Tate Testimony in 60 Days Seen
Wednesday, June 17th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jun. 17 – The chief prosecutor at the trial of four hippie types on charges of murdering actress Sharon Tate and six others said today that actual testimony may take only 60 days.
But the judge continued to ask prospective jurors if they could serve for six months. As the trial entered it’s second day, one defense attorney observed: “We’re off like a herd of turtles.”
During the first hour today four prospective jurors were excused after saying that spending six months in a hotel room would be a hardship. The court has ordered juror’s sequestered.
The defendants, meanwhile, were models of decorum.
Shaggy-haired Charles Manson and three women followers in gaily colored dresses watched quietly Tuesday as jury selection began. All rose when asked to face the 60 prospective jurors who filed into the spectator section of the courtroom.
The defendants were impassive as the judge read each count the murder-conspiracy charges against them.
The three women, their long hair falling over their shoulders, giggled and smiled at friends in the spectator section. They are Susan Atkins, 21, Patricia Krenwinkel, 22, Leslie Van Houten, 20, one-time members of a roving communal “family” led by Manson, 35, known by members as “God” and “Christ.”
The four, who were ejected from court last week for refusing to sit down and obey rules, followed their attorneys obediently into the chambers of Superior Court Judge Charles Older for private questioning of prospective jurors.
The first day of jury selection indicated a lengthy search for 12 persons who will meet all qualifications and be able to stay away from home and work for the trial which is expected to last six months. The judge has ordered the jury sequestered in a hotel for the duration of the trial.
All nine prospective jurors questioned Tuesday were excused.
Seven said they would suffer personal hardship if locked up for six months. They cited business obligations, family responsibilities and vacation plans.
Two men were excused when they said they would not impose the death penalty.
Earlier, the judge took under consideration a defense request for a contempt of court citation against the chief prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Atty. Aaron Stovitz. A defense attorney said Stovitz violated a judicial ban on pretrial comment on the case by giving an interview to an underground newspaper.