• Subdued Clan Leader, 3 Girls Sentenced to Die in Gas Chamber

Subdued Clan Leader, 3 Girls Sentenced to Die in Gas Chamber

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 20 – Charles Manson and three women followers were sentenced to death in San Quentin’s gas chamber Monday for the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Each stood, in turn, and solemnly listened to Superior Judge Charles H. Older’s condemnation, which ended with an order that each was “to be put to death” in the manner prescribed by law.

Older had rejected defense requests to question jurors on how they reached their verdicts, pleas for new trials and motions for reduction of the jury’s death verdicts to life.

But, just before pronouncing sentence, he permitted Manson and the others to speak.

The 36-year-old Manson, his beard and long hair now a stubble and crewcut, stood, glanced at the courtroom’s high ceiling and spoke without his customary effrontery.

His voice nearly broke, his left hand shook and he appeared on the verge of tears as he again suggested he is a ward of society, a product of 23 years in the Establishment’s reform schools and prisons.

“In my mind as a child my mother brought me to you, and she left me with you, and I have always lived within the truth of this courtroom,” he said, speaking directly to Older.

“I have always lived within the truth of this courtroom. I have always stood within your light, sir. I have always stood to my father and said, ‘Yes, I have done what I have been told to do.’ If I did something I would go to my father and say, ‘Yes, I did. Do what you want to do to me.’

“But, sir, I am dead in this thought. I accept this court as my father, I have always done the best in my life to uphold the laws of my father, and I accept my father’s judgment. Thank you.”

Manson sat down, lowered his head and gazed at the top of the counsel table.

The three “girls,” Susan Atkins, 21, Patricia Krenwinkel, 23, and Leslie Van Houten, 21, declined their chance to speak.

They sat silent, occasionally looking at each other or glancing at Manson across the table. Their air of detachment seemed to be gone, along with their long hair now clipped to the scalp.

Older, normally unsmiling and sober on the bench, seemed somehow more solemn. He already had indicated what he was about to do, moments before, in denying motions to reduce the death sentences.

In 9 1/2 months of trial, he said, all the superlatives had been used, all the hyperbole had been indulged in by counsel and the press.

“All that remains are the bare stark facts of seven senseless murders, seven people whose lives were snuffed out by total strangers for motives which may remain known only to them,” Older said.

“I have carefully looked, in considering this motion, for mitigating circumstances, and I have been unable to find any.

“I have considered the arguments of counsel regarding the legitimate ends of sentence and punishment which are usually considered to be deterrence, rehabilitation and protection of the public.

“It is also fashionable these days not to mention the fourth, which I think also is a legitimate element, and that is retribution — not an eye for an eye, but punishment for acts voluntarily and deliberately engaged in which are contrary to our law.”

Older said it is important that any sentence or punishment dealt out by the court represent the community’s emphatic denunciation of the crime and demonstrate the community’s revulsion for the conduct engaged in.

“In this case it is my considered judgment that not only is the death penalty appropriate, but it is almost compelled by the circumstances.”

One of prosecutor Vincent T. Bugliosi’s points in argument and in brief remarks Monday was that no case deserves the death penalty if the Tate-LaBianca case doesn’t.

“I must agree with the prosecutor on the point where he asks the question, ‘If this is not a proper case for the death penalty, what could be?” Older said.

Starting with Manson, Older read the case history and sentence for each of the defendants. He began with the Los Angeles County Grand Jury indictment on Dec. 8, 1969, for the seven murder’s the previous August.

Once again the names of the victims sounded in the courtroom: Abigail Folger, Voityck Frykowski, Stephen Parent, Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Leno LaBianca and Rosemary LaBianca.

Older ordered Manson to San Quentin and the three women to the California Institution for Women at Frontera, near Corona.

If the State Supreme Court upholds the guilt and penalty verdicts on automatic review, the trial court will then set a date for execution.

“Sadie,” “Katie,” and Leslie then would join Manson at San Quentin to await death in the gas chamber.

Prospects are that their execution date — if it ever comes — will be years away.

Their eventual fate, like 94 other under sentences of death in California, may depend on a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a case testing the procedures for imposing the death penalty.

After Older remanded the defendants into the sheriff’s custody, Leslie Van Houten waved her fingers at Manson and smiled weakly as they were led toward opposite doors.

Manson will see “Sadie” Atkins in court again today when they appear before Superior Judge Raymond Choate in the Gary Hinman – “Shorty” Shea murder case.

But, the other two women will be taken to 7-by-9 foot quarters in a six-room maximum security unit prepared for them at Frontera.

The state spent about $8,000 to install heavy doors in a wing of the institution, put stronger bars on windows and doors, heighten a wire fence around a small exercise yard, install air conditioning equipment and hire six women to watch the condemned women around the clock.

Each occupied cell will have a window, looking out at the pastureland and haystacks of the rural countryside. It will contain a toilet, sink, table, chair, cot and small television set.

Mrs. Iverne Carter, superintendent of the California Institution for Women, said the three women will be allowed common access to a corridor outside their cells if they behave properly.

Four women now are under death sentence in California, the same as the total executed by the state since 1893. The last woman executed was Elizabeth Ann Duncan, at San Quentin on Aug. 8, 1962.

In moving for a new trial, the four defense attorneys joined in a request that jurors be examined about their deliberations. Four of the jurors, Mrs. Jean Roseland, Anlee Sigto, William T. McBride and Alva K. Dawson, answered subpoenas and were in court.

Manson’s attorney, Irving A. Kanarek, said a color photograph of Sharon Tate’s body was missing and the clerk had said it was last in the jury room. He suggested a juror might have committed a felony.

Kanarek said juror William M. Zamora had charged that jurors had been promiscuous while they were sequestered. The attorney asked whether the jurors’ minds were on the evidence or on a $200,000 deal for their stories proposed by juror Larry D. Sheely.

Bugliosi pointed out that the defense attempts to impeach the jury’s verdicts had not been supported by affidavits from jurors as required by law.

The prosecutor said there was no question that it had been an “exemplary jury” and urged the court not to “destroy those verdicts” by letting the defense engage in a “fishing expedition.”

Outside the court, after Older had refused to let the defense question the jurors, McBride denied a charge that the verdicts had been based on prejudicial publicity.

“Our decision was based solely on the evidence and the instruction of the judge and that’s it,” he said.


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

Leave a Reply

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