"Please don't hurt me. I won't say anything."
This would be the first time that Susan Atkins would hear these words, but would not be the last on the night of August 8th, 1969. Those words also followed something else that Susan would experience through the night: fear, horror, and bloodshed—a lot of bloodshed.
"I heard a gunshot, and I heard another gunshot and another one and another one. Four gunshots."—Susan Atkins
Eighteen-year-old Steven Parent was the first of five to die that night. The killer, a man named Charles "Tex" Watson, quickly pumped four shots into his head and body as his car rolled to a stop in the driveway of 10050 Cielo Drive.
According to Steven Parent's autopsy report, the first gunshot was fired at close range and penetrated the left upper chest under the left clavicle; this was a fatal wound, although it would take his body several minutes to expire.
The second gunshot ripped through Steven's trachea, disrupting his ventilation, causing the helpless man to choke on his own blood.
As Steven's body slumped away from his attacker, the next round fired put a hole in his cheek, taking with it most of his upper lip and becoming lodged somewhere in his body; the round was never recovered.
The shooter fired a total of four gunshots in rapid succession from the .22—caliber, nine-shot "long horn" revolver; Steven didn't have a chance.
Unlike the ones inside the home, Steven Parent was no celebrity, and still a teenager only a few months out of high-school. His passion was electronics, he worked two jobs, and he was scheduled to attend Citrus Junior College the following September.
Minutes before his murder, Steven left the guest house at 10050 Cielo Drive. There he was visiting his friend, William Garretson, the hired caretaker who lived in the guest house—detached from the primary home.
Two weeks before the murders on Cielo Drive, Garretson—who was out hitchhiking—had accepted a ride from Steven Parent, and the two became fast friends. Garretson was impressed by Steven's technological skill-set and had asked about buying a Sony AM-FM Digimatic clock radio; Steven said he could stop by the guest house on August 8th after he left his job at Jonas Miller Stereo.
After Tex Watson had unloaded four bullets into the head and body of Steven Parent, he turned off the car's lights and pushed the car until it stopped.
"I just saw the head and it was leaning with the face—towards the right passenger's side. I didn't pay too much attention to it."—Susan Atkins
Susan Atkins was one of four that night who piled into the yellow and white Ford along with Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel (known as 'Katie' to the Manson Family), and Charles 'Tex' Watson. Tex—the only male that night—had told the girls nothing more than they were going on a mission and to wear dark clothing. Susan would refer to missions wearing dark clothing as "creepy crawling."
This wasn't the first mission the girls took part in, but they knew that this would be different, as they were all given large knives to carry along with rope and bolt cutters placed in the car's trunk.
"Tex did most of the talking in the car. In fact, to my recall, he did all of the talking. He told us we were going there to get all of their money and to kill whoever was there ... it didn't make any difference who was there, we were told to kill them. It was late at night and it was kind of like we were all confused."—Susan Atkins
Even if the people inside heard the gunshots that killed Steven Parent, they could not call for help since Tex had snipped two telephone lines leading into the residence.
Although there were several lights on inside the home, Tex felt pretty certain that they were still undetected. The four stealthily passed the garage and made their way to the front of the home until they found an open window. Tex crawled inside and opened the front door.
Inside the home and completely unaware of their impending demise, were the four soon-to-be victims who Susan Atkins would refer to as the "Beautiful People."