May 27, 2005 by

Paul Tate


Categories: Law

Paul Tate, a former Army intelligence officer whose daughter was murdered by the followers of Charles Manson, died on May 18 of congestive heart failure. He was 82.

Actress Sharon Tate was married to director Roman Polanski and eight months pregnant on Aug. 9, 1969 when she and four others (Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowski, Jay Sebring and Stephen Parent) were killed inside a house she sublet from producer/songwriter Terry Melcher. Manson ordered some of his followers to break into 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles and kill everyone inside.

The high profile case became the focus Paul Tate’s life. The former Army intelligence officer, who spent 23 years in the service, retired as a lieutenant colonel soon after his daughter’s death and launched his own investigation into the slayings. He even went undercover, masquerading as a hippie for four months to come up with leads in the case, but found nothing the police could use in court. Authorities continued their own investigation and arrested Manson on Oct. 12, 1969.

Tate was the first witness called to testify at the trial. Before entering the courtroom, however, he was thoroughly searched because the bailiffs were concerned he’d sneak in a weapon and kill the defendants. Manson was later convicted of masterminding the murders. His followers — Susan Atkins, Charles “Tex” Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — were convicted of perpetrating them.

Tate’s quest for justice continued until his death. The Texas native and his wife Doris wrote numerous letters to California parole officials that argued against the release of the Manson “family.” In later years, Doris became a victim’s right advocate. She was the first member of a victim’s family to ever speak out at a parole hearing and make a victim’s impact statement in the state of California. When she died in 1992, their other daughters, Patti and Debra, took over the task of keeping Manson’s followers behind bars. Patti died in 2000.

7 Responses to Paul Tate

  1. Tamra Alexio

    Thank you to the Tate Family. The pain this family has endured is beyond imagination. Rest in peace, and know God will repay like nobody else here on earth can. He is a God of great mercy and love. He is also a God of vengence. “…vengence is MINE,I will repay!”, saith the LORD.

  2. Bolt Upright

    Throughout my life, I’ve periodically kept up; if Susan Adkins had been released, I would have lost alot of faith. God bless all of you, Sharon holds a place in my life’s memories.

  3. Bobbie Robinson

    You & your family have had to endure so much, it’s not right that the victims should go through so much hell. God Bless all of you! Sharon was my idol!

  4. Deb

    I really enjoy watching Sharon Tate in her movies, I thought she was beautiful and could not imagine the fear and pain she suffered, especially knowing her baby was about to die. I’ll never forget that terrible day.But I must say that I really admire her family and their dedication to her and others like her that people seem to forget about when the story gets old. I pray Mansion and his followers will only be released when they are dead and then they should be cremated so their ashes can be flushed down the nearest toilet.

  5. scobra

    the manson murders were totally horrible. unfortunately this sort of thing happens a lot.
    and consider the fact we are prosecuting a few wars right now – blowing people to bits on the daily.

  6. julie fox

    I was just 13 when these killings took place but I will never forget the shock on everyone’s face when they heard what happened. Everyone always feel sorry for the people who commit crimes but how about the victim what did they do wrong? God bless the Tate family.

  7. mark ormsby

    I believe that Sharon and her son are enjoying one another’s companionship in another world.
    She came and left us so soon, but she left a lasting message of love for all of us to aspire to.
    May God bless you always Sharon!

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