Judge Ousts Manson After Latest Argument in Court
Sunday, March 14th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 14 — Convicted murderer Charles Manson was removed from the courtroom on Friday after he questioned the capability of his own attorney and argued with the judge presiding over his trial.
Manson’s outburst came several hours after he had been warned by Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older that if he made one more off-the-cuff comment he would be removed.
The incident occurred during testimony by Steven Grogan 19, a member of Manson’s “family.”
Grogan was volunteering answers without any questions being asked by Manson’s attorney, Irving A. Kanarek.
Judge Older told Grogan to refrain from making any statements until a question was asked.
“That guy don’t know what questions to ask,” Manson said of Kanarek.
Judge Older, who in the morning gave Manson a “final warning,” told bailiffs to remove Manson.
The jurist told Manson he could return to court when he affirmed that he would conduct himself in a “proper manner.”
“Your requirements as to what is the proper manner change from time to time,” Manson told the judge as he was taken to a holding court adjacent to the courtroom.
It was not the first time Manson had been removed from the courtroom during the protracted trial
Manson’s three co-defendants — Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten — managed to have themselves removed from the court seconds before Judge Older recessed the trial until tomorrow.
The three young women were told they could not come back until they promised to behave.
As they left, all three raised their right arms. Miss Atkins’ fist was clenched, Miss Krenwinkel held up one finger and Miss Van Houten help up her fingers. The significance of their gesture escaped comprehension of courtroom observers.
Judge Older removed the young women after they began mumbling during cross-examination of Grogan by Prosecutor Vincent T. Bugliosi.
Bugliosi asked Grogan if he had been committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital on July 17, 1969, less than a month before the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others.
Defense attorneys objected and Grogan was not allowed to answer.
“Let him answer, let him answer,” the young woman said.
Grogan on the witness stand continually injected his own comments to the seven-man, five-woman jury which must decide whether Manson and the others live or die.
“You know, you’re supposed to have this so-called defense before the verdict is reached,” Grogan said at one point, referring to the fact that he was testifying after the defendants already had been convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy.
“This whole trial is irrelevant to anything,” he commented at another point.
Then when defense attorneys objected to Bugliosi’s line of questioning, Grogan remarked with a smile: “Let’s see what this devil is trying to do — go ahead.”
Grogan was jailed last December after he was indicted, along with Manson and another “family” member in connection with the alleged murder of movie stuntman Donald (Shorty) Shea.
Shea allegedly was killed shortly after the Tate-LaBianca murders, but his body has never been found.
That trial has not yet begun.
Earlier, Manson came very close to being ejected when he asked who told a witness to “lose her memory.”
Testifying was shorthand reporter Carmela Ambrosini, who recorded a statement given by Miss Atkins on the day a gag rule was imposed upon the case in December 1969.
Miss Ambrosini said she was summoned by Sybil Brand Institute by Miss Atkins’ former attorney, Richard Caballero, to take the young woman’s statement.
After the statement, the witness said, Caballero asked her to tear out two parts of Miss Atkins’ answers.
She said she did not remember what the answers were, but she followed Caballero’s instructions from the shorthand tape.
Caballero testified earlier that the interview was two-pronged; To give a report on Miss Atkins’ life until the time she met Manson and to be used for psychiatric purposes in entering a possible insanity plea.
Miss Ambrosini said no mention was made of a psychiatrist, although she was told the statement would be used for “publication in the European papers.”
She said she asked about the gag order, which was imposed that day, and was told it did not apply to Miss Atkins’ statement.
By SANDI METTETAL