Tate Death Jury Plans Yule Party

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 24 – The Sharon Tate murder trial jury, sequestered longer than any in California history, will celebrate Christmas like the one big family it’s become.

At the Ambassador Hotel where they have lived under guard for more than five months, the 12 jurors, five alternates and their chaperones will share Christmas Eve dinner, sing carols and exchange presents.

The jurors’ families will visit for the event, and those who wish will be allowed to stay overnight. Another party is planned Christmas Day.

A court source who told of the jury’s plans said there will be a Santa Claus, provided by the hotel, to hand out presents.

“They are quite well adjusted after having been together for five months,” the source said of the jurors. For weeks, he said, they have been making Christmas decorations and ornaments for their eight-foot Christmas tree.

They were also taken in small groups on shopping trips for Christmas presents, with deputies chaperoning.

The jury was ordered locked up to protect members from publicity surrounding the trial of Charles Manson and three women codefendants. Sequestration has been ordered rarely in Los Angeles — the last time being for the jury in the trial of Sirhan B. Sirhan, convicted of killing Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

Deputies who live at the hotel say they’re delighted with the jurors lighthearted attitude toward the long separation from their families. The panel — whose members range in age from 25 to 74 — refer to themselves as ”Herman’s kids,” referring to juror Herman Tubick, a retired mortician.

Jurors have found sundry ways to occupy spare time — including mischievous practical jokes. The latest is a game called “Who’s Got the Chicken?” It involves a rubber chicken which turns up in odd places such as beds, under pillows and in other unlikely spots.

Another juror, apparently fed up with the hotel restaurant diet, posted the menu, draped in parsley, with the message, “Bah, Humbug.”

The hotel has a jogging track where jurors exercise, and they are taken on frequent outings to scenic spots in Southern California. Some play bridge or scrabble, and on Saturday nights they have a private screening of a movie.

Some have undertaken self improvement projects — one lost 20 pounds on a diet; another quit smoking. Two
have taken up musical instruments — the guitar and banjo.

Hobbies abound. One woman moved her setting machine in and makes clothes; a male juror builds model airplanes and several knit and paint.

But all pastimes are abandoned when it’s time for court — and one juror has made it his job to get everyone up in time. He plays a tape recording of a blasting, bugled “Reveille” at dawn.

Other jurors wave while flags of surrender out their doors.

By LINDA DEUTSCH

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