Manson Asks Jury Selection Speedup
Wednesday, June 17th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jun. 17 – Charles Manson was willing to have the first 12 prospective jurors selected at random try him for the Sharon Tate-Labianca murders. The trial judge ignored him.
Jury selection proceeds instead today in normal fashion but it was apparent the job would take weeks as one person after another was excused for reasons ranging from personal hardship to preconceived opinion on the guilt or innocence of the “Manson family.”
A panel of 60 solid-looking citizens was ushered into the high-ceilinged courtroom yesterday, craning their necks for a look at the hippie cult leader and his female codefendants — Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten.
The court clerk picked the names of 12 persons out of a steel box and they were seated in the jury box. Superior Court Judge Charles Older asked if any of them had any conscientious objection to the death penalty.
Thomas R. Tosoya replied that he could not vote for the death penalty under any circumstance.
At that point Manson’s attorney, Irving Kanarek, stood and told the court that the 35-year-old ex-convict, accused of seven murders last August, was willing to accept the first 12 citizens seated in the box without questioning them further.
Older did not reply.
Kanarek later told newsmen Manson “believes that these 12 people who came in by chance off the streets could be — relatively — the type of jurors he wants.”
By the end of the day nine prospective jurors had been dismissed. One was a Scotsman who said he already had paid for airline tickets for a visit to his native land and was afraid his money would not be refunded. Two were discharged for unalterable opposition to the death penalty.
In another courtroom just down the hall, another member of the “Manson family” was indicted for the murder of musician Guy Hinman three weeks before the slayings at the Tate and Labianca homes on Aug. 9 and 10. Robert Beausoleil Monday was sentenced to the gas chamber for Hinman’s murder.
Mary Brunner of Eau Claire, Wis., first had testified against Beausoleil and later recanted her story regarding Hinman’s death. As a result, the prosecution withdrew its promise of immunity. She had been expected to be a state witness at the Tate murder trial. At her arraignment, Miss Brunner requested the right to act as her own attorney. A hearing on the motion was set for Monday.
The first panel of jurors called all were conservatively dressed, the majority over 35. None could have been classified as remotely resembling a hippie. The three young girls giggled and whispered as they filed to their seats.
Older, a stern man who flew with Gen. Claire Chennault’s Flying Tigers, read out the charges of murder. He referred to actress Sharon Tate by her married name of Polanski.
By JACK V. FOX