• Files On Manson Are Shut To Lawyer For Van Houten

Files On Manson Are Shut To Lawyer For Van Houten

LOS ANGELES, Jun. 7 – Leslie Van Houten’s lawyer lost a fight Monday for access to the medical and psychiatric records of mass murderer Charles Manson.

Attorney Maxwell Keith, defending Miss Van Houten in her Los Angeles retrial for murder and conspiracy, said it was essential to know if Manson was mentally ill when he led his followers on a trial of murder in 1969.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Daivd R. Chaffee, representing the State Department of Corrections, argued Manson’s records are confidential and are irrelevant to the Van Houten case.

Keith, citing testimony about Manson’s power over his followers, said, “It does appear his state of mind – whether he was mentally ill at the time of the commission of these crimes – is relevant if not crucial.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Edward Hinz Jr. ruled in favor of keeping Manson’s records sealed. He did not explain his ruling.

The 27-year-old Miss Van Houten is charged with murdering grocers Leno and Rosemary LaBianca and conspiring in the slayings of actress Sharon Tate and four others in August 1969.

Keith has been presenting a primarily psychiatric defense – contending Miss Van Houten did not have the mental capacity to premediate murder while she lived under Manson’s domination.

Keith stuffed an additional setback Monday when the judge ruled he could call only one more psychiatrist to the witness stand. He had scheduled at least two more. The prosecutor had complained that the witnesses were duplicating each other’s testimony.

“They’re all saying the same thing,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephen Kay.

Keith replied that he was trying to combat the lingering effects of publicity surrounding Miss Van Houten’s first trial, and, “I feel I need every ammunition I can muster.”

This entry was posted in Archived News. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *