Linda Kasabian, a former member of the notorious Manson family cult, died last month at a hospital in Tacoma, Washington. She was 73.
Kasabian died on January 21, and a death notice ran in the local newspaper Tacoma News Tribune, which named the former cult member as Linda Chiochios, one of the names she used after the Manson murder trials. Multiple media outlets have obtained copies of her death certificate where no cause is listed.
Kasabian did not take part in the murders themselves and is said to have played “lookout” as members of the Manson cult carried out the murders of Tate as well as Leno and Rosemary Labianca.
Kasabian was later granted immunity by prosecutors after she testified against Manson and four other members of the cult during their blockbuster 1970 trial in Los Angeles. All five were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Manson died behind bars in 2017.
Born Linda Drouin in Maine in 1949, Kasabian moved to Los Angeles aged 20, where she became entwined in the brutal rampage, which became known as the “two nights of mayhem” during which members of Charles Manson’s cult murdered seven people, including actress Sharon Tate.
Tate was the wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski, and she was more than eight months pregnant at the time of the murder.
Speaking about Kasabian with The Observer newspaper in 2009, Vincent Bugliosi, the Los Angeles prosecutor who convicted Manson, said: “I doubt we would have convicted Manson without her.”
He added: “She stood in the witness box for 17 or 18 days and never broke down, despite the incredible pressure she was under.”
Kasabian is said to have lived in Tacoma with her daughter since the late 1980s after fleeing her mother’s home in New Hampshire due to intense media attention. In a 2016 profile, Rolling Stone wrote that Kasabian lived in a trailer park in “near poverty.
In 2009, Kasabian was interviewed by Larry King on CNN. She was wearing a disguise and told the journalist that she had been on a “path of healing and rehabilitation” since the murders.
The Manson killings shook Los Angeles and defined a generation. The story of the Manson family has inspired countless shows and films, including, most recently, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In the flick, Stranger Things star Maya Hawke plays a spoof Kasabian-inspired character named Flower Child.
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