Monday, May 31, 2021

Barker Ranch - Strange RV Tours



Monday, May 24, 2021

Shorty Shea: Wrongful Death Lawsuit

March 18, 1971 a lawsuit by Phyllis Shea on behalf of herself and daughter Karen Shea was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.  The suit named Charles Manson, Bruce Davis, Steve Grogan, John Doe Grogan, Mary Doe Grogan and Doe’s 1 through 20, inclusive as the defendants.

 The suit asks for 1.5 million to be awarded to the plaintiffs for the wrongful death of Donald Jerome “Shorty” Shea, husband of Phyllis and father to Karen.  Phyllis claims in the suit that Shorty was the sole support for her and her daughter and that she and her daughter are his sole surviving heirs.

John Doe Grogan and Mary Doe Grogan are Steve Grogan’s parents.  The plaintiff’s attorneys were not privy to Steve’s parents first names at the time the suit was filed, nor were the names ever produced during the time the suit was still “live.”  Steve was under the age of 21 when Shorty’s murder was committed therefore his parents could held financially responsible for his actions.  As an aside, Leslie Van Houten is commonly referred to as being the youngest member of the Family to be convicted of murder when, in fact, Steve Grogan was the youngest member of the Family to be charged and convicted of murder.  He had turned 18 years old about three weeks prior to Shorty’s death.  Leslie turned 20 two weeks after the LaBianca murders.

Phyllis Shea was living in Sonoma California at the time the suit was filed and she retained two Napa California attorneys to handle the lawsuit.  Both of those attorneys have since passed.  It’s quite possible that Phyllis was still married to Shorty at the time of his death.  There are no records of a divorce.  Shorty would have committed bigamy with his subsequent two marriages after Phyllis.   Shorty and Phyllis did not live together for very long after their marriage.  They were separated before daughter Karen was born.

It’s doubtful that Shorty contributed financially to Phyllis or Karen for any length of time after their break-up.  Shorty never had much money and always had trouble keeping up with his bills.  Added to that, Phyllis met another man and had four children with him between 1963 and 1969.  She later married this man in 1982 and according to her 2016 obituary they were together for 54 years.

The 76 pages of the lawsuit are not complete, you can tell that there are missing pages but they are all that I received from my request to the Archives and Records Center at the Los Angeles courthouse.  The suit was eventually dismissed in 1978 due to no parties in the suit making an appearance in court at their last scheduled court date.

PDF file download (202mb file - takes time to download)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Lesley Chilcott ('Helter Skelter' documentary) on the continuing fascination with Charles Manson [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Tony Ruiz
Emmys May 11, 2021 4:00PM

"We all wanted to do an anthropological dig into the time," declares Lesley Chilcott about the Epix documentary series "Helter Skelter: An American Myth." The series is an in-depth examination of Charles Manson and his followers culminating in the brutal murders of several people — including the actress Sharon Tate — in 1969. Chilcott, producer of acclaimed documentaries such as "Waiting for Superman" and the Oscar-winning "An Inconvenient Truth," acts as director of the six-episode series and is one of the show’s executive producers. In our exclusive video interview (watch above) Chilcott explains why it was important to avoid what she calls "the tabloid-esque coverage" of the Manson family.

Chilcott says that she took on the project in part because she never understood the public’s fascination with Manson, who died in 2017 while serving a life sentence. The director now says that it is the nature of the crimes that explains Manson’s continued presence in pop culture rather than the man himself. "I think it’s because the puzzle pieces don’t fit," she explains. "What possessed these seemingly normal boys ad girls from down the road to join what was most assuredly a cult, and some of them commit these horrific unspeakable crimes? And it’s still not understandable."

Chilcott spoke to some of those "family members" who followed Manson and readily admits that she will never fully understand the hold that Manson had on them. "On the one hand, it makes me think that it could have happened to a fair amount of people," she says. "On the other hand, it was a very unique time in history." Chilcott points to the Vietnam War, racial unrest and the invention of LSD as the perfect atmosphere for Manson’s ability to bring young people into his orbit. "You isolate [his followers] out on Spawn Ranch," she explains. "You give each person a new name. You alternate with sex and love and abuse. You keep the news and time and television away from the people. That’s what we know now as a classic cult."

