Linda Kasabian, who acted as a lookout while other Charles Manson family members committed two nights of murder in 1969, passed away on January 21 in Tacoma, Washington.
Following an immunity agreement, she became a key prosecution witness in the trials that resulted in the imprisonment of Mr. Manson and four of his other followers. She was 73 years old.
Her passing was announced in The News Tribune of Tacoma. It didn’t explain why. After the murders, Ms. Kasabian had generally sought to maintain a low profile and had used many aliases. She was going by the name Linda Chiochios when she passed away.
In July 1969, Ms. Kasabian, who had just turned 20, left her husband, Robert Kasabian, and moved to the Spahn Ranch, a former filming location near Los Angeles where Mr. Manson and his followers had set up camp.
What She Said In A Television Documentary?
“When I left, I was yearning for love and freedom,” she said in a 2009 television documentary about the case, one of the few times she spoke publicly about it. “I was trying to find God.”
What she discovered was a commune where there was an abundance of drugs and sex and where Mr. Manson, a convicted felon and disgruntled musician, had a psychological hold over his followers.
Ms. Kasabian, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Charles Watson were sent on a homicidal mission by Mr. Manson because of his hatred for Black people and desire to start a racial conflict.
On August 9, 1969, in the wee hours, Ms. Kasabian waited by the car as the others murdered five people, including Sharon Tate, the actress and Roman Polanski’s wife.
The group visited Leno and Rosemary LaBianca’s house the following night, but this time Mr. Manson was also present. After tying the couple up and leaving with Ms. Kasabian, Mr. Manson’s followers fatally stabbed the LaBiancas.
The murders, which were some of the most dramatic crimes of the day and, to many, marked the end of the 1960s of peace and love, lingered unresolved for months before authorities finally focused on the Manson family.
Ms. Atkins, who passed away in 2009, gave the pivotal grand jury testimony that resulted in the indictments; however, she later changed her mind and refused to testify at Mr. Manson’s trial, which started with jury selection in June 1970 and ended in mid-July with the opening statements.
Vincent Bugliosi, the main prosecutor, was happy with it after learning that Ms. Kasabian was also willing to appear after a bargain had been reached for Ms. Atkins’ grand jury evidence.
In “Helter Skelter: The Real Story of the Manson Murders,” co-authored by Curt Gentry and published in 1974, Mr. Bugliosi noted that if he had to choose between Susan and Linda as the prosecution’s star witness, he would choose Linda because she hadn’t killed anyone.
“But we’d struck the agreement with Susan and, like it or not, we were stuck with it in the rush to deliver the case before the grand jury. Unless Susan ran away.
The moment “Susan bolted,” the prosecution granted Ms. Kasabian conditional immunity, which would be forfeited if she failed to give a full and true account of her testimony.
As a result, she became the focus of the three women’s and Mr. Manson’s trial. (She later played a significant role in the trial of Mr. Watson, who was charged separately.)
That trial was a riot that dragged on for months. Ms. Kasabian testified for 17 days despite being harassed by the defence attorneys and occasionally by Charles Manson.
Although the defence received copies of all of her letters to me and a 20-page summary of all of my conversations with her, according to Mr. Bugliosi, who passed away in 2015, who wrote about this in “Helter Skelter,” “not once had she been impeached with a prior conflicting statement. She made me very proud.
Mr. Bugliosi made it clear that Ms. Kasabian had put Mr. Manson in jail during an appearance with her on “Larry King Live” in 2009. Her photograph was covered up to preserve her privacy.
If ever the prosecution had a standout witness, it was Linda Kasabian, he declared. It would have been very challenging for me to prosecute Manson and his co-defendants without her testimony, Larry.
He stated, “We all owe Linda a huge debt of gratitude because there is no doubt that Manson would have carried on killing if he had escaped. If he could have, he would have killed a lot more people.
Ms. Kasabian helped the prosecution prove that she and the others were directly influenced by Mr. Manson in addition to describing the events of the murder nights.
She once said in court, “He just had something, you know, that could hold you.
She said, “It appeared like the females idolised him and would sacrifice anything for him.”
According to Mr. Bugliosi, whereas other members of the Manson family were cold-blooded killers, Ms. Kasabian lacked any violent tendencies and was only brought along on the nights of the killings because, in contrast to most or all of the others, she possessed a driver’s licence.
Charles Manson, the Mephistophelean guru who raped and corrupted the minds of all those who gave themselves to him so completely, sent out three heartless, bloodthirsty robots from the fires of hell at Spahn Ranch, and — unfortunately for him — one human being, the young hippie girl Linda Kasabian, according to Mr. Bugliosi’s account in his book.
Detractors of Ms. Kasabian alleged that she failed to face justice for her part in the killings, refused to leave the Manson family when she could have, and left her small daughter at the Spahn Ranch for extended periods of time even after the murders.
She said that her choices had been motivated by her fear of Mr. Manson and the widespread mistrust of the police that pervaded the era’s counterculture.
- According to the police union, LAPD should cease answering so many non-emergency calls.
- LA County Detention Center Disturbance Leaves 17 Injured
- Argument Leads to Shooting Outside Southwest Atlanta Gas Station
She spoke to Mr. King.
Born in Biddeford, Maine, on June 21, 1949, Linda Darlene Drouin was raised in New Hampshire. She had already been married once, had a divorce, and married Mr. Kasabian by the time she made it to the Spahn Ranch. She brought her 2-year-old kid with her to the property.
Ms. Kasabian left the commune and returned to New Hampshire following the murders. She waived extradition and, according to Mr. Bugliosi’s book, “was anxious to confess what she knew” when Mr. Manson and others, including Ms. Kasabian, were charged with the killings in late 1969, but her attorney pushed for a settlement.
There was no immediate information about Ms. Kasabian’s surviving family members.
The narrative Ms. Kasabian told had some intriguing ancillary components. For her, the British rock group Kasabian was named. The renowned author Joan Didion was also a fashion footnote at the trial.
In her essay collection “The White Album” (1979), Joan Didion stated that Ms. Kasabian had asked her to choose a dress for her to wear on her first day of testimony when they had spoken shortly before the trial.
Ms. Didion said, “‘Size 9 petite,’ her instructions read,” though she didn’t mention the garment she ultimately purchased. Miniature but not too miniature. Ideally in velvet. Gold or emerald green. Perhaps a smocked or embroidered peasant garment in the style of Mexico.