Hippie Called Himself ‘Jesus’
Saturday, December 6th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 6 – An indictment charging murder and conspiracy will be soughtl against the wild-haired, hypnotic leader of a wandering band of occult-oriented hippie types, says a prosecutor in the slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others.
The grand jury action against Charles M. Manson — who followers say, called himself “God,” “Jesus” and “Satan” — will be asked on the basis of vicarious liability, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi.
In vicarious liability, he said, a person who joins in a conspiracy, is criminally responsible for any of his co-conspirators’ crimes that further the object of the conspiracy.
Manson, 35, has not been charged in the murders. Susan Atkins, one of his followers, first linked his clan to the killings but said its chieftain was not there when the victims died, authorities reported.
The gaunt, dark-eyed Manson remains jailed in the mountain community of Independence on charges of possessing stolen cars.
The closed grand jury hearing into the killings of Miss Tate, blonde wife of film director Roman Polanski, and six others was continued until Monday with 10 more witnesses expected to testily. Six told their stories Friday.
Miss Atkins, 21, principal witness at Friday’s hearing, described “all the details” of the stabbings and shootings, her attorney said, and told the grand jury she was hypnotized by Manson. She has said she was at the murder scenes and that Manson had ordered the victims slain.
“If the grand jury sees the evidence as we do, we’ll have an indictment of murder against Manson,” said Aaron Stovitz, another deputy district attorney prosecuting the case.
Stovitz said murder counts would be sought against at least five other persons, including Miss Atkins. Prosecutors said the case probably would not go to trial for at least three months because of its complexity.
Miss Atkins, prim in a pink velvet dress bought for her by her attorney, said softly she would answer “anything they ask me.”
Emerging after two hours and 15 minutes before the jury, she was asked how she felt. Her reply: “Dead.”
She leaned against an elevator door in the gray courthouse corridor, closed her eyes and let her body sag briefly. She is charged with murder of a Malibu musician.
Her attorney, Richard Caballero, also a grand jury witness, said she repeated everything she had told him – describing how a band of black clad Manson followers armed with guns and knives killed Miss Tate and four others Aug. 9, then killed a rich market owner and his wife the next night to prove they hadn’t lost their nerve.
Five other witnesses entered the courtroom amid camera lights and shouted questions. All refused to comment to newsmen.
From Hollywood, home of the show business society which friends said Manson craved, came Terry Melcher, 27, blond, shaggy-haired son of actress Doris Day. Modishly dressed in a double-breasted blue suit, the mustached Melcher, a producer, testified about Manson, a prosecutor said.
Followers said Manson played the guitar, composed songs and “sang like an angel,” and that once he approached Melcher for a recording contract.
Melcher, then living in the tomato red mansion later rented by Miss Tate, refused Manson’s request but reportedly invited the clan leader to his house. After that, the friends said, Manson saw the house as a symbol of rejection.
On the death night, Aug. 9, the occupants were Miss Tate, 26; Abigail Folger, 26, a San Francisco coffee heiress; Jay Sebring, 35, a jet set men’s hairdresser, and Voityek Frokowsky, 37, a Polish playboy.
All were stabbed or shot. Steven Parent, 18, a friend of Miss Tate’s caretaker, was killed outside the house.
The maid who found the bodies, Winifred Chapman, testified Friday. Stunned by crowds of spectators as she arrived at the Hall of Justice, Mrs. Chapman shivered visibly and was supported by a friend.
“She isn’t well. She hasn’t been working,” the friend said. Police had said Mrs. Chapman went into seclusion after the killings, shaken and unable to forget what she saw.
The father of young Parent arrived to testify, accompanied by his wife Juanita and teenage daughter Janet. All walked silently with their heads down. Parent presumably spoke about his son, who had visited the caretaker the night of the slaying. Parent has said his son did not know any of the other victims.
Last to testify before the grand jury recessed for the weekend was Los Angeles County Coroner Thomas Noguchi, who supervised the autopsies.
Among those against whom authorities say they will seek indictments are:
— Charles D. Watson, 24, held in McKinney, Tex.
— Patricia Krenwinkel, 21, held in Mobile, Ala.
— Linda Kasabian, 19, arraigned in Los Angeles on murder charges.
Mrs. Kasabian, whose husband was not identified was arrested in Concord, N.H., where, her lawyer said, “she fled in fear” of her life after the Tate murders and the murders of Leno LaBianca, 44, wealthy market owner, and his wife Rosemary, 33. The LaBiancas were slain in their house the night after the Tate murders.
Al Matthews, Mrs, Kasabian’s lawyer, said she too was hypnotized by Manson, whom she described as “a very remarkable man” with ”a charismatic aura.”
Mrs. Kasabian, who was a member of Manson’s commune, feared his mesmerizing powers of “black magic,” said Matthews, and now her attorney wants her protected — placed in the prison infirmary because she is five months pregnant.
“Considering the testimony by Miss Atkins concerning the hypnotic state which Manson put her in,” Matthews said, “to have him and my client see each other might act as a turnon.”
With her story told, Miss Atkins also fears “black magic” retribution from Manson, Caballero said.
“She still fears him,” said Caballero, explaining that Miss Atkins thinks of Manson as “a super god” with the power to read people’s minds and control their thoughts.
“She’s trying to break away from Manson,” he said. But after her testimony she felt she was a “marked woman.”
Caballero said he hoped Miss Atkins’ testimony would save her from the gas chamber and also that by telling her story she would purge herself of her fear of Manson.