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Susan Atkins: December 5, 1969 Afternoon Testimony

DECEMBER 5, 1969


1:08 O’CLOCK P.M.

MR. STOVITZ: May we have Susan Atkins; please.


the witness on the stand at the time of the noon recess, having been previously duly sworn, resumed the stand and testified further as follows:

THE FOREMAN: I would like to remind you that you are still under oath and the admonition that I gave you this morning still stands.

THE WITNESS: I understand that.

Q. BY MR. BUGLIOSI: Okay, we hope to have you off the witness stand in about a half hour or so. I know it is not easy up there.

Going back just a second, Susan, with the Tate homicides, on the day following the date of the homicides, in addition to your comment when you saw the news over the television did you hear any other member of the Family discuss these Tate murders at the ranch?

A. Some of the girls talked about it and said that—I don’t recall exactly what they said but they were aware of the fact that we had gone out the night before.

Q. They were aware of the fact that—

A. We had gone out.

Q. That Katie, Tex and Linda had done it?

A. Not had done it but had gone out the night before. At that time they weren’t aware of the fact that we had done it but we didn’t actually have to say anything. The Family was so much together that nothing ever had to be said. We all just knew what each other would do or had done.

Q. You got the impression that other members of the Family knew that you, Tex, Linda and Katie had done it?

A. I got the impression they put two and two together.

Q. Did you hear Tex or Charlie talk about it the day following?

A. No.

MR. BUGLIOSI: Mr. Foreman, the following testimony again, will relate to Counts VI, VII and VIII of the proposed indictment.

Q. BY MR. BUGLIOSI: Susan, on August the 10th, that is the following night following the Tate homicides, did Charlie say anything to you?

A. He told me to go get two changes—get a change of clothes.

I looked at him and I knew what he wanted me to do and I gave a sort of a sigh and went and did what he asked me to do. I didn’t pick up any weapons.

Q. Did he ask you to get a knife?

A. No.

Q. This is Charlie Manson you are talking about?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he say what you were going to do that night?

A. He said we were going to go out and do the same thing we did the last night.

Q. You gave Charlie a sigh when he said that?

A. Yeah, I was in a state of shock.

Q. From the previous night?

A. From the previous night.

Q. What time did you leave the ranch that night?

A. I don’t know. I know it was in the early evening. It was after dark.

Q. What car did you leave in?

A. The same car as the night before.

Q. Who drove the car?

A. Charlie.

Q. Who was in the car with you and Charlie?

A. Tex, Clem, Katie, Leslie, Linda and myself.

Q. So there was Charlie, that is Manson, Clem, Katie, and Leslie, and Tex; is that correct?

A. Yes and Linda.

MR. BUGLIOSI: And Linda Kasabian.

Mr. Foreman, I have here a photograph of a male Caucasian.

May it be marked Grand Jury Exhibit No. 15 for identification?

THE FOREMAN: It may be so marked.

MR. BUGLIOSI: I have here another photograph of a female Caucasian.

May it be marked Grand Jury Exhibit No. 16 for identification?

THE FOREMAN: It may be so marked.

Q. BY MR. BUGLIOSI: I show you Grand Jury Exhibit No. 15.

Do you know who is shown in this photograph?

A. Yes, that is Clem.

Q. Clem Tufts?

A. Yes.

Q. And he was one of the persons who was in the car that Charlie was driving that night?

A. Yes.

Q. I show you Grand Jury Exhibit No. 16.

Do you know who is shown in that photograph?

A. Yes.

Q. Who is that?

A. That is Leslie.

Q. Do you know her last name?

A. No, I don’t.

Q. Does the name Sankston ring a bell?

A. No. I don’t think I ever knew Leslie’s last name.

Q. This is the Leslie about whom you have been referring as being in the car?

A. Yes.

Q. Were there any weapons in the car?

A. Just a gun, to my knowledge.

Q. Who had the gun?

A. Charlie.

Q. This was not the same gun as the previous night?

A. The gun the previous night was thrown over a hill.

Q. By Linda?

A. Yes.

Q. After you got into the car where did Charlie drive the car?

A. We just started driving and I know that we went to Pasadena because we went on the Pasadena Freeway.

Q. While you were driving around, Susan, was there any discussion as to what you were going to do?

A. The only discussion that I can recall, sticks in my mind, is that the same thing we had done last night only two different houses, there was to be two sets of—two groups consisting of one man and two girls to go to two different houses. That is why there were two men and six women—and four women.

