Woman Hugs Watson at Trial, Gets Jail Sentence
Tuesday, October 19th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19 — A 29-year-old Riverside woman was sentenced to a day in jail for contempt of court yesterday after she ran into a courtroom and clasped convicted murderer Charles (Tex) Watson around the neck.
The incident occurred during a late afternoon recess after a defense attorney had opened final arguments in the insanity portion of Watson’s trial over the seven Tate-LaBianca murders.
Placed on the witness stand, the woman identified herself as Janet M. Luck. She only gave a Riverside home address.
She said her gesture was only a “Christian’s act.” She said she didn’t know Watson nor had she seen him before.
Attorney Max Solomon hastily appointed to represent her told the court “she looks upon him as a Christian brother.”
Two sheriff’s deputies, Roy Belyea and Gerry Heltzel, were in the courtroom when Miss Luck came running through the swinging doors and embraced Watson at the defense table. They took her into custody.
At the time she put her arms around his neck, she said: “I love you.”
Court was hastily reconvened and Superior Court Judge Adolph Alexander asked both the deputies to testify about her actions.
As Solomon came walking through the door on another court matter. Judge Alexander appointed him to act as her attorney.
Solomon held a short conference at the counsel table with Miss Luck, a petite dark-haired woman, and then told the court she had no objections to testifying.
“I know Mr. Watson through the Holy Spirit,” she said, adding she had no previous conversation with the defendant.
Dep. Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi asked her if she knew the group of female followers of Charles Manson, who hold daily vigils outside the Hall of Justice.
She said she stopped and talked with the group some time last week, but didn’t know any personally.
“Did the girls send you over here?” Bugliosi asked.
“No.” she replied. “No.”
The trial of Watson, the remaining defendant in the 1969 mass murder case, will continue today with the prosecution scheduled to present sanity phase arguments.
The 25-year-old defendant previously was convicted by the superior court jury. The proceeding now revolves around the defense plea of innocent by reason of insanity.
If the jury finds Watson legally insane, he would be committed to a state institution for the criminally insane.
If the jury rejects the insanity plea, there would be a third part to the trial, now more than two months long.
That would be the penalty phase where the jury would rule between death in the gas chamber or life imprisonment.
Manson and three women followers already have been sentenced to death over their parts in the Tate-LaBianca murders.