Psychiatrist Tells Effect of LSD on Manson Girl
Thursday, March 4th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 4 — A hypothetical Leslie Van Houten, affected by LSD and influenced by Charles Manson, could have been induced to commit murder, according to testimony given yesterday at the Tate-LaBianca trial by a Beverly Hills psychiatrist.
Dr. Keith Ditman, an expert on the effects of LSD, did not examine Miss Van Houten but sketched a picture of her through questions by her attorney, Maxwell Keith.
During the questioning, Miss Van Houten declared, “that’s not me,” referring to her attorney’s description of her as a young immature mind and a chronic user of LSD.
At one point, Miss Van Houten said, “it’s obvious who he’s dumping it on,” apparently referring to her attorney’s hypothesis that Manson influenced her.
Prolonged use of LSD “could produce radical alterations of values,” Dr. Ditman said.
He testified the drug could do more damage to a young, immature mind than to the mind of an older person. (Keith in his questioning asked the psychiatrist to assume Miss Van Houten started on drugs when she was 15.)
The psychiatrist also said effects of LSD partially depend on a person’s environment — “where and with whom.”
He also said LSD makes an individual “more suggestible and more impressionable.”
Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older advised the jurors before the psychiatric testimony that the court cannot consider to be true all the facts assumed by attorney Keith in his questioning.
Miss Van Houten has been convicted of first degree murder in the slayings of market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.
Manson and two other female co-defendants — Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel — stand convicted of the LaBianca murders and also the slayings that occurred at the Sharon Tate residence.
The trial is now in its penalty phase, when jurors must decide whether the defendants will serve a life in prison sentence or die in the gas chamber.
On Tuesday, Steven Grogan 19 testified he remembers going on a drive with star prosecution witness Linda Kasabian and convicted murderess Susan Atkins one night in the summer of 1969.
That night reportedly was when market owner LaBianca and his wife were killed. That was Aug. 10, 1969, about 24 hours after Miss Tate and four others were slain.
Grogan, however, said his memory of the evening was not good. He said he was “loaded on LSD” and was concentrating on things such as “listening to the sun burn.”
He said others were with them, although he could not remember who they were. He also said the others were dropped off before he, Miss Atkins and Mrs. Kasabian drove to the beach.
It had been expected that Grogan would testify that Manson was not along that evening. Even though he did not mention Manson’s name, Grogan conceded others were in the car.
Also on Tuesday, Dr. Andre R. Tweed, testified Miss Krenwinkel fled to Alabama after the murders because she was afraid Charles Manson would kill her.
Dr. Tweed, a psychiatrist called in to testify for Miss Krenwinkel, revealed the information when he read from a psychiatric report based on an interview with the young woman in December 1969.
A psychiatrist in Mobile, Alabama, where Miss Krenwinkel was arrested, examined her and said she was suffering from schizophrenia at that time.
The doctor, Claude L. Brown, said that Miss Krenwinkel was extremely afraid of Manson.
He quoted the young woman as saying after she lived with, Manson and his family after a year, “she became intensely fearful of him because he became cruel to them.”
The doctor also quoted Miss Krenwinkel as saying Manson became the devil and threatened them with harm if they did not do as he requested.
By YVONNE PATTEN