Manson Prepares His Case
Thursday, January 1st, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 1 – Charles Manson, the bearded hippie guru accused of master-minding the Sharon Tate murders, is leafing through law books, placing telephone calls and using couriers to prepare his legal defense.
The sheriff’s office acknowledged Tuesday Manson, 35, theoretically could even plan his own escape with the freedom prevailing under a court ruling last week allowing him to act as his own attorney.
The permission for Manson to go “pro per” — by yourself — gave him the run of the county prison library, access to telephone and typewriters, authority to issue subpoenas and consult with other “jailhouse lawyers” in preparing his case.
Under the order issued by Superior Court Judge William B. Keene, Manson can make three telephone calls a day. In the morning, he walks to a 30 by 40 foot library and signals to a guard in a glass enclosed booth that he wants to make a call.
The guard records only the number Manson dials. It is a pay phone and he must put in his own dime.
Manson can spend up to nine hours a day in the prison law library and he can confer with a licensed investigator to run down leads.
One attorney thwarted in his attempt to become associated with Manson’s defense predicted a “disaster” when the trial starts.