Linda Kasabian was part of the Manson Family, then she became the star witness against them. She was the key witness in District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi’s prosecution of Manson and his followers for the Tate-LaBianca murders.
Linda Kasabian, aka Yana the Witch, joined the Manson Family after splitting up with her husband in July 1969 about a month before the Tate- Labianca murders. She brought her daughter Tanya with her to the Manson hangout at Spahn Ranch.
Linda was the driver of the getaway car on both nights of the murders, but she did not participate in any of the killings. While at the Tate residence, she stood guard at the gate while the killings were going on.
She heard the victims scream for their lives and ran up to the house to see a beaten, stabbed, shot, and dying Wojciech Frykowski in which she told him “Sorry” just before he collapsed. She also witnessed Steven Parent getting shot to death prior to Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel entering the Tate residence.
On the second night of the Manson Family murder spree Kasabian dropped off Watson, Krenwinkel, and Van Houten at the LaBianca residence. While the Labiancas were being slaughtered, Manson ordered Kasabian to drive to a Venice Beach apartment complex.
Manson then ordered Kasabian, Atkins and Grogan to participate in the murder of an aspiring actor, Saladin Nader. Kasabian had met Saladin a few days earlier while Kasabian and Sandra Good were hitchhiking.
When they entered the apartment complex, Atkins and Grogan waited with a knife and a gun in hand, prepared to kill, but Kasabian purposely brought Atkins and Grogan to the wrong apartment. When the occupant answered, Kasabian apologized and excused herself, preventing the crime.
Two days after the LaBianca murders, Kasabian fled from the Manson Family, and eventually returned to her mother’s home.
Kasabian, Manson, and four other members were indicted for the murders. In her first day at trial, she was shown crime scene photos. “I don’t have to look at the pictures,” she said. “It’s in my head.”
Kasabian was given immunity after she turned witness for the prosecution during the infamous 1970 trial. 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.
After the trial, Kasabian bounced around states trying to find stability, but was arrested for indecent exposure, DUI and meth possession. Kasabian now lives a low-key life somewhere in Washington State. According to reports, Kasabian was relieved to hear that Charles Manson had died.
Related: The Tate Murders