• Doctor Disputes Van Houten Domination

Doctor Disputes Van Houten Domination

LOS ANGELES, Jun. 22 – A psychiatrist called by the prosecution testified Tuesday that Leslie Van Houten was not a “robot” under the domination of Charles Manson the night she took part in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Dr. Joel Fort of San Francisco also told jurors that he had discussed Miss Van Houten with Manson himself about three months ago. Recounting the two-hour prison interview with Manson.

Fort testified: “I felt he (Manson) was making the point that she had been influenced all through her life and he was with her only a little while.”

Manson, according to Fort, conceded that “he did and does” have influence over others but “he stressed the effect that he had on Miss Van Houten was to bring out the things already in her, not impose something new.”

Under questioning by prosecutor Stephen Kay, Fort said that Manson expressed no ill feelings toward Miss Van Houten but said “everyone makes their own decision and must take responsibility for it.”

The psychiatrist quoted Manson as saying he “had contact with her for only a short period of time … and that before that her parents had her, the schools had her, the Buddhists
had her and TV had her.”

Fort testified that it was his opinion Miss Van Houten was able to “premeditate” murder on the night of Aug. 10, 1969, when the LaBiancas were stabbed to death in their Los Feliz district home.

“She did harbor malice and did manifest an intent to kill another human being,” Fort said.

His testimony contrasted sharply with the opinions given earlier in the trial by five defense psychiatrists, all of whom testified Miss Van Houten “could not meaningfully deliberate and premeditate” the killings.

Fort, who operates a “helping center” in San Francisco and was once known as the “hippie doctor of Haight-Ashbury,” said he based his conclusions on nine hours of discussion with Miss Van Houten and several other factors.

To support his views on the premeditation issue, he pointed out that she admitted being aware that society strongly disapproves of murder, that she panicked inside the LaBianca house, that she hid in the bushes until dawn after the killings, and that she subsequently burned items taken from the victims’ home.


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One Response to Doctor Disputes Van Houten Domination

  1. Bill says:

    Have any ‘family’ members ever told the full truth? If I were Leslie I would just say I was afraid I’d be killed if I didn’t participate…

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