Q. Who was saying this?

A. Charlie Manson. I don’t know that these were the exact words but basically that is what he said.

Q. Charlie Manson told you other people in the car that you were going to two houses this particular night, August 10th?

A. Yes.

Q. And that your group would be broken up into two groups?

A. Yes.

Q. One for each house; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. While you were driving around did Charlie stop the car at any time?

A. Yes.

Q. Did Charlie get out of the car?

A. Yes.

Q. By himself?

A. Yes.

Q. Was the car parked in front of a home?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know what area of town that was in?

A. Somewhere in Pasadena, I believe.

Q. Did the rest of you stay in the car?

A. Yes.

Q. What did Charlie do; if you recall?

A. I don’t know. We drove around the block and came back and picked Charlie up.

Q. Did Charlie say anything once he got back in the car?

A. Yes, he said he saw pictures of children through the window and he didn’t want to do that house.

Q. Did Charlie ever make any comments to you about his feelings towards children?

A. He loves children very much, children are the answer.

Q. Did Charlie stop at any other house after that?

A. We stopped at one house and then—

Q. Do you know where that was?

A. Somewhere in the same neighborhood.

Q. Did Charlie get out of the car at that time?

A. No.

Q. He stayed in the car?

A. Yes.

Q. What took place in front of that house?

A. Nothing, we just watched.

Q. For how long?

A. About two, three minutes.

Q. Was anything said at that time?

A. No.

Q. What happened next?

A. We drove on and then we just continued driving around and I fell asleep, I was thoroughly exhausted, and when I woke up we were in front of another house and I seemed to recognize the house—not the house, but the particular area.

Q. Before we go into that, just go back a second.

Charlie saw some pictures of children in one of these homes; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. He did not want to kill anyone because of the children?

A. That is correct.

Q. Did Charlie make any statement to you at that time with respect to the possibility of killing children in the future?

A. He said, “You realize that if you have to take the life of a child it would only be to save the children of the future.”

Q. Did he explain what he meant by that?

A. No.

Q. All right, so eventually, then, you stopped in front of another home; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And you recognized what about this house?

A. I recognized the surroundings.

Q. Had you been to that area before?

A. Yes.

Q. When?

A. About a year, about a year previous.

Q. Were you there by yourself at that time?

A. No, I was there with about fifteen people.

Q. Did you enter a home at that particular time a year earlier?

A. Yes.

Q. Was that home—where was that home in relation to the home in front of which you were presently parked?

A. Next door to the right.

Q. What had you done in that other home about a year earlier?

A. We all took an LSD trip together.

Q. You and Charlie and some other people?

A. Yes, about fifteen of us.

Q. You recognized this home?

A. I recognized the area.

MR. BUGLIOSI: Mr. Foreman, I have here another photograph.

This is a photograph of the front portion of a home.

May it be marked Grand Jury Exhibit No. 17 for identification?

THE FOREMAN: It may be so marked.

Q. BY MR. BUGLIOSI: I show you Grand Jury Exhibit No. 17 for identification, Susan, and ask you if you have seen that particular home before.

A. The home I did not see. This wall I did recognize.

Q. You say “this wall,” you are pointing to the wall on the left side of the photograph?

A. Yes.

MR. BUGLIOSI: I have here another photograph, Mr. Foreman.

It appears to be the same home but it also shows a driveway.

May it be marked Grand Jury Exhibit No. 18 for identification?

THE FOREMAN: It may be so marked.

Q. BY MR. BUGLIOSI: Susan, I show you Grand Jury Exhibit No. 18 for identification.

Do you know what is shown in this photograph?

A. Yes, we were parked, basically, right here.

Q. Right at the bottom of the driveway?

A. Yes, more in front of the pillar. And the reason why I couldn’t see the house was I was sitting in the back seat and the back—like I said earlier, there is no back seat to the car and I was slumped down because I was sleeping and when I looked up I just woke up from a dream and I dreamed that Charlie had gone into a house with Tex and killed the people.

Q. Now, you do recognize this driveway right here; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And your car was parked in front of the driveway?

A. Somewhere around in this area, in between here and here.

Q. And to the right of the home that is shown in this photograph here, Grand Jury 18, there is another home where you had gone a year earlier with Charlie; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened after Charlie stopped the car in front of this home?

A. He got out of the car.

Q. By himself?

A. Yes.

Now, the only reason why I know he got out of the car is because when I woke up he wasn’t in the car.

