Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Charles Manson and the Manson Family

Evidence

A few days later, the wallet belonging to Rosemary LaBianca was found in the ladies restroom at the service station where Linda Kasabian left it. The wallet had gotten lodged in the toilet tank. This piece of corroborating evidence was necessary to bolster Susan Atkins' story in case she decided to repudiate her testimony when Charlie started to pressure her.

Another critical piece of evidence was finally "found:" the unusual .22 caliber Hi Standard Longhorn revolver with the broken gun grip which had been found by Bernard Weiss' son and turned over to the police three and a half months earlier. Bernard Weiss after reading about the indictments in the newspaper called LAPD Homicide to see if the revolver he had turned in was the murder weapon.

After being passed around to several people, an officer told Weiss "We don't keep guns that long. We throw them in the ocean after a while."

Weiss said, "I can't believe that you'd throw away what could be the single most important piece of evidence in the Tate case."

Leslie Van Houten
Leslie Van Houten

"Listen, mister," was the official answer. "We can't check out every citizen report on every gun we find."

Weiss called a newscaster, who in turn, called the LAPD. The gun was "found" where it had been "lost" in the Van Nuys police station. After the tests had been run, there was no doubt that it was the murder weapon. One thing remained to be done — linking Manson to that particular revolver. Eventually Randy Starr provided that link. He once owned the revolver and had given it to Manson.

Another important development occurred when the police were contacted by the man who owned the place that the Tate killers had used to clean up right after the murders. The man had remembered the car and the license plate, which was traced to a Spahn Ranch employee, who had let Manson and his girls borrow his car.

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