The 288-Day Education of a Jurywoman
Monday, April 12th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Apr. 12 — The trial of Charles Manson lasted 288 days. A long time.
It is roughly from the Fourth of July to Easter, with Thanksgiving, Christmas, the World Series, football, and a trip to the moon in between.
The jurors in the Manson case were sequestered 225 days (for alternates, the time was slightly less) – the longest known jury lockup in the history of the United States.
“Some of them,” a veteran bailiff reflected after it was over, “really tried and tried to make the best of it. Others bitched all the time.”
For Jean Roseland, a 41-year-old secretary and mother of three teen-agers, the ordeal was “an education, in the literal meaning of that word.
“All in an, I guess I really enjoyed it. But I know now that I’d never want it again.”
Mrs. Roseland consented to hours of interviews with the Los Angeles Times in an attempt to re-create what being a Manson juror was really like.
So far, the woman reflected, being a juror hadn’t amounted to much.
This was her second day of killing time in a waiting room in the Los Angeles County Courthouse, and still she hadn’t been picked for case.
Her notice to report said she should plan for a jury stint according to the law of averages of about one month, or 20 working days.
Outside, in the July heat from the civic center here concrete boiled up. It would be another 90-degree day, with heavy smog.
Jean and her husband, Warren, then 49, had been buffeted by the heat from the core city that morning as he had driven her in from their coastal home.
She was glad her regular job (a secretary with Trans World Airlines) was at Los Angeles International Airport, seven minutes from her home, and close enough to the ocean for a breeze.
A uniformed bailiff entered the room, called off 20 names and those who stood were driven to the Los Angeles Hall of Justice and herded to the ninth floor, where they were again asked to wait.
“Bailiffs don’t tell you a thing,” Mrs. Roseland said later. “I can remember sitting there, wondering whether I’d rather be called for a civil case or for a criminal matter.
“Actually, I kind of hoped I’d get a chance to hear both kinds of cases during my 20 days of duty. I was really looking forward to the chance to learn…”
The bailiff returned. He led the group down a flight of stairs.
As a door opened into a teeming, brightly lit courtroom, Jean Roseland heard a man in front of her whisper:
“Oh, my gosh, it’s the Manson trial!”
And there, 25 feet away, at the far end of a counsel table, sat Charlie. Charlie, with his long, Jesus-like hair and beard. And his Charlie Manson eyes.
Nearby, sat the “girls.”
Jean and her husband had been in Europe (via TWA employe pass) when Manson was arrested. Until now, Mrs. Roseland could recall having seen only one photograph of Manson in a foreign newspaper. She knew only that he was “accused of some murders.”
His appearance took her off guard.
“He looked so small — tiny, almost. Just a little shrimp. It really surprised me. Somehow, I’d gotten the impression he was a much larger man.
“And the girls. Somebody told me they were pretty youngsters. But they weren’t. Their faces were drawn and they looked undernourished.”
Mrs. Roseland took her seat in the spectators’ section and inspected the courtroom.
“It seemed so small and so crowd. I can remember thinking that if the case is as important as it’s supposed to be, why are they holding it in such a small courtroom?”
Actually, the room, department 104 on the eighth floor, is one of the large courtrooms in the Hall of Justice. It is a high-ceiling room with terrible acoustics and less than adequate air conditioning.
Jean Roseland was glad she wouldn’t be spending much time there.
“I didn’t think for a moment that I’d be selected,” she said. “I had a job and three children. It was Inconceivable to me that they’d want me on the jury, considering I was needed elsewhere.”
An hour later, Mrs. Roseland had her first taste of American legal procedure. It remains to this day one of her most frightening moments of the trial.
“The selection process didn’t begin in open court that day,” she said “It started in the judge’s chambers.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared. I guess it was just not know, what to expect.”
The room was packed with people.
There was the judge, Charles H. Older, Manson, the “girls,” the defense attorneys, the prosecuting attorney and several bailiffs.
“Please have a seat, Mr Roseland,” someone said.
The session in the judge’s chamber didn’t last long and, when it was over she was ushered to a juror’s chair (seat number five, first row) to be examined by attorneys for both sides.
It was then her ordeal really began.
“They had a microphone for me and took turns asking the questions. All kinds of questions. Personal question, About what I believed, what my family life was like, how old my children were, what I heard or read about the case.
No one who hasn’t gone through that can really appreciate it.
“I was sweating so much that perspiration was dripping off my elbows onto the floor. They kept after me all that afternoon and most of the next morning.
“Finally, one of the attorneys asked how I would compare my own two daughters (Karen, now 18, and Dawn, now 16) with the female defendants.
Then he asked me a question to which he must have used the name Leslie Van Houten, 14 times. He asked me if I could point her out in the courtroom.
“I said I didn’t know which girl she was. He asked Leslie to stand and she turned and looked at me from about 10 feet away. She just kept looking at me with those big brown eyes.
“I can’t really explain it, but it was terrible.”
Mrs. Roseland was accepted as a juror.
That night, at home with her family she wondered about what lay ahead. She was frightened. She was nervous But she pledged herself to try her damndest.
“Well, today’s my day with Charlie,” Jean Roseland laughed as she and the other jurors prepared to go to lunch.
During the past five months, it had become a standing joke among them and this morning had been Mrs. Roseland’s turn to try to stare down Manson.
“He had those eyes of his on me all morning,” she said to a colleague. “He just sat there, staring at me.”
The other juror smiled, then shrugged, and the group went to lunch.
In truth, this habit of Manson’s wasn’t that funny. Frankly, Jean thought, it was unnerving and she wished he’d stop.
