Judge Finds Mary Intelligent – Tells Her to Get Lawyer
Tuesday, June 23rd, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jun. 23 – A Los Angeles Superior Court judge refused Monday to allow Mary Brunner, 26-year-old Madison library worker and UW graduate, to act as her own attorney in the slaying of bagpipe musician Gary Hinman.
Complementing the vivacious Miss Brunner on her obvious intelligence and education, Superior Judge George M. Dell nevertheless ruled that the defendant’s best interests would not be served without an attorney’s representation.
Miss Brunner promptly asked that she be defended by California lawyer Daye Shinn. Shinn also represents Charles Manson and Susan Atkins, both of whom are co-defendants with Miss Brunner on first-degree murder charges.
Judge Dell will decide Monday whether Miss Brunner’s choice of an attorney is proper.
It was indicated that there may be a conflict of interest in Shinn’s defending all three of the accused, since their trials have not as yet been consolidated.
Dressed in a polka-dot mini-dress, Miss Brunner appeared calm as she replied to the judge’s questions about her legal knowledge. Acknowledging that she has “more education than 99 percent of the people who come into court,” the Los Angeles magistrate said that she still did not know all the possible defenses or pleas that could he made in her case.
An Eau Claire native who recently worked here in the University of Wisconsin library, Miss Brunner was charged with the Hinman murder earlier this month after her immunity to prosecution was revoked by an outraged Los Angeles District Attorney.
Miss Brunner’s immunity had originally been granted when she testified against Robert Beausoleil in the Hinman slaying. At Beausoleil’s formal sentencing to the gas chamber. Miss Brunner leaped up and declared “Bobby’s innocent!”
Returning to Madison, Miss Brunner signed an affidavit here repudiating her eyewitness trial testimony which is believed to have convicted Beausoleil.
Brought before a Los Angeles Grand Jury, she again repudiated that testimony, but then retracted the repudiation. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office consequently declared her testimony “absolutely worthless,” revoked her immunity, and indicted her in the Hinman killing.
Miss Brunner is one of the original members of Charles Manson’s “family,” a desert-dwelling love cult that scavenged food from city garbage cans, stored automatic weapons and dune buggies, and generally ruled several semi-abandoned ranches in the Los Angeles and Death Valley area at different times.
Charles Manson, charged along with Susan Atkins and several other “family” members with the slaughter of seven people in the Sharon Tate and Leno La Bianca homes last August, is the father of Miss Brunner’s son Michael.
Madison has been the site of several “family” visits in recent months. Miss Brunner was met here recently by women family members not presently under indictment.
The women have been labeled “legal runners for Manson” by prosecutors in Los Angeles, and it is of some concern to Los Angeles police officers that they may have influenced her decision to repudiate her testimony in the Hinman case.
By JIM HOUGAN