Manson family member dies aged 73: Linda Kasabian was lookout on night five were killed across LA – including Roman Polanski’s wife Sharon Tate and her unborn child – before dodging jail by testifying against cult and changing her name

  • Linda Kasabian – who escaped prison for the murders – has now died aged 73
  • She was the getaway driver and lookout during the bloody rampages in LA
  • Kasabian changed her name at least twice since the 1969 murders

Linda Kasabian, who was part of Charles Mason’s murderous ‘family’ and participated in the two-day rampage that killed multiple people in Los Angeles, has died.

Kasabian dodged jail by testifying against the other members of the cult – but played the role as getaway driver and lookout during the heinous murders in 1969. Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate was among the victims butchered during the ordeal.

According to a death certificate seen by TMZ, Kasabian died on January 21. Her cause of death was not disclosed. 

While she was connected with the murderous Manson family, she did not directly harm any of the victims during the tirade. She was 20 at the time, and admits she fell under Charles Mason’s ‘spell’ and wanted to do anything he demanded her to. 

Over the two nights of mayhem in 1969, the gang murdered seven people. They were convicted of two additional more murders, which took place afterwards. 

During the trial in 1970 and 1971, Kasabian was granted immunity in exchange for acting as a key witness for the prosecution of Mason. She told the trial how the massacres took place under his direction. 

Linda Kasabian, the one member of the Manson Family who escaped jail, lived in a quiet  life in in Tacoma, Washington in 2017. She is pictured six years ago

She drove the getaway car the night Manson cult members murdered Sharon Tate But she was spared jail after turning witness for the prosecution during the trial. Pictured: Kasabian arriving to court to give her testimony in August 1970

Cult leader Charles Manson (pictured left in August 2017 and right in October 2014) and the mastermind behind the gruesome murders, died aged 83

She admitted to being the driver on the second night – in which Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were killed at their homes. 

It was thanks to her testimony that Manson, and those who directly acted in the murders, were sent to prison with life sentences. 

She was the only member of the murderous gang who escaped jail. Afterwards, she disappeared, changing her name and moving from state to state with her four children in a bid to avoid attention.

In 2017, exclusively revealed that she was living in a modest apartment complex in Tacoma, Washington, not far from the home of her daughter Quanu.

The mother-of-four appeared to live alone and used the last name Chiochios – her second name change since jettisoning the Kasabian moniker shortly after Manson’s 1970 trial.

Asked by whether she was relieved to hear that her former lover and leader Charles Manson had died in 2017 aged 83 in Bakersfield, California, she refused to answer and stormed into her home.

Kasabian was grandmother at least twice over, and lived a quiet existence in a rundown part of Tacoma; an urban port city of approximately 200,000 people, roughly 35 miles south of Seattle. 

It’s unclear where she lived at the time of her death this January. 

After Manson, Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten were convicted and sentenced to death for the 1969 kilings, Kasabian returned to New Hampshire with her children.

There, she lived for a time in a hippie commune and was briefly reunited with her estranged husband Robert – later giving birth to a third child, Quanu, in 1972.

The same year, she and Robert went to court to legally change their name to Christian. Court records show they claimed they had been made to suffer ‘adverse publicity’ because of their name’s association with the Manson case.

But the name change was not enough to save their marriage and in April 1974, Kasabian filed for divorce which passed uncontested – in part because she was pregnant with her fourth child, whose father was not Robert.

Kasabian, who lived in a remote New Hampshire farmhouse with two other women and their children following the divorce, also continued to fall foul of the law.

Victims: (top row left to right) Voytech Frykowski, Sharon Tate, Stephen Parent, (middle row left to right) Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Gary Hinman, (bottom row left to right) Leno LaBianca, Rosemary LaBianca, Donald Shea

After reliving the murder spree, she said she was ‘trying to live as normal a life as possible’ before claiming to have spent the preceding 12 years on ‘a mission of healing and rehabilitation’. Pictured: Kasabian in 1971 

Who were the victims of Charles Mason and his murderous cult? 

