Manson, 10 Followers Won’t Testify at Trial

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 – Charles Manson and 10 other convicted murderers will not testify in the robbery trial of four of his followers as had been expected.

The defense rested Friday without the appearance of Manson and the others after several days of indecision as to whether, they would be called to the witness stand.

There still remains the possibility that these witnesses, described by Superior Judge Arthur Alarcon as “some of the most vicious murderers anywhere,” will testify in a followup sanity proceeding if the defendants are found guilty.

Pleas of innocent and innocent by reason of insanity have been entered on behalf of Mary Brunner, 29; Catherine (Gypsy) Share, 30; Lawrence Bailey, 23, and Kenneth Como, 32.

They are charged with robberies at a Hawthorne surplus store and a Covina beer distributing firm in August, 1971.

The holdup of the surplus store netted 143 weapons and it is alleged that they took $2,600 in cash in the Covina robbery.

Dep. Dist. Atty. Harland Braun has theorized that the robberies were committed as part of a plan to break Manson out of prison.

Miss Share took the witness stand on her own behalf, denied taking part in the robberies, and claimed that she was denied “the right to call witnesses to help explain my philosophy.”

She was the only defense witness called. The defense attorneys had been in conflict with their four clients for several days over whether Manson and others should be called.

The lawyers reportedly opposed the appearance of Manson and the others on the basis that the affiliation with the defendants could prejudice their chances with the jury.

Apparently the attorneys were able to convince the quartet that it was in their best interest not to have the group of murderers testify — at least during this phase of the proceedings.

Jury deliberations by the seven-woman, five-man jury are due to begin today. The jurors have been sequestered since Tuesday in a downtown hotel as a result of death threats made to two jurors. They have been excused and replaced by alternates.

By WILLIAM FARR

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