The Death Of The Manson Family's Getaway Driver, Linda Kasabian

Linda Kasabian, the getaway driver on the second night of the Manson family's notorious 1969 murder spree, died on January 21, 2023, TMZ reports. Kasabian was 73 and reportedly living in Washington State when she died. As Kasabian later testified, she witnessed but did not participate in any of the Manson family killings. In total, five members of the Manson family were convicted for the shocking series of seven murders, including Manson himself. Manson died in 2017 at the age of 83 while still in prison (via Britannica).

On the first night of the brutal Manson family killings, Kasabian — who reportedly changed her name to Chiochios later in life — was, among others, driven to the home of film director Roman Polanski by another Manson family member, Charles "Tex” Watson. While there, Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate and their unborn child, along with four others, were brutally shot, stabbed, and killed. Polanski was not at home when the murders took place. On the second night of the infamous Los Angeles crime spree, Kasabian (pictured above) reportedly drove other members of the Manson family to the second murder location, where, chosen at random, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were also killed. 

Kasabian was a witness for the prosecution

As TMZ goes on to note, Kasabian was a witness for the prosecution in the two trials that sent Manson and five of his followers to prison. For this reason, Kasabian was granted immunity. Manson himself ordered the murders to take place, according to Kasabian's testimony. All those involved in the Manson family murders were sentenced to die. But after California abolished capital punishment, they were given life sentences instead.

On the justification for the horrific and shocking crime spree, convicted Manson family murderer Susan Atkins, who was there the night Tate and others died, claimed: "... [W]e wanted to do a crime that would shock the world, that the world would have to stand up and take notice." Atkins died from brain cancer in 2009 while still in prison (via The Guardian). In a 2009 interview with Larry King (via YouTube), Kasabian recalled telling Manson, who had ordered her to commit murder, "Charlie, I'm not you, I can't kill anybody ... and he said, 'Sure, you can,'" before making a throat-slitting motion with his hand, according to Kasabian's description.

Kasabian felt guilty about what happened

In that same 2009 Larry King interview, Kasabian said she felt guilty about what happened in what some call "two days of mayhem," referring to the Manson murders. In that same interview, Kasabian did not show her face. She also explained in the years since the 1970-71 Manson trials that she sought healing and rehabilitation. Rolling Stone reported in 2016 that Kasabian had only met Manson one month before the murders happened, and since then, Kasabian lived a life in near poverty.

On the role Kasabian played in the Manson trial, Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi later said (via The Guardian), "[Kasabian] stood in the witness box for 17 or 18 days and never broke down, despite the incredible pressure she was under. I doubt we would have convicted Manson without her." Kasabian lived with her daughter near Tacoma, Washington since the 1980s. Kasabian reportedly changed her name to Chiochios to distance herself from the Manson murder spree. Following her death, Kasabian's body was reportedly cremated. As of this report, no cause of death was announced.