Hinman Death Verdict: Find Beausoleil Guilty of First Degree Murder

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 19 – Robert Kenneth Beausoleil, 22, a former member of Charles Manson’s hippie cult, was convicted Saturday of first-degree murder in the knife slaying of Malibu musician Gary Hinman.

A seven-man, five-woman jury returned the verdict at 2:11 p.m. in the Hall of Justice courtroom of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William B. Keene.

When jury foreman Harlan D. Hecht read the verdict, Beausoleil, long-haired and dressed in a green suit, turned ashen-faced to members of his family attending the court session and shrugged.

Beausoleil had claimed Manson murdered Hinman, 34, last July 27 at the musician’s Topanga Canyon home because Hinman refused to give Manson $20,000.

After polling the jury to determine whether the reported verdict was, in fact, correct, Judge Keene told the jurors they could return to their homes for the weekend.

Penalty phase of the trial will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, the judge said.

As sheriff’s deputies led Beausoleil to jail, his parents, several relatives and family friends broke into tears.

Beausoleil’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Leon M. Salter, later said he expects the penalty hearing to conclude by Monday afternoon, and that he doesn’t know yet whether he will appeal the verdict.

Manson, charged with masterminding the Sharon Tate-Leno LaBianca massacres, has denied having anything to do with the Hinman slaying.

But on Thursday, Manson, 35, and one of his followers, Susan Denise Atkins, 21, were arraigned on charges of conspiracy in connection with Hinman’s death.

A third suspect, Bruce Davis, 27, was being sought by officials after being indicted by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury in the case.

Beausoleil had been tried once before for slaying Hinman. The first jury, which heard the case in Santa Monica Superior Court, was unable to reach a verdict.

Deputy Dist, Atty. Burton Katz had told the Los Angeles jury Beausoleil stabbed Hinman. That prosecution claim was supported by Mary Brunner, 26, who said she was present at the time Hinman was murdered.

Miss Brunner, who said she wasn’t an eyewitness to the stabbing, told the jury she was in the kitchen of Hinman’s home when she heard a commotion and went to the living room, finding the musician suffering two chest wounds and Beausoleil standing over him with a knife.

Granted immunity from prosecution for her testimony, Miss Brunner said Manson had left the man home 24 hours before Beausoleil was slain.

Danny DeCarlo, a mustachioed, former motorcycle gang leader, also testified for the prosecution, telling the jury Beausoleil informed him he had killed Hinman.

Beausoleil told the jury, which began deliberations Thursday, he went to Hinman’s home with Miss Brunner and Miss Atkins under orders from Manson to get the $20,000 from Hinman, who, the court was told, had inherited the money.

“Charles pulled a sword from behind his leg and stabbed at Hinman’s midsection,” according to Beausoleil, who was describing his version of events that transpired after Manson and Davis arrived at the Hinman house.

By BILL HOMER

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