Later, after the trial was over, she would try to explain her uneasiness about Manson.
“I wasn’t ever able to stare him down,” she said. “I always turned my eyes away first. Some of the other jurors said they got him to look away once or twice, but I never managed.
“I still don’t know why I couldn’t. I certainly found no magnetism, or anything, in his eyes. It was always the same blank expression, the same expression that they all had in their eyes.
“Maybe, it was the LSD and other drugs they’d been taking for so long.
Mrs. Roseland and the other jurors never heard Manson speak, except for his periodic outbursts that usually got him removed from the courtroom.
She is convinced, however, that his apparent ability to manipulate others came not from within himself, but “from the voids within the minds and souls of his followers.”
Mrs. Roseland maintains she didn’t always feel revulsion toward Manson. At first, the little man who sang of love and preached of hate had been simply an “object of curiosity.”
But that was early in the trial, before the evidence began to tumble in, and before Jean Roseland, in desperation, consciously tried to turn herself into a computer.
“I’m serious about that. You had to become a computer to keep your sanity,” she says.
In the one hand, the jurors were asked in listen to months of violent, horrible testimony. At the same time, the system demands that they not begin to make up their minds until the case is completed.
“I did everything in my power to show absolutely no emotion. I just sat there day after day storing up all this horrible information in my computer banks for retrieval at a later date.
And, after a day in court was over, I didn’t discuss the basic points of the trial with anyone. Not even my husband.”
Mrs. Roseland hit upon her computer idea at the trial’s beginning, about the second day, Linda Kasabian was on the stand. Mrs. Kasabian, a Manson “family” member, had been granted immunity by the prosecution in return for her testimony.
“What that young woman did was to take us all though two horrible nights of killing…gory detail by gory detail.
“It was shocking. Until then, I thought such happenings only occurred in the imaginations of writers. It wasn’t until Linda finished that I guess we all realized the kind of case we sitting on.
During part of Mrs. Kasabian’s testimony, Mr, Roseland found herself saying over and over:
“They’re innocent until proven guilty.”
“They’re innocent until we begin our deliberations.”
“I think using that kind of approach helped me reach a fair decision,” the juror said after the verdicts and death penalties were in.
“When we first heard the nature of the crimes that were involved. I think we all realized that our decision in case would Influence young people all over the world.
“After realizing that, I tried to put the social implications of the trial out of my mind completely and just look no further than the evidence being presented.
“But I thank God there was overwhelming evidence enough to convict them.”
It is nearing Christmas and, in her sixth floor room in Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel Mrs. Roseland and a batliff are exchanging profanities over the lack of heat in the building.
But the heat, or lack of it, was at least a physical thing. It could be dealt with. Coping with the confinement was something else again.
“Every night. I’d look out my window at the ‘TWA’ sign on the company’s nearby Wilshire Building. Seeing that stupid sign somehow gave me reassurance that the rest of the world was still in gear,” Mrs. Roseland said.
“I swear to God, living like we did was a real hell. It was like being in a glass-walled room. Every time you looked out, the world you saw was like a motion picture with no sound.”
Privacy, some psychologists say, is a basic human need.
Mrs. Roseland agrees.
“Until you don’t have it, you’re not aware that you never took the time to savor it,” she says.
The time and the circumstance obviously led to strained relations between some of the jurors, Mrs. Roseland admits. “You’ve got 18 different people living what are essentially unnatural lives.
“There are bound to be some petty bickerings. Bul I’d rather not go into all that.”
One bailiff who asked not to be identified put it another way.
“Some of those people grew to hate each other real good.”
And, of course, cliques, the human condition’s answer to the barnyard’s pecking order, developed.
Mrs Roseland was among a group known as “Herman’s Kids,” Herman being Herman C. Tubick, the 58-year-old mortician who was jury foreman.
At Christmas, the jurors did the best they could to create a Yule spirit.
“I bought a plastic Santa and painted ‘Merry Christmas’ my window,” Mrs. Roseland said. “Warren brought a little tree up and we sprayed it white and exchanged cards and gifts.
“It was really pretty sad. I want so much to be in my own home. I couldn’t even get Warren a gift because I hadn’t been able to go shopping.”
Warren Roseland is a likeable high school math teacher whose real dedication is music. During the trial, he did double duty as a father and homemaker.
Roseland bought the family groceries, helped cook the meals, ran the errands for his wife (such as buying her undergarments and toiletries) and, on the weekends, drove back and forth between their home and the Ambassador.
Despite his acceptance of the sacrifices imposed upon him and his wife by Los Angeles County, Roseland admits he is somewhat bitter.
He estimates his wife jury duty cost the family “about $4,000” in salary loss to her, and mileage, incidentals, meals out, and Ambassador parking tickets for him.
TWA put Mrs. Roseland on “furlough” last Dec. 4 and she hasn’t received her salary check since. She returned to work — not at International Airport near her home, but at the TWA Wilshire office Monday.
She figures she has lost $52,700 in Salary. Mrs. Roseland says the airline did not honor a verbal agreement to keep her on the payroll for the duration of the trial.
A TWA spokesman denied any such verbal agreement existed and says the company “actually extended our policy by leaving her on the payroll as long as we did. We usually only pay employes for a month of jury duty time.”
Mrs. Roseland is the only Manson juror known to have a paycheck for portion of the trial.
Financial considerations aside, Mrs. Roseland is unwilling, as yet. to attempt to assess the potential psychological reverberations that may have been spawned by the ordeal.
“I just don’t know,” Mrs. Roseland says “I don’t think the trial hurt me psychologically, but then, who knows?”
Her thoughts, she says, continually return to the trial.
By ROBERT KISTLER