Steel Notes Magazine September 2016 - Page 26

Steel Notes Magazine July & August 2016 After her arrest, Atkins was housed at Dormitory 8000 in Los Angeles. On November 6, she told another inmate, Virginia Graham, an almost unbelievable tale. She told of “a beautiful cat” named Charles Manson. She told of murder: of finding Sharon Tate, in bed with her bikini bra and underpants, of her victim’s futile cries for help, of tasting Tate’s blood. Atkins expressed no remorse at all over the killings. She even told Graham a list of celebrities that she and other Family members planned to kill in the future, including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Tom Jones, Steve McQueen, and Frank Sinatra. Through an inmate friend of Graham’s, Ronnie Howard, word of Atkins’s amazing story soon reached the LAPD. About the same time, detectives on the LaBianca case interviewed Al Springer, a member of the Straight Satan biker’s group that Manson had tried to recruit into the Family. Word had leaked to police that the Straight Satans might have some knowledge about who was responsible for another recent murder with several similarities to the LaBianca killings. Springer told detectives that Manson had bragged to him in August at Spahn Ranch, after offering him his pick from among the eighteen or so “naked girls” scattered around the ranch, about “knocking off ” five people. When Springer told detectives that Manson had said t he Tate killers “wrote something on the...refrigerator in blood”, “something about pigs”, the detectives knew they might be onto something. Still, it struck them as odd that anyone would confess to several murders to someone that they barely knew. It took another member of the Straight Satans, Danny DeCarlo, to move the focus of the investigation decisively to Charles Manson. DeCarlo told police he heard a Manson Family member brag, “We got five piggies,” and that Manson had asked him what to use “to decompose a body.” Based on Ronnie Howard’s account of Susan Atkin’s jailhouse confession and interviews conducted with various Manson Family members, the LAPD eventually identified the five persons who participated in the actual Tate and LaBianca murders. The suspects consisted of four women, all in their early twenties, and one man in his mid-twenties: Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, Linda Kasabian, and Charles “Tex” Watson. Atkins remained in custody at Dormitory 8000. Van Houten was picked up for questioning in California. Watson was arrested by a local sheriff in Texas. Patricia Krenwinkel was apprehended in Mobile, Alabama. Kasabian voluntarily surrendered to local police in Concord, New Hampshire. Chief Defense Lawyers: Irving Kanarek (for Manson), Daye Shinn (for Atkins), Paul Fitzgerald (for Krenwinkel), Maxwell Keith, Ronald Hughes, and Ira Reiner (for Van Houten). 26 Steel Notes Magazine