Manson in Courtroom Demonstrates Magnetic Hold on Women
Sunday, February 8th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8 – The magnetic hold hippie cult leader Charles Manson has on women was evidenced Friday as he faced one of his co-defendants in the LaBianca murders for the first time since they were jailed.
The encounter was across a Superior Court room when Leslie Louise Van Houten, 19, was granted a substitution of attorneys.
The couple gazed at each other during the brief proceeding.
Manson, at times, would glance up at the ceiling, raise his eyebrows and make clowning faces at the dark-haired teenager.
Miss Van Houten, rarely took her eyes off the shaggy-haired accused mastermind of he August murders of Actress Sharon Tate and six others, including Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, a market owner and his wife.
Miss Van Houten is charged only with conspiracy and murder in the LaBianca stabbings. Manson and four other co-defendants, including three young women, are accused of all seven killings.
Manson’s behavior was in marked contrast to his early morning trembling and harsh disposition when he came to another courtroom to argue dismissal of the charges against him. The move was denied.
Manson, 35, in solitary confinement, wore the same faded jail dungarees but he didn’t appear as disheveled as he did in the morning.
Both Manson and Miss Van Houten stood during the 15-minute court session before Judge George M. Dell.
Miss Van Houten substituted Atty. Ira K. Reiner for court-appointed lawyer Marvin L. Part.
Reiner, 38, said Miss Van Houten asked him in a letter to represent her.
Manson was called in to be asked if he had any objections as Reiner had visited him frequently at the county jail.
But Manson said “I don’t have any (objections).”
The judge made it clear that the substitution had nothing to do with Part’s competency noting the lawyer had done an excellent job to date.
Reiner refused to say if he was being paid for his efforts and also declined to disclose the contents of Miss Van Houten’s letter.
Formerly with the city attorney’s office, Reiner is a graduate of Southwestern School of Law and was admitted to the bar five years ago.
He is married to Mrs. Patricia Smith Reiner, also an attorney, employed by the city attorney.
They reside in Marina del Rey and have no children.
Asked about reports that Denver Atty. Francis Salazar may enter the case to represent all the accused murderers, Reiner said this was a “total surprise” to him.
Salazar is a “total stranger to me. I have never met him. I have not the faintest idea what he is talking about.”
The reports of Salazar’s movements in the case were reported in a metropolitan newspaper.
Earlier Superior Court Judge Malcolm M. Lucas refused to dismiss one conspiracy and seven murder charges against Manson.
Manson was ordered to appear tomorrow before Superior Court Judge William B. Keene for trial date setting.
The cult leader, trembled during the brief court session, declaring he had been held in solitary confinement.
“I’ve just come from solitary confinement and I’m really not in a very good disposition. I’m a bit nervous,” Manson advised the court.
Manson referred to the fact he had been five days of solitary confinement in County Jail.
Sheriff’s inspector Ralph C. Welch reported the accused mass murderer had refused to come out of his cell when ordered to do so at 5 o’clock Friday morning.
Manson, Welch said, declared he “did not want to eat breakfast.”
Jail rules require prisoners to report to the dining room whether they eat or not.
When Manson balked, Welch reported, he was taken to the dining room anyway, then met with the watch commander who decided to confine the 35-year-old cult leader to a lone cell.
Welch said he believed Manson did not eat breakfast. Other reports indicated he subsisted on candy bars.
Manson’s rebellious mood continued and when his morning court date arrived, he refused to wear his own clothing and to shave, the inspector said.
While in solitary confinement Manson will be denied visits from family or personal friends who would come during the regular visiting hours. He will not be allowed to buy candy or cigarettes.
He also will not be allowed to leave the cell for either meals or exercise and can receive only mail which is involved in preparing his defense.
Contrary to Manson’s claim in court that he has been denied writing material and books Welch said the man would continue to enjoy all the privileges of access to the law library and having pencil and paper available at least seven hours a day.
He also will be allowed to interview witnesses and see attorneys.
Welch said he believed it was the first time Manson had ever been confined to a solitary cell. None of his five co-defendants has ever been locked in the “adjustment center.”
The inspector explained Manson did not struggle when he was physically removed from his cell by two deputies.
Manson’s behavior Welch added violated a Superior Court policy memo drafted by a committee of judges that governs the use of the law library and the right to the use of facilities while one is acting as his own attorney.
One of these rules is that all regulations of the jail must be obeyed.
The solitary confinement area is located in the central portion of the county men’s jail.
A prisoner can only speak to his neighboring cellmates and food is brought to the cell.
A deputy sheriff checks every 15 minutes and a person from the medical staff every eight hours.
A similar “adjustment center” is located in the Hall of Justice where prisoners are held prior to court appearances. The solitary confinement will not interfere with Manson’s court appearance tomorrow.
Judge Lucas also denied a petition by Manson to have an attorney represent him while he also serves as his own lawyer.
Manson in court termed the petition “a writ of habeas corpus” which would if granted mean the sheriff would have to appear in court and show cause why Manson is being jailed.
However he did not speak to this problem in his document and the defendant acting as his own attorney probably was not familiar with the legal term.
Manson attempted to call the shots in court as to which motion of his would be considered first.
But the judge informed Manson the court would have final word in deciding procedure.
As usual, Manson, who remained seated throughout the hearing, used the opportunity to launch an attack on the court, the judge, the indictment and whole legal system.
“The indictment is illegitimate,” declared Manson.
All the grand jury had was “a frightened girl’s testimony who was afraid to lose her baby,” he said.
Manson referred to key prosecution witness and co-defendant Susan Denise Atkins, 21, mother of a small boy.
It is believed the testimony of Miss Atkins, also known as “Sadie Glutz,” resulted in the indictment of all six.
Miss Atkins, Manson charged, testified “that I played the guitar — that I like everybody and that I told them what to do. She said I told her to go do what Tex (co-defendant Charles Watson) said.
“I never tell people what to do, but say to do what they want to do.
“There’s nothing bad about me in there (the grand jury transcript),” Manson said.
Manson demanded the transcript be released to the public so it could decide if there was sufficient evidence to hold him.
Judge Lucas felt there was sufficient evidence, explaining he believed after reading the transcript there was enough evidence to raise suspicion of guilt.
The jurist noted the grand jury need not be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt as a trial jury must.
When the judge turned down the motion to dismiss the indictment, Manson replied, “We all knew that, didn’t we?”
Manson lost his bid to postpone oral arguments on his “habeas corpus” petition, complaining:
“My constitutional rights have been suspended in county jail. I don’t even have a pencil. I just told you I came from solitary confinement. I have no pencils. I have no books there.”
The emotional flare-up was accented as he thrust down on the table a roll of papers he had clutched in his hand.
Dep. District Attorney Aaron H Stovitz accused Manson of trying to delay his trial.
To this, Manson charged back, “Okay, let’s go. Let’s go tomorrow or Monday. That’s a good day for trial.”
When the judge said Monday would be dedicated to trial setting, Manson asked, “is that within 60 days?”
In an even tone, the judge reminded Manson he was his own attorney holding the reins to his own defense and he would have to make that decision himself.
Manson charged it was unconstitutional that on the testimony of one person, another man could be taken “and drag him before the world and call him bad things… and crucify me in the news media by one girl’s testimony. It was not that bad.
“I don’t deny what she said, she just said, what she felt. I was not hurt by what she said. What hurt me was you take the testimony, not the facts. I thought the court deals with facts …All you have is testimony of a frightened girl,” Manson said.