Lawyer Says DA’s ‘Deal’ Should Save Susan Atkins
Friday, February 26th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26 – A former attorney for Susan Atkins said yesterday he does not feel she should receive the death penalty because she has fulfilled her part of a bargain made with the district attorney’s office.
Atty. Paul Caruso made the statement out of court during a break in his testimony at the penalty phase of the Tate-LaBianca murder trial.
Caruso was allowed to tell the jury about the deal made Dec. 4, 1969, when the prosecution agreed not to seek the death penalty against Miss Atkins if she testified “truthfully” before the County Grand Jury.
Miss Atkins testified the following day and it was her statement which led to the indictments of herself, hippie leader Charles Manson, and four others.
Miss Atkins, Manson and two of his followers have been convicted in connection with the murders. Another of those indicted was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony and a sixth person has not yet stood trial.
Defense attorneys were attempting to elicit the same statement on the witness stand, but their efforts were rebuffed by repeated prosecution objections which were upheld by trial Judge Charles H. Older.
During his testimony, Caruso claimed that neither he nor his associate Richard Caballejo, knew that a metropolitan newspaper was going to publish, Miss Atkins “confession” on Dec. 14, 1969, four days after a gag-rule regarding ‘the case was issued by Superior Judge William Keene.
Caballero was the court-appointed attorney for Miss Atkins at that time, although the young woman later fired him and obtained her present attorney Daye Shinn.
“She said she might not testify because of her fear of Charles Manson,” Caruso explained.
Following Caruso to the witness stand was 18-year-old Ruth Ann “Ouish” Moorehouse, an expectant mother who is in custody in connection with a charge that she tried to give LSD to a witness at the trial to prevent the other young woman from testifying.
Miss Moorehouse, who said she was expecting her child “right now,” said she was first introduced to Manson by her father, Dean Moorehouse, when she lived with her parents in San Jose.
The dark-haired young woman, wearing a blue prison maternity smock, testified Manson and her father were “good friends.”
When she was 16, the witness said, her father took her to Spahn Ranch near Chatsworth to live with Manson and his hippie-style “family.”
Miss Moorehouse said her father would stay at the ranch from, time to time, but never for very long.
The bulk of her testimony was a repetition of other statements on life at the ranch.
She said she frequently look drugs there, as did others who lived at the ranch.
Miss Moorehouse, who will be back on the witness stand again tomorrow, testified Manson never gave any orders and was “happy” most of the time.
“Charlie never told us anything at all, ” the witness declared. “He never said, “this means this and that means that’.”
The first of an expected two days of psychiatric testimony about’ the mind: damaging effects of psychedelic drugs was to have begun-yesterday.
The testimony will be introduced by defense lawyers.
The psychiatric testimony will be introduced by.Attys. Paul J. Fitzgerald and Maxwell Keith, representing Miss Krenwinkel and, Miss Van Houten.
Both young women have confessed to murder and claimed they were under the influence of LSD at the time.
Miss Atkins also has confessed and said she was “high on Acid (LSD)” when she killed.
By SANDI METTETAL