Manson Accused Of Death Command
Saturday, April 4th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Apr. 4 – After mutilating his victim by slashing him with a sword, Charles Manson, the accused master-mind behind the thrill-killings of actress Sharon Tate and six others, ordered him put to death, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury was told Friday.
The accusations, which appeared to shock both spectators and jurors, were in an opening statement by prosecutors in the murder retrial of Robert Beausoleil, a former member of Manson’s “family.”
The charges that the long-haired hippie leader had “ordered” the death of 34-year-old musician Gary Hinman, just two weeks before he “ordered” the death of the pregnant actress and her jet set friends, led to immediate speculation that Manson would be indicted – along with another member of his clan – by the County Grand Jury before April 20, the date for Manson’s own trial to begin.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Burton Katz told the five-man, seven-woman jury that Manson’s words, via telephone, to Beausoleil were:
“You know what to do. Kill him. He knows too much.”
The prosecutor said witnesses would corroborate his statement.
The short, bearded hippie leader, armed with a sword, had earlier come to the musician’s Topanga Canyon home and without warning slashed Hinman’s face, cutting off an ear and penetrating the muscle layers of his jaw, Katz said. He told the jury Hinman was being kept prisoner by three members of the Manson family – Beausoleil, Susan Denise Atkins and Mary Brunner.
It was after the mutilation that Manson demanded “anything you’ve got and you ain’t going to get hurt,” Katz said.
Manson then left the home, according to the prosecutor, taking one of Hinman’s automobiles to make the drive back to the Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth where the family was staying.
“Evidence will show,” the 31-year-old prosecutor told the jurors, “that the three kept Mr. Hinman at his home from Friday night, July 29, 1969, until early Sunday morning, when Bobby Beausoleil finally stabbed Mr. Hinman twice in the chest.
“Then, as Mr. Hinman lay dying — under a Buddhist shrine in his living room – Bobby Beausoleil comforted him with, ‘Society doesn’t need You. You’re a pig. It’s better this way. I’m doing you a favor. I’m your brother.’”
“Then,” added the prosecutor, in words which made one woman juror cringe, “they put a pillow over his head because the raspings of death were too loud.”
The 21-year-old Beausoleil then told the girls to wipe up the blood and fingerprints and write “political piggy” in blood on the wall behind the body, Katz related.
He said they left a bloody fist print, the symbol of the Black Panthers, hoping to link the murders to the militant group.
Katz said Hinman was killed because he refused to give Beausoleil and his two girl companions $20,000 and the ownership slips to two cars.
One of the girls, Susan Atkins, whose grand jury testimony initially led to the indictment of Manson and two others in the Tate-La Bianca murders, is also charged with the Hinman murder but will be tried separately.
Miss Brunner reportedly was found on the East Coast studying for her masters degree and has agreed to testify for the prosecution in return for immunity.
Miss Brunner was with Beausoleil and Miss Atkins when they accosted Hinman at this home, the prosecutor charged.
When Hinman resisted, a shot was fired from a gun carried by Beausoleil, but it missed its mark. The gun subsequently was used to beat the musician, breaking the handlegrips. (Similarly, the handle grips of the gun used in the killings at the Tate home were broken when one of the victims was beaten with it).
It was after this scuffle that Beausoleil called for Manson, Katz said, and Manson arrived with another family member, Bruce Davis.
Witnesses will relate, Katz told the jury, that the bloody trash used to wipe up the blood at the Hinman home and used to try to stop the blood flowing from Hinman’s amputated ear, was thrown on a restaurant rubbish pile a mile from the Hinman home.
“And,” Katz added, “independent evidence will show that both Hinman’s cars showed up near the Outlaw Shack on the Spahn Ranch.”
Beausoleil, whose parents were seated in a back row of the courtroom during the opening statement, returned to the scene of the crime a few days later, Katz said, and then returned to the ranch to complain of the “awful smell and the fact he could hear maggots eating Gary’s body.”
(Hinman’s body was not found until a week after he was killed).
Five witnesses paraded to the stand as the prosecution officially began its case Friday, including the sheriff’s officers who went to the home after one of Hinman ‘s friends expressed concern that there were “flies and an awful smell around the house.”
Although Miss Atkins did not make a courtroom appearance in the Hinman case, she appeared in the same courtroom earlier Friday when her attorney asked for and received permission to examine all evidence against her in the Tate-La Bianca cases.
Only request denied by the judge was that she be allowed to receive the addresses and phone numbers of witnesses. Prosecutors later told newsmen they felt the addresses were irrelevant and could lead to harassment of witnesses by “family” members.
The Tate-La Bianca trial is scheduled to begin April 20, but prosecutors said they might ask for a short continuance in anticipation of the appearance of Charles Watson, now fighting extradition in Texas.
“The court of appeals has granted an early hearing — April 8 — and decision is possible by April 18 or 20,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Aaron Stovitz said.
“If that’s the case, we will ask for a short continuance so that all may be tried together.”
By MARY NEISWENDER