Defendant In Tate Trial Well Liked

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16 – Dozens of Charles Manson’s old friends and followers have testified against the emotional clan leader at the Sharon Tate murder trial. Yet not one has expressed any dislike for him.

Many of the prosecution witnesses have said they love him. Others have said they still like him. A few said they neither like nor dislike him. Almost all mentioned his charisma.

Manson and three women followers are charged with killing Miss Tate and six others last year. The trial is entering its 23rd week.

The state, which said Friday it has concluded its case, has presented 84 witnesses, many of them youngsters who lived with Manson’s clan. They portrayed him as a man of violent fantasies and sometimes brutal acts, but still a leader.

“I was impressed by Charlie’s strength and his obvious leadership of his people,” said music producer Terry Melcher, son of actress Doris Day.

Melcher and another music producer, Gregg Jakobson, said they held no enmity for Manson. Jakobson frequently smiled at Manson, who, upon leaving the courtroom one day, said to Jakobson, “Come see me.”

Harold True, who said Manson visited him frequently when he lived in a house next door to two slaying victims, testified he still considers himself Manson’s friend and has frequently visited him in jail.

Even star state witness Linda Kasabian, who said she thought Manson was “the devil” and gave some of the most damaging testimony of the trial, indicated she I thought highly of Manson as an individual.

“Charles Manson from God I love as I do all mankind,” she said as she left the stand. “But the principles behind Charles Manson that make him do what he does, I don’t like.”

There even were testimonials to Manson from witnesses who had portrayed him as brutal and said they feared he might kill them.

Barbara Hoyt, 18, who said she performed unconventional sex practices at Manson’s command because she feared him, later said of Manson “He’s okay.” She added she still likes him.

Juan Flynn, 24, a Panamanian cowboy actor who lived at Manson’s commune at the Spahn movie ranch, said he was so frightened of Manson that he carried a shotgun continually. But, smiling at Manson, he repeatedly denied that he disliked his old friend, and said: “I thought that he was right in everything he did and said.”

Brooks Poston, who said he lacked self-confidence when he met Manson, testified, “He did a lot for me…I thought Charlie was doing everything for me.”

Recently, Dianne Lake, 17, testified that when she lived with Manson’s family, he beat and kicked her, whipped her with an electric cord, hit her with a chair leg and slugged her in the mouth.

But before she left the stand, she said she is still in love with Manson.

She said she loved him from June 1969 to the present, and was asked “All the months up to the present time, every moment?” “Yes,” she answered.

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