Leader of Cycle Gang Admits ‘Deal’ to Testify
Tuesday, April 7th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Apr. 7 – One of the chief prosecution witnesses in the murder trial of Manson family member Robert Beausoleil admitted today he testified against the baby-faced defendant because officials offered to dismiss three felony counts against him.
Black-haired and mustachioed former motorcycle gang leader Danny DeCarlo admitted to a Los Angeles Superior Court jury today that dismissal of the charges was part of the reason he was giving testimony against his former good friend.
Using slang and obscenities, DeCarlo, under cross examination, said he heard of the killing of musician Gary Hinman while he was a “resident” at the Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth where the family lived at the time of Hinman’s death.
“Those lousy bunch of broads,” DeCarlo said, pointing at a group of family members huddled at the rear of the courtroom, “told me they were going to blame it (the murder) on my brothers. Brothers — brothers — everything was being put on my brothers. My club are my brothers — the bike people.”
DeCarlo said he was a member of the Straight Satans, a motorcycle club, but admitted that Beausoleil was not.
“He ain’t flying my patch,” DeCarlo said, but said he liked Beausoleil and helped him build a motorcycle. DeCarlo also said he was a good friend of Charles Manson, the leader of the family, who now faces murder charges in the Tate-La Bianca killings.
Although he said he got along well with Mary Brunner, another family member and prosecution witness who attorneys say has “disappeared,” DeCarlo said he didn’t get along well with Susan Atkins, another family member charged in the Tate-LaBianca deaths.
“Me and Sadie (Susan Atkins) got along like day and and night. She’s got a big mouth.”
DeCarlo said he didn’t believe Beausoleil’s story of the killing at first, and “to tell the truth, I still have my doubts.”
He admitted that the group was “partying” when the 22-year-old Beausoleil recounted the killing of Hinman and admitted there was usually drinking at the ranch..
“Ninety-nine percent of the time at the ranch I was mashed, and the other time I was on my way,” DeCarlo said.
He said the family catered to him because they wanted him to bring his motorcycle group to the ranch for protection.
The trial, now in its seventh day, is expected to conclude next week in time tor the start of the murder trial of Manson and five other – family members in the Tate-LaBianca killings.
Hinman was slain July 25 at his Topanga Canyon home. His body was found a week later. Also charged with Beausoleil in the murder is Miss Atkins, who will face trial separately.
By MARY NEISWENDER