Hung Jury Forces Retrial: DA Tries Again in First ‘Manson Family’ Trial
Tuesday, March 31st, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 31 – The first of the “Manson Family” murder trials was underway today with the state demanding the death penalty for mod-attired, 21-year-old Robert Beausoleil.
Lost in the uproar over the Sharon Tate murders was the slaying two weeks earlier of a bagpipe musician named Gary Hinman who was slashed to death in his home and the words “political piggy” scrawled in his blood on the wall.
Charles Manson, accused mastermind of the Tate slayings, lived with his hippie cult in Hinman’s home for a time. Beausoleil, who is being tried a second time after a hung jury at his first trial, was a member of Manson’s weird assemblage.
Hinman, 34, was killed July 26 of last year. Sharon Tate and four others were slain at her home Aug. 8. Grocer Leon LaBlanca and his wife were knifed to death Aug. 10.
Beausoleil was not tied to the Tate-LaBianca slayings but Manson was mentioned at Beausoleit’s first trial. No one knew at that time about Charley Manson but a motorcycle gang leader testified — almost in passing — that Manson bragged he had cut off one of Hinman’s ears with a sword.
Beausoleil, dressed in striped yellow trousers and an Edwardian jacket, appeared nonchalant Monday as jury selection began at his second trial.
The prosecution at his first trial agreed not to seek the death sentence. Deputy Public Defender Leon Salter contended that the stipulation still applied but he was overruled by Superior Court Judge William B. Keene.
Deputy District Attorney Burton Katz told the court that new witnesses and information had been uncovered which ruled out any such guarantee for Beausoleil.
“If there is any case in which the death penalty is justified, it is this one,” Katz said.
The state charges that Beausoleil, along with another Manson follower, Susan Atkins, killed Hinman after torturing him for days in an attempt to force him to give them money.
Katz disclosed that be will call to the witness stand a string of hippie cultists of the “Manson Family.” It was anticipated that their testimony might link Manson to an eighth killing.