Tate murders

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Tate murders
Location 10050 Cielo Drive
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Coordinates 34°05′38″N118°25′57″W / 34.09389°N 118.43250°W / 34.09389; -118.43250 Coordinates: 34°05′38″N118°25′57″W / 34.09389°N 118.43250°W / 34.09389; -118.43250
DateAugust 8–9, 1969
Target Home invasion
Attack type
Mass murder, stabbing
Weapons .22 caliber revolver, pocketknife
Perpetrators Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Charles "Tex" Watson

The Tate murders were a mass murder conducted by members of the Manson Family on August 8–9, 1969, which claimed the lives of five people. Four members of the Manson Family invaded the rented home of married celebrity couple, actress Sharon Tate and director Roman Polanski at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles. They murdered Tate, who was eight and a half months pregnant, along with three friends who were visiting at the time, and an 18-year-old visitor, who was slain as he was departing the home. Polanski was not present on the night of the murders, as he was working on a film in Europe.

Mass murder act of murdering a large number of people

Mass murder is the act of murdering a number of people, typically simultaneously or over a relatively short period of time and in close geographic proximity. The FBI defines mass murder as murdering four or more people during an event with no "cooling-off period" between the murders. A mass murder typically occurs in a single location where one or more people kill several others.

Manson Family Place in California, United States

The Manson Family was a desert commune and cult active in California in the late 1960s. Led by Charles Manson, the group consisted of approximately 100 of his followers who lived an unconventional lifestyle with habitual use of hallucinogenic drugs. Most of the group members were young women from middle-class backgrounds, many of whom were radicalized by Manson's teachings and drawn by hippie culture and communal living.

Celebrity is the fame and public attention accorded by the mass media to individuals or groups or, occasionally, animals, but is usually applied to the persons or groups of people themselves who receive such a status of fame and attention. Celebrity status is often associated with wealth, while fame often provides opportunities to earn revenue.


The murders were carried out by Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel, under the direction of Charles Manson. Watson drove Atkins, Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian from Spahn Ranch to the residence on Cielo Drive. Manson, a would-be musician, had previously attempted to enter into a recording contract with record producer Terry Melcher, who was a previous renter (from May 1966 to Jan. 1969) of the house along with musician Mark Lindsay and Melcher's then-girlfriend, actress Candice Bergen. Melcher had snubbed Manson, leaving him disgruntled.

Tex Watson Manson family member, convicted murderer

Charles Denton Watson Jr., better known as Tex Watson, is an American murderer who was a central member of the "Manson family" led by Charles Manson. On August 9, 1969, Watson and other Manson followers murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other people at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles. The next night, Watson traveled to Los Feliz, Los Angeles, and participated in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, as part of Manson's "Helter Skelter" vision. Watson was found guilty of murder and imprisoned in 1971.

Susan Atkins Convicted murderer and member of the "Manson family"

Susan Denise Atkins was a convicted American murderer who was a member of Charles Manson's "Family". Manson's followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations in California, over a period of five weeks in the summer of 1969. Known within the Manson family as Sadie Mae Glutz or Sexy Sadie, Atkins was convicted for her participation in eight of these killings, including the most notorious, the Tate murders in 1969. She was sentenced to death, which was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment when the California Supreme Court invalidated all death sentences issued prior to 1972. Atkins was later incarcerated until her death in 2009. At the time of her death, she was California's longest-serving female inmate.

Patricia Krenwinkel American murderer and a former member of Charles Mansons "Family"

Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel is an American murderer and a former member of Charles Manson's "Family". During her time with Manson's group, she was known by various aliases such as Big Patty, Yellow, Marnie Reeves and Mary Ann Scott, but to The Family she was most commonly known as Katie.


Sharon Tate in a still from a film trailer; she was murdered by the Manson Family. Sharon Tate in Eye of the Devil trailer 5.jpg
Sharon Tate in a still from a film trailer; she was murdered by the Manson Family.

