Tate Case Lawyer Can’t Be Found
Tuesday, December 1st, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1 – The disappearance of a defense attorney in the Tate-LaBianca murders case remained a mystery today as sheriff’s officers could not locate him in an area where be was reported “marooned.”
Burly, bearded Ronald Hughes, the 35-year-old novice attorney defending Leslie Van Houten, failed to show up for court Monday morning. Following a mysterious call that he was stranded at Sespe Hot Springs in the mountains near Ojai, Ventura and Los Angeles County sheriff deputies attempted to locate him.
Today, Ventura officers said they had heard the attorney had been seen in the Rose Valley area but said they had evacuated 17 persons from that region and another 10 that hiked out of the flooded mountain spa and none of the persons had seen or heard of Hughes.
Another rainstorm began closing the area to air craft today and further evacuations were suspended. Officers said only two people remained; one in a camper and one in a cave. They did not know if either was Hughes.
Meanwhile, the remaining three defense attorneys and the prosecutor, Dep. Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi, continued to confer with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older on instructions to the jury.
Judge Older had asked that attempts be made to locate Hughes and as soon as he is found a helicopter would be dispatched to bring him to the courtroom,
Attorneys estimated they will require two weeks for closing arguments to the jury, indicating that, jury deliberations may start by Dec. 16.
Other defense attorneys said that Judge Older was not perturbed over the disruption caused by Hughes’ absence. Hughes had been late to court three other times, once when he said he was delayed by rain, another time because his ride failed to show, up as agreed, and the third time because he was in jail.
Defense attorney Daye Shinn earlier in the trial was jailed for three days for an absence. He called from Hong Kong to report he had been delayed there.
On trial with hippie cult leader Charles Manson and Miss Van Houten are two other Manson followers, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel
By MARY NEISWENDER