Clan Tries to Bar Quizzing of Juror
Thursday, June 25th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jun. 25 – Saying they want to deny the “establishment” the satisfaction of a “court drama,” Charles Manson and his three female codefendants are trying to prevent their lawyers from quizzing prospective jurors at the trial for the murder of actress Sharon Tate.
Two of the defense attorneys Wednesday refused to go along with their clients demands and questioned 12 prospective jurors as to whether they could bring in a fair verdict in the bizarre multiple killings.
Manson, leader of the hippie cult accused of seven murders, instructed his attorney, Irving Kanarek, not to raise any defense but to sit mute in the courtroom.
Daye Shinn, lawyer for Susan Atkins, said the young woman also had instructed him to accept the 12 jurors without interrogation as the “Manson Family” attempted to put up a unified defense.
The other two girls, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, also instructed their lawyers to cease questioning jurors but they refused.
Paul Fitzgerald, representing Miss Krenwinkel, said he felt it was his duty to try to get the fairest possible jury but he said he understood the opinion of his client who stood up in court Wednesday and tried unsuccessfully to fire him.
“It is something of a martyr complex,” Fitzgerald told newsmen. “She feels she already has been tried and convicted and sentenced to death in the news media.
“She and the others want to deny the establishment of the satisfaction of putting on a court drama. Actually I can understand her feeling.”
Nine solid citizens had passed the first hurdle in jury selection but most, if not all, were expected to be dismissed as the trial progresses. Among them were a photographer, a mailman, a chemical technician, a retired secretary, a TV repairman, a former drama critic and a man who paints the dividing lines on highways.
The first prospective juror was Herman Stokes, a Negro, who works as a mechanic at the post office. Fitzgerald put a series of questions to him
Would he be prejudiced toward the defendants because they wore long hair? Because of their lifestyle? Because they wore no cosmetics? Because the girls wore no brassieres? Stokes answered “No” to all the questions.