On the night of August 8, 1969, Tex Watson took Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to "that house where Melcher used to live," as Manson had instructed him, to "totally destroy everyone in [it], as gruesome as you can". [1] :463–468 [2] Manson had told the women to do as Watson would instruct them. [1] :176–184, 258–269 Krenwinkel was one of the early Family members and had allegedly been picked up by Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys while hitchhiking. [1] :250–253

Linda Darlene Kasabian is a former member of Charles Manson's "Family". She was the key witness in District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi's prosecution of Manson and his followers for the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Dennis Wilson American musician, member of the Beach Boys

Dennis Carl Wilson was an American musician, singer, and songwriter who co-founded the Beach Boys. He is best remembered as their drummer and as the middle brother of bandmates Brian and Carl Wilson. Dennis was the only true surfer in the Beach Boys, and his personal life exemplified the "California Myth" that the band's early songs often celebrated. He was also known for his brief association with Charles Manson, a songwriter and cult leader who was later convicted of several murders.

The Beach Boys Rock band from Hawthorne, California

The Beach Boys are an American rock band formed in Hawthorne, California, in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and their friend Al Jardine. Distinguished by their vocal harmonies and early surf songs, they are one of the most influential acts of the rock era. The band drew on the music of jazz-based vocal groups, 1950s rock and roll, and black R&B to create their unique sound, and with Brian as composer, arranger, producer, and de facto leader, they often incorporated classical elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways.

The occupants of the house at 10050 Cielo Drive that evening, all of whom were strangers to the Manson followers, were movie actress and fashion model Sharon Tate, who was eight-and-a half months pregnant and the wife of film director Roman Polanski; her friend and former lover Jay Sebring, a noted hairstylist; Polanski's friend and aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski; and Frykowski's lover Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folger coffee fortune, and daughter of Peter Folger. [1] :28–38 Polanski was in Europe working on a film project; Tate had accompanied him, but returned home three weeks earlier. Music producer Quincy Jones, a friend of Sebring, had planned to join him that evening, but did not go. [3]

10050 Cielo Drive former home of Sharon Tate and site of her murder

10050 Cielo Drive is the street address of a former luxury home in Benedict Canyon, a part of Beverly Crest, north of Beverly Hills, California, where the Charles Manson "family" committed the Tate murders in 1969.

Sharon Tate American actress, model and murder victim

Sharon Marie Tate Polanski was an American actress and model. During the 1960s, she played small television roles before appearing in films and was regularly featured in fashion magazines as a model and cover girl. After receiving positive reviews for her comedic and dramatic acting performances, Tate was hailed as one of Hollywood's most promising newcomers.

Roman Polanski French-Polish film director, producer, writer, and actor

Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański is a French-Polish film director, producer, writer, and actor. Since 1978, he has been a fugitive from the U.S. criminal justice system, having fled the country while awaiting sentencing in his sexual abuse case, where he pleaded guilty to statutory rape.

When the murderers arrived at the entrance to the property, Watson, who had been to the house on at least one other occasion, climbed a telephone pole near the entrance gate and cut the phone line to prevent telephone access to the house. [4] At that point it was after midnight, August 9, 1969.[ citation needed ]

The group backed their car to the bottom of the hill that led to the estate, parked, and walked back up to the house. Thinking the gate might be electrified or rigged with an alarm, they climbed a brushy embankment to the right of the gate and entered the grounds. [1] :176–184

Just then, headlights approached them from farther within the angled property. Watson ordered the women to lie in the bushes. He stepped out and ordered the approaching driver to halt. Eighteen-year-old student Steven Parent had been visiting the property's caretaker, William Garretson, who lived in the property's guest house. As Watson leveled a .22-caliber revolver at Parent, the frightened youth begged Watson not to hurt him, claiming that he would not say anything. Watson lunged at Parent with a knife, giving him a defensive slash wound on the palm of his hand (severing tendons and tearing the boy's watch off his wrist), then shot him four times in the chest and abdomen, killing him. Watson ordered the women to help push the car further up the driveway. [1] :22–25 [2]

After traversing the front lawn and having Kasabian search for an open window to the main house, Watson cut the screen of a window. Watson told Kasabian to keep watch down by the gate; she walked over to Parent's AMC Ambassador and waited. [1] :258–269 [1] :176–184 [2] Watson removed the screen, entered through the window, and let Atkins and Krenwinkel in through the front door. [1] :176–184

As Watson whispered to Atkins, a sleeping Frykowski awoke on the living room couch; Watson kicked him in the head. [2] When Frykowski asked him who he was and what he was doing there, Watson replied: "I'm the devil, and I'm here to do the devil's business." [1] :176–184 [2]

