Texas Man Charged In Sharon Tate Murders

AUSTIN, Tex., Jun. 18 – “Charles Watson is a completely different individual from the other people that are being tried out there. It’s much more difficult to believe that he has involvement in this matter or that it would be possible for him to do the things that they’re saying he has done,” an attorney for the McKinney, Tex., resident charged in the Sharon Tate murders said after a court hearing Wednesday.

Lawyer Bill Boyd appeared before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in a final bid to get state officials to refuse to turn his client over to California authorities to stand trial in the ritualistic Tate slayings.

The appellate court May 6 upheld Gov. Preston Smith’s decision to extradite Watson back to California. Boyd Wednesday asked the court to reconsider.

The defense attorney told the court that publicity about the seven murders and the part Watson is alleged to have played in them was so “spectacular” that Watson cannot get a fair trial anywhere in California.

“It is so obvious that he cannot and that the state or California cannot meet the (constitution) due process standard that this court should recognize it,” Boyd said. The McKinney lawyer asked the Texas court to establish a new precedent and refuse to extradite an accused criminal in cases that have received “extraordinary publicity.”

Boyd said Watson could then be tried in a federal court in some state other than California.

California authorities already have accused Texas courts of deliberately stalling the extradition proceedings and thereby necessitating a separate trial for Watson.

Jury selection in the joint-trial of Charles Manson, 35, and three female members of his hippie “family” began Tuesday.

Boyd said Watson might still he put on trial with the others if he is sent to California before the Manson trial ends.

“Until that trial is completed out there, there’s always the possibility that a mistrial will be declared and that the trial will be started over and Watson tried with the other,” Boyd told newsmen.

Boyd said Watson will stand a better chance if he is tried separately Wednesday he said Watson was “an outstanding boy” who came from a “fine background” and a “good family.”

Watson, now 24, grew up in the small North Texas farming community of Copeville and was in star athlete and student leader at the Farmersville, Tex., High School.

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