Witness Relates Atkins’ Threat
Thursday, October 15th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15 – A woman who reported to police Susan Atkins had told her she had killed Sharon said Wednesday that Miss Atkins “told me when she first heard I was an informer that she wanted to slit my throat.”
Ronni Howard, 31, a statuesque brunette who once shared jail quarters with the 21-year-old Miss Atkins, was in her second day of testimony – repeating much of a story she told Tuesday out of the hearing of the jury.
The state said Miss Howard’s earlier testimony was a rehearsal to make sure she didn’t slip and implicate other defendants in relating Miss Atkins’ alleged statements.
The tall, slender Miss Atkins is on trial along with Charles Manson, 35, and two other women members of Manson’s hippie-style family. All are charged with murder-conspiracy in the August 1969 slayings of Miss Tate and six others.
State law says alleged confessions by one defendant in a joint murder trial are admissable only if they do not implicate others on trial.
With the jury present, Miss Howard repeated her tale of a bedside conversation in jail in which she related that Miss Atkins said she was the killer of Miss Tate and said that stabbing the actress had been a “form of sexual release.”
She added that after police announced they had cracked the Tate case as a result of Miss Howard’s reporting the alleged confession, she and Miss Atkins were separate in jail.
But Miss Howard said Miss Atkins managed to slip her a letter.
“She told me when she first heard that I was an informer that she wanted to slit my throat. But now, after thinking about it, she realized she was the informer and held no ill feelings toward me,” Miss Howard said.
Miss Atkins, out of court during Miss Howard’s testimony, was led into court at the end to be identified. She faced Miss Howard and the witness said, “Yes, that’s Sadie (Miss Atkins’ nickname)”
Miss Atkins said nothing.
Miss Atkins and the three other defendants had been excluded from the courtroom after they stated they were unwilling to behave if admitted.
They have been absent for more than a week having been ejected for singing and shouting and after Manson leaped toward the judge.
Miss Howard was the second former jail friend of Miss Atkins to testify that Miss Atkins said she was the killer of Miss Tate.
Miss Howard said she had conferred in jail with the other confidant, Virginia Graham Castro.
Miss Howard says she has been convicted of felonies, including extortion and forgery. She said she was jailed from August 1969 to February 1970 for forging drug prescriptions.
LETTER FROM SUSAN ATKINS TO RONNIE HOWARD:
I can see your side of this clearly. Nor am I mad at you. I am hurt in a way only I understand. I blame no one but myself for ever saying anything to anybody about it. My attorney is going to go on instanity. Yes, I wanted the world to know “M”. It sure looks like they do now. There was a so called motive behind all this. It was to instill fear into the pigs and to bring on judgment day which is here now for all.
In the first place there are no strangers to me or “M”. In the word kill the only thing that dies is the ego, All ego must die anyway, it is written. Yes it could have been your house it could have been my fathers house also. In killing someone phiscally you are only releasing the soul. Life has no boundaries and death is only an illusion.
If you can believe in the second coming of Chist “M” is he who has come to save. Insanity is reality and not caring. When you truly love you do not care about anyone or anything you just love. “M” does not care, I know this to be truth. Maybe this will help you to understand, I am not going to fight this. I will let my attorney do that. I am going to save my soul, the body my soul is housed in can be destroyed for all I care. To live forever is all I want, and I really don’t care about that.
I did not admit to being in the 2nd house, because I was not in the 2nd house. I went before the grand jury because my attorney said your testimony was enough to convict me and all the others. He also said it was my only chance to save myself. Then I was out to save myself. I have gone through some changes since then. I am ceasing to be inside rather
than seeming to be. I have been going through changes about feeling guilty about testifying and all that has happened. For me to say I am sorry is not enough for me. I have been dying a little more everyday. Giving up my useless thoughts. I know now it has all been perfect.
Yes we are beyond pettie caring. Love is also beyond limits. Those people died not out of hate or anything ugly. I am not going to defend our beliefs. I am just telling you the way it is.
I am also content here. My attorney gives me money. He just deposited $20 on my account. As I write to you I feel more at ease inside.
When I first heard you were the informer I wanted to slit your throat. I snapped that I was the real informer and it was my throat I wanted to cut. Well thats all over with now as I let the past die away from my mind. You know it will all turn out ok in the end anyway. “M” or no “M”, Sadie or no Sadie. Love will still run forever. I am giving up me to become that love a little more every day. Changes, Changes. Only Love if forever Changing.
Cease to exist just come and say you love me. As I say I love you or should say I love Me (my love) in you.
I hope now you understand a little more. If not ask.