On Watson's direction, Atkins found the house's three other occupants and, with Krenwinkel's help, [1] :176–184, 297–300 forced them to the living room. Watson began to tie Tate and Sebring together by their necks with rope he had brought and slung up over one of the living room's ceiling beams. Sebring's protest – his second – of rough treatment of the pregnant Tate prompted Watson to shoot him. Folger was taken momentarily back to her bedroom for her purse, out of which she gave the intruders $70. After that, Watson stabbed the groaning Sebring seven times. [1] :28–38 [2]

Frykowski's hands had been bound with a towel. Freeing himself, Frykowski began struggling with Atkins, who stabbed at his legs with the knife with which she had been guarding him. [2] As he fought his way toward and out the front door, onto the porch, Watson caught up with Frykowski and struck him over the head with the gun multiple times, stabbed him repeatedly, and shot him twice. [2] Watson broke the gun's right grip in the process.[ citation needed ]

Around this time, Kasabian was drawn up from the driveway by "horrifying sounds". She arrived outside the door. In a vain effort to halt the massacre, she falsely told Atkins that someone was coming. [1] :258–269 [2]

Inside the house, Folger had escaped from Krenwinkel and fled out a bedroom door to the pool area. [1] :341–344, 356–361 Folger was pursued to the front lawn by Krenwinkel, who caught her, stabbed her, and finally tackled her to the ground. She was killed by Watson, who stabbed her 28 times. [1] :28–38 [2] As Frykowski struggled across the lawn, Watson murdered him with a final flurry of stabbings. Frykowski was stabbed a total of 51 times. [1] :28–38, 258–269 [2]

In the house, Tate pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby, and offered herself as a hostage in an attempt to save the life of her unborn child. At this point either Atkins, Watson, or both killed Tate, who was stabbed 16 times. [1] :28–38 Watson later wrote that as she was being killed, Tate cried: "Mother ... mother ..." [2]

Earlier, as the four Family members had been heading out from Spahn Ranch, Manson had told the women to "leave a sign ... something witchy". [2] Using the towel that had bound Frykowski's hands, Atkins wrote "pig" on the house's front door in Tate's blood. En route home, the killers changed out of their bloody clothes, which they disposed of in the hills, along with their weapons. [1] :84–90, 176–184 [2]


In initial confessions to cellmates of hers at Sybil Brand Institute, Atkins said she killed Tate. [1] :84–90 In later statements to her attorney, to prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, and before a grand jury, Atkins indicated Tate had been stabbed by Tex Watson. [1] :163–74, 176–84

In his 1978 autobiography, Watson said that he had stabbed Tate and that Atkins had never touched her. [2] Since he was aware that the prosecutor, Bugliosi, and the jury, that had tried the other Tate–LaBianca defendants, were convinced Atkins had stabbed Tate, he falsely testified that he did not stab her. [5]

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Jay Sebring Hair stylist

Thomas John Kummer, known professionally as Jay Sebring, was an American celebrity hair stylist, and the founder of the hairstyling corporation Sebring International. Sebring was murdered by members of the Manson Family along with his friend Sharon Tate.

Leslie Van Houten Convicted murderer

Leslie Louise Van Houten is an American convicted murderer and former member of the Manson Family. Van Houten was arrested and charged in relation to the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. She was convicted and sentenced to death. The California Supreme Court decision on People v. Anderson then ruled in 1972 that the death penalty was unconstitutional, resulting in her sentence being commuted to life in prison. Her conviction was then overturned in a 1976 appellate court decision which granted her a retrial. Her second trial ended with a deadlocked jury and a mistrial. At her third trial in 1978, she was convicted of two counts of murder and one count of conspiracy and sentenced to seven years to life in prison. In relation to her case, high courts, parole boards, and the state governor have said that an inexplicable or racial motive for murder could merit exemplary punishment and outweigh any evidence of subsequent reform.

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Doris Tate activist

Doris Gwendolyn Tate, was an American activist for the rights of crime victims, was best known as the mother of actress Sharon Tate. After Sharon Tate and several others were murdered by members of the Manson Family in 1969, Doris Tate began working to raise public awareness about the U.S. corrections system. She was influential in a court decision that amended California criminal laws relating to the rights of victims of violent crime.

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 "Watson, Ch. 14". Aboundinglove.org. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  3. "Quincy Jones Has a Story About That". GQ. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  4. Watson, Charles as told to Ray Hoekstra. "Will You Die for Me?". aboundinglove.org. Archived from the original on April 5, 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2007.
  5. "Watson, Ch. 19". Aboundinglove.org. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved November 28, 2010.