Charles Manson made a poor call when he picked Linda Kasabian to join the group of killers who set out to kill everyone inside the homes of actress Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Kasabian went along, but stood in horror as the screams of the victims broke the night's silence. She managed to escape from the Manson family and later turned state's evidence during the Tate and LaBianca murder trials. It was her eye-witness testimony that sealed the convictions of those responsible.
On the Road:
Linda Kasabian was born on June 21, 1949 in Biddeford, Maine. At age 16, she quit school, left home and headed out west in search for the meaning of life. On the road, she lived in various hippie communes where she engaged in casual sex and drugs. By the age of 20, she was a two-time divorcee and had given birth to a baby girl. On July 4, 1968, pregnant with her second child, she visited Spahn Ranch and immediately joined Manson and his family.
On August 8, 1969, Kasabian was selected by Manson to drive Tex, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel to the home of actor Sharon Tate. Once at the Tate home she watched as Steven Parent, the group's first victim was shot to death. Kasabian then stood watch outside the Tate home and heard screams coming from inside. She watched in shock as as some of those inside came running outside, soaked in blood and screaming for help only to be caught and butchered on the front lawn by Tex Watson.
Kasabian tried to stop the massacre by telling the group that she heard noises, but her attempts failed and everyone inside the house, including eight-month pregnant Sharon Tate was viciously murdered.
The LaBianca Murders:
The next night she was ordered by Manson to go out again and later testified that she was too afraid to tell him no. This time the group, including Manson, drove to the home of Leo and Rosemary LaBianca and repeated the gruesome attack on the unsuspecting couple. Kasabian was again instructed to stand watch outside as the couple was brutally murdered.
An Aborted Crime:
Later Manson wanted to find and murder an actor who was also one of Kasabian's old boyfriends. She purposely pointed out the wrong apartment and the group, tired of driving around, gave up and returned to the ranch.
Kasabian Escapes Spahn Ranch:
Not long after the murders, Kasabian agreeing to run an errand for Manson, used the opportunity to flee from Spahn Ranch. To avoid suspicion she had to leave her daughter Tonya behind, but eventually she located her daughter at a foster home where she was placed after the October raid on Spahn Ranch.
Kasabian Turns State Evidence:
Later she went to live with her mother in New Hampshire. A warrant for her arrest was issued on December 2, 1969 for her involvement in the Tate and LaBianca murders. She immediately turned herself in to authorities and turned state's evidence in exchange for immunity.
Her testimony was invaluable for the prosecution in Tate-LaBianca murder trial. Co-defendants Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten were found guilty largely based on Kasabian's direct and honest testimony. After the trial, she returned to New Hampshire where she dealt with a lot of public scorn. She eventually changed her name and moved to Washington State.
Where Is She Now?:
In a police raid in 1996, Kasabian and one of her daughters who went by the nickname, "Lady Dangerous," were arrested for possession of methamphetamine. Her daughter, who was also found in possession of a gun and rock and powder cocaine, was convicted and sentenced to a year in prison. Kasabian once again avoided jail by agreeing to attend drug abuse classes. Her current whereabouts are unknown.
See Also: The Manson Family Photo Album