On August 8th, 1969 a cold blooded murder of five people including beloved actress Sharon Tate and her unborn child was committed at 10050, Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, California. The murder was orchestrated by one of the now most notorious men in America, Charles Manson, he and his band of misfits and flower children turned killers known as the Manson Family would rock the minds of Americans and the world with the sheer brutality and coldness they showed towards their victims.
What exactly caused Manson to violently snap may be lost forever within his eccentric and wild mind, but it’s widely accepted that Manson chose to execute his attacks at this specific address because it was owned by Terry Melcher, a record producer who had snubbed Manson earlier in his music career. However, despite the house being owned by Melcher, it had recently been rented by actor and director Roman Polanski (who was in London at the time) and his wife, Sharon Tate. It is unclear whether Manson knew that Melcher no longer lived in the house but it is likely that he was unaware before the murders took place.
The murders were a blood bath. At the end of the night, Jay Sebring, 35, Abigail Folger, 26, Wojciech Frykowski, 33, Steven Parent, 18, and Sharon Tate, 26, all lay dead or dying at the hands of the Manson Family, specifically Tex Watson, 24, Susan Atkins, 21, Linda Kasabian, 20, and Patricia Krenwinkle, 22. Frykowski alone was stabbed a total of 51 times. As the Manson family left the residence, they used the blood of their victims to write “Pigs” on the front door.
Police had no known motive for the crime and forensic evidence was little help in a time before proper DNA analysis could take place, but still the manhunt to find the murderers began. People of Los Angeles, fearing for their own safety, began purchasing firearms for self defense in great numbers.
This was not the Manson Family’s first violent crime, a black drug dealer, Bernard Crowe had been non-fatally shot by Manson earlier that year in an attempt to insight racial violence between blacks and whites and Gary Hinman had also been murdered by the Family after a failed attempt to extort money from him. It was not their last spree of murder either, the night after the Tate murders members of the Manson family invaded the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca and murdered the couple in order to incite even more panic.
Evidently the similarities between the Hinman, Tate and LaBianca murders is what helped investigators tie the murders together and place them on the Manson family who had recently been arrested for larceny and arson. Almost all of those involved with the murders were sentenced to death but the sentences were reduced to life imprisonment after the state of California abolished the death penalty in 1972
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