Beausoleil Could Pay With Death
Tuesday, March 31st, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 31 – The state revealed yesterday it would ask the death penalty as a trial opened for a member of the “Manson family” accused of a murder committed the month before the Sharon Tate killings.
Robert K. Beausoleil, 21, who lived for a time on an old western movie lot with hippie cult leader Charles Manson and his followers, is charged with knifing to death a 34-year-old musician, Gary Hinman.
Hinman was slain some time in the period from July 26 to July 31 last year. Sharon Tate and four others at her estate were killed on the night of Aug. 9. Grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife were slain Aug. 10.
Deputy District Attorney Burton Katz disclosed he will call as witnesses a whole string of Manson followers in a prelude to the Tate-LaBianca trial scheduled for April 20.
Beausoleil was tried previously for the Hinman slaying last November. That trial ended in a hung jury. At that time the accusations against Manson and his hippies had not been made.
The prosecution at the first trial had agreed in advance that it would not seek a death sentence against Beausoleil.
Deputy Public Defender Leon Salter argued yesterday that the stipulation still applied. Katz replied that new evidence and new witnesses had been discovered since the first trial.
“If there is any case in which the death penalty is justified, it is this one,” Katz said.
Superior Court Judge William B. Keene denied Salter’s motion that Beausoleil be excluded from a possible death sentence.
Manson and a number of his group had lived for a time after they came to Los Angeles from San Francisco in Hinman’s Topanga Canyon home. The victim made a living as a professional musician specializing in the piano and bagpipes.
The prosecution contended at the first trial that Beausoleil and Susan Atkins, who is also charged in the Tate-LaBianca murders, killed Hinman because he would not give them money.
Manson’s name came into the first trial briefly. The leader of a motorcycle gang testified that Manson had told him he went to Hinman’s house and cut off the musician’s ear with a sword.
On a wall of Hinman’s home was written in his blood the words “political piggy.”
On the front door of the Tate home someone also daubed in blood the word “pig.”
Beausoleil appeared nonchalant as jury selection got under way.