Jury Gets Watson’s Case as 4-Day Arguments End
Saturday, October 9th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 9 — The fate of Charles (Tex) Watson was put into the hands of a Superior Court jury yesterday.
Watson 25, a member of the Charles Manson “family” is accused of seven murders which were committed in two nights of death forays in August 1969.
The six-man, six-woman jury retired for the day at 4:47 p.m. after more than six hours of deliberations. Judge Adolph Alexander read a list of instructions to the jury earlier.
The panel is scheduled to resume deliberations today at 9:30 a.m.
The jurors heard four days of arguments and two months of testimony prior to the judge’s charge.
Watson has admitted taking part in the murders which resulted in the death of five, at actress Sharon Tate’s Benedict Canyon home on Aug. 9, 1969, and the death of market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary at their Los Feliz area home the next night.
However, defense attorneys Maxwell Keith and Sam Bubrick contended Watson was of a “diminished mental capacity” because of the evil influences of cult leader Manson.
Manson, they said, lured Watson into his commune and dulled his mind with drugs and far-out philosophies.
Watson was merely a “mindless robot” directed by Manson, they said.
However, prosecutors Vincent T. Bugliosi and Stephen Kay said Watson was in full possession of his faculties and there was no evidence that he was on drugs or that his mind had been damaged by LSD and other drugs supplied by Manson.
In fact, they accused Watson of enjoying his role in the murders.
If the jury finds Watson guilty of first-degree murder, two more trials will probably follow