Manson Throws Button at Jurist

LOS ANGELES, Jun. 23 — Charles Manson irked when a judge accused him of making faces in court, ripped a button from his cuff Tuesday and tossed it at the jurist. The missile bounced harmlessly off the head of the clerk sitting in front of the bench.

The action occurred at a hearing at which Superior Judge Raymond Choate severed the murder trials of Manson and two other men. The judge had accused Manson, 36, and Stephen Grogan, 20, of making faces, communicating by sign language and shouting in court.

“We ain’t started yet,” said Manson, chucking the button at the judge.

The judge ordered Manson ejected. He was dragged to a holding cell.

Manson onetime leader of a hippie style clan, has been convicted along with three women followers of murdering actress Sharon Tate and six others. He also is charged with murder in the deaths of Malibu musician Gary Hinman and the presumed death of movie stuntman Donald Shea, who vanished while living at Manson’s commune.

The judge separated the trials due to a State Supreme Court stay of prosecution for a third defendant in the Hinman-Shea case, Bruce Davis, who contended that being tried with Manson would prejudice jurors against him. His case was continued to Nov. 1, pending arguments before the Supreme Court.

The case of Grogan, charged only in the Shea case, was expected to be assigned to another court, with Choate handling the Manson trial.

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