PUNCHES HIS LAWYER: Manson Ejected From Courtroom
Friday, January 29th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29 – The penalty phase of the Sharon Tate murder trial began Thursday with Charles Manson shouting at the judge and being ejected from the courtroom for punching his attorney.
The action preceded testimony by a black musician that Manson once shot him in the stomach, stole the shirt off the back of a friend of the musician then kissed the feet of another friend and remarked: “Now we’re even.”
The chief defense counsel was turned down on two motions, one to permit defendant Patricia Krenwinkel to belatedly plead innocent by reason of insanity, and another alleging that the death penalty and the penalty trial are unconstitutional. Manson’s attorney sought to make a motion that one of the jurors had “taken to alcohol,” but was cut off.
Manson, 36, leader of a hippie- style Clan, Monday after was convicted a seven-month trial on charges of murder and conspiracy in the August 1969 killings of Miss Tate and six others. Three women followers were convicted with him.
As required by California law the jury is holding a second trial to determine the penalty, either death or life imprisonment.
The first witness for the state, which is asking the death penalty for all defendants, was Bernard Crowe, 28, Hollywood trumpet player.
He said that a week before the Tate killings he gave Manson clan member Charles “Tex” Watson, now in a mental institution, $2,400 for marijuana he never received. He said he telephoned Manson to discuss it and after Manson visited him at the apartment of Crowe’s girl friend, where a group had gathered.
Crowe said Manson told him he didn’t think Watson would do a thing like that, then added, “of course came prepared” and drew a long-barreled pistol similar to that used in the Tate killings and started pulling the trigger. One shot.fired, hitting him in the stomach.
He said Manson then ordered one of Crowe’s friends to give him his suede shirt and then, as he left, knelt and kissed the feet of another friend, saying: “Now we’re even.”
At a penalty trial the state is allowed to present evidence of other crimes by defendants.
Manson was ejected for punching his attorney, Irving Kanarek, several times, lightly. Attorneys standing close by said he hit Kanarek in the arm and chest as they sat side by side at the counsel table. Bailiffs seized Manson, who struggled with them as they took him out.
The action came after Manson demanded to be allowed to defend himself, and criticized Kanarek.
“I can’t communicate with you,” Manson told Kanarek just before the blows. Kanarek wasn’t hurt.
Manson, repeatedly turned down in the past when he sought to defend himself, told Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older:
“You’ve already convicted me for something I didn’t do…There’s no justice here. Dammit, man, look at it…What good is a courtroom if it’s one-sided.”
Kanarek declined direct comment on the blows.
Manson and the other defendants were ejected repeatedly during the trial!s first phase for disruptive conduct. The women sat quietly Thursday.
Chief defense counsel Paul Fitzgerald said the judge he realized it was “very unusual” to try to enter an insanity plea for Miss Krenwinkel. He said he did so because he might have made “an erroneous decision” before the trial began. He said he felt a pretrial Insanity plea would amount to an admission of guilt. He asked for psychiatric examination, The judge in rejecting the motion said there was no good reason for allowing such a plea.
The Judge rejected Fitzgerald’s contention that the death penalty denies due process of law and is cruel, unusual punishment, saying the penalty has frequently been upheld by appeals courts and a case questioning It now is before the U.S Supreme Court.
“In any event,” he said, “I do not personally believe the provisions are unconstitutional.”
When Kanarek tried to bring up an allegation that a juror had taken to alcohol during the months jurors have been sequestered, the judge shut him off, saying any such a motion should be in writing.