Second Manson Trial: All Miniature

LOS ANGELES, Jun. 10 — The second murder trial of Charles Manson is all miniature in almost every way.

The defendant, already under seven death sentences, is phyiscally shrunken. The courtroom is half the size of the one at the Sharon Tate trial. The three girls are gone. Spectators seats are empty. The local papers ignore the trial.

Onty Manson’s attorney, lrving Kanarek, still seems lifesize. Tuesday he was back in form, sentenced to two days in jail for contempt of court for holding up the trial. He paid a $50 fine instead.

The second trial has been underway since May 2 but tentative selection of a first juror has not been neared. Deputy District Attorney Burton Katz despairs of seating a jury for weeks and acknowledges this trial may equal or surpass the previous 10-month record.

Manson this time is charged with two more murders – that of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea whose body has never been found. He has two male codefendants—Steve Grogan and Bruce Davis.

The biggest obstacle this time Is getting jurors who were not prejudiced by the publicity of the first trial.

John Hudson, 67, a retired electrician, was being questioned by the defense attorneys Tuesday. He acknowledged he had read about Manson’s conviction, his use of drugs, his communal style of living.

“How do you feel about Charles Manson at this time?” the defense, lawyer asked.

“I’d rather not answer that question,” Hudson said. “I don’t think that’s a fair question.”

“Well, Mr. Hudson, we have a right to know how you feel.”

“Well, I don’t want to badmouth him. I don’t like to badmouth anybody. I guess he’s not exactly a first-class citizen.”

“You read about him being convicted of seven murders. Wouldn’t that influence you in reaching a verdict.”

“No, that’s water off a duck’s back. I could give him a fair trial.”

Judge Raymond Choate excused Hudson and called another prospective juror, who said she might lose her job. The next complained of a bad back. When the day ended, not a juror had even passed the first qualifying hurdle.

Manson still had some of his old spirit left and it was like a record being played all over again. When Kanarek failed to show up, Manson was asked by Choate if he would like to proceed without his lawyer.

“I have wanted to proceed without him for months,” Manson said. “I have wanted to represent myself all along. What I want you can’t do for me.”

“Well,” said Choate patiently, “all of us at one time or another would like to be in a different place under different circumstances.”

Another thing remained the same. Five of Manson’s female followers still squatted on the street corner outside the hall of justice, their heads shaved, waiting for the leader to be freed.

By JACK V. FOX

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