Witnesses To Refute Susan, Manson Claims
Tuesday, February 3rd, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 3 – Charles Manson, accused mastermind in the slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others, said in an exclusive jailhouse interview Monday that none of his “family” members will back up the story told by informer Susan Atkins.
The Atkins girl’s story, told to the county grand jury, led to the arrest of Manson and five other members of his hippie commune, including the informant.
‘None of them will ‘talk’ like Sadie (Miss Atkins) because there’s really nothing to talk about,” he said.
Manson claims he can prove he was in different places than the police say he was during the Tate and LaBianca killings and has “witnesses” to back him up.
“I’ve got 30 witnesses, all on my side, all willing to testily, that I didn’t go around killing people.
“I’m too small to be violent,” the long-haired, articulate hippie leader contends. “I weigh 125 pounds, and I learned a long time ago to keep my mouth shut and stay in my place.”
Manson, who is serving as his own attorney, claims the prosecutor’s office and the judges have “made a big stink about this — they’ve told the public so many lies now, they either have to admit they’re lies or a mistake or, whatever they want to call it — or convict me.
“They leaked the story to the press, and actually it’s just one girl’s story. Now they’ve found out that she is kind of – what do they call it – two personalities, schizophrenic. She’s changed her mind, now, and is saying the DA made her do it (tell the story).
“A brother — you know, a friend of mine — went over to visit her and was talking to her and he came over to me and said the DA threatened to take her baby. She was afraid. Then they told her they’d give her money for her child and make sure her child was taken care of, so she went ahead and did what she did.
“But,” adds the 34-year-old Manson. “I’ve got about 30 witnesses on this, some that they (prosecutors) have arrested and kept incommunicado in jail in Independence on phony charges.
“Sadie told those people what they wanted to hear. They coached her — you can see it in the (grand jury) transcript. She says things like ‘strike that’ and when asked a question, says, ‘Is that what you’ve got on your notes?’ She’s really been coached.”
Manson readily admits he’d like to talk with his former family member, but is being prevented from doing so.
“The judge said in court that I could see and talk to her, but he won’t give me an order on it, so the sheriff’s office won’t act on it. The same is true with Linda Kasabian. The court said I could talk to her, but he (the judge) won’t send an order on it. In other words he’s faking the public.
“He will say something in court one day and rescind the order the next day.”
As for the murders. Manson denies knowing the actress or anything about the people murdered at either the Tate Benedict Canyon home or the LaBianca house.
“But believe me, I never left that ranch, because I don’t know anything about the city. The city frightens me. The only thing I know about is being by myself. In fact, that was where I was going when they came and got me. I was going to the mountains.
“It’s a strange thing. It’s like someone coming, snatching you up and throwing you in jail and accusing you of being in New York City last week. Everybody’s looking for someone to blame.
“That’s what’s blowing the prosecutors’ minds. They keep looking for someone to say something bad about me. They’ve done everything to get someone to say something bad about me, but there’s nobody to say something bad about me because I didn’t do anything bad to anybody.”
Manson’s name has been linked with that of Donald “Shorty” Shea, a cowboy at the Spahn Ranch during the time Manson’s family lived there.
The cowboy and part-time movie stunt man disappeared and police have periodically dug up sections of the ranch looking for his body.
Asked about “Shorty,” Manson claims “that’s another story.”
“Here’s how that happened. There was a motorcycle guy that got into an argument with this man. Him and this man went off and they were fighting. I don’t know the outcome.
“When the thing (Manson’s arrest) finally came out, the motorcycle guy stepped forward and said, ‘Well, I think Charlie did something to that man’ and they took his word, so they went looking for the man.
“Here’s my thinking: Maybe the guy that told police did something to the man.
“It’s very possible that he could have hit the guy on the head or something or got into a fight with him and shot him, then went and buried him and stepped forward and said, ‘Oh, yeah. I know Charlie killed this guy,’ trying to cover up his own tracks…but I really don’t know.”
Although Manson admits he is “not exactly” fearful for his life, he claims the prosecutors and judges are worried about him.
“Their positions are all bad. There’s a lot of stink behind this — so much dirt — if it all comes out. That’s why I think they can’t afford to let me go to trial. If they let me go to trial and I’m my own attorney — this is what they’re fighting. But if they can get one of their own attorneys in on this, then they’ll have it made. I won’t get to say anything.”
Court-appointed attorneys, the soft-spoken Manson claims, are bad.
