Actress Sharon Tate was eight and a half months pregnant when she was stabbed and hung still alive from the rafters of her Hollywood home.
The 26-year-old had pleaded for the life of her unborn child and watched as her friends were viciously beaten and stabbed before her eyes in her last moments alive.
“Sharon Tate’s death was as brutal a murder as I think I can imagine,” Steven Kay, a former prosecutor in the Manson trial, told producers of Oxygen’s special “Manson: The Women.”
The heinous act was carried out at the request of Charles Manson, by a small group of his followers including Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan “Sadie” Atkins, Patricia “Katie” Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian. Kasabian acted as look out and never physicially participated in any of the murders. The following night, Watson, Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten would go on to savagely murder Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary LaBianca.
But when fellow follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme heard of the group’s bloody rampages, she told producers she felt little for the victims.
“I didn’t feel bad that these people were dead,” she said. “I didn’t even know they were alive.”
Fromme said she was “shocked” when she first learned that some of her friends at Spahn Ranch were responsible for the dark deeds.
“I had to process it,” she said.
At the time—against the backdrop of war and civil unrest in the South—Fromme said many in America were not relating to people who were killed.
“They were not seeing the soldiers as being casualties unless they knew them,” she said. “People who die who you don’t know, you don’t know.”
After taking the time to process the news of the murders, Fromme said didn’t make any decisions about the group’s actions.
“There are times when you just don’t make a decision on things,” Fromme told producers, later adding those who carried out the murders had “felt what they did was right.”
While some have placed the blame for the murders on Manson himself, Fromme said she believes that everyone made their own choices during the bloody summer of August 1969.
“He may have influenced them. I think he influenced us all, but he influenced us in different ways,” she said.
She believes that despite his influence, Manson wasn’t responsible for the actions carried out by other members of the group.
“Should he have been responsible for us? Should he be responsible for anything that happened with us? I don’t feel that,” she said. “We weren’t raised by him.”
Fromme herself was never involved in any of the murders linked to Manson and his “family” but said she did hope at the time that she would have been as “brave” as the others who carried out the acts.
“As far as killing goes, I wasn’t ready for killing,” she said. “I hoped that if I needed to I would.”
Fromme later spent 34 years in prison after trying to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975. She pointed a gun at the president but was stopped by Secret Service agents before any shots were fired.
Fromme was paroled in 2009.
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