July 27, 1969

Gary Hinman 

August 8, 1969 

Sharon Tate

Jay Sebring

Wojciech Frykowski 

Abigail Folger 

Steven Parent 

August 9, 1969 

Leno LaBianca

Rosemary LaBianca 

August 28, 1969 

Donald Shea 

Since the trial in the 70s, Kasabian has largely remained silent about the August 1969 killing spree that saw members of Manson’s murderous hippie cult invade homes in Los Angeles’ upmarket Benedict Canyon and Los Feliz neighborhoods, brutally killing all inside.

Among the nine victims was actress Sharon Tate, just 26 years old and eight months pregnant. At trial it emerged she had begged for the life of her unborn baby only to be stabbed and hung from a rafter.

Other victims who died in Tate’s Benedict Canyon home on the night of August 9, 1969, included hairdresser Jay Sebring, screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski, and coffee heiress Abigail Folger.

Kasabian ferried killers Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel to Tate’s Cielo Drive home – despite having only been a member of the cult for four weeks.

The product of a difficult upbringing, Kasabian’s early life included a father who abandoned the family to relocate to Miami, a stepfather she hated and a teenage marriage that went badly and ended after a few months.

Kasabian met her second husband, American-Armenian Robert, during a brief stint in Boston where she lived in a commune called the American Psychedelic Circus.

The pair married in September 1967 and relocated to Venice Beach, California, where their daughter Tonya was born in March 1968.

But the marriage proved unstable, with frequent splits and separations, and less than a year later, Kasabian was back in New Hampshire where on May 2 1969, she pleaded guilty to operating a car without a valid license.

On the night Tate was killed, Kasabian said she saw Charles Watson shoot Steven Parent, a teenager visiting Tate’s housekeeper. Hearing the ‘horrible’ screams coming from the property, Kasabian said: ‘I started to run toward the house, I wanted them to stop

Charles ‘Tex’ Watson (left) described himself as Manson’s (right) ‘right hand man’ and was involved in the murders

Murders: Wildebush was friends with Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten (pictured left to right), who were all convicted and sentenced to life in prison

Still desperate to rekindle her off-on relationship with Robert, Kasabian again took off for Los Angeles – arriving in June 1969 and briefly reconciling with her husband.

It wasn’t to be: when Kasabian met Manson a month later, she had been deserted by her husband who had chosen to go traveling in South America without her.

Kasabian was also pregnant with her second child; a son, whom she named Angel but now goes by the name Nathan.

She had, she said, fallen under Manson’s ‘spell’ almost immediately on encountering him at a July 4 party at his home, later describing him as looking ‘Christ-like’ and magnificent in his buckskin outfit.

Manson allowed Kasabian, who had just turned 20, and her daughter Tonya to move into Spahn Ranch, a dilapidated desert property in Chatsworth, California.

Like other female members of Manson’s cult, Kasabian frequently had sex with him and took part in ‘creepy crawl’ thieving missions at his behest, later telling the trial: ‘We always wanted to do anything and everything for him.’

On the night Tate was killed, she said she saw Watson shoot Steven Parent, a teenager visiting Tate’s housekeeper, before being instructed to remain by the car while the others carried out the murders.

Hearing the ‘horrible’ screams coming from the property, Kasabian said: ‘I started to run toward the house, I wanted them to stop.

‘I knew what they had done to that man [Parent], that they were killing these people. I wanted them to stop.’

By the door, she saw a badly wounded Frykowski and told the trial that she had begun to apologize to him, only to see him collapse into the bushes after being followed out and repeatedly stabbed by Watson.

Fearing for her own life and that of her one-year-old daughter, Kasabian said she was rooted to the spot and felt unable to run for help but did attempt to halt the killings by telling Atkins someone was coming.

When that didn’t work, she waited for Watson, Atkins and Krenwinkel to finish off their victims before driving the killers back to the Manson Family compound.

