Manson Penalty Trial Shortened
Saturday, January 30th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 30 – Penalty phase of the Tate-LaBianca murder trial Friday was cut by at least a week when, in a surprise move, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older refused to allow the prosecution to outline still another murder charged against the Charles Manson “family.”
The ruling came as the prosecution brought Michael Erwin, a student who discovered musician Gary Hinman’s body, to the witness stand. Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi was attempting to show the same jury that brought back a guilty verdict against Manson and his three co-defendants that the four should go to their death in San Quentin’s gas chamber.
The Topanga Canyon musician was found dead of two stab wounds in his chest less than two weeks before the Tate and LaBianca murders. Robert Beausoleil, “family” member, has been convicted of the crime and sentenced to death. Mary Brunner, Manson’s first clanswoman and the mother of his child, testified, against Beausoleil and was, given immunity. Also charged in the crime are Manson and Susan Atkins, one of his co-defendants in the Tate case, and Bruce Davis, another member of the group.
Judge Older, acting on a motion by Manson’s defense attorney, Irving Kanarek, claimed bringing,in details of the Hinman murder would be prejudicial to the other defendants in the case.
The action eliminated more than a half dozen prosecution witnesses, leaving only one more — an Oregon police officer — to testify for the prosecution. The defense will open its portion of the case, now estimated to last three weeks, on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile,a hearing to determine whether a member of the jury, sequestered for more than seven months, has been “mentally affected” by the tight security and sensational publicity surrounding the case, has been scheduled for Friday. Kanarek filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Mrs.
Evelyn J. Hines, a dictaphone operator from Los Angeles, has been so affected by the trial that she is not capable of rendering a decision.
The motion was based on a television interview with Mrs. Hines’ husband, William, in which he said that his wife “had taken to drink” since becoming a member of the jury
By MARY NEISWENDER