Q. Was everyone else in the car?

A. Yes.

Q. That is, Clem and the rest of them?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened next?

A. Then he came back and he said, “Tex, Katie—” and he looked at me and he could see that I didn’t want to go into the house, and he said, “Leslie, go into the house. I have got the people tied up. They are very calm.”

He said something to the effect last night that Tex let the people know they were going to be killed which caused panic and Charlie said that he reassured the people with smiles in a very quiet manner that they were not to be harmed and—just that they were not to be harmed.

And so Tex and Leslie and Katie got out of the car.

Q. You say “Katie,” Patricia Krenwinkel?

A. Yes.

Q. And Leslie, is that the photograph of the girl I showed you?

A. Yes.

Q. And Tex?

A. Yes.

Q. Three of them?

A. Yes.

Q. These three got out of the car?

A. Yes.

Q. And you and Charlie and Clem and Linda remained in the car?

A. Yes, and Charlie also had a wallet which he supposedly got from the house. He said it was the woman’s identification.

Q. When did Charlie say this?

A. When he got back in the car and after he sent Linda—not Linda, but Leslie and Katie and Tex into the house.

Q. Did Charlie tell Tex and Katie and Leslie what to do once they entered the house?

A. No. Whether it be a fact that I heard it or my imagination that tells me this, I’m not sure, so, you know—

Q. What is your present belief at this time?

A. It is not a belief it is just a thought that is in my mind.

Q. What is the thought at this time?

A. That Charlie instructed them to go in and kill them.

Q. And you said that he had already tied them up; is that correct?

A. Yes, he said to paint a picture more gruesome than anybody had ever seen.

Q. He told Tex this?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he tell Tex and Leslie and Katie how they were supposed to get back to the ranch that night?

A. Hitchhike.

Q. He indicated to them that he and you and the rest would not wait outside?

A. That is correct.

Q. Did you see Katie and Leslie and Tex enter the home?

A. No, I did not.

Q. How long after they left your car did Charlie drive off?

A. Almost immediately.

Q. You did not come back to the house that night?

A. No.

Q. Did Charlie indicate why he had picked this particular house?

A. No, not right away, but I would gather from my own—

Q. Well, apart from any assumption on your part did Charlie ever indicate why he picked this particular house?

A. I thought about that last night and I asked him if it was Harold’s house.

Q. Who is Harold?

A. Harold was the man who happened to have lived in the house next door a year ago previously.

Q. What did he say to that?

A. He said, “No, it’s the one next door.”

Q. What happened after you and Tex [sic] and the other members of your Family drove off?

A. Well, we drove around and Charlie said we were going in the opposite direction than we came from.

We drove about in a predominantly colored area, I don’t know the area but this is what I gathered.

Q. You saw quite a few Negroes in the area?

A. Yes.

Q. All right, you may continue.

What happened next?

A. Charlie gave Linda Kasabian the woman’s wallet and told her to put it into the bathroom in the gas station and leave it there hoping that somebody would find it and use the credit cards and thus be identified with the murder and then we left.

Q. Did Linda actually do that?

A. Yes, she said she did. I didn’t see her leave it but she didn’t come back with it, either.

Q. What is the next thing that happened?

A. Then we drove around for a long time and went back to sleep.

It wasn’t like I was asleep, it was like I was drugged. I felt very heavily drugged. I was not on drugs at the time, I just felt like that I had been shot with morphine, or something, or fell asleep and I woke up back at the ranch.

Q. Back at the ranch, Susan, did you have any conversations with Patricia Krenwinkel concerning what had taken place inside the residence?

A. I did but I want to ask you a question on this.

Is it required that I give you the information that Katie gave me in front of the Grand Jury?

Q. No, it is not required, Susan, but all I can say is that we’d all appreciate it if you would tell us the complete story. That is what you are here for. We want the truth.

A. Well, I wouldn’t lie to you but to say something that somebody told me, I don’t know whether it is the truth.

Q. Well, we realize that, Susan, what she told you could have been a fabrication. We realize that.

What we are seeking now is to find out what she told you. It will be determined at a later time whether or not what she told you is the truth, but we would appreciate your telling the Grand Jury members what she told you, to the best of your recollection.

Would you do that for us?

A. Well, no disrespect for the Grand Jury members, what I am about to tell you I don’t want to tell you but I will go ahead and tell you anyway.

