Deny Motion for Mistrial In 2nd Manson Murder Case
Thursday, September 9th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 9 — A motion for mistrial in the second murder case of Charles Manson was denied, but one juror was excused because she claimed she was afraid after reading of a shootout between members of Manson’s clan and Hawthorne police.
Manson’s trial over the slaying of stuntman Donald (Shorty) Shea and Topanga musician Gary Hinman resumed Tuesday after a two-week recess.
Manson’s attorney, Irving Kanarek, moved for a mistrial because of recent newspaper accounts of the shootouts, which occurred Aug. 21 during the robbery of a Hawthorne surplus store, and of an alleged plot by Manson to escape by gunpoint from jail.
Superior Court Judge Raymond Choate denied the motion for a mistrial ruling that except in the case of Mrs Lillian Lester, there was no likelihood that the publicity to which some of the jurors were exposed would affect their judgment in the case.
Mrs. Lester was replaced by an alternate juror, Mrs. Oteal Hills.
Earlier, Mrs. Lester, was questioned by Judge Choate and she tearfully explained that a homicide
had recently occurred in the hallway of her apartment house. She said the woman who was killed had died in her living room.
Mrs. Lester said she had heard about the shootout between Hawthorne police and members of Manson’s clan, and that because of the death in her home, felt compelled to read the newspaper articles on the shootout.
Mrs Lester said she feared for her own safety during court sessions in the Manson trial.
Judge Choate said that although Mrs. Lester said she could come to a fair decision on Manson’s fate, he was “uncertain as to her ability to remain fair and impartial.”
Technically, Mrs. Lester violated Judge Choate’s earlier orders not to read newspaper accounts of or listen to news broadcasts concerning anything related to Manson.
But Judge Choate said he would make no finding of contempt of court against her because of her particular situation.
Kanarek objected to Mrs. Lester being excused, claiming it was a violation to Manson’s
right to equal protection under the law.
Seven other jurors said the news accounts of the shootout and the alleged escape plot had one way or another come to their attention, but claimed it would not influence their decision in the case.