Linda Kasabian On Stand For Third Day Of Cross-Examination in Manson Murder Trial
Tuesday, August 4th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 4 – Linda Kasabian, the prosecution’s key witness in the Charles Manson trial, withstood her third day of intense cross-examination yesterday without changing her story of the Tate-LaBianca murders.
Earlier, a Miami woman testified Mrs. Kasabian, 21, is a “liar,” but trial Judge Charles H. Older ordered a portion of that testimony eliminated from the record.
It was actually the sixth day of testimony from Mrs. Kasabian, mother of two, who claims she accompanied members of Manson’s “family” last Aug. 9 and 10 when the victims were killed.
She said she was an eyewitness to two of the murders, which occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 9 at the Benedict Canyon Estate of actress Sharon Tate.
Under questioning by Defense Atty. Paul J. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Kasabian said although she was in a state of shock after the Tate murders, she never tried to notify authorities about them.
She said she did not ask Charles “Tex” Watson, 24, why the people at the Tate estate were killed.
Watson is still fighting extradition from Texas.
Manson, 35, and three female followers —Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, both 22, and Leslie Van Houten, 19 — are on trial in connection with the slayings.
The cult chieftain, according to the prosecution, gave his followers orders to kill.
Concerning the Tate murders, Mrs. Kasabian testified:
“Tex said they had some money.”
The witness said she was “afraid” to say anything about the murders, although she admitted no one threatened to kill her.
When the alleged murder party returned to the “family” stronghold at the Spahn Ranch near Chatsworth, Mrs. Kasabian said she had no difficulty sleeping.
Then Fitzgerald questioned her about the next night, when market owner Leno La Bianca and his wife were slain at their Los Feliz district home.
She admitted she did not attempt to back out of the second mission to kill.
“Was it your state of mind that others were to be killed?” Fitzgerald asked.
“I didn’t know,” she replied.
Referring to her feelings about accompanying the group the second night, Mrs. Kasabian testified.
“I said, ‘no,’ with my eyes and my heart, but not with my voice.”
After the second set of murders, Mrs. Kasabian testified, she didn’t sleep very well.
She said she attempted unsuccessfully to leave the Spahn Ranch that night.
Although there were at least two telephones at the ranch, she admitted she did not notify anyone of the slayings.
Mrs. Kasabian said she finally left the ranch in search of her husband Robert, who was in New Mexico. She left about two days after the killings.
She said she did not take her daughter Tanya, now 2 1/2, with her.
“You abandoned your child with the very people you considered to be a band of murderers?” asked Fitzgerald.
“Yes,” she replied, but explained, “just something inside myself told me she would be all right.”
In earlier testimony, Mrs. June Emmer of Miami stated outside the presence of the jury that Mrs. Kasabian stayed with her last October and November.
Mrs. Emmer said in her opinion, Mrs. Kasabian “lies.”
The witness also said Mrs. Kasabian had a “bad” reputation for honesty.
Judge Older, however, struck the reputation portion of the testimony, ruling it was based solely on conversation between Mrs. Emmer and Mrs. Kasabian’s father, along with one other person.
Mrs. Kasabian testified author Joan Didion is writing a book about her.
The demure pigtailed blonde said she had been promised 25% of any profits from the book.
She testified she was not interested in becoming famous, but hoped the book would influence younger people to remain “straight.”
Mrs. Kasabian broke down again — her eyes reddening, her voice choked — when Manson’s attorney late in the day put into her hands the .22-caliber longhorn revolver used in the Tate murders.
He asked her if she remembered disposing of the gun, but she said she couldn’t recall throwing it away.
Earlier, Irving A. Kanarek asked her if she was aware that there was no way she could give her life if the slayings hadn’t occurred.”
Under direct testimony, Mrs. Kasabian said she would give her life (“in exchange for those of the murder victims”).
“I feel (it) in my heart,” Mrs. Kasabian replied.
Kanarek also showed her the blood-stained rope found tied around the neck of Miss Tate, 26, and hairstylist Jay Sebring, 35.
She testified she didn’t know what the rope was to be used for when she saw Watson take it into the Tate home.
Daye Shinn, attorney for defendant Susan Atkins asked her which drug is her favorite.
“I don’t particularly care for any drugs, now,” Mrs. Kasabian answered.
However, she said she used to like “peyote best of all.”
Shinn asked if she believed LSD and other drugs affected her thinking power.
“I’m sure it did,” she replied.
Dep. Dist. Atty. Aaron H. Stovitz attempted to discredit Mrs. Emmer by asking questions concerning her alleged “drinking problem.”
Kanarek objected to almost every question.
Mrs. Emmer said she does not drink during the day, but does take about two drinks a night.
Mrs. Emmer, under Stovitz’ questioning, said she never saw Mrs. Kasabian use any drugs while the latter was in Miami.
Mrs. Emmer said Mrs.Kasabian told her she had been in homes valued at over $250,000 while in California.
However, the witness said Mrs. Kasabian answered, “I just cannot tell you.” when the Miami woman asked her why she had been in such homes.
Mrs. Emmer rejected Stovitz’ inference that she does not like Mrs. Kasabian.
“She never did anything to me,” Mrs. Emmer said.
Mrs. Emmer’s testimony was taken for the record so she could return to Florida.
Presumably, the defense will read her testimony before the jury at a later date.
By YVONNE PATTEN