Linda Kasabian

Linda Kasabian was a member of the Manson Family, then she became a witness against them. She was the key witness in the prosecution of Manson and his family for the Tate/LaBianca murders.

Linda Darlene Kasabian, aka Yana the Witch, was born on June 21, 1949, in Biddeford, Maine. She grew up in Milford, New Hampshire. Her father was a construction worker and her mother a housewife. The family often had financial difficulties because of her father’s low income. Her parents often argued and Kasabian’s father left the family when Kasabian was still a young girl. Her parents divorced and both remarried. Kasabian grew up in a large family and her mother could not always give her the necessary attention. Her mother therefore felt responsible for what happened to Kasabian later on.

She dropped out of high school and ran away from home at age sixteen. She often clashed with her stepfather, who regularly mistreated Kasabian and her mother. Kasabian traveled to the west coast. She married Robert Peasley, but they divorced a short time later.

She moved to Miami and tried to reconnect with her father, who was working there as a bartender, but the relation with her father did not go well and Kasabian left. This time she moved to Boston, and married a man named Robert Kasabian. The two had a daughter together, Tanya. The marriage went sour pretty quickly and Kasabian went back to her mother. Some time later, Kasabian left again, this time to Los Angeles, Topanga Canyon to be exact. Her husband, Robert Kasabian, had moved there, and asked if she would come over and make up.

The Family

Kasabian became pregnant for the second time. Her husband neglected her and he ran off. Kasabian made a new friend, Catherine Share, whom she met through a friend of her husband’s. Share, a member of the Manson family, told Kasabian about the ranch where she and the Manson group lived, and talked about the idyllic hippie life on the ranch. Kasabian became intrigued and, along with her daughter Tanya, accompanied Share to the ranch.

Linda Kasabian joined Manson and his family in July 1969, a few weeks before the infamous Manson murders.

Kasabian was welcomed by the Manson family, who assured her that she and her daughter were safe at the ranch, provided she would be loyal to the group. On her first night at the ranch, she slept with Tex Watson, who would later commit the gruesome murders.

The next day, Kasabian was introduced to Charles Manson, which she later described as a dramatic event. She was impressed by his charisma and the way he dressed and behaved. She thought Manson was Christ-like. That night, Kasabian and Manson had sex in a cave near the ranch.

Murder

On the day of the Tate murders, Mary Brunner, the only Manson family member with a driver’s license except for Kasabian, was arrested for credit card fraud. This was why Manson sent Kasabian to Tate’s house, simply because the others didn’t have a driver’s license.

Linda was the driver of the getaway car on both nights of the infamous Manson murders. She did not participate in the murders herself, but she did stand guard at Tate’s house while Tate and her friends were being murdered.

On August 8, 1969, Manson told Kasabian to grab a knife, a set of dark clothes, and her driver’s license, and told her to report to Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel. The four drove to 10050 Cielo Drive, the Tate residence. Upon arrival, she watched Tex Watson kill Steve Parent. Then Tex Watson made her stand guard while Watson, Atkins, and Krenwinkel entered the house and killed everyone in the house.

The next night the same group, but this time assisted by Charles Manson, Leslie Van Houten and Steve Grogan, hit the road again. They drove to the house of the LaBiancas, where Watson, Krenwinkel and Van Houten killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

That same evening, Kasabian was ordered by Manson to drive to an apartment complex in Venice Beach. There lived a young actor, Saladin Nader, who Kasabian had met a few days earlier, while Kasabian was hitchhiking. Manson ordered Kasabian, Atkins and Grogan to kill Saladin. Kasabian purposely led the group to the wrong apartment, preventing Saladin’s murder.

Escape From The Manson Family

On August 11, 1969, Manson told Kasabian to deliver a message to Sandra Good, Mary Brunner, and Bobby Beausoleil, all three were in prison at the time. Kasabian saw this as an opportunity to escape the Manson family, and she fled to New Mexico, where her husband lived at the time. She told him what had happened.

She told him that she had left their daughter, Tanya, at the ranch. Robert wanted to go to the ranch to pick up their daughter, but Kasabian said it was too dangerous. Eventually, Kasabian learned that their daughter had been placed in foster care after the Manson family was captured during the August 16 Spahn Ranch raid. Kasabian picked up her daughter and went to her father in Florida. She stayed with her father for a while, but she eventually returned to her mother.

Trial

On December 2, 1969, Kasabian was charged with the Tate/LaBianca murders. Kasabian was later offered immunity after becoming a witness for the prosecution. Kasabian’s testimony was deeply damaging to Manson and his family, and without her testimony, a conviction would have been unlikely.

After the trial, Linda tried to find stability, but she has been arrested for indecent exposure, DUI and meth possession. According to reports, Kasabian was relieved to hear that Charles Manson had died in 2017.

Related: The Tate Murders | The LaBianca Murders