Manson Shrugs Off Hinman Murder Charge as ‘Ridiculous’

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 17 – Accused mass slayer Charles Manson, who says he will make no defense in court on charges he “masterminded” the killing of actress Sharon Tate and six others, claimed the latest charge against him — the murder of musician Gary Hinman — is ridiculous.

“I was in jail when Gary was killed.”

In an exclusive interview, the bearded, long-haired leader of the “Manson Family” smiled and shook his head when confronted with the accusation that he stabbed the 34-year-old musician to death after an attempt to extort money from him failed.

“It’s just more of their lies…I was in the Malibu jail on a traffic violation.”

(Malibu Sheriff’s officers claim Manson’s arrest records do not show him in their jail in July, the month Hinman was murdered. He was arrested — along with 35 other family members on charges of grand theft auto and booked into the jail on Aug. 19, 1969, they say.)

The cult leader made his last court appearance Thursday — without an attorney — postponing his arraignment on the latest charge against him. He was indicted by the County Grand Jury along with two of his family members, Susan Atkins and Bruce Davis, for the murder of Hinman.

Although Miss Atkins was arraigned Thursday, Davis is reportedly not in custody.

“If I can’t act as my own attorney, I will make no defense,” Manson told Superior Court Judge George Dell Thursday. Although the jurist refused to allow Manson to defend himself and said he would appoint an attorney for him possibly today, Manson said he will not cooperate.

“I’ll give you an idea,” Manson smiled. “Mr. Douglas — the man in Washington you guys don’t want.” (Manson apparently was referring to Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, currently the topic of an impeachment move.)

“I don’t dislike these attorneys as people,” Manson said in the interview, “but no one can defend me, except myself.”

As far as the two ex-family members who testified against him and whose testimony lead to his latest murder indictment, Manson says he holds no animosity.

(Robert Beausoleil, who has been tried for the murder of Hinman and currently is awaiting the jury’s verdict, testified in the case that Manson killed the musician and held him (Beausoleil) captive. Mary Brunner, the mother of Manson’s child and the first “family” member, told the court that Manson had slashed Hinman’s face but didn’t do the actual killing. She has been granted immunity for her testimony.)

“You know, if they would let me grant immunity,” Manson laughed, “I could have a courtroom full of witnesses.

“But I can’t blame Mary (Brunner) for what she did. They have her baby, and they really rousted her.

“And I can’t blame Bobby either for what he’s done. In fact, I hope he wins. If he can sell it (his story) he can come back and testify for me. Then he can tell the truth.”

Beausoleil’s testimony that Manson planned the death of movie producer Terry Melcher and even scouted Melcher’s home for “escape routes,” Manson shrugged off as “just part of Bobby’s story.”

(The home had been leased by director Roman Polanski and his actress wife Sharon Tate, after Melcher left.)

“You know,” Manson said raising his eyebrows, “I’ve never been to the Tate house. I really don’t know exactly where it is…I know the area…I’ve driven through there”

All of the charges, Manson claims, are lies, brought about through coersion of people.

“If everyone’s going to lie, maybe we should begin to lie too — up to this time we haven’t.”

Meanwhile, as Manson sits in county jail awaiting another court appearance Monday — presumably the start of his trial — reports circulated that the judge currently assigned to the case — Superior Court Judge William Keene — today disassociate himself from the case. Three defendants in the case — including Manson — had earlier tried to have the judge removed charging prejudice; an appeal currently is before the appellate court.

In another “Manson matter,” London police are reportedly re-opening the suicide-death case of the father of one of Manson’s “family” members. The man reportedly slashed his own throat. His daughter, a current member of the family, and a male family member were in London at the time investigators said.

By MARY NEISWENDER

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