Tate-LaBianca, 45 Years Later: A Strange Society of Manson Watchers

by Bill Brenner on August 6, 2014

This week marks the 45th anniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders. I’m marking it first with a prayer for the victims and second by making note of some interesting people I’ve met as a result of this lifelong Manson obsession I have.

I’ve been to L.A. twice, and both times drove around to the two murder sites and other places.

Tate Home Behind that gate, Sharon Tate and four others were murdered by minions of Charles Manson.

LaBianca Home On the second night of terror, minions of Charles Manson went to this house and murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca

I’ve also read Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice, a book written by Tate family friend Alisa Statman and Brie Tate, niece of Sharon Tate.

After reading it, I declared it “the most important book ever written” on the case because it showed the struggle of the Tate family in the decades after the murders better than any book up to that point. The day that post published, co-author Alisa Statman sent me a thank-you on Twitter. We then engaged in an extended back and forth about the case. Statman is an interesting woman.

She lived in the guesthouse at 10050 Cielo Drive — site of the Tate murders — in the early 1990s at the same time Nine Inch Nails set up a recording studio in the main house and recorded The Downward Spiral. She also went on to strike up a domestic partnership with Sharon Tate’s youngest sister, Patti, which lasted until cancer killed Patti in 2000.

Restless Souls is a compilation of the unfinished memoirs of Patti, her mom, Doris, and her dad, Paul. You really get to see how they struggled with all of the media attention and personal demons in the years after the murders, and that’s what I liked about it. Doris is a hero to me, because she picked up the pieces and became a tireless advocate for victim’s rights, even counseling convicts.

I heard from others after writing that post, including Brian Davis, host of an online Tate-LaBianca Radio Program, which airs on Sunday nights. I’ve listened to some episodes and they’re quite good.

Davis believes parts of Statman and Tate’s book is fabricated, something I’ll explore in a future post. There are a lot of blogs and other media on this case, including the Helter Skelter forum and Truth on Tate-LaBianca. CieloDrive.com has a comprehensive set of links to those sites at the bottom of its homepage. In visiting all these sites over the years, I’ve discovered that there’s a lot of fighting and disagreement between them.

People really rip into each other over what did and didn’t happen, and almost everyone claims to be an expert. It goes to show how much passion and obsession this case has generated over the years. It’s certainly been the object of my obsessiveness.

Along the way, I’ve learned that there are people so obsessed with the case that they try to make themselves part of the story. The most glaring example is the late Bill Nelson. This guy basically stalked members of the Manson family and befriended Doris Tate. There’s a great write-up about him on Eviliz’s Manson Family Blog. The Tate family had a falling out with Nelson after learning he was a convicted sex offender.

This interview he did with Doris probably didn’t help.

He asks her questions and mentions the most gory details of her daughter’s murder with no sensitivity or decency whatsoever. I admit that I’ve been obsessed with the case over the years. But, boy, am I grateful that I never got as bad as that guy.

Related Posts:

Helter Skelter

Slaying Old Fears in the Hollywood Hills

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth March 31, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I met Doris Tate, some time in the late 80’s and knew her until the day she died. I also knew her husband P.J. Patti’s sister, Debra, her ex-husband, Patti and her ex-husband and all of their kids. That broad, whoever she is, certainly doesn’t know what was going on during those times or I would have met her some where along the way and Brie was too young to remember any of that stuff that’s in the book. They got a hold of that information by ramsacking that house which she bought about $2,000.00 under value., and strangely enough no one has ever talked to Dorothy whom Doris was very close friends with.
Strange, guess you can write a book like this and get people to believe it. There are a lot of things in that book and I’ve only read excerpts, I know about having been associated with Gwen (as her friends called her) and it is really amazing.

Jonah June 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Brie’s name is not Brie Tate, it is Brie Ford. I know a lot of people over the years have bashed Debra Tate, but I disagree with the way this Alisa woman wrote that book, and how she made it seem like Debra wasn’t even part of her own family. She even cropped Debra out of the photos that she put in the book. She was obsessed with the case, since moving into the guest house at Cielo. Why would you want to live in such a place? I find that very creepy. Alisa has done nothing, but ridicule her so-called “domestic partner’s” sister online, in interviews, and in her lousy book. I wonder if Patti, or even Sharon would appreciate how this woman has bashed their family member in public? I think Alisa, and the niece should be deeply ashamed of themselves for profiting off tragedy. She infilterated the Tate family, then wouldn’t allow Debra Tate to get her family’s things from the house. Instead, she used these things to write a book. She also spreads rumors about how Debra was disinherited from her dad’s will, etc. That is none of her business. Alisa, if you are reading this, you are one despicable bitch. Shame on you, and that niece. Real pieces of sh*t.

Patty July 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Thanks for the shout out!

Jonah, haven’t you heard, this is the dawning of the age of aquarius! Happiness and understanding! Alisa is a nice person, so get over the propaganda. Thanks.

Bill Brenner July 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Patty, thanks for the response. I’m a big fan of your blog.

Patty July 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Thanks, Bill. Patty is now a fan of yours, too.

George Vreeland Hill August 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Those killings shattered families who never really recovered.
I live near Cielo Drive and I think about what happened every time I see the street.
The whole thing is a shame.
To think that people followed an idiot like Manson is numbing.
Without Manson, the horror would never have been.
As for the book, well, I wish Doris Tate had written one.
That would have set the record straight.

George Vreeland Hill

Nanc October 27, 2014 at 8:15 pm

I have an ongoing fascination with Sharon Tate. I’ve read Restless Souls and everything on the Internet about her, but I would like to know more about her, her marriage, family, etc.

