Linda Kasabian was a member of the Manson Family, but eventually became a witness against them. She was the key witness in the prosecution of Manson and his Family.
Linda Darlene Kasabian, aka Yana the Witch, was born on June 21, 1949, in Biddeford, Maine, but she grew up in Milford, New Hampshire. Her father was a construction worker and her mother a stay-at-home parent. The family often had financial difficulties because of her father’s low income.
Her parents often argued, and Kasabian’s father left the household 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 mom therefore, felt responsible for what happened to Kasabian later on.
On the Run
Kasabian often clashed with her stepfather, who mistreated Kasabian and her mother. She dropped out of high school and ran away from home at age sixteen. Kasabian traveled to the West Coast. She met a man named Robert Peasley and the two got married, but the marriage didn't work out, and they divorced a short time later.
Kasabian moved to Miami and tried to reconnect with her dad, who was working there as a bartender, but the relation with her dad did not go well and Kasabian left. This time she moved to Boston and wed a man named Robert Kasabian. The two had a daughter together, Tanya.
The marriage ran sour pretty quickly and Kasabian moved back to her mother. Some time later, Kasabian took off 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.
Kasabian became pregnant for the second time. Her husband neglected her, and ran off. Kasabian made a new friend, Catherine Share, whom she met through a friend of her husband. Share, a member of the Manson Family, told Kasabian about the ranch where the Manson clan 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 month before the infamous Tate murders.
Kasabian and her daughter were welcomed with open arms by several members of the Manson clan, who assured her she and her daughter were safe at the ranch, provided she would be loyal to the group. On her first night at the ranch, Kasabian slept with Tex Watson, who would later commit the gruesome murders.
The next day, they introduced Kasabian to Charles Manson, which she later described as a dramatic event. His charisma and the way he dressed and behaved impressed her. She thought Manson was Christ-like. That night, Kasabian and Manson had sex in a cave near the ranch.
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 the reason why Manson sent Kasabian to Tate’s house, simply because she was the only one with a valid driver’s license.
Linda was the driver of the getaway car on both nights of the infamous Manson murders. She did not take part in the homicides herself, but she stood guard at Tate’s house while Tate and her friends were being murdered.
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.
Escape From The Manson Family
On August 11, 1969, Manson told Kasabian to deliver a message to Manson Family members 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 informed him what had happened.
She told him she had left their daughter, Tanya, at the ranch. Robert wanted to go to the ranch to pick up their girl, but Kasabian said it was too dangerous. Eventually, Kasabian learned their daughter had been placed in foster care after they captured Manson and his group during the August 16 Spahn Ranch raid. Kasabian picked up her girl and went to her dad in Florida. She stayed with her dad for a while, but she eventually returned to her mom.
On December 2, 1969, Kasabian was charged with the Tate/LaBianca murders. They later offered Kasabian immunity after becoming a witness for the prosecution. Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor in the Manson case, took Kasabian back to the house at Cielo Drive, where Tate and her friends were murdered. Kasabian provided Bugliosi details only the killers could have known. Kasabian’s testimony was deeply damaging to Manson and his Family.
Linda Kasabian Today
After the trial, Linda tried to find stability, but she has been arrested for indecent exposure, DUI and meth possession. She has led a life of crime, and unfortunately, her once innocent daughter is now nicknamed “Lady Dangerous”.
A Visual Guide to the Tate Murders