Hippie Cult Is Linked To 2 Other Slayings
Thursday, December 18th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 18 – A roving cult of hippies, whose members have been charged in the Sharon Tate murders, may have been involved in two other slayings in Northern California, a detective said yesterday.
Chief of Detectives Barton L. Collins, of San Jose, Calif., disclosed that “substantial leads” which may link the two cases have been developed.
He said information gathered by two members of his staff this week in a conference with Los Angeles police indicated that “this cult may have been involved” in the deaths of Kathy Snoozy, 15, and Deborah Furlong, 14.
The girls were stabbed to death Aug. 2 while picnicking on a hillside near their homes. The four Sharon Tate murders occurred Aug. 9 and the slayings of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca, with which six members of the cult were charged, occurred Aug. 10.
Collins did not say what new information he had, but said “these leads are going to be followed up.”
The group of hippies led by Charles Manson, 35, included Susan Denise Atkins, 21, of San Jose. She was the informer who helped Los Angeles authorities break the Tate case. She pleaded innocent Tuesday to seven counts of murder.
In a related development, Manson told a judge he wants to act as his own attorney when he comes to trial on charges of murdering Miss Tate and six others.
“Your honor, there is no way I can give up my own voice in this matter,” Manson told Superior Court Judge William B. Keene. “If there is no way I can speak freely, it ties my hands down and I might as well not have a defense.”
Manson, 35, asked that he be assisted in his defense by two professional attorneys, Luke McKissack and Lawrence Steinberg, both of Los Angeles.
Keene denied both requests temporarily, saying he would have to decide whether Manson is competent to represent himself. He said he would announce his decision Dec. 22, the date Manson is to enter a plea in the bizarre slayings.
Police in San Jose said they had reports that Manson was seen in that area near the time of the other two killings. The commune was living at the Spahn ranch near Los Angeles during August.
The state attorney general’s office has furnished Los Angeles police with the details of 30 unsolved slayings since 1968 that occurred under circumstances similar to the Tate killings.
On Monday and Tuesday, detectives from five areas of California met in Los Angeles to compare notes on homicides which might be linked to “the Manson family.”
Two of the visiting detectives were from San Jose, and one each were from San Francisco, Napa and Mendocino counties.
San Francisco inspector William Armstrong declined to say what information was gained that might help in the “Zodiac” investigation. He said he “wouldn’t want our suspect to know.”
The Zodiac killer has been blamed for at least five killings, one in San Francisco and four in the Napa and Vallejo areas.