Dropout from Manson Family Begins Relating Her Story
Thursday, November 5th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5 – Despite six days of frantic efforts by defense attorneys to prevent her testimony, Manson “family” drop-out Dianne Lake today began telling her story to the five-woman, seven-man jury in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial.
In rapid succession she quoted one of the defendants, Leslie Van Houten, as telling how she stabbed one of the victims in the home of market owner Leno LaBianca the day after the murders at the home of actress Sharon Tate.
“Leslie told me she stabbed someone who was already dead, and she wiped fingerprints off things that weren’t even touched,” the 17-year-old witness said.
“She said at first she didn’t want to-do it, but the more she did it, the more fun it was.”
Miss Lake said her former friend also told her that she had eaten something from the LaBianca refrigerator and took something to drink with her when she left the home. The home, she said, was “somewhere around Griffith Park.”
Earlier, at least a half dozen motions for mistrial and suppression of the girl’s testimony were made by defense attorneys, but all were denied by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older.
The lawyers contended the girl had been “intimidated and coerced” into testifying, and that investigators used “everything except a rubber hose” in forcing her to take the stand.
Judge Older also denied an attempt by the prosecution to introduce into evidence a notebook belonging to Patricia Krenwinkel, one of the three girl defendants, in which she had printed “helter skelter.” The two words also were misspelled when they were written on the living room wall of the house in which LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, were killed.
Defense attorneys said the girl’s notebook was seized by police officers Wednesday as she sat in an anteroom of Judge Older’s court, awaiting for proceedings to begin.
Wednesday, defendant Charles Manson charged the press with being “deaf, dumb and blind” for not seeing that the prosecution “intimidated” Miss Lake, who was testifying without the jury present.
When told, to keep quiet by Judge Older, Manson swore at the jurist.
The outburst came when the judge refused to allow further testimony from Miss Lake as to why she was admitted to Patton State Mental Hospital and kept there for 10 months. Under cross-examination by defense attorneys, the girl testified that she read defendant Susan Atkins’ book ‘”The Killing of Sharon Tate” while a patient at the hospital.
“I suggested to the hospital technician that the book not be shown to the other patients because no one knew I was really there,” she said.
“Why were you there,” Manson’s attorney, Irving Kanarek, asked. “Because of the Manson case,” she answered.
Further questions were ruled out of order by Judge Older as “beyond the scope of this examination” and prompted Manson’s outburst at the press.
Older and Manson glared at each other for several seconds but Manson remained quiet after the one-word curse.
Miss Lake testified she read the book, allegedly Miss Atkins’ confession to the Tate killings, but maintained “Sadie (Miss Alkins’ family name) smoothed a lot of it over in the book — left a lot of details out.”
She said although she heard the confession from Miss Atkins, she did not mention it to police investigators who first questioned her because she was “afraid of saying anything.”
A motion to prevent the girl from testifying was made by defense counsel Paul FitzgeraId who claimed her statement not only implicated Miss Atkins, but also Miss Krenwinkel. Miss Lake said she also heard confessions by Miss Krenwinkel.
Fitzgerald contended the statement was not given to defense attorneys despite a court order that the prosecution turn over all such statements to the defense.
Also previously unknown to defense attorneys was testimony brought out under cross – examination in which the girl said she saw Miss Van Houten burning rope, some credit cards and her own clothing following the LaBianca killings.
By MARY NEISWENDER