Tonight will mark 50 years since members of the Manson family arrived at the Benedict Canyon rental home of actress Sharon Tate and husband, film director Roman Polanski. Sharon was 8 1/2 months pregnant and had several guests in her home that night while Polanski was out of the country shooting a film.
It was in the overnight hours between August 8-9, 1969 that four followers of Cincinnati born cult leader Charles Manson would violently commit what became one of the most heinous murders in American history. In addition to Sharon Tate and her unborn child, the death toll included coffee heiress Abigail Folger, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski and Steven Parent, a teenager who just happened to be dropping by that fateful night to visit his friend Bill Garretson the caretaker of the property that lived around back in the guesthouse.
Manson Family members Tex Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel gruesomely slayed the victims in the most diabolical ways under the directive of Charles Manson, who was not present at the murder scene. Cult member turned key witness for the prosecution Linda Kasabian was also there that night but reportedly stayed at the car to keep lookout.
‘Helter Skelter’ the famous book by Curt Gentry and prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi which details the murders and subsequent trial, claims Manson sent his four followers to the Tate/Polanski home that night and told them “to totally destroy everyone, as gruesome as you can.”
Gentry, C., Bulgosi, V. (1974) Helter Skelter New York: W.W. Norton & Company
Girardot, F. (2009) Steven Parent: El Monte Teen, Manson Family Victim, San Gabriel Valley Tribune