Prosecution Says Watson ‘Directed Knife’

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6 — Cult leader Charles Manson ordered the Tate murders but it was Charles “Tex” Watson’s will that “directed his hand to thrust his knife downward into the flesh of the defenseless victims,” the prosecution said Tuesday.

Watson, 25, committed the seven homicides “because somewhere deep within him, totally independent from Manson, there had to be a suppressed rage, a fury, a homicidal tendency,” said Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi.

“Manson simply was the catalyst that brought this rage to the surface and gave it form,” Bugliosi said in his final summation. “Manson and drugs were not the sole factors that caused Watson to commit these murders.

“There were factors inherent, innate to Watson himself that caused him to commit them,” said Bugliosi.

Watson has pleaded innocent and innocent by reason of insanity. His defense attorney contends his mind was addled by repeated drug use and the defendant blindly carried out Manson’s desires to kill.

Bugliosi, who continues his final argument today, said’ if Watson had not wanted to follow Manson’s orders he could have refused.

“If Tex Watson had not agreed with what Charles Manson was saying and doing all he had to do was leave.

“But he stayed because he found Manson’s virulent and venomous attitude toward society very palatable to him.”

On the defense contention that Watson only blindly carried out Manson’s orders, Bugliosi said, “If killing at another person’s command were an excuse to murder, henchmen would have a built-in immunity from first degree murder.”

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