“Like the lawyer that they gave to Sadie. He’s a friend of – in fact throws a party for – Younger (District Attorney Evelle Younger) every year. There’s a lot of politics involved. The judge is trying to make the district attorney’s job and the DA is trying to go on to a higher office. A lot of things they’ve been doing have been terrible.
“And another thing, Leslie Van Houten was given a court-appointed attorney. She said, ‘I don’t want this man,’ so they gave her another court-appointed attorney who just got out of the DA’s office — just like they did to Sadie.
“She (Miss Van Houten) said ‘I don’t want this lawyer’ so we finally got her a lawyer, and they (the court) said the lawyer couldn’t be her lawyer because she already had a lawyer.
“When she told the court she didn’t want the court-appointed lawyer, the lawyer said she wasn’t mentally capable. They won’t let her have another lawyer. She’s locked in with their own lawyers.
“They’ve got two of the people locked in with their own lawyers already. Nobody can go in to visit them, nobody can go in to see them, they can’t write letters in or out.”
Another of his woes, serving as his own attorney, Manson says, is not being able to talk with witnesses plus the harassment of witnesses by prosecutors.
“My witnesses are all scared and some are in jail,” the commune leader says. “All of these people have had the stuffing scared out of them already. They’re hiding out with the children because the juvenile authorities say, ‘You’re not fit to be a mother.’ This is the kind of thing they (prosecutors) have been pulling.
“They take the people’s child and say. ‘well, you’re not fit to be a mother and you have to go to juvenile court.’ When they go to juvenily court, they have to have a lawyer and we don’t have any money.
“One of the girls they questioned — there were 15 girls that they arrested in Inyo and they kept some of them in solitary confinement — went to a mental institution because of the interrogation they put her through.
“They kept the girls down there for two months and every day the LAPD would come down with the best professional men they have. They arrested them all, brought them in and scared them all to death about murder.
They were just frightened to death, and most of them just ran away after that.
“There were a lot of people at the ranch — sometimes there were close to 125 people that would come through there and spend a couple of days, then hike on – kind of an open commune-like thing. It worked out pretty nice. But they scared the stuffing out of all those people and they’re running all over the countryside.
Now they have one witness of mine arrested on a phony charge, and they have an impossible bail on him and they’re moving him from cell to cell.
“Another one they’ve taken to Independence and every time we send someone to Independence they move him to Lone Pine. They’ve got three witnesses locked up there. They’re applying every bit of pressure they can.
“They’ve taken one girl’s baby at least three times. It really is a pretty sinister thing. But it hasn’t just started, it’s been going on. They blind the public. They control the publicity. They only leak out what they want you to hear. They won’t leak out that they went to talk to 30 people and the 30 people said I wasn’t a bad guy at all.
“They’ve either got to convict me or they’ve got to tell the truth to the public. And if they tell the truth to the public, it’s gong to be the biggest black eye they’ve ever had.”
As far as his personal treatment is concerned, Manson claims prison officials “stand me in a corner all day long and walk me up and down the hallways. They won’t even let me tie my hair with a string.
“It’s mental torture as much as anything.”
Chiding the press, Manson claims if the transcript of his last court hearing is made public, in full, it “would surprise the world.”
“No matter how I tried to put in motions or do different things, they refused everything and just did with me what they wanted to do with me. And that’s what they’re going to continue to do. They’re not going to try to administer any sort of justice or authority. They’re going to apply force.”
Although Manson admits he can’t counter the big investigative staff “at the disposal of the prosecution,” he claim he is being helped by “seven black men — a bunch of people in here who have been writing up writs for me.”
“Mr. Chin (Los Angeles attorney Dave Chin) has really been a lot of help too.
“And George Shibley (Long Beach attorney) is a very good man, a very good lawyer, a very good man all round, but he’s awful busy, he has his own commitments.
“But lawyers like (Luke) McKissick, he says ‘my client — I represent Mr. Manson.’ He does not represent me. He went down and told the judge, ‘Manson can’t read or write, so he shouldn’t be his own attorney.’ He brought a newspaperman in and said he was a friend of his and wanted to make a deal with me. The man said he could get $130,000 for my story and asked if I would give him my story. I told him ‘no, I don’t want to give no one my story.’ He went out and wrote a prefabricated story anyway a three-part story for a London newspaper and he made up all kinds of disaster-predictions, like everyone was afraid I was going to commit suicide, and all
kinds of things he could think of that would be bad — that people would want to hear.
“Most people that go to jail — and society doesn’t understand this — are generally people who have no one on the outside to help them — and I’m one.”
By MARY NEISWENDER