Susan Atkins (left) Patricia Krenwinkel (center) and Leslie van Houton (right) took part in several of the slayings, including those at the Tate residence, where Susan tasted Sharon Tate’s blood and used it to write ‘Pig’ on a house wall

During the trial, she was repeatedly threatened by members of the Manson Family, told ‘you’re killing us’ by Atkins and was the target of a throat-cutting gesture from Manson himself. Pictured: Manson sits in the courtroom during his murder trial in 1970 in Los Angeles

The following night, Manson ordered her to drive himself, Watson, Atkins and Krenwinkel – joined this time by acolytes Leslie Van Houten and Steve Grogan – into Los Angeles.

In the Los Feliz neighborhood, they came across the residence of supermarket boss Leno LaBianca, 42, and his wife Rosemary, 38.

The couple were overpowered and tied up by Manson at gunpoint. He then returned to the car, according to Kasabian’s testimony, and ordered Watson, Krenwinkel and Van Houten into the house.

Once inside, the trio stabbed the couple multiple times, including with a chrome-plated bayonet, and daubed the words ‘Death to Pigs’ and ‘Helter Skelter’ on the walls using their blood.

On their return to the car, Manson ordered Kasabian to drive to another location – this time in Venice Beach – where he ordered all five and Kasabian herself to kill an actor acquaintance of his named Saladin Nader.

He drove off and, Kasabian claimed during the trial, she foiled the plan by deliberately knocking on the wrong door and waking a stranger which led to the group abandoning their plans.

Two days later, she fled the Manson Family’s home; taking her daughter and hitchhiking to Miami to be reunited with her bartender father Rosaire Drouin.

When the police investigation closed in on Manson and his killer cult in October 1969, Kasabian turned herself in to the local sheriff after learning that a warrant for her arrest had been issued.

She was charged with seven counts of murder but was given immunity from prosecution after agreeing to return to Los Angeles as a witness.

During the trial, she was repeatedly threatened by members of the Manson Family, told ‘you’re killing us’ by Atkins and was the target of a throat-cutting gesture from Manson himself.

In September 2009, she did agree to appear on Larry King – heavily disguised and accompanied by Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor at the Manson trial.

After reliving the murder spree, she told King she was ‘trying to live as normal a life as possible’ before claiming to have spent the preceding 12 years on ‘a mission of healing and rehabilitation’.

She did not mention the meth bust a decade earlier but did admit to going through ‘a lot of drugs and alcohol and self-destruction’.

Asked whether she ever thinks of the night Sharon Tate was murdered, Kasabian said she still hears the screams of the victims ‘if I let myself go there’.

But she added: ‘I have learned to put it in its proper perspective over the years. And deal with my own feelings of shame and guilt.’

Linda Kasabian’s criminal history – before and after joining Charles Mason’s murderous cult 

Prior to the Manson trial, Kasabian had been busted in Boston for drug possession in 1967 and she pleaded guilty to driving without a license in Milford in May 1969.

In 1976, she was fined $100 after being convicted of disorderly conduct for trying to prevent firemen from putting out a bonfire in Nashua, New Hampshire.

A further arrest came in 1982 in Laconia, New Hampshire, which ended with her facing a charge for indecent exposure after she flashed her breasts at motorcyclists taking part in a rally.

In 1987, having changed her name to Chiochios, she was busted yet again – this time for a DUI charge in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

She was also arrested in October 1996 in Tacoma, Washington, where she and her daughter Quanu were collared for meth and cocaine possession.

A police report seen by reads: ‘In the master bedroom, officers located a small baggie containing suspected rock cocaine and a large bundle of cash in the dresser drawer. On top of the dresser was a box of baggies.’

The report added: ‘Officers also searched Chiochios’s [Kasabian] purse and located a small amount of methamphetamine.’

The following year, the charges against Kasabian were dismissed with prejudice after she agreed to take a drug treatment course.

Quanu was convicted of possession and intent to supply and was sentenced to a month in jail.

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