7 Men, 5 Women Pledge ‘Impartial’ Trial, Sworn As Tate Murder Jury
Wednesday, July 15th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 15 – A jury of seven men and five women was sworn in yesterday at the Sharon Tate murder trial after each of them promised individually to give the defendants, an “impartial and fair hearing.”
Selection of six alternate jurors began immediately after the regular panel was seated at the end of a month’s sessions in the case against Charles Manson and three female codefendants.
When the afternoon session began, Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older offered the prosecution the opportunity to exercise another of its peremptory challenges if it wished.
“On behalf of the people we are satisfied with this jury panel,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Aaron Stovitz.
Older then asked each of the twelve to swear that he could give Manson and this three hippie followers a fair trial and return a verdict based solely on the evidence in the case. Each replied that he would.
The defense made a last-minute bid during the morning session to have the trial postponed for a year, but Older curtly denied the motion. All but 15 minutes of the morning session was held in private in Older’s chambers. Attorneys said the discussion revolved principally around procedures once the taking of evidence starts.
Paul Fitzgerald, the attorney for Patricia Krenwinkel, one of the three young women, made the motion for the trial to be postponed at least until Aug. 1, 1971.
Fitzgerald contended that the massive publicity about the case had aroused such a “climate” that it was impossible for the defendants to get a fair trial.
Older said the questioning of prospective jurors had convinced him that Manson and the young women would receive a fair and impartial trial.
The judge also denied a motion to suppress the alleged “confession” that another of the girls, Susan Atkins, made before a grand jury and subsequently recanted.
Selection of the six alternate jurors, who might serve in the event of the illness or unavoidable absence of one of the regular 12, was expected to take several days or perhaps go into next week.
The seven men and five women on the regular panel spent a boring morning as the attorneys and defendants remained closeted with the judge.