Mary Brunner Testifies in Los Angeles: Gave Murder Statements After Threats of Arrest
Tuesday, April 14th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Apr. 14 – Mary Brunner, 26, testified Monday that statements she gave to two Los Angeles investigators in Madison last December were given only under the threat of arrest if she did not cooperate.
The statements described the murder of musician Gary Hinman. Miss Brunner, who has been working in the University of Wisconsin Memorial Library, told of her duress during cross-examination in the murder trial of Robert K. Beausoleil, 21.
Beausoleil, along with Susan Atkins, 19, is charged with Hinman’s murder. Miss Brunner testified Friday that she witnessed Hinman’s slaying. She said the musician was stabbed to death by Beausoleil when the victim refused for two days to give them money.
A UW graduate, Miss Brunner’s testimony was given after she was promised “complete immunity” from any charges that might otherwise be brought against her as a result of her testimony.
Deputy Public Defender Leon Salter elicited from Miss Brunner in cross-examination Monday that one of her concerns in testifying was the future of her infant son, Michael. She said that her son is the child of Charles Manson. Manson is charged with plotting the murders of Sharon Tate and six others last August.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Burton Katz had earlier alleged that Beausoleil killed Hinman on Manson’s orders.
In her testimony Monday, Miss Brunner said that before she gave her statement Dec. 4 to Los Angeles County sheriff investigators Paul Whiteley and Charles Guenther, the investigators told her that her fingerprints had been discovered in the murdered musician’s home.
She said her statement at that time was given only after investigator Guenther became “emotional during the interview” and prodded her into implicating Manson in the Hinman staying.
Testifying in his own defense after the prosecution had rested its case, Beausoleil said Monday that Manson killed Hinman after the music teacher refused to join the mesmeric cultist’s desert-dwelling commune. Beausoleil said Manson stabbed Hinman twice in the chest.
This is Beausoleil’s second trial on the murder charge. His first trial, last November, ended in a hung jury when the prosecution was unable to provide an eyewitness to the crime.