Kasabian said she could see. Can you? Now look at this one (left-top). Can you see her location from here? I can’t. It should be behind that leaning tree. I especially can't see it when that night it probably looked like this (above). 

Of course there is at least one location where Kasabian could have easily  'caught a glimpse' of the pool regardless of the lighting. That would be right, here (lower left). That would place her inside the Cielo Drive that night and that, of course, would mean that she lied. 

[The defense asked for a jury view of the crime scene, for some reason Bugliosi objected and the court ruled against it.]