Manson, ‘Family’ Not Moved by Testimony

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 3 – The three long-haired girls in jail uniforms giggle and whisper at times while Charles M. Manson strokes his beard and makes funny faces at an artist drawing his picture.

At moments, the defendants in the Sharon Tate murder trial seem solemn. They sit with eyes downcast, scribbling pictures and notes.

Even the lurid testimony of the state’s star witness, Linda Kasabian, which has brought gasps from spectators, has failed to shake the defendants visibly. The defense continues cross-examining her today.

Testimony by Mrs. Kasabian of group sex among their hippie-style “family,” of drug usage and of the murders of Miss Tate and six others haven’t moved the defendants.

The girls — Susan Atkins, 21, Leslie Van Houten, 20, and Patricia Krenwinkel, 22 — smile directly at Mrs. Kasabian, a former “family” member. At one point, the shaggy-haired Manson focused his gaze on the witness while stroking his beard, and the girls picked up the motions, rhythmically stroking their faces and staring at Mrs. Kasabian.

Following Manson’s lead the women scratched crosses on their foreheads after he slashed one on his forehead with a razor blade. And his calm demeanor apparently has dictated theirs.

Subdued in comparison to their early days in court, the girls have also abandoned colorful attire they once wore. Pale and listless, they shuffle into court in dark blue jail denims and sweatshirts.

The 92 seats in the old, dark-beamed courtroom have been jammed daily with spectators and reporters. But the remaining members of Manson’s “family” rarely get inside. Most have been subpoenaed as prosecution witnesses and they are excluded from court until they testify.

Spectators line up early, and those admitted are allowed to stay only half a day to allow others a seat. Many are young — girls who write poetry during testimony or men who say they are doing research on various subjects.

An Ohio woman said she was here on a convention and spent her one free day at the trial: “Everyone back home will want to hear about it.”

Movie and television personalities from Hollywood have visited court – among them Scott Brady, Peter Falk and Bob Conrad.

Lt. Col. Paul J. Tate, father of the murdered actress, sits at the back of the courtroom each day. He says nothing.

By LINDA DEUTSCH

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