Madison Librarian Ready to Testify at Manson Affair Trial
Thursday, April 9th, 1970
MADISON, Wis., Apr. 9 – The Capital Times learned this morning that 26-year-old University of Wisconsin librarian Mary T. Brunner, considered by some to be the key witness in a murder case linked to the notorious Charles Manson affair, was recently granted permission to leave Wisconsin to testify in Los Angeles.
Charlotte Campion, Miss Brunner’s probation supervisor here, said this morning that Miss Brunner “has gone to California legally.” Adding that she didn’t know exactly when the witness will return to Madison. Mrs. Campion described the blonde former member of the Manson Family as a “satisfactory probationer. It was a routine supervision as far as I was concerned.”
Miss Brunner was convicted of forging a credit card in California. She returned to Madison, with the permission of Los Angeles authorities, in the middle of February.
Miss Brunner is alleged to have been present at the home of musician Gary Hinman on the day he was slain. Hinman is said to have been slashed to death last July on the order of Charles Manson, leader of a desert-dwelling group of hippies.
Charged in the murder of Hinman, with more indictments considered likely, are Robert Beausoleil, 21, and Susan Atkins, 19. Miss Atkins, the “Tell-All girl” of the Sharon Tate-La Bianca murders, will be tried at a later date for the Hinman murder.
According to the prosecution, Hinman was tortured for two days before Manson delivered the order that he be killed.
The current whereabouts of Miss Brunner, who was quizzed by Los Angeles and Eau Claire authorities last December in Eau Claire, according to a Sheriff’s Department spokesman there, is unconfirmed by Calfornia officials.
An Eau Claire sheriff’s deputy said Wednesday that investigator Roger Brown flew to California Wednesday to testify in Beausoleil’s trial. His testimony will support the statement given to police last December by Miss Brunner.
Miss Brunner, of 1329 Milton St. is said to have been a member of the Manson “family,” having met the mesmeric musician in Berkeley, Calif. in 1967. At one time she attended the Wisconsin State University at Eau Claire, where her father still resides, and then transferred to the UW’s Madison campus in the summer of 1963.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree here in June, 1965. She attended graduate school here in Library Science during the summer and fall sessions of that year, and then left school.
In Los Angeles, Deputy District Attorney Burton Katz is attempting to prove that Robert Beausoleil killed Hinman on Manson’s orders after the musician refused, during two days of torture, to turn over $20,000 to the cult leader.
Manson, a former roommate of Hinman, is not charged in the musician’s murder, but is indicted on seven other murder-conspiracy counts. According to an Associated Press report, witnesses said that Manson was present at the Hinman residence in Topanga Canyon prior to Hinman’s death and that the cult leader slashed Hinman about the face with a sword.
Witnesses also said, the AP reports, that Manson then returned to the Spahn Movie Ranch and left Beausoleil in command at Hinman’s house. A telephone call from Beausoleil, according to witnesses, resulted in an order from Manson: “You know what to do..kill him.’
Beausoleil was tried earlier on the same charge, but the trial resulted in a hung jury. Considered essential to a conviction is the testimony of an eyewitness to Hinman’s torture or killing.
Testimony in Beausoleil’s second trial has included that of Danny DeCarlo, 26, a member of the “Straight Satans” motorcycle group. DeCarlo testified that Beausoleil bragged to him of killing Hinman.
Himnan’s murder occurred only weeks before Sharon Tate’s, and those of six others: written in blood on the wall of Hinman’s home were the words “political piggy”, similar to bloody messages found scrawled on walls in the later murders.
Neither Miss Brunner’s father, in Eau Claire, nor residents of Miss Brunner’s Madison address could be reached for comment on her whereabouts. Telephone numbers at both addresses are unlisted.
By TIM HOUGAN