Beausoleil Loses in Bid for New Trial; Given Sentence
Tuesday, June 16th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jun. 16 – Robert Beausoleil, an associate of the Manson “family,” lost his bid for a new trial yesterday and was formally sentenced to die for the murder of musician Gary Hinman.
Mary Brunner, the cult member who kept changing her testimony, was jailed for contempt of court and threatened with possible prosecution as an accomplice in the murder last July.
The developments came during — and immediately after — another stormy, raucous hearing marked by courtroom outbursts by both Beausoleil and Miss Brunner.
Miss Brunner, one of Charles Manson’s girl friends, made a last-minute effort to change her testimony yet again. At one point she used the phrase “jackass statements” to describe comments made on Friday by Superior Court Judge William B. Keene.
Beausoleil, meanwhile, spoke in Biblical tones as he hurled defiance at the judge.
“He who judges his brother shall be judged; he who leadeth into captivity shall be led into captivity,” Beausoleil said.
After Judge Keene spoke the words condemning, the 22-year-old defendant to the gas chamber, Beausoleil yelled:
“You can’t judge me. Only God can judge me and God is on my side.”
Miss Brunner, 26, was ejected from the courtroom after she stood up in the audience, demanded the opportunity to testify again and shrieked: “Bobby isn’t guilty.”
Later bailiffs returned her to the courtroom and Judge Keene sentenced her to five days in jail for contempt.
The judge also ordered that transcripts from the hearing be made available to the District Attorney’s Office to allow prosecutors to “reevaluate” the immunity granted her previously in the murder case.
Beausoleil previously was convicted by a jury for the fatal stabbing last July at Hinman’s home in Topanga Canyon. Manson and two of his followers also are under indictment for the murder.
Miss Brunner, who claimed she was present at the home that night, was granted immunity and testified as the prosecution’s key witness at Beausoleil’s trial. She said it was Beausoleil who did the actual stabbing.
The three-and-a-half-day hearing before Judge Keene was over Beausoleil’s motion for a new trial. Appearing as his own attorney, he said he had now evidence which would clear him.
The new evidence turned out to be an affidavit in which Miss Brunner recanted her testimony, saying she was pressured by the prosecution into accusing Beausoleil.
During a tense session Friday afternoon, Miss Brunner changed the story again, saying her original testimony was true, after all.
Yesterday she had another change of heart. Beausoleil asked Judge Keene to allow Miss Brunner to come back to the witness stand “to tell the truth.”
The judge refused. It was at that point that she stood up and yelled: “Bobby isn’t guilty.”
She said her lawyer “told me to go along with it,” referring to her Friday testimony naming Beausoleil.
Addressing Judge Keene, she also said she wouldn’t have changed her story on Friday “if you hadn’t come up with those jackass statements.”
The judge on Friday had told her that unless she told the truth, she might put herself in danger of being charged with murder.
As bailiffs led her out of the courtroom Miss Brunner turned toward the judge again and shrieked over her shoulder: “You are a corruption of the Constitution.”
In denying Beausoleil’s motion for a new trial, Judge Keene said he was satisfied that the evidence against the defendant “is more than ample” even without Miss Brunner’s on-again, off-again testimony.
And, the judge said, Beausoleil “presented absolutely no evidence that legally qualified as newly discovered” which would warrant overturning the jury decision and granting a new trial.
According to testimony at the original trial, Beausoleil killed Hinman on orders from Manson. Manson, according to the testimony, wanted Hinman dead because the musician had refused to give $20,000 to the nomadic cult.
Beausoleil and Judge Keene traded invective as the long and boisterous proceeding neared its conclusion.
The judge called the Hinman murder “the most hideous crime” to come before his court.
And, he said, Beausoleil wasn’t legitimately appearing as his own attorney. He wanted to “filibuster,” said the judge. “He wanted to have center stage.”
The court proceedings, added Judge Keene, “seem to be a joke as far as this defendant is concerned.”
That touched off Beausoleil’s outburst.
“You’ve been judging me throughout these proceedings,” he said. “He who judges his brother shall he judged. He who leadeth into captivity shall be led into captivity.’
Earlier, Beausoleil said that “the newspaper and the public have hung me on a cross.
“In my left hand I have a nail of lies. In my right hand I have a nail of misconstrued facts. In my feet, I leave a nail of rumor. Now all I’m waiting for is the judge to crown me with thorns,” Beausoleil said.
Before passing sentence, Judge Keene denied a second Beausoleil motion. This one was to reduce the penalty from death to life imprisonment.
I have communicated with Bobby through his wife before she suddenly passed away last year and Bobby has a sense of humor and he’s personable. I asked Bobby what ethnicity he is and he said his father is French and mother is Irish and French. I told him I’m italian and he replied that he might even be italian,too, but that he doesn’t believe ethnicity is all that important. He did say he likes italian food ‘very much’ which I thought was nice of him to say that to me. Anyway, as far as I’m concerned I don’t see why Bobby should not have a chance at parole.