March 30 Trial Date Set for Manson, 2 Women Members of Cult

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10 – The conspiracy-murder trial of cult leader Charles Manson and two of his women followers has been scheduled for March 30.

The trio will join a fourth co-defendant, Susan Denise Atkins, 21, also scheduled to go to trial on that date before Superior Judge William B. Keene.

After the court proceedings yesterday Atty. Ronald Hughes passed out to newsmen copies of a typewritten letter purportedly sent by Manson, 35, to Dist. Atty. Evelle J. Younger, claiming he was not getting a fair trial.

The four defendants, along with two others, are charged with conspiracy and murder in the August slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others. The other two defendants are out of state and fighting extradition.

Those now set for trial on March 30 are Manson, Miss Atkins, Leslie Louise Van Houten, 19, and Linda Louise Kasabian 20.

It appeared, however, that Mrs. Kasabian will not go to trial with her co-defendants.

Her attorney, Gary Fleischman, told Judge Keene Mrs. Kasabian was expecting her second child the first week in April.

Judge Keene said if there were a problem with Mrs. Kasabian on March 30, it would be taken care of at that time.

All three defendants who appeared before Judge Keene yesterday morning were granted certain motions to discover prosecution evidence.

Judge Keene additionally scheduled a hearing next Monday for Manson, who is acting as his own attorney, to argue that his trial should be transferred to another part of the state.

Manson told Judge Keene he would make the motion for a change of venue, but he asserted, “I know it will be denied.”’

The motion will be heard by Superior Judge Malcolm M. Lucas. The time for the hearing was not immediately scheduled.

Authorities last Friday ordered Manson into solitary confinement for five days after he refused to go to the county jail dining room with fellow prisoners.

When Manson appeared for a motion to dismiss the charges against him last Friday before Judge Lucas, he wore the regulation jail dungarees. Sheriff’s Dept. personnel said Manson had refused to go to court in his own clothing.

However, the slight, long-haired defendant was back in his colorful hippie garb yesterday.

Manson wore gold velvet, trousers, a white Edwardian shirt with billowing sleeves and carried a multicolored vest over his arm.

Judge Keene greeted Manson with a question about whether he has had time to think over his decision to represent himself.

“I’ve had a chance in evaluate the court’s pressure to keep me from acting as my own attorney,” Manson retorted.

When Manson first told the Judge he would represent himself. Keene attempted to dissuade him because, if convicted, Manson could face death in San Quentin’s gas chamber.

In an earlier court proceeding, Manson refused to enter a plea to one count of conspiracy and seven counts of murder, and Superior Judge George M. Dell directed a plea of innocent be noted in court records.

Apparently still smarting from this, Manson asked Judge Keene:

“Is it procedure to enter a plea from the bench?”

“I’m sure Judge Dell explained all that to you at the time, Mr. Manson,” Judge Keene replied.

In other action, Judge Keene denied a brief motion by Manson to dismiss the charges against him. The defendant claimed he had not been brought to trial within the mandatory 60 days from the time of last December’s County Grand Jury indictment.

Manson pointed out he had been scheduled for trial yesterday and claimed. “the district attorney says I’m stalling for time. But this time, somebody else seems to be stalling for time.”

In his motion to discover prosecution evidence, Manson asked for information concerning any electronic surveillance of any of his co-defendants and records of any intercepted telephone calls made by them.

Dep. Dist. Atty. Vince T. Bugliosi said the prosecution could not comply with this because there had been “none of that in this case.”

Manson also asked for “all evidence favorable to the accused.”

Bugliosi said such evidence could be a “legal judgment” and it was not in the prosecution’s power to decide what is or is not favorable to Manson.

The cult leader also sought names, addresses and telephone numbers of all prospective prosecution witnesses.

Bugliosi consented to giving Manson the names of such witnesses, but said the prosecution “vehemently resists” giving the addresses and telephone numbers.

Dep. Dist. Atty. Aaron H. Stovitz, at the end of the hearing, requested eight witnesses present be ordered to return to court March 30. Judge Keene complied.

Stovitz read off their names and addresses.

Manson, smiling broadly, told the Judge, “may I indicate these are my witnesses and he (Stovitz) won’t even give me the addresses.”

Manson was brought into court after proceedings were over for Miss Van Houten and Mrs. Kasabian.

Defense attorneys first discussed a postponement of trial for the two women until April 27, because of Mrs. Kasabian’s pregnancy.

Miss Van Houten’s new attorney, Ira K. Reiner, said he had no objection in the April date.

However, Stovitz pointed out Miss Van Houten made statements to a witness and these may create problems for a joint trial.

Stovitz mentioned the Aranda decision by the State Supreme Court. In this ruling, the court said a statement by one defendant which implicates a co-defendant is not admissable at trial.

Miss Van Houten is charged only with conspiracy and two counts of murder involving the deaths of market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.

The LaBiancas were slain at their Los Angeles home Aug. 10, a day after Miss Tate and four others were killed at the actress’ rented Benedict Canyon estate.

Stovitz told Judge Keene that Reiner, who entered the case as Miss Van Houten’s attorney only last Friday, may at a later time move for separate trials.

“This case does have Aranda problems throughout,” said Stovitz. He commented that perhaps this might necessitate a separate trial at least for Manson.

Manson has been allowed to interview his co-defendants, provided they and their attorneys agree.

Fleischman told newsmen before today’s hearing, “I’m not going to let anyone talk to her (Mrs. Kasabian) — she talks to her lawyers.”

Also representing Mrs. Kasabian was Atty. Ronald Goldman.

Reiner, however, told reporters he would consent to such an interview for Miss Van Houten. Miss Atkins attorney, Richard Caballero, has said he also would consent to such an interview.

Throughout the proceeding, Manson alternately clutched at a small notebook and rocked from side to side in his chair at the counsel table in front of the Judge.

He smiled broadly each time one of his motions was denied, indicating he still believes what he terms “the establishment” is working against him.

Mrs. Kasabian, a tiny blonde, wore a white maternity smock and gray flannel skirt during the court appearance. A silver and turquoise cross hung around her neck.

Miss Van Houten, a brunette, wore a red, white and blue striped dress.

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