Chained, Barefoot Manson In L.A. Court
Tuesday, February 27th, 1973
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27 – Chains clanking on the floor behind him, mass murderer Charles Manson shuffled barefoot into Los Angeles Superior Court Monday in an attempt to save four members of his family from prison.
But what the prison-pale leader of the hippie band did was just the opposite.
The 38-year-old convicted killer of nine told a jam-packed courtroom that the four members of his group convicted of robbing a gun shop to get weapons to free him all knew right from wrong and weren’t sick, mentally or physically.
The four had been attempting, through their attorneys, to prove they were insane at the time of the crime to avoid lengthy prison terms.
Convicted of armed robbery following an eight-day trial were Mary Brunner, 29, the first member of Manson’s family and the mother or his child, Catherine “Gypsy” Share, 30, Kenneth Como, 33, and Larry Bailey, 23.
The same jury is now sitting on a sanity hearing, four pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. A fifth member of the group, Dennis Rice, 35, earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Dressed in prison denims with a twisted blue handkerchief hanging around his neck like a noose, Manson walked into court, his hands manacled to his sides and his legs in chains.
He stopped momentarily in front of the counsel table where the former family members sat and bowed to them, adding “isn’t this ridiculous?”
Unable to move his arms, Manson sat quietly in the witness box, biting his lips as he answered questions by defense and prosecution attorneys.
Telling of his days at the Spahn ranch, Manson said that the family’s problems stemmed from police harassment and the police harassment stemmed from law enforcement’s “sex paranoia.”
If he had not been harassed by police, Manson said, his world would be “children,” because he “didn’t have anything else in mind.”
By MARY NEISWENDER