Tempers Flare in Court at Manson Murder Case Trial
Friday, July 10th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 10 – Tempers appeared to wear thin yesterday at Charles Manson’s murder trial as both attorneys and the judge in the case sniped at each other in the open courtroom.
Trial Judge Charles Older apparently was concerned about news reports on Wednesday’s court session. The open court proceedings lasted only 36 seconds.
The rest of the day was spent behind closed doors in the judge’s chambers. In the morning, Judge Older continually asked attorneys to speed their questioning of prospective jurors.
This was especially evident as Ira K. Reiner, counsel for one of Manson’s co-defendants, was interrogating prospective panel members tentatively seated in the jury box.
Reiner was attempting to ask individual questions of six of the prospective jurors and the judge cut him short, asking a man whom Reiner was interrogating if his answers would be the same as the others.
The defense attorney, obviously angered, asked the judge if he was being curtailed from questioning the potential jurors. After a somewhat heated exchange, the judge told Reiner to either sit down or ask different questions.
Another verbal battle erupted between Manson’s attorney, Irving A. Kanarek, and co-prosecutor Vincent T. Bugliosi.
Kanarek consistently objected to the deputy district attorney’s queries on the death penalty and conspiracy. He asked the judge to stop Bugliosi from making “sarcastic” remarks, when he interposed his objections.
Manson 35, Susan Atkins 21, Patricia Krenwinkel 22 and Leslie Van Houten 19 are on trial on murder and conspiracy charges stemming from the killings last August of actress Sharon Tate and six others.
Jury selection is now in its fourth week and there, have been predictions that it will be another four weeks before a panel and six alternates are seated.
Originally there had been speculation a jury might be selected this week, but that belief was dashed when Judge Older decided upon extensive in-chambers questioning of prospective jurors.
Yesterday’s session also began behind the closed doors of Judge Older’s chambers, but the process moved into the open courtroom about 10:30 and remained there until the lunch break.
By SANDI METTETAL