Q. When did this conversation take place, Susan, with Katie?

A. The next morning.

Q. Were you by yourself?

A. Yes.

Q. Is that at the Spahn Ranch?

A. Yes.

Q. What did Katie tell you?

A. She told me that when they got in the house they took the woman into the bedroom and put her on the bed and left Tex in the living room with the man and that her and Leslie stayed with the woman and reassure that woman that everything was going to be all right and that everything was good and that they wouldn’t be hurt and everything was going to be all right, and Katie told me this herself, she said, “I wasn’t talking to that woman, I was talking to myself.”

And then Katie said the woman heard her husband being killed and started to scream, “What are you doing to my husband?” And Katie said that she then proceeded to stab the woman with either a fork she got from the kitchen or a knife that she got from the kitchen, I’m not sure which.

Q. Did she say what Leslie was doing while—

A. Leslie was helping Katie hold the woman down because the woman was fighting all the way up until she was dead, and I looked at Katie—and I’m not sure in my own mind whether Katie said this or I said this—that is what the woman would carry with her infinitely, “What are you doing to my husband?”

Q. Did she say anything about a pillow case?

A. Yes, there was a pillow case placed over the woman’s head.

Q. Who placed it over the woman’s head?

A. I don’t remember whether she did it herself or Leslie did it or whether they did it together.

Q. What else did Katie tell you occurred inside the residence?

A. She said that after that that they went out by the living room and wrote things on the front door.

Q. Did she say what she wrote on the front door?

A. “Death to all pigs.” I’m not sure whether she said that they wrote that on the refrigerator door or on the front door.

Q. Did she say what they wrote it with?

A. Blood.

Q. Did she say whether they wrote anything else?

A. I think she said they wrote “Helter-skelter.”

Q. Did she say where they wrote that?

A. Not to my recollection. It was either on the front door or the refrigerator door, or on one of the two.

Q. Was that in blood, also?

A. Yes.

Q. Did she say whether they wrote anything else?

A. “Arise.”

Q. A-r-i-s-e?

A. Yes.

Q. Did she say where they wrote “Arise”?

A. In the corner in the living room somewhere.

Q. Was that in blood, also?

A. Yes.

Q. Did Katie say anything about fingerprints?

A. I don’t really know whether she said anything about fingerprints but from previous experience I would imagine she did.

Then she said they all took showers and changed their clothes.

Q. Inside the residence?

A. Yes.

Q. Did Katie say whether she had done anything with the fork?

A. Yes.

Q. What did she say?

A. She said she went into the living room with a fork. She brought it from the kitchen.

She looked at the man’s stomach and she had the fork in her hand and she put the fork in the man’s stomach and watched it wobble back and forth. She said she was fascinated by it.

Q. Did she say anything about the word “War”?

A. She said that was carved—no, she didn’t say—or, did she? I know—I heard that “War” was carved on the man’s chest.

Q. By whom?

A. Katie, I believe.

Q. Katie said that she and Leslie and Tex took a shower inside the house?

A. Yes.

Q. After they killed the two people?

A. Yes.

Q. What did they do after the shower; do you recall?

A. She said they came out of the shower and on the way into the kitchen the dog—I can’t even pronounce the name—LaBianca’s dog—

Q. Did she mention the name LaBianca to you?

A. No.

Q. You may continue.

A. Their dog came in and wagged her tail in front of them and Katie bent over and petted the dog and was kind of surprised the dog wasn’t afraid of her and the dog followed them into the kitchen and there they proceeded to eat.

Q. Did Katie say what they were eating?

A. They ate something. They were hungry and decided they wanted something to eat.

Q. Katie, Leslie and Tex?

A. Yes.

Q. Where did they get the food?

A. From the refrigerator.

Q. Did Katie say anything about the children of these two people whom they had killed?

A. She said the bodies would probably be found, on her own assumption, just from the type of people that they were and the neighborhood, they probably had grown children, they’d usually would probably come over for like Sunday dinner, or Sunday afternoon, or sometime during the weekend the children would be over and would find the bodies.

Q. Did Katie say what she and the other two did with their clothing, if anything?

A. They changed their clothes.

Q. Did she say where they changed their clothes?

A. In the house.

Q. Did she say what they did with the old clothes?

A. On the way back to the ranch they dumped the old clothing in a garbage can a few blocks, maybe a mile away from the house.

Q. After you spoke to Katie about this was there any other discussion on the ranch about what had taken place on the evening of August the 10th?

A. No, not to my knowledge.

Q. Did you hear Charlie talk about it at all?

A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Tex?

A. No.

Q. Susan, did Charlie oftentimes use the word pig, or, pigs?

A. Yes.

Q. How about helter-skelter?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he use the words pigs and helter-skelter very very frequently?

A. Well, Charlie talks a lot.

Q. I am concerned about these two words, pigs and helter-skelter.

A. I know of—in some of the songs he wrote helter-skelter was in them and he’d talk about helter-skelter. We all talked about helter-skelter.

Q. You say “we,” are you speaking of the Family?

A. Yes.

Q. And that includes Tex?

A. Yes.

Q. So the words pigs and helter-skelter were common vocabulary; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. In what context would you and the other members of your Family use the words pig and pigs or helter-skelter?

A. Context? Would you—

Q. How would the words pigs and helter-skelter come up in your conversation?

A. They’d just come up. All conversations were spontaneous.

Q. What did the word pig or pigs mean to you and your Family?

A. You must understand that all words had no meanings to us and that helter-skelter was explained to me.

Q. By whom?

A. Charlie. I don’t even like to say Charlie, I’d like to say the words came from his mouth that helter-skelter was to be the last war on the face of the earth. It would be all the wars that have ever been fought built one on top of the other, something that no man could conceive of in his imagination. You can’t conceive of what it would be like to see every man judge himself and then take it out on every other man all over the face of the earth. And pig was a word used to describe the establishment.

Q. Today’s establishment?

A. Today’s establishment. It is not taking anything away from the establishment because we all have an understanding that the establishment is doing what the establishment is doing and that whatever it does and whatever the world is doing it’s got to be perfect otherwise it wouldn’t be happening and the world wouldn’t be where it is at today.

Q. Susan, you testified earlier that on August the 16th there was a raid out at Spahn Ranch; is that correct?

A. Yes, there was.

Q. Between August 10th and August 16th what took place out at the Spahn Ranch?

A. There was a motorcycle group. We had a young man there by the name of Danny DeCarlo who was very very much in love with one of the young girls on the ranch and he stayed there, basically, because he was in love with her.

Q. How long had Danny been at the ranch?

A. About six months, to my knowledge, I would say six months. It didn’t seem that long but he said that is about how long and his club members wanted him back in Venice and they didn’t care what they had to do to us to get Danny back to Venice. So one night all of them came out, all of the Straight Satans, that is Danny’s group, Danny’s motorcycle group, they came out and talked to Danny in private.

The men threatened to rape all of us girls and they wanted to—they told us that if Danny wasn’t back in Venice by 5:00 o’clock the next night they would come out and kill us all including the children and start a fire and burn the ranch down, and we proceeded to look at them and said, “Go ahead. Danny does what Danny wants to do. If Danny wants to stay here that is up to him, you can come out and kill us all, we won’t even fight back.” And we wouldn’t have.

Q. On August 16th were most of you arrested at that time?

A. All of us were arrested. There were 31 people.

Q. And were you later released?

A. Yes.

Q. Eventually did you go to the Barker Ranch in Inyo County?

A. Yes.

Q. In a big bus?

A. No.

Q. How did you get there?

A. The big bus was taken up to the Barker Ranch last summer—last winter Charlie drove it up there.

Q. Charlie Manson?

A. Yes, this was right after my child was born, about two, three months after.

Q. Between August the 10th and August the 16th did Charlie or you or any other member of the family go out to anyone else’s home and do what you previously did?

A. No, not to my knowledge.

MR. STOVITZ: We have concluded this witness’s testimony.

THE FOREMAN: Any member of the Jury have any questions that they would like to ask the witness?

Q. BY MR. BUGLIOSI: Do you know Clem’s true name?

A. All I know is that when I first met him I knew him by Steve.

Q. Did Katie tell you whether or not she and Leslie and Tex took any money from the LaBianca’s residence?

A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Is Clem Tufts the same party as Steve Grogan?

A. That sounds correct.

THE FOREMAN: Are there any more questions?

I would like to give you the same admonition that I gave you this morning.

You are admonished not to discuss or impart at any time outside of this Jury Room the questions that have been asked of you in regard to this matter, or your answers, until authorized by this Grand Jury or the Court to discuss or impart such matters.

You will understand that a violation of these instructions on your part may be the basis for a charge against you of contempt of court.

This admonition, of course, does not preclude you from discussing your legal rights with any legally-employed attorney, should you feel that your own personal rights are in any way in jeopardy.

You may be excused.

THE WITNESS: Thank you.

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