Program note: Tonight, attorney Vincent Bugliosi will join us on AC360° at 10pm ET to discuss the Manson murders. He was in charge of prosecuting Charles Manson, and wrote a book about the killings and the case. Below are some excerpts of his book.
Editor's note: Excerpted from Helter Skelter, The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi (c) Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon.
The canyons above Hollywood and Beverly hills play tricks with sounds. A noise clearly audible a mile away may be indistinguishable at a few hundred feet.
It was hot that night, but not as hot as the night before, when the temperature hadn’t dropped below 92 degrees. The three-day heat wave had begun to break a couple of hours before, about 10pm on Friday – to the psychological as well as the physical relief of those Angelenos who recalled that on such a night, just four years ago, Watts had exploded in violence. Though the coastal fog was now rolling in from the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles itself remained hot and muggy, sweltering in its own emissions, but here, high above most of the city, and usually even above the smog, it was at least 10 degrees cooler. Still, it remained warm enough so that many residents of the area slept with their windows open, in hopes of catching a vagrant breeze.
All things considered, it’s surprising that more people didn’t hear something.
There appeared to b blood on the trunks, on the floor next to them, and on the two towels in the entryway. She couldn’t see the entire living room – a long couch cut off the area in front of the fireplace – but everywhere she could see she saw the red splashes. The front door was ajar. Looking out, she saw several pools of blood on the flagstone porch. And, farther on, on the lawn, she saw a body.
Screaming, she turned and ran through the house, leaving the same way she had come in but, on running down the driveway, changing her course so as to reach the gate-control button. In so doing, she passed on the opposite side of the white rambler, seeing for the first time that there was a body inside the car too.
Once outside the gate, she ran down the hill to the first house, 10070, ringing the bell and pounding on the door. When the Kotts didn’t answer, she ran to the next house, 10090, banging on that door and screaming, “Murder, death, bodies, blood!”
Fifteen year old Jim Asin was outside, warming up the family car. It was Saturday and, a member of the law enforcement unit 800 of the Boy Scouts of America, he was waiting for his father, Ray Asin, to drive him to the West Los Angeles Division of LAPD, where he was scheduled to work on the desk. By the time he got to the porch, his parents had opened the door. While they were trying to calm the hysterical Mrs. Chapman, Jim dialed the police emergency number. Trained by the Scouts to be exact, he noted the time: 8:33.
Filed under: Crime & Punishment
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