In examining the political and social undercurrents of Manson’s era, Chilcott sees disturbing parallels with current society. "What we have now that we had then was that we have a lot of mayhem," she declares. "After a while, people don’t have the tools to process all of this mayhem, so they fall in and they follow a person who could be lying to them day after day but they repeat the same phrases over and over again. That’s not that different from now."

However, Chilcott emphasizes that Manson wasn’t worthy of the mythology that surrounded him in his life. "I kind of wanted to knock him off of that pedestal," she exclaims. "Number one because he doesn’t deserve a pedestal. And number two, he was a small time con artist with some really good raps and these desperate acts got out of control. He did a lot of horrible things, but was he a mastermind planner that should be idolized in that way? No."

Monday, May 3, 2021

Murderabilia or Mementos

Recently Debra Tate gave an interview to TMZ regarding items that were up for sale at Ebay proporting to be things that her sister Sharon owned. Debra claims the items are fake and never owned or worn by Sharon and she's probably correct. TMZ

Scroll through the gallery, whoever listed these items was sure asking quite a bit for the things. By the time I went to Ebay to look at the items and see who the seller was everything was taken down, presumably by Ebay. I doubt that everything would have sold in that short time. 

Correction!  Someone sent me links to the items for sale on Ebay.  I used the wrong search terms.

I find it disgusting that people would try to make money selling phony things that were supposedly related to a murder victim or some other tragedy. 

But what about selling the belongings of a victim or someone convicted of a heinous crime through a legitimate auction house where they have been authenticated. I'm talking about bona fide auction houses that do not solely sell things from convicted killers or crime scenes but places that sell all manner of items from antiques to zithers. 

 A couple of auctions that come to mind are one in Canada that sold items from the collection of Billy Jamieson in 2014 and the more recent 2019 auction of Manson related things from the estate of Nuel Emmons. In the case of the Emmons auction all of lots were accrued during the writing of his book. 

You can see the prices realized HERE , once on this page click on "Past Auctions" to see the prices.

And, there was the auction house in Georgia that sold the bed that Abigail Folger slept in at Cielo Drive. 

Debra Tate auctioned off a large number of her sister, Sharon Tate's things, too, at the very legitimate Julien's in Los Angeles. You can see the prices realized HERE

Then there are the so called Murderabilia websites Serial Killers Ink, Super Naught, Murder Auction, Redrum and others. The lots for sale at these sites are a little more dodgy and not necessarily gunuine. These sites generally deal solely in items related to killers. 

But, is there a difference between the legit auction houses and the Murderabila websites in the end? They all sell the same type of items and bank on the fact that the notoriety of the person or crime will bring big bucks to the sellers. 

Sharon's wedding dress sold to Zak Bagan's for a whopping $56,250.00 plus buyers premium and tax. He is now featuring the dress at his Las Vegas "Haunted Museum" where the price of admission is $48 per person and people stand in line for hours to enter. The dress is not displayed with Bagan's Manson booty but in a different area of the building. 

Debra was reportedly told by the auction house that "no one with morbid intentions would be allowed to purchase any of her beloved sister's items." How can the auction house make that guarantee? How can Debra not expect that when someone pays a grand or more for something that they will do what they damn well please with it? How would anyone know if an item was purchased by a straw buyer? 

There was a podcast this last week with Nancy Grace on the subject of Murderabilia with a number of people with knowledge on the subject.   Crime Stories with Nancy Grace

If you don't do Apple, just Google, it's available at other podcast websites. 

What do you think about Murderabilia? Would you buy something that belonged to a victim or killer? Would you tell anyone if you did? Do people like Emmons estate and Debra contribute to the situation by selling their loved one's things?  Do they open the door for the unscrupulous to take advantage of people?