Manson Has Privileges Not Given Prisoners With Lawyers
Friday, December 26th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 26 – Charles M. Manson, preparing his own defense against murder charges in the Sharon Tate killings, has free telephone calls, a runner to fetch law books when needed and a few other privileges not given to prisoners with defense lawyers.
The “father” of the nomadic “family” linked to the five murders has been shifted to a county jail cell that is like most of the other one-man cells only nearer the library.
If Manson wants to use the library, jailers will escort him into the glass-walled enclosure. He will be watched from outside but not disturbed as he digs into law books.
“He’ll have the privilege of a runner, if he requires one, to bring him special law books he may not find in the library, and things like paper and typewriter ribbon,” Deputy Sheriff John Hooge said yesterday.
Also provided are a typewriter, free copies of court transcripts and free use of two telephone booths outside his cell.
“He’ll have free reign of the telephones within reason,” Hooge said. “Long-distance calls will be billed to the county.”
The privileges are such as the county customarily provides — at court discretion — to prisoners conducting their own defense. Manson, 35, won them Wednesday when Superior Court Judge William B. Keene gave him permission to act as his own defense attorney.
Can Manson contact potential witnesses in person, including members of his “family”?
“Not unless the court would order it,” Hooge said. “And it’s highly doubtful that the court would.”
If the court appoints an investigator or a psychiatrist, he will be allowed to visit Manson in his cellblock almost any time, Hooge said.
“In that section extra study privileges are allowed. Often guys in there just cannot function in the daytime. When the sun comes up they get lethargic and just can’t think straight. So special study privileges are allowed for them at night, as long as they don’t bother others.”
Manson hopes to finance his legal defense by selling a record album, an attorney said yesterday.
George E. Shibley, the lawyer who is handling Sirhan B. Sirhan’s appeal and who has identified himself as an old friend of Manson’s, said Manson was negotiating with a record company to make an album of tapes he recorded prior to his arrest.
Shibley said Manson, who learned to play the guitar while serving in a federal penitentiary several years ago, was considered an excellent guitarist and “an adequate vocalist.”
He said the album would contain a number of protest songs and numbers Manson improvised from a single word suggested to him.
“For example, if someone suggested ” the word daffodil to him, Manson could write an entire song about it,” Shibley said.
Manson and four others, who police say are members of his “family,” are charged with murder in the killings of Miss Tate and four visitors to her Bel Air mansion last August. They and a sixth group member also are charged with murdering a wealthy merchant and his wife the next day and with conspiracy to commit murder.
Manson has tamed his previously unruly hair into a neatly trimmed mustache and beard and shoulder-length locks.