Death Is Unlikely For Manson, Followers, Attorney Says
Friday, January 29th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29 – Even if the jury condemns Charles Manson and his three female followers to death in the Sharon Tate murders, attorneys believe the chances are slim they will die in the gas chamber at San Quentin.
If they receive the death penalty, they will be entitled to an automatic appeal to the California Supreme Court, which could take several years.
“They couldn’t be executed before, say, 1975,” said defense attorney Paul Fitzgerald, “and it’s my personal belief no one will be executed in the state of California by 1975.”
The gas chamber has not been used for an execution in nearly four years.
The last to die was Aaron C. Mitchell, 37, slayer of a Sacramento police officer, who was executed April 12, 1967.
There are 89 persons awaiting the gas chamber, including one woman, Mrs. Jean Oliver Carver, a convicted murderess.
Of the 502 persons executed in California since 1893, four have been women.
The last woman to die at San Quentin was Elizabeth “Ma” Duncan, who was convicted of hiring two men to kill her pregnant daughter-in-law. She was executed Aug. 8, 1962, along with the two hired killers.
Seven years earlier, Barbara Graham was executed for the brutal slaying of a Burbank widow.
Louise Peete served 18 years in prison for the 1921 murder of a wealthy mining man. After her release she was convicted of murdering a woman who hired her as a maid. Mrs. Peete was executed for the second murder in 1947.
The first woman executed in California was Ethel Leta Juanita Spinelli, known as “the Duchess,” who was convicted of putting knockout drops in the whisky of a member of her robbery gang, then tossing him off a bridge.