Manson Member Caught After Escaping
Wednesday, October 20th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 20 — A Manson family member accused of attempted murder escaped from a 13th floor jail cell today, sawing through bars and sliding down a rope of torn mattress covers, but was recaptured in a house-to-house search in Hollywood where he crashed the getaway car.
Six other Manson clan members — five women and a man — were arrested as suspected accomplices.
Kenneth Como, 31, arrested for his alleged role in a weapon-stealing raid on a gunshop, escaped from the Hall of Justice at about 3 a. m., the sheriff’s department reported. It was his second jail escape.
Deputies said he was recaptured about seven hours later in a middle class residential area of Hollywood, and offered no resistance.
Como sawed through two vertical bars in his cell into the passageway, and then “enlarged a food pass-through” to get into an outside corridor, the sheriff’s department said. He pried off a window screen and lowered himself to a 10th floor roof with a rope made of tornup mattress covers, and continued to the eighth floor with a similar rope where he smashed a window into a courtroom and fled into the unguarded portion of the building.
Shortly afterward, deputies detailed to check out Manson family haunts in the hippie area of West Hollywood sighted on Sunset Boulevard a van belonging to the family. It is usually parked in front of the Hall of Justice, where members of the clan keep vigil for their imprisoned leader, Charles Manson.
The driver “panicked and crashed into a parked car” when the deputies gave chase, the sheriff’s office said, and “Como was observed fleeing from the vehicle into the adjacent area.”
Manson Clan member Sandy Goode was arrested in the vehicle.
Five other clan members — Lynn Fomme, Kitty Lutesinger, Sue Bartell and Richard Stauser — were arrested in another part of the city on suspicion of being accomplices, the sheriff’s department said.
A cordon was thrown around a two-block area, and helicopters were called in to illuminate the predawn darkness with searchlights.
A deputy said he saw Como and gave chase but lost the fugitive in the darkness. He was afraid to fire his pistol for fear of shooting into nearby houses.
Como was one of several Manson family members awaiting trial for attempted murder in connection with a gunbattle with police in September when the family allegedly raided a gunshop to get weapons to free Manson.