San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle
August 10, 1969 – front page





LEFT–Sharon Tate, 27, beautiful blonde actress and wife of Roman Polanski, movie director.

ABOVE–Jay Sebring, 35, Miss Tate's former fiance, who made a fortune styling hair for men.

RIGHT–Abigail Folger, 26, of Woodside, daughter of Peter Folger, chairman of the family coffee firm.

 Actress, Bay Heiress, Three Others Slain

  Examiner News Service

     LOS ANGELES–A Hollywood actress, an internationally known male hair stylist and an heiress to a San Francisco coffee fortune were found slain along with two other men yesterday in what one policeman described as a "ritualistic" killing.
    The scene was a $200,000, tomato-red home in fashionable Bel Air, rented by the actress' husband, director Roman Polanski, whose suspenseful and macabre films include "Rosemary's Baby."
    A 19 year-old, bare-chested caretaker was arrested in a guest cottage at the mansion and charged with five counts of murder.
    Police identified four of the five victims as:

    The fifth victim was an unidentified man.

No Resistance

    The arrested youth was named by police as William Garretson. Officers said he apparently had just awakened when they seized him and was wearing no shirt. He offered no resistance.
    Investigators said the victims were slain 12 hours before their bodies were discovered by a maid, who ran screaming to neighbors.
    The neighbors called police.
    Officers said the killings appeared methodic and ritualistic because one victim had a hood over his head and two were tied together by a white nylon rope
    Miss Tate was discovered with one end of the rope around her neck. She was dressed in a bikini nightgown – bra and panties – her favorite costume around the house.
    The rope was looped around Sebring's neck and pulled across a ceiling beam in the living room.
    "It seemed kind of ritualistic," said an investigating officer.
    "It didn't appear as if the two connected to the rope had been hanged because there was blood on them," said Lt. James Shannon.
    Investigators said all five victims appeared to have been shot.

"Ample Blood"

    The word "pig" was scrawled on the front door in what appeared to be blood. Officers said the writer may have used his hand or a rag. "There was ample blood around," a policeman said.
    Sgt. Stanley Klorman said there were signs of a struggle in a large room and in a guest room.
    "It looked like a battlefield up there," said Sgt. Lorman.
    Miss Tate and Sebring were found in the living room, two others – including Miss Folger – were discovered on the lawn, and the fifth victim was in a car. It appeared that he was about to drive away when he was slain.
    Telephones and electricity were cut off, police said.
    "In all my years, I have never seen anything like this before," said officer Lorman. All of the beds, including those in the guest house, appeared to have been used. But there was no indication of robbery, unless they were very selective."
    In an interview three years ago, Miss Tate said of Sebring:
    "Before Roman, I guess I was in love with Jay. But the truth is I was no good for Jay. I'm not organized. I'm too flighty. Jay needs a wife. And at 23, I'm not ready for wifehood. I still have to live, and Roman is trying to show me how."
    Police said the maid, Winifred Chapman, discovered the killings when she came to work at 9 a.m. "She ran screaming to a neighbor, who called police," and officer said.
    The first call arrived minutes later at the downtown Los Angeles Police Department. The caller told Officer Robert Fishel:
    "You better get a police car over here right away. There's a man lying on the front lawn and blood all over the place. It looks like a bad one."
    Investigators arrived to find the five bodies, the two women dressed in lingerie nightgowns and the three men "in hippie-type clothes," said an officer.

Beautiful Blonde

    An officer of the Los Angeles Animal Control Bureau went into the home and left soon with a Yorkshire terrier, two poodles, a Dalmatian, a Wiemaraner and a tiny kitten.
    The death scene was off a canyon in a hilly region between Beverly Hills and the San Fernando Valley northwest of downtown Los Angeles–an area where many Hollywood actors and entertainers live.
    Miss Tate, a beautiful blonde who had parts in "The Americanization of Emily" and "The Sandpipers," also starred in the television comedy "Petticoat Junction."
    She liked to refer to herself as "sexy little me."
    At the age of six months, she was chosen "Miss Tiny Tot" of Dallas, Tex. At age 16, she was Miss Richland, Wash. She got it parts in the movies by the time she was 18.
    Her movie and television roles included comedy, sexy parts–and even the morbid. One of her first roles was in "The Dance of the Vampires"–and had her bathing nude in a bathtub.

S.F. Heiress

    She also did television commercials for automobiles and cigars.
    Sebring, the noted hair stylist whose salons drew the famous, opened a new operation in San Francisco last May. Husband-wife acting team Paul Newman and Joan Woodward were among those attending his champagne celebration in the financial district. Miss Folger was one of Sebring's business associates.
    Miss Folger, accustomed to high-society living, attended Santa Catalina School for Women near Carmel, and was graduated from Radcliffe.
    Her father said yesterday his daughter had become active in social welfare causes around Los Angeles about six months ago and "more or less commuted" between here and the family home near San Francisco.
    "She always has led a clean life," he said.
    The other victim identified by police, Voyteck Frykowski, was a Polish friend of film director Polanski officers reported. He was associated with Polanski in the director's first film, "Knife in the Water," police said.



ABOVEHouseboy William Garretson booked by police

LEFTRear of Polanski homescene of murders