Charles Watson Goes to Trial in Tate Deaths
Tuesday, August 3rd, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 3 — The second Tate-LaBianca trial began yesterday with Charles “Tex” Watson the lone defendant and the state ready to call members of Hollywood’s younger sat to testify Watson had been a guest at the actress’ home.
Jury selection, expected to last a week or 10 days, got under way with the 25-year-old Watson listening vacantly to questions about the previous murder trial of Charles Manson and three women, which ended in death sentences.
Watson resisted extradition from Texas, so his trial was severed from the first. He has pleaded innocent and innocent by reason of insanity.
The 10-month-long first trial never made it clear why Sharon Tate’s home was selected for the murder orgy. The prosecution now is reported to have witnesses who saw Watson at the home of parties prior to the Aug. 8-9, 1969, killings.
Among those who may testify are Deana Martin daughter of singer Dean Martin; Candice Bergen, actress daughter of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, and Dennis Wilson, a member of the Beach Boys singing group.
Among those expected to testify for the defense are Watson’s mother and his track coach and high school principal when he was a star athlete and outstanding student in his hometown of McKinney, Tex.
In stark contrast, to the appearance of Manson and the “girls” at the first trial. Watson was neatly dressed in a dark blue suit, blue shirt and red tie with his hair meticulously combed. He sat staring ahead with his mouth open during interrogation of prospective jurors.