'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' Tells Story Of Linda Kasabian Who Gave Testimony That Put Charles Manson In Jail For Life

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Who Is Linda Kasabian? New Details On The Manson Family Member Featured In 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

When Charles Manson was arrested the entire country looked on in shocked horror. With the Tate-LaBianca murders, the age of peace and love that the 1960s ushered in was officially over and the 1970s looked like they were going to be a truly terrifying time. 

Prosecutors were concerned that they wouldn't be able to get Manson a fitting jail sentence, but that's where they were wrong. One of Manson's only "family" members, a woman named Linda Kasabian would be the key to putting Manson away for good. Here's what you need to know about the woman whose been in hiding for decades. Who is Linda Kasabian?

1. Linda In Pop Culture

In 1969 Linda Kasabian was just 20-years-old, but because of the decisions she made in her life, she was very quickly a person whose name everyone knew. Why? Because in 1969 she made the decision to join Charles Manson's murderous "Family," and when the family's leader Manson went on trial in 1970, it was Kasabian who became the prosecution's shining star ensuring Kasabian her place in the pop-cultural firmament. Hollywood has tried to tell the story of the Manson murders countless times and when they do, Kasabian always plays a pivotal role. In fact, she's been played by the likes of Billie Lourd, Clea DuVall and Marilyn Burns, to name just a few of the women who have portrayed her. 

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2. Troubled Home

But before she was the notorious Linda Kasabian, she was just little Linda Drouin, born in 1949 in the town of Biddeford, Maine. But she wasn't raised in Maine, her family (including mother Joyce Taylor and father Rosaire Drouin) moved to another New England town, Milford, New Hampshire, and this is where Linda was raised.

Though present when she was young, eventually Linda's father left the family and remarried. Linda's mother remarried too, but with stepchildren to take care of in addition to her own young ones, Linda's own mother admits that she didn't pay her oldest daughter the right amount of attention. “I didn’t have time to listen to her problems,” Joyce said in 1971

3. Marital Issues

Linda's mother's second marriage didn't just mean a lack of attention for Linda, but according to Kasabian her stepfather, Jake Byrd, abused both herself and her mother. When Linda was just 16, she dropped out of high school and ran away from home. She wasn't on her own for very long, though. Linda briefly married a man named Robert Peasley while she was still 17— the marriage didn't last four months. Eventually, Linda moved to Boston where she married a man named Robert Kasabian. The couple had a daughter named Tanya who was born in 1968. When this second marriage hit the rocks, Linda fled home to New Hampshire, but when Robert called her eager to patch things up, she flew out to meet him in Los Angeles. 

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4. Meeting Manson

Linda was divorced for the second time and pregnant with her second child when she finally met Charles Manson. They were introduced through a family member, Catherine Share, and before long Linda had moved into Spahn Ranch, the home Manson and his family shared. Initially believing Manson's message to be peaceful and loving, Linda realized too late that her hero had become paranoid and murderous. On August 9th 1969 just months after meeting Manson, Linda and three other family members were sent to break into actress Sharon Tate's home. Linda acted as a lookout while the other family members killed Tate and the others gathered in her home that evening. “I saw a woman in a white dress and she had blood all over her and she was screaming and she was calling for her mom. I saw Katie stabbing her. I thought about going to a house where there were lights down the road and then I said, ‘No, don’t do that, because they’ll find me and kill all those people’. So I went down the hill and I got into the car and I just stayed there and waited.”

5. Star Witness

Two months after the horrific murder, Linda turned herself over to the police. She agreed to testify against Manson and his followers and because of this, the court offered her immunity: she would not be charged. Manson himself was ultimately charged with the murders of nine people in total. Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi said that Linda was a huge part of the reason why Manson was eventually put away. “She never asked for immunity from prosecution, but we gave it. She 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," he said. 

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RELATED: Did Doris Day Save Her Son Terry Melcher From Being A Victim Of Charles Manson?

6. After Manson

Once the trial was over, Linda returned once more to her family in New England, but she didn't stay there for very long. Exhausted by the constant attention from the press, Linda decided to change her name and move across the country. She lived in secret until a documentary film crew managed to locate her living in a trailer park. That crew was headed up by executive producer Nick Godwin, who managed to cultivate a relationship with Kasabian that was so amicable she agreed to speak about her time with the Family and that terrible night in his movie, Manson. 

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.