Kathy G November 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Not only do members on those forums rip each other up over who knows the most, but they just are mean to one another. Lol! They take sides and root for bans against all who don’t have similar views. Until its not fun anymore and there is no diversity or renewed interest. Its sad because if info isn’t shared and passed on, the cases will evwntually be forgotten. I believe theres real danger in forgetting how easily these things get started. Lets remember to learn from past experiences!
Former Member of One Site ….now BANNED

Lisa March 29, 2015 at 10:42 pm

I agree with Ruth. I don’t and never will believe this POS book because I think Statman is out for a quick buck as is Patti’s daughter Brie. Very strange that she should use the Tate name as her own when she is a Ford legally. The name of her father. I noticed that they left Debra out of the book and cropped photos of her out of the book, as well as Brie leaving a ridiculous statement that she felt she knew Sharon better and had never known Debra.Weird because Brie was not born then, never met Sharon,was an extremely small kid when all of this was going down. Statman looks to be about 50 or so.. so I’m definitely sure because she left an integral part of the immediate family out, that being Debra, I’m sure Debra was appalled at the whole situation of this book being written for monetary gain from a niece and from a virtual stranger of the family. I read she ingratiated herself into, pretty much forced herself onto the family to gain information. Gold digger comes to mind about Statman and Brie should be utterly ashamed of herself to go along with this disgusting pack of lies. Where are the pictures of Patti and Statman together as living in “domestic” partners??Yeah I’m sure they don’t exist because I’m sure it didn’t happen. She’s a liar and a terrible one at that. The mere fact that she got a book published shows me that the publishing community will just about now publish anything. Don’t they investigate facts? Statman and Brie come off as huge liars. I would ONLY trust what Debra Tate says as truth. This book is offensive.

Kate June 16, 2015 at 8:47 am

I have always felt for Sharon Tate’s family. Her mother and two sisters, each in their turn, have stood up and been a driving force for victims rights. All the burden and weight on what happened to that family is now solely on Debra and she doesn’t have her mother and sister to turn to for support like they were able to do. I can not imagine what she must be going through to have no release for all that emotion. The web pages indeed are clearly on the side of the murdering cult or the victims. And it’s also true this horrific crime has birthed a disturbed and sick class of people who have tried to become part of this story. Statman, I believe, is a clear example of that. Her association with Bill Nelson. She lived in the crime scene guest house. She steals photographs and uses them to get closer to one of the victims families. She has declared she wanted to return the stolen property to the rightful people out of pure kindness. Well, then why didn’t she give them to Roman Polanski? She described photographs that showed Roman’s wife, pregnant, at their home and clearly would have been intimate photographs that belong between a husband and his wife. Mr. Polanski is pretty famous and should have been easier to find than the Tate family. But no. Why didn’t she contact the Folger family? Again, much easier to track down. But again.. no. She moves in with Sharon’s sister, then Sharon’s old home. She’s suppose to be some sort of director and yet if you visit her page or twitter account, all you notice is Sharon Tate. Suddenly after her death, according to Statman, she declares Patty (who looked A LOT like Sharon) was her lover. This news didn’t come from Patty or her family. Creepy is too kind a word, this person has gone to unnerving lengths to become part of her life. Not part of the story, but apart of Sharon herself. What Debra Tate must be going through, I can’t imagine. There should be a movie made that starts with the physical crime against the victims and leads us to the moral crimes that have been committed against this family by people like Statman and Davis. It would not be an easy movie to watch, but perhaps a valuable lesson to learn.

Over It July 23, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Kate, my dear- you most definitely hit the nail on the head. It is so spot on that too bad it isn’t written in the story up above…. it really is time for people to live their lives, or get one instead of living in a past they never were a part of (and this goes for all those people you refer to, too).

RL Music April 18, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I would respectfully advise people not to go near Truthontatelabianca.com. I was a member of it and made a couple of comments which were misinterpreted by a small minority of the members. I corrected the misinterpretation and was accused of some very serious things, views I do not hold and intentions I did not have by people who have never met me or know anything about me, simply because they would ratheer misinterpret someone, and then get upset over it, than address the real situation and resolve their problem.

People should be protected from this sort of thing at all times, as I have seen lives and careers ruined by it. Don’t be another victim of a website which has the gall to include the word “Truth” in its title!

Kimberly May 31, 2017 at 7:58 pm


Sean July 11, 2017 at 11:33 pm

I wonder if Alisa had a plan or if things just happened you know fell into place. Anyways I think she is absolutely brilliant. Getting into the guest house as a renter and then getting access to the whole house full of all kinds of material she could read and get information about. As well as being able to walk the house any time she wants sometimes there are late nights or times when a person gets a feeling about something and then walking to that part of the home they are able to put the pieces together I saw it in a movie a few times. Where a writer will move into a home where there was a mass slaughter or family that was killed by one of the children there are plenty. I want to say finally Charles Manson and his family of killers should have all gotten the death penalty. California should have just wiped them off the planet and then there would not be all this glorification of Manson I do hate the man will he ever die and if I see him on TV one more time doing his stupid boogie woogie talk and dance that will be the end of it. California kept him alive to profit off the whole thing hell Hollywood is there so people made Millions at least Alisa got a little something what a lady.

Fayez Abedaziz September 3, 2017 at 12:17 am

Hello Lisa and Kate,

I appreciate what you have said and pointed out about that book.
If Patty had wanted anyone to know about her private life, she would have said whatever to people, or she would have left something written to be read after her sad, heartbreaking death.
This sort of talk in that book is really bad news in terms of-lacking in any sort of civility or – of course, in displaying anything near to having class. I’m sorry that Debra had to even hear about that stuff, if she did.
Debra and her family deserve privacy and respect.
All the best comfort to Debra.
Thank You

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