LSD Said Key In Tate Murder
Friday, July 3rd, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 3 – A defense attorney in the Sharon Tate murder case, questioning prospective jurors, intimated Thursday in Los Angeles the effects of the hallucinatory drug LSD could become key to the case.
Attorney Paul Fitzgerald, mentioning the expected appearance of a “prosecution witness,” asked a prospective juror whether she would consider medical testimony about “the psychiatric effects of chronic use of LSD” as valid. The woman said she would.
Prosecutors say Linda Kasabian, 20, whose trial on murder conspiracy charges has been separated from the other defendants, may be granted immunity in exchange for testimony. Fritzgerald, asked by newsmen whether he had Mrs. Kasabian in mind during the questioning, answered “yes.” But because of a court-imposed “gag-rule,” he said he could not elaborate.
Fitzgerald declined to comment on how Mrs. Kasabian or any of the other defendants might be linked in testimony to LSD.
On trial in Los Angeles Superior Court in the slaying of Miss Tate and six others last August are Charles Manson, 35, Susan Atkins, 21, Patricia Krenwinkel 22, and Leslie Van Houten, 20.
The prospective juror was Thelma Thompson, an English and journalism teacher at nearby Monrovia High School, where Miss Van Houten once was a student. Mrs. Thompson said she didn’t recognize the defendant and had not known her.
Miss Van Houten has a younger sister, Betsy, and a younger brother, David, in the same school district, but Mrs. Thompson said she didn’t know them either.
“Could you condemn Leslie to death and then look forward to the prospect of teaching her younger brother and sister?” asked Atty. Ira Reiner, representing Miss Van Houten.
“It certainly wouldn’t be pleasant but I could do it,” she answered.
All prospective jurors who have said they would not vote the death penalty under any circumstances have been excused “for cause” during the 14 days of jury selection.
Of 92 persons called up, 80 had been excused by Thursday. Most of them claimed hardship. Ten said they opposed capital punishment and 14 were excused after saying pretrial publicity had prejudiced their opinions against the defendants.
In another development, the Los Angeles Times reported Manson is suing Dist. Atty. Evelle J. Younger, Sheriff Peter J. Pitchess and 10 others for $1 million each.
The suit was filed a month ago in U.S. District Court and alleges the 12 defendants violated his constitutional rights.