Tate Murder Prosecution Begins Closing Argument
Tuesday, December 22nd, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 22 – The prosecution in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial yesterday began its closing argument to the jury which must decide if Charles Manson and three female followers are guilty of killing seven persons.
The 36-year-old Manson was in the courtroom as Dep. Dist. Atty. Vincent T. Bugliosi began the summation, but the three young women were not.
All had been removed yesterday morning, but they came back into court following a recess.
Trial Judge Charles H. Older ordered the young women out of the courtroom after the recess when they told the seven-man, five-woman jury:
“Can’t you see you’ve got an innocent man here — completely innocent?”
Manson spoke up a couple of times to add that he and his followers were “not allowed to put on a defense.”
But he told the judge he wanted to stay in the courtroom for Bugliosi’s summation, expected to last until tomorrow and was allowed to do so.
Bugliosi during his summation presented color photographs of the bodies of Miss Tate and other victims before the jurors.
But the jury, unlike some of the witnesses who saw the pictures, was dispassionate.
One woman juror, Mrs. Thelma McKenzie looked at the bloody body of Miss Tate, eight months pregnant when she was killed, and then stared at Manson. That was the only real outward sign of emotion, however.
Manson, meanwhile, interjected his own commentary when the photos were shown to the jury.
“In color too…he wants to influence your mind,” Manson told the panel which ultimately might decide whether he lives or dies.
Before showing the murder photos, Bugliosi had displayed pictures of the victims in life.
“This is the way the beautiful Sharon Tate looked in life, ladies and gentlemen,” the prosecutor said. “This is the ghastly way she looked after Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Tex Watson finished stabbing her.”
(Watson, also a co-defendant, has been judged presently insane and is in Atascadero State Hospital.)
Manson remained calm throughout the afternoon session, although he interrupted the prosecutor once more when the death photos were shown.
The hippie chieftain, who has sprouted a new, well-trimmed beard, sat quietly as Bugliosi described him as a monarch of his tribe.
Bugliosi also termed Manson’s philosophy “sick” and “far out,” but this too did not seem to bother the defendant.
Even when the prosecutor referred to Mrs. Kasabian’s testimony about returning to the ranch after the Tate murders, Manson seemed to pay no mind.
“His robots had cut down five persons…that wasn’t enough for Charlie. Charlie wanted assurances from them that they had no remorse,” Bugliosi said.
“Why should they have remorse, human beings are just ‘pigs’,” he said.
Bugliosi said Manson was only bothered because “his savages had caused panic in the victims.”
Miss Tate and the others, the prosecutor added, were “butchered” to “satisfy Charles Manson in his mission of murder.”
Bugliosi’s closing argument basically was a summary of the prosecution case, which ended last month after 84 state witnesses were called.
The defense rested its case without calling a single witness, a move which still rankled Manson and his co-defendants, Leslie Van Houten, 21, and Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, both 22.
Manson interrupted Bugliosi twice during the morning and one of the times was to tell the jury:
“The defense never rested…the judge’s lawyers rested.”
The other interruption came when Bugliosi contended to the jury that although Manson apparently never actually killed any of the seven victims, he was guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, which carries the same life or death penalty as first-degree murder if a conviction is obtained