Manson Accuses Witness of Having Role in Killings
Saturday, February 27th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28 – Charles Manson told a witness at the penalty phase of his trial that if he told the truth on the stand the state would indict him for murder.
“You mean if I tell the truth they’ll try and indict me for murder?” asked 19-year-old Steve Grogan, who already is indicted in connection with a murder unrelated to the Tate-LaBianca slayings.
The bearded Manson nodded his head to Grogan, who was expected to say later that he was along the night market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary were killed.
Grogan was never indicted for the LaBianca slayings, supposedly because his name was not mentioned before the County Grand Jury in December 1969.
Witnesses at the long trial, however, have said Grogan was along that night, although he never went into the LaBianca home and never took part in the murders.
The bulk of Grogan’s morning testimony was about life at the Spahn Ranch near Chatsworth, stronghold of Manson’s “family” when actress Sharon Tate and six others were murdered.
Grogan, who said he has a brother in the California Highway Patrol, said he left home at the age of 14.
He said he went to the ranch when he was 15 and lived there for about a year before Manson and the family arrived.
Grogan said Manson never gave orders at the ranch and everyone did as they wished. He also testified drug use was common at the ranch.
Grogan did not return to the witness stand in the afternoon because any testimony which might implicate him in the homicides must be given when his attorney, Charles Weedman, is present in the courtroom.
He is expected to be recalled to the witness stand tomorrow.
Also testifying was Lawrence J. Schiller, who termed himself a “journalist and a communicator.” It was Schiller who obtained the rights to obtain and publish the “confession” of 22-year-old Susan Atkins, one of Manson’s three female co-defendants.
Schiller said he reached the agreement to sell the story to the European press with Miss Atkins’ former attorneys. Richard Caballero and Paul Caruso.
Caruso made a similar statement Thursday.
Schiller also testified Caballero provided him with a tape recording of a conversation he had had with Miss Atkins in his office Dec. 1, 1969, in which she made the admissions.
She later testified before the County Grand Jury, which indicted her, Manson and the others.
Schiller said he was allowed to listen to the tape recording before Miss Atkins ever signed an agreement giving him the authorization to sell her story.
He also is slated to continue testifying tomorrow.
By SANDI METTETAL