Cultist Tells of Rifling Slain Man
Monday, April 13th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Apr. 13 – Hippie cult leader Charles Manson’s first family member — the mother of his child — testified in Los Angeles Superior Court today that she was not shocked when musician Gary Hinman was killed, and, in fact, rifled his body for money as he lay dead.
Short-haired Mary Brunner, under cross examination in the murder trial of former “family” member Robert Beausoleil, 22, admitted that “if I didn’t testify they (sheriff’s officers) would indict me for the murder of Hinman.”
The pug-nosed girl preceded Beausoleil to the stand. In his first trial, which resulted in a hung jury, he did not take the stand.
Miss Brunner testified Friday that Hinman was fatally stabbed in the living room of his secluded Topanga Canyon home July 27, 1969.
She said that when she ran into the, living room she saw Beausoleil standing over Hinman.
Miss Brunner, the chief witness against Beausoleil, admitted that her son was named Michael Manson and that the jailed hippie leader is the boy’s legal father, but added, “it’s hard to say” if Manson was the father in fact.
She said she “was in love with Charlie—and I’m still in love with Charlie,” and added she never saw Manson hit Hinman.
“They (investigators) said I was hedging on Charlie, and one of the officers got emotional,” she said in cold, clipped sentences from the stand. “So eventually I placed Charlie at the scene. They just wanted me to get Charlie more involved.”
The girl was given complete immunity for her testimony and said she is living in a downtown hotel with a female deputy. She testified she was arrested for probation violation and through her testimony, in addition to complete immunity, the probation violation charges would be dropped.
By MARY NEISWENDER