THAT man has wronged me. Society has wronged me. We'll kill whatever pigs are in that house. Go in there and get them." With those raging orders from their Rasputin-like leader, a band of hippies, clad in black, allegedly broke into a secluded Los Angeles home last August. In the orgy of hacking, stabbing and shooting that followed, Starlet Sharon Tate, 26, and four other people were killed. It was one of the grisliest, bloodiest, and apparently most senseless crimes of the century.
Last week Los Angeles police announced that they had solved the five murders and three others as well. If they are correct, the alleged murderers were even stranger and more bizarre than their crimes. The police case was based on the tale of an accused murderer, Susan Denise Atkins, 21. She sketched out a weird story of a mystical, semi-religious hippie drug-and-murder cult led by a bearded, demonic Mahdi able to dispatch his zombie-like followers, mostly girls wearing hunting knives, to commit at least eight murders and, police say, possibly four others.
Murder Sprees. Three members of the gang were arrested last week: Charles Watson, 23, Patricia Krenwinkel, 22, and Linda Kasabian, 20. The police also were seeking murder indictments against two other "family" members. The suspects, as well as the thin, vacuous Miss Atkins, were all members of a hippie-type gang who styled themselves slaves to their guru-type leader. Miss Atkins, a prosecution witness who hopes to save herself from the gas chamber, claimed that she was present but did not participate in the murders committed by the gang. At least eight members took part in one or another of the murders, say police, although the leader, Charles Manson, 35, did not participate in the killings himself, but confined himself to directing them.
Miss Atkins said that Manson had ordered the Tate murders on Aug. 9, the murder of Musician Gary Hinman on July 25, and those of Mr. and Mrs. Leno LaBianca on Aug. 10. Hinman was allegedly murdered because he would not turn over $20,000 that Manson thought he had. Miss Atkins and another Manson follower are charged in that murder. The LaBiancas were picked at random from among the affluent, she said, the night after the Tate murders, just to prove that the killers had not lost their nerve. The Tate victims did not even know Manson. They died, she said, because Manson, an aspiring songwriter, nursed a grudge against Doris Day's son, Terry Melcher, who refused to have one of Manson's songs recorded. Miss Tate had rented the Melcher house, and Manson ordered everyone in it killed, presumably not even knowing who the tenants at the time wereor caring.
According to Miss Atkins, she, Watson, Mrs. Kasabian and Miss Krenwinkel entered Miss Tate's house and stabbed and shot the occupants: Abigail Folger, the coffee heiress; Voityck Frokowski, her boy friend; Hollywood Hair Stylist Jay Sebring and Miss Tate. The starlet, 8½ months pregnant, pleaded: "Please let me have my baby," but was stabbed 16 times. Steven Parent, 18, who was visiting the caretaker's cottage, was also killed.