Saturday, February 6, 2016

Remembering Ron Goldman

With FX's American Crime Story premiering this past week, I was thrown back to 1994 and the time when a sports figure's murder trial  was plastered on every newspaper, magazine and tabloid, hijacking tv programs for months and being an endless topic of water cooler discussion and heated debates.   

What was apparent then and remains apparent now was how Ron Goldman is lost in the shuffle of celebrity, domestic abuse and racial tensions.  He was unidentified when the murders were discovered and it's sad that even today, he is a second-class citizen behind the killer and Nicole Brown.

Nothing against Nicole - - she was a victim and most certainly did not deserve what befell her - - but she wasn't the only victim.  Ron lost his life too and he did so while trying to help her.  Painful enough that he's been relegated to footnote status in the entire saga but very few people acknowledge that Ron was a hero.  As his sister has said, he could saved himself when he either saw Nicole dead on the ground or witnessed her being attacked but he didn't do that. 

So much ink has been spilled about the killer's violent streak, his womanizing, his repetitive legal troubles - - the public seems more interested in idolizing him than the young man who put someone else's safety above his own.  It's shameful.  Shouldn't we know that Ron Goldman was a loving son and brother, close with his father and sister, dedicated to his friends and who dreamt of one day opening his own restaurant?  That's the person he was and that is what his killer robbed him, his family and his friends of.

When I think of this case, my first thought is always of Ron and my heart breaks for him.  We were almost exactly the same age in June of 1994.  I got to turn a year older in July; Ron did not.  Every life experience I've had since then, Ron has been robbed of.  Every holiday I've been able to spend with my family, Ron hasn't.  

If you're reading this, I ask that you take a moment to think about Ron.  Remember this young man doing a quick favor for a friend, who was then going to head out on a normal evening with other friends, not knowing this compassionate nature he had would be one of the last acts he'd perform.  Think of his joyful smile as pictured here, his zest for life.  Say a prayer for him.  Think of him when standing in the sun or doing a good deed.

Most of all, think of him.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Debunking Helter Skelter

The ones who matter

If it seems too crazy to believe, it might just be. 

The theory of "Helter Skelter" has long been accepted as the motive behind the senseless slayings of seven people and one unborn child on the weekend of August 8-10, 1969 in Los Angeles by the so-called Manson Family.  Vincent Bugliosi did a masterful job presenting the theory of Helter Skelter to the jury, who listened, understood, bought it and found the killers guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.  Honestly though, if Manson were trying to jumpstart a race war, why stop after the two sets of murders?  It's not like the police were hot on his trail.
So was Helter Skelter the true motive for the murders? 

Drugs.  Were drugs the underlying cause of the massacre?  Tate detectives initially believed they were, convinced that a drug deal had gone south.  True, drugs were found on the property . . . but not enough to suggest anyone at Cielo was a dealer.  If a drug burn was the root of the homicides, wouldn't a hit be more clean?  In other words, would a professional (as surely a hit would suggest) show up at the Cielo property with a rope, knives and a bayonet?  Hardly the weapons of a professional killer. 

Was Voytek Frykowski dealing?  Feelings on this seem divided.  If he was, he had to have been small potatoes.  No significant amount of drugs were found in the house to suggest he was a major player and there were no weapons -- like a gun - - that you would expect a dealer to have.  Would a dealer be living in such an easily accessible property?  Even assuming that he was the target, he left the house earlier in the day - -  the perfect time to carry out a hit and making him a far easier target for a professional.

Same with Abigail Folger.  If she were the target, she had a standing appointment Monday through Friday to see her therapist every afternoon.  She could easily have been eliminated leaving or returning to Cielo Drive without involving anyone else.

Rumors have floated for years that Jay Sebring was the candyman to quite a few Hollywood players.  If true and if Sebring was the target, it makes zero sense that he would be taken out anywhere other than his own house or office.  His visit at Cielo seemed to be a casual type of dropping by you do with friends, which would make it more unlikely that he was the target in my book.  He also had no drugs on him and a relatively small amount in his Porsche.  None were found in his system at autopsy.  While it could bolster the dealer argument (as most dealers apparently live by the creed that you don't use yourself) it does weaken the rumor that he had a major coke problem.  If he was such an addict, wouldn't he have the drug in his system? 

Besides that, assuming that one victim was the target why take out everyone?  Would anyone attempting a hit slaughter a pregnant woman?   Would they write in blood on the front door?  Would they tie rope around the victims' necks? 

And where does Steven Parent fit in all this?  He had no previous connection with anyone at the Cielo property and it's not been suggested that he was a drug dealer or user.  Assuming professionals were dispatched to Cielo over a drug burn, they would have let the unsuspecting Parent, leaving the guesthouse, get in his car and drive away.

Furthermore, if drugs were behind the crimes, would the assailants leave any behind?  Wouldn't they search the property and take any and all drugs with them, even minor amounts?  And where does that leave the LaBiancas?  They had no known connection to drugs, nor were any found in their home or in their systems upon autopsy. 

While drugs may have been present and perhaps even tied the victims, however remotely, to their eventual killers, I don't think it was why the murders were committed.

The Mob.  The Mob angle is tossed around with regard to the LaBiancas but not Tate.  Since the two crimes are related we'd have to find a connection to the Tate homicide and the Mob and so far, there appears to be none.  Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski had no known ties to the Mob.  Jay Sebring was in debt at the time of his death but not to the Mob - - to Sharon, to Abigail, to his dentist, all of whom invested in Sebring International.  He seemed to be a textbook case of cash poor but having assets from his business.  No apparent connection with Abigail Folger or Voytek Frykowski.  Steve Parent had just graduated from high school two months prior to his murder so a connection there is about as likely as Manson getting parole. 

Even if the Mob were somehow involved with the LaBiancas, specifically Leno, would they execute a hit by tying up Leno and his wife, putting lamp cords around their necks, stab them repeatedly and write in blood on the walls before taking a shower and grabbing a bite to eat on their way out the door?   And making sure to write about Manson's infamous upcoming race war on the fridge?  Really?   Not only great luck and quite a coinky-dink but also an extremely sloppy hit.

As far as the Mob contracting Manson to perform the hit . . . my eyes ache from how hard I'm rolling them.

Black Magic and Witchcraft.  This theory is almost too laughable to press but it came out immediately following the murders and it still haunts to this day.  I think the gruesomeness of the crimes combined with Roman Polanski's films (most especially the then-recent Rosemary's Baby) gave this tale legs.  It didn't help that Sharon Tate was pregnant (feeding into the allegations that a child is the ultimate sacrifice) or that is was mistakenly reported (repeatedly) that Jay Sebring was found with a hood over his head. 

Over the years various "sources" have claimed that Sharon was initiated into witchcraft and said witchcraft is what got her killed.  They use a photo of her standing in a magic circle to prove it.  First, the photo is a picture taken on set of Eye of the Devil, in which she plays a witch so no dice.  If a real photograph existed, in this age of social media and eBay, you'd bet it would be circulated.  No black magic paraphernalia was discovered at 10050 Cielo Drive so what kind of black magic practitioner was Sharon anyway?  Witchcraft doesn't mesh with Sharon's Catholic upbringing and none of her friends claim that she participated in any such thing.  Her sister spent quite a bit of time with Sharon that summer and saw nothing amiss.  Furthermore, nothing has been said about Abigail, Jay, Voytek or Steven being into witchcraft so why were they killed?  Guilt by association?  The magic circle made a mistake? 

Orgies and Sex Tapes.  This topic has reached almost epic proportions in some arenas.  It was reported in Bugliosi's Helter Skelter that the LAPD recovered a videotape in the loft of the Cielo property that showed Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski making love.  Hardly an orgy or a cache of porn and yet some remain convinced that Tate, Polanski, Sebring and a host of other Hollywood players were participating in various orgies, all of which were recorded for good measure and the existence of these tapes (and the threat of them) is what incited the murders.

What makes this impossible for me to believe is, once again, that if such tapes existed, where are they?  It's been more than forty-six years since the murders; surely they would have surfaced by now.  Someone, somewhere, would be trying to get big bucks for these tapes and yet . . . not a peep.

And if the murders were committed in order to retrieve these tapes, why was it necessary to kill everyone in the house?  Why write in blood?  And why execute the LaBiancas the next evening?  Surely they had nothing to do with supposed Hollywood orgies.

And maybe the most important point - - what would Charles Manson and his band of killers have to do with sex tapes that don't involve them?  Exactly.  Nothing.

Copycat Motive.  Other than below, this motive makes the most sense out of all of them.  To wit:  Bobby Beausoleil was sitting in jail for killing Gary Hinman and The Family/Charlie/the girls thought a copycat killing spree would exonerate him for the Hinman murder and/or they needed cash to bail Bobby out.

The robbery angle is weak in my book.  Manson had no problems sending his girls out hooking before for cash so why not do that now?  He had also starting creepy-crawling homes so surely they could have pocketed some items worth a little bank. 

If Manson was so concerned about Beausoleil's incarceration why was he taking his jolly ass up north with Stephanie Schram and hitting the Esalen Institute to play his music?  (More on that below.)   Shouldn't he have been staying in town to organize his troops for soliciting and stealing? 

As far as that goes, wouldn't you think that he'd want to distance himself as much as possible from Hinman?  Especially given that he was present during Gary's imprisonment and torture, slicing off the poor man's ear himself.   You would think he'd go underground or something but this is Charles Manson.

The copycat motive is similarly weak in places.  Beausoleil (and possibly Manson, Atkins and/or Mary Brunner) had Hinman sign the titles of his two vehicles over to the Family before his death.  (In fact, Beausoleil was arrested in one of Hinman's vehicles.)  None of the vehicles at either Cielo or Waverly was touched.  (Maybe Beausoleil's stupidity taught them?)  The cops also knew that Beausoleil was part of Manson's gang so it stands to reason that another murder or set of murders along the lines of Hinman should have been a red flag leading the cops to Manson, right?

Manson and Revenge.  I believe Manson spoke about "Helter Skelter" coming down to the Family.  He was a storyteller and a preacher (non-religious, of course) who loved to hold people in rapt attention, particularly those who were under the influence of drugs and other dysfunctions.  One thing I will say about Charlie was that he was very adept at reading others' hang ups and issues, like most good con men and sociopaths.  The ragtag group of social misfits and dropouts that made up his "Family" wanted something to believe in besides all the free love and drugs that permeated Spahn Ranch.  Helter Skelter gave them a purpose and also fed into their antisocial nature by promising the "Pigs" (i.e., the white establishment) would get theirs while Charlie and his group remained hidden away until they could safely emerge and take over.  It's been said that Charlie is actually quite intelligent with a fairly high IQ, something that might very well be the truth given how easily he manipulated the Bible and the songs on the Beatles' White Album to interpret Helter Skelter. 

However, I don't think that's why seven people lost their lives that terrible weekend.  I don't think it's a coincidence that on August 8, 1968 - - exactly a year before the Tate murders - - Manson recorded his music with the help of Dennis Wilson, Terry Melcher and Greg Jacobson.  Manson wanted to be a musician, like Dennis (of the Beach Boys fame) and the Beatles but he wanted to do so without having to pay the dues that most musicians do.  In other words, he didn't want to work his way up the ladder, he wanted to own the ladder from jump.  While it's been said that he wasn't a bad musician and his voice was fine, his lyrics and the overall down nature of them turned off the executives.  Remember, this was just before the Summer of Love; the hippies were preaching peace and love, not death and destruction.  So Manson got the usual "thanks, we'll be in touch" line and went back to Spahn Ranch to wait for the call that would make him king.  The call that would never come.

Manson apparently waited and stewed for months, while putting Terry Melcher on redial.  By March of 1969, he had enough and went directly to Melcher's residence on Cielo Drive to find out why the executives weren't beating down his door with offers.  The property's owner, Rudi Altobelli, was living in the guesthouse at the time and informed Charlie that Melcher had moved out and new tenants were living in the main house.  When pressed, Altobelli told Manson that while Melcher had moved to Malibu, he had no idea where in Malibu.  A lie.  He also told Manson, when Charlie asked about Altobelli's contacts in the entertainment industry, that he was living for Europe the next day and would be gone for a year.  Also a lie - - Altobelli did leave for Europe the next day, along with Sharon Tate, but he wasn't planning on being gone for a year. More like a few months.

Manson went back to his life at Spahn of fixing dune buggies, eating out of garbage cans and sending the girls out on prostitution runs for extra cash and things seemed to be status quo until August.  In early August Charlie went up north to the Esalen Institute and played his music for its guests - - the so-called establishment that he despised.  There is no proof they were there at the time but both Sharon Tate and Abigail Folger had been guests of the Institute previously.  Charlie's music was met with dislike and disdain and he must have left thoroughly bitter.  He left on August 7, 1969.

I think when he returned to the L.A. area on the afternoon of August 8, he was seething.  It had been a year since all of his music industry dreams were to have come true.   Terry Melcher had told Manson he was going to get his music out there and to Charlie, a man born of the prison system where your word is the only thing you have, a promise was a promise.  Melcher, part of that establishment of "Pigs", along with those at Esalen Institute, had humiliated him for the last time.  He wanted revenge.

Charlie wouldn't have offed Melcher, the same way he wouldn't have offed Dennis Wilson or Greg Jacobson.  He needed them to further his musical career.  But sending a message was okay.  He had done so with Wilson by leaving him a bullet, the subtext loud and clear.  He would do the same to Melcher but in far gorier terms.

He knew Melcher no longer lived at Cielo; he may have heard that movie industry people resided there now.  It mattered little.  He knew the layout of the property and he knew that Melcher would hear of what was going to happen.  

When he sent his merry band of killers out that night, he was careful not to accompany them but his wishes were clear.  I think he sent them out on their deadly mission under the guise of Helter Skelter because he didn't want to tell them that he was really throwing a temper tantrum and ordering the deaths of a group of people because he was pissed.   Watson, Krenwinkle and Atkins - - thoroughly antisocial and blood thirsty - - were more than happy to instigate what they thought would be a race war.  In truth, they were simply obliterating human beings because Charles Manson didn't get his way.

I don't think Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring or Voytek Frykowski had personally done anything to Manson.  In fact, I doubt they had any interactions with him, ever.  They were merely representations of the industry and the establishment that had mocked him and for that, they lost their lives.  Steven Parent was collateral damage, having the extreme misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and meeting up with the evil and unsympathetic end of Watson's gun.

The LaBiancas were victims of geography, living next door to a house that Manson had been to several times, and victims of the Family's bloodlust.  They too represented the establishment that Manson had so much disdain for and yet wanted to be a part of.  For that, they too paid for his raging desire for revenge, plain and simple.

I think the truth of this case is a matter of Occam's razor - - the simpler explanation makes the most sense.  And the simplest explanation to me is revenge.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bundy and the Pornography Connection

Pornography made him do it!

Last month was the 27th anniversary of the execution of Ted Bundy.  Hard to believe.  I remember watching the news and seeing footage of Starke, with the groups of people cheering once that white flag was raised (even setting off fireworks) and then attempting to storm the hearse transporting his body.  People can be so bizarre, can't they?

In any event, back during Bundy's final days, in between talking to investigators from multiple states about their open missing persons cases, he met with James Dobson.  Dobson is an evangelical Christian and author and perhaps best known for his "Focus on the Family" organization.  I have nothing against Dobson and think he was being genuine in his attempt to seek out what caused Bundy to be, well, Bundy (i.e., an intelligent and charming yet murderous dirtbag) but I think he got played by a master manipulator.

Bundy claimed that violent pornography led him to abduct, rape and murder more than thirty females.  (Thirty is the official number but I personally believe his victim count was likely closer to a hundred.)  But I digress. 

According to Ted, the process was a gradual one in which he eventually began to fuse sex and violence and that led him to act upon those fantasies.  If his first victim was Ann Marie Burr in 1961, when Ted was fifteen, what pornography was he viewing?  There was no internet, there were no VCRs or DVD players.  There were magazines and I think those are what he saw, like many teenage boys.  There was also his maternal grandfather (also purported to be his biological father) who it was revealed was a cruel, sociopathic individual that abused not only his wife and daughters but also the family pets.  Perhaps not surprisingly, Ted remembers this grandfather in a rosy Santa Claus type way.  While the grandfather never abused young Ted, he allowed his temper to erupt in front of him by abusing others.  Worse, he kept a stash of snuff-type magazines that a young Ted allegedly devoured.

Snuff type materials could absolutely do a number on a young, impressionable mind . . . especially one that is already dysfunctional and prone to violence as I think Bundy's was.  It sounds cliché but I think Bundy was just born bad, period.  His exposure to a violent father figure early in life did not help matters but I think even if he had been raised by Santa Claus or James Dobson, he still would have turned out to be a serial killer.  Murder ran in Bundy's blood, it was the greatest passion in his life and one he likely considered his greatest accomplishment.

Bundy's claim for blame with regard to pornography seems disingenuous when you consider that he never brought up pornography or an addiction to it prior to his interview with Dobson.   He clearly wanted to discuss "why" with Robert Keppel, the Washington State investigator that Bundy seemed to admire, but Keppel had little use for the "why," instead wanting closure for the families of girls still missing.  Even when talking to authors Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth, in which Bundy described his murders in the third person, pornography was never mentioned.   Alcohol was mentioned; Bundy claimed he needed to be drunk to commit his disgusting acts in order to quiet that rational part of his mind but never did pornography enter the equation.

I believe his liberal use of alcohol although he probably would have committed the crimes drunk or sober.  The Bundy of 1974 appeared to be far more calculated and cunning compared to the sloppy, unorganized Bundy of 1978.  Was alcohol to blame?  Did it help or hinder his cause? 

It's unfortunate that Florida authorities did not realize who and what they were dealing with when they captured Bundy in 1978.  After begging the arresting officer to kill him on the spot, he was at his psychologically weakest and very likely would have confessed all, to the right person and with the right prompts.  Washington, Utah and Colorado (where Bundy escaped from less than two months prior) investigators wanted to haul ass to the Sunshine State and advised their Floridian counterparts on how to handle Bundy but their advice was ignored.  Tragic, really. 

So why did Bundy blame pornography?  Because he had a captive audience with Dobson?  Was he trying to play the victim?  Was he trying to keep any attention or blame from his own family and their dysfunctional dynamics?  Was it because he was desperate to know what made him tick and desperate to find something to blame for his sickening behavior?   Or was it just a con artist, realizing that once he was executed he would quickly fade from public consciousness, scrambling to stay relevant and create yet more controversy? 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Linda Kasabian's Story Sounds Like B.S.

The History Channel aired a little docudrama about the Tate-LaBianca murders back in 2009, to mark the fortieth "anniversary" of the deaths, and they were kind enough to replay it this past weekend.  I think I may have seen it when it originally aired but if so, it either didn't make enough of an impression on me to warrant comment or I didn't fully watch.  In any event, I watched yesterday and what I saw made me angry.

The docudrama was told as Linda Kasabian saw it, with dramatic reenactments interspersed with interviews of Kasabian who was supposedly hidden with a bad wig, sunglasses (in some shots) and sketchy lighting.  I have to say that if this was how to keep her hidden I sure wouldn't want to go into witness protection with the History Channel covering my back.   I could pick Kasabian out in the dead of night, with one eye shut, in a swamp covered in mud on a foggy day.  Sheesh.

Anyhow, this was promoted back in 2009 as the first time she spoke publicly in forty years about what happened - - or in other words, since she testified at the trial that put Charles Manson and his merry band of murderers in prison.  If you aren't up on your Manson facts, Kasabian was given immunity in order to testify as she did not actually kill anyone that night and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi stressed that she was just a little hippie girl that wasn't cut from the same cloth as Manson and his followers.

What struck me right away (besides the bad wig) was that when recounting meeting "the Family" and Manson for the first time, Kasabian looked wistful, as if she were remembering a loved one who had passed on or recollecting a fun, joyous time in her life.  I have no doubt that she bought lock, stock and barrel into the commune style living and the free love-share everything philosophy that the Family espoused.  To each his own.  I do think that the reenactment of Spahn Ranch was much cleaner than the reality likely was and the actors cast were much more attractive and prettier than their real life counterparts would have been. 

I found it unsettling that Kasabian recalls her first meeting with Tex Watson in such dreamy, awe-inspired tones, as if she was a lovesick teen.  Watson's sex appeal was off the charts, per Linda, and the attraction so instant that the two were having sex within hours of her arrival at the Ranch.  Tex Watson, in case you need a refresher, was Manson's main hit man on the nights of August 9 and 10, 1969 and personally stabbed to death a pregnant woman.  Yep, you can see why he would be so attractive.   So here I'm thinking that not only is Linda's judgment on where to live a bit sketchy but also who she finds attractive.

So her story about the murder nights is essentially the same as what she told Bugliosi with the notable exception that she is now claiming that she climbed into Steven Parent's car after the oh-so-sexy Tex Watson shot him four times in order to take the wallet from the dead teenager's body.  Hmmmmm.  She didn't kill him but her hands aren't exactly as clean as Bugliosi would like us to believe.  Unless of course she is lying.  More on that.

Linda continues to maintain that she was sent around the back of the house to look for open doors or windows and returned to Tex and lied, despite the nursery window being open and without a screen and then remained outside while Watson, Krenwinkle and Atkins went inside to do away with Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Voytek Frykowski.  She claims she remained outside, giving Atkins her knife when Susan ran outside asking for it and then telling her to listen for sounds, and came face to face with Frykowski when he stumbled outside after being attacked, desperate for a means of escape.  She sobbed and cried about how she looked into his eyes . . . and then did nothing, watching him stumble off before Watson (again) caught up him and slaughtered him on the lawn.  That Watson, he sure is a catch.

She claims she wanted the killings to stop but she did nothing to stop them.  Did she run screaming from the property?  Nope.  Did she jump in the killers' car, to which she had the keys, and peel the hell out of there?  Nope.  She waited in or by the car and when the trio returned, exuberant over their fresh kills, she collected the bloody knives and clothing and tossed them out the window. 

Let's break this down.

She said she thought the group was going on another "creepy crawlie," wherein they would dress in black, break into homes and rearrange furnishings in order to freak the occupants out when they awoke.  So why would the group need rope, a gun and knives?  Why would Watson need to cut the phone lines at Cielo?   

I can buy that she was in a state of shock during and after the murders.  Her daughter was back at the Ranch and even if she had taken off from the Cielo property, if Watson, et. al. had gotten to a phone before she could get back to reclaim her daughter, who knows what could have happened.  She couldn't very well show up at the Ranch without her cohorts. 

She certainly knew the next night when she was instructed to put on black clothing and grab a knife what was going down.  She didn't enter the LaBianca home or property but claims that she thwarted another planned attack on an actor she had met.  She, Atkins and Grogan were instructed by Manson to drive to Venice Beach, gain entry to this man's apartment and kill him.   Linda claims that she intentionally knocked on the wrong door so that said man wouldn't be killed.  Okay, but what about the poor person who opened the wrong door?  How did she know they wouldn't kill him or her?

Linda sees her chance for escape - - too late to save Sharon Tate, her unborn child, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowski, Steven Parent, Rosemary LaBianca or Leno LaBianca - - when she is asked to visit Bobby Beausoleil in jail in L.A.  She says she is unable to get to her daughter so leaves without her.  Okay, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  But does she drive directly to the LAPD and tell them she can solve the Tate-LaBianca homicides?  Nope.  She goes to New Mexico and into hiding.

What mother does this?  She says that she "knew" the Family wouldn't harm her daughter but she also told Bugliosi that Manson had said that at some point in the future they may have to kill children as well.  Knowing absolutely that the Family had butchered a pregnant woman, I certainly wouldn't be betting my child's life on anything they had to say. 

A few more things come to mind as well.  Linda was supposedly brought along on the two nights of murder because she was the only member of the Family with a valid driver's license.  However, Linda did not drive on either night.  So what difference did having the license make?  So why was she brought along?  She had only been with the Family for a month.  Some have speculated that Manson chose those Family members that were most expendable to him to send on his murderous mission but I don't think so.  Patricia Krenwinkel was said to be Manson's female equivalent - - utterly devout.  Leslie Van Houten and Susan Atkins were also reported to be fully in with the Family and its beliefs, including murder.  Only Tex Watson was said to be independent in any way but he followed Manson's orders like a good soldier.  It doesn't wash for me suggesting that any of these people were expendable.  I think Manson sent those followers he knew were the most antisocial, the angriest, the most fucked up who would slaughter strangers for shits and giggles.  So what does that say about Linda Kasabian?

She claims she didn't hurt anyone.  She says that Tex ordered her to stay outside . . . but why?  They didn't know how many people were inside.  Does it make sense that Tex would enter the house with just two women to commit those murders?  (Granted, they were armed with a gun, bayonet and knives.)  Did they truly need a look out (a job which Linda failed at pretty miserably) or was Tex making sure that his little sweetie wouldn't go down for murder? 

Linda Kasabian, in my mind, proved herself to be a shitty mother.  She joined the Family, where her daughter was promptly taken away from her.  Manson believed that parents ruined their own children and therefore shouldn't be allowed to raise them.  Linda should have run right then but she stayed and handed her daughter over to be grouped with the other children, in a separate building, taken care of by other Family members.  When she fled after the Tate-LaBianca murders without her daughter, she didn't get herself to the nearest law enforcement officer or building; she fled to freaking New Mexico.  Where she hid without her daughter, who she would get back only after the raid at Spahn and all the children were taken into protective services.  Still at that time, Linda said nothing.  Only after Susan Atkins began spilling the beans while in jail and an arrest warrant was issued for Kasabian did Linda start talking.

Had Linda come forward immediately, the murder of Donald "Shorty" Shea wouldn't have happened.     It's also possible the deaths of John Philip Haught (known as "Zero" within the Family and who was found dead from playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded pistol), and Joel Pugh (husband of Family member Sandra Goode) could have been prevented. 

I'm not sure I buy Bugliosi's suggestion that Linda was just a little hippie girl.  She had committed criminal activities prior to joining up with Manson and happily stole $5,000 from her husband's friend after Tex Watson suggested it to her on the day they met.  She clearly had no problem with the theft, as she had no problem doing the "creepy crawlies" with the Family.  She admitted in 2009 that she searched a dead teenager's body for a wallet.  How do we know she didn't do more than that?   

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Barbara Stager Should Never Be Paroled

Barbara Stager, convicted husband killer and evil bitch

Murder between strangers is despicable enough but imagine the fear and pain of having someone you love and trust betray you in the worst way by taking your life and doing so for nothing more than financial gain.

Russ Stager
Barbara Stager did just this.  Twice.  Although no charges were brought against her for the gunshot death of her first husband Larry Ford in 1978, it's almost certain that Larry did not accidentally shoot himself (in the chest, no less) shortly after Barbara acquired a handgun and life insurance on Larry.  She was charged and convicted for the 1988 death of her second husband, Russ Stager in which she stood to make a hefty life insurance collection as Russ' beneficiary. 

As looking into Larry's eyes while she killed him probably gave her an unsettled feeling (but no remorse) she changed her M.O. when dispatching Russ.  She claimed that her husband was sleeping with a loaded handgun under his pillow and while trying to remove it while Russ slept, she accidentally shot him in the head.  The story is as ridiculous now as it was back in 1988 - - not only that someone as well versed in guns as Russ Stager would sleep with a loaded handgun under his pillow (discounted by his family and former wife) but that out of everything in that bedroom, including Russ' entire body, that he was "accidentally" shot directly in the back of the head.  In other words, executed.  The trajectory of the bullet also indicated that he was shot from above and behind, in direct contradiction to Barbara's story of the bullet coming from underneath him.

She was convicted and sentenced to death by a North Carolina jury.  The right sentence in my opinion if you support the death penalty.  However, the death sentence was overturned and commuted to life in prison.  I have no doubt that it was only because Barbara is a woman.  If she had been a man that executed his wife for financial gain, the death sentence would have been upheld.

Her attorneys stressed that Barbara was a churchgoing woman, who had so much to still offer the world from her religious knowledge and support to her crafts.  They also stressed what a loving daughter and sister she was and that she was needed to continue being the loving mother of her two sons.  The last statement makes me irate.

Barbara proved herself to be anything but a loving and supportive mother when she obliterated her sons' father.  TWICE.  She killed their biological father, Larry Ford, without a thought or care as to how much emotional damage she would do to them.  She then married Russ Stager, who lovingly adopted Larry's sons and took them as his own.  He loved them, they loved him.  And Barbara cruelly killed Russ as she had Larry; again, with no consideration as to what this might do to her sons. 

She has already lucked out in that her death sentence was overturned.  She was given mercy and life when she gave Larry and Russ none. 

Larry Ford's final resting place
Barbara had a parole hearing in 2009, in which parole was denied.  She had another hearing in 2012, again denied.  She was scheduled for a hearing in August of 2015 but I cannot find further information on that hearing.  She is still listed as incarcerated so I would guess she was again denied or that hearing was postponed.  I would hope that North Carolina never forgets the irreparable damage she did to the Ford and Stager families, as well as to her own children.  If Barbara Stager, the ultimate actress, who lied to, cheated on and then killed both of her husbands so that she might buy a nicer car, new jewelry and clothing, doesn't deserve to be locked up with the key thrown away, I don't know who does.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A New Book on Sharon Tate

I hate to say that I'm a Tate-LaBianca or Helter Skelter junkie but I've read Vincent Bugliosi's book many times, as well as various other books and articles on the case.  Eventually I became a fan of Sharon Tate's - - her sister Debra's book on her sister (Sharon Tate: Recollection) is a gorgeous collection of photos and remembrances.

When I heard that Ed Sanders, author of The Family, was releasing a new book, and on Sharon Tate, I was excited and decided that I most definitely needed to read the book.  That excitement quickly fizzled out when I read excerpts through The Daily Mail.

Among other things claimed, Sanders writes in Sharon Tate: A Life that Sharon participated in threesomes with her husband, Roman Polanski; that she participated in orgies with other famous Hollywood folk that was captured on video; that Polanski showed these videos to his friends; that Sharon was initiated into witchcraft in 1965 following filming of Eye of the Devil and pictures of her inside a consecrated magic circle were taken.   There are also quite a few allegations that in an effort to hold on to Polanski, Sharon got caught up his drug-fueled and sexual decadence, that Polanski wanted Sharon to have an abortion and when she refused, he refused to have sex with her and began an affair with her friend Michelle Phillips, and that during that last summer of her life, Polanski was dismissive of Sharon, calling her a "dumb hag." 

I'll start with the Polanski allegations first.  I think it's fairly well known that Polanski had no desire for children; I believe he admitted that himself in his autobiography.   It's also well known that he was less than faithful to Sharon during their courtship and marriage and despite what may have been said immediately following the murders, Sharon was well aware and it was a source of unhappiness for her.  She was considering leaving Polanski and the marriage after her baby was born (sadly, she did get that chance.)

As far as the drugs go, Sharon was no saint.  She had experimented with drugs before meeting Roman so I'm not sure it's fair to claim that he got her into that lifestyle.  He told the LAPD (and may have mentioned in his book) that the first time he dropped acid, he had done so with Sharon and it was her fifteenth or sixteenth trip.  She also appeared to be a recreational marijuana smoker before she met the director so I'll take the drug related stories with a relatively small grain of salt, at least.

After the murders, when the LAPD was searching the residence on Cielo for evidence, they found a tape of Sharon and Roman having sex.  If there were other videotapes on the property, as Sanders alleges, don't you think the LAPD would have booked them into evidence?  It's not like anyone would have had time to search the property and get rid of them - - the home was locked down once the bodies were discovered.  If the tapes existed, the other parties on the film would have a possible motive for murder.  Because of this, I don't think these videos ever existed . . . just another rumor out of many in this case.

The allegation that Sharon was participating in orgies goes against what everyone has said about her since 1969.  She was said to be sweet, almost naïve, and a homebody at heart who only wanted a home, husband and baby.  If Sharon did indeed participate in these acts, where were these people in 1969 or 1970? 

The witchcraft initiation rumor - -and it's just that, a rumor - - has been around for years.  There is no proof or substance to it.  Again, if there were indeed pictures of Sharon being initiated, where are they?  Surely in this age of eBay and internet, they would have surfaced by now. 

Sanders also got the facts glaringly wrong.  He claims that Terry Melcher was the owner of the house at 10050 Cielo Drive but the owner was actually Rudy Altobelli.  Melcher was the tenant at the house prior to the Polanskis moving in.  It may not seem that large of a mistake but it certainly makes you call Ssanders' other so-called facts into question.

Perhaps most amazingly is that Sanders claims that Manson was paid $25,000 by a Satanic group to off Sharon because of something relative to the Robert Kennedy assassination she overheard.  This is so ridiculous it's almost not worthy of comment.  But let's address it anyhow, for argument's sake.  $25,000 was a large bit of money in 1969 (and would equate to over $650,000 today.)  If Manson had collected that sum, where was it?  Did he have some secret bank account that Bugliosi never found?  And if Manson was paid to knock off Sharon Tate, why would he send a vagabond band of killers to her home, with others present, and with such unwieldy weapons as a bayonet and 40 plus feet of rope?  Why would they commit such overkill?  Why butcher Rosemary and Leno LaBianca the next night?  None of it makes sense.   Never mind that Sharon supposedly knew something about the RFK assassination that was kill worthy.  If she knew something, don't you think she would have told Roman Polanski?  And wouldn't he have mentioned it to the LAPD when they were attempting to find a motive? 

Despite how good The Family was, Sanders failed miserably on this one.  Who was his source, Manson?  I think Sanders was trying to find the most salacious and juicy gossip in order to sell his book.  Shame on him - - just another person who has no difficulty in murdering Sharon's memory.

The Daily Mail article - - big grain of salt, folks - - can be found here.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ricardo Medina, Jr. Charged With Murder

This was certainly a long time coming, wasn't it?  Obviously LA County wanted all its ducks in order before moving on this case.

You may recall (or you may not) that last January (yep, almost a year ago) Medina fatally stabbed his roommate with a sword (don't we all have them lying around?) after a dispute at their home.  At the time it was reported that Joshua Sutter was stabbed once after arguing with Medina and Medina called the paramedics immediately after stabbing Sutter.  It sounded at the time as if this may have been self-defense or even involuntary manslaughter.

My, how things change.  Medina was arrested today and is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.  It's being reported that prosecutors will ask for bail to be set at a cool million, which seems to assure that he will still in jail throughout the trial unless he has a connection or connections in the industry that is/are willing to pony up some bank for him. 

It's also being reported now that Medina stabbed Sutter "multiple times," which creates a bit of a problem with the self-defense theory in my book.  Unless Sutter was under the influence of something like LSD, one poke with a sword would likely end an altercation so . . .

The argument also allegedly began over Medina's girlfriend, resulting in Sutter forcing his way into Medina's bedroom where the fatal altercation occurred. 

If Medina is convicted, he could face up to 26 years in prison, which indicates prosecutors are looking at voluntary manslaughter versus involuntarily manslaughter or second degree murder.