Friday morning August 8, 1969.
The sun is fully visible at 6:10 a.m.
At 7:50 a.m. Steven Earl Parent, 18, leaves his parents’ El Monte home on Bryant Road for work at Valley City Plumbing in Rosemead.
A recent graduate of Arroyo High School, Parent works two jobs. He plans on attending Citrus College in the fall semester.
Parent’s co-workers say he is “clean-cut” and “intelligent.” “A good worker.”
He splits work at 5:15 p.m. and heads to the second job, at Jonas Miller Stereo on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.
At 7:48 p.m. sunset envelopes Southern California.
Sometime after 11 p.m., Parent gets off work. He’s driving his dad’s 1966 AMC Rambler.
Parent heads up Beverly to Sunset, then jogs north again on Benedict Canyon Road.
A waning crescent moon barely lights the night sky. Oleanders and scrub oak line the unlit road. He turns again on Cielo Drive.
At 11:45 p.m., Parent demonstrates an AM/FM Sony Digimatic clock radio. He hopes to sell it to Bill Garretson, his 19-year-old friend.
The two met several weeks earlier, when Parent picked up Garretson hitchhiking and drove him home.
Garretson lives in the back house at the estate on Cielo Drive. He takes care of the owner’s dogs.
Garretson declines to buy the radio. Parent drinks a can of beer. He calls a friend.
It’s now Saturday morning August 9 – 12:15 a.m. Parent leaves.
In the dark, he walks back to his dad’s white Rambler. He starts his car and heads toward the gate.
He rolls down the window to use a push button gate opener.
A figure approaches.
“Halt,” a man calls out. The man’s got a buck knife in one hand and a .22 in the other.
Parent pleads with the man, “Please don’t hurt me. I won’t tell anyone.”
The man slashes at Parent with the knife, slicing the teen’s wrist. Then, he opens fire with the revolver. Shots strike the El Monte teen in the head and chest. By 12:30 a.m. Parent is dead.
He would become the first victim in a two-night killing frenzy led by Charles Manson and carried out by members of his LSD-crazed “family.”
Within minutes, Parent’s murderer, Charles “Tex” Watson, and three women would enter the main house at Cielo Drive and kill actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, film producer Wojciech Frykowski and hair dresser Jay Sebring.
In hopes of inciting a race war that Manson called “Helter Skelter,” the killers struck the next night at the Los Feliz home of and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
Parent’s body was discovered about 24 hours after he left his parent’s El Monte home for work. His mom and dad were disturbed that LAPD officials didn’t notify them of their son’s death for several hours.
His dad wondered what Steven was up to.
“I just can’t understand what he was doing up there in the first place,” Wilfred Parent said. “Hell, Steve wasn’t a poshy kind of kid. I didn’t even know he knew any of those people.”