Mary Brunner Is Jailed; Fight Starts Over Her Baby
Friday, August 14th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14 – Mary Brunner, a former Madison librarian, and graduate of the University of Wisconsin, was sentenced to the Los Angeles County Jail for 90 days Thursday, thereby assuring her presence at the October trial of Charles Manson, accused of murdering bagpipe musician Gary Hinman.
In Wisconsin, Eau Claire attorney David Farr sought and obtained an adjournment in a tearing brought in behalf of Miss Brunner’s parents who have petitioned for the guardianship of Miss Brunner’s son, Michael, 2-year-old offspring of Manson. Miss Brunner is an Eau Claire native.
The Wisconsin girl’s latest stay in the Los Angeles County Jail resulted when Van Nuys Superior Court Judge William J. Rea determined that Miss Brunner had violated her probation on an earlier credit card forgery charge by switching residences without permission, not working, and failing to maintain a suitable residence.
Sources close to Miss Brunner in Madison said that the petite blonde mother had been staying frequently at the Spahn Movie Ranch, general headquarters of the Manson Family, of which she is one of the first members.
At the ranch, a ramshackle leftover of Hollywood’s heydays, “Family” members have been busy acting in a film which exploits the cult’s notoriety, foraging for food in supermarket trashbins, and selling interviews to reporters. Some have been living in a nearby cave at the ranch.
Miss Brunner, an eyewitness to the slaying of Hinman in his Topanga Canyon home, was a key state’s witness in the trial of Robert Beausoleil for Hinman’s murder. Following his conviction, Beausoleil was sentenced to death in the gas chamber, and Manson was subsequently indicted for allegedly ordering Hinman’s murder.
Miss Brunner, granted immunity for her testimony in the Hinman case, later repudiated her testimony in an affidavit drawn up in Madison. The consequent confusion which her repudiation caused resulted in her immunity being revoked.
An outraged Los Angeles County district attorney charged Miss Brunner for Hinman’s murder, but the Eau Claire girl was released when a California judge ruled her immunity could not be revoked. Thus, only Manson and Susan Atkins, remain to be tried in Hinman’s death
The custody of Miss Brunner’s son, Michael, born to her and Manson shortly after she and the clansman joined forces in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District in 1966, is legally that of the state of California.
Miss Brunner, fearful that her parents request for guardianship could result in permanent deprivation of her child, has indicated to her Madison lawyers, the firm of Greenberg, Sanders, and Karp, that she will fight the move.
The adjournment in the custody proceeding at Eau Claire was described by attorney Farr as an “accommodation” for Greenberg presently on vacation.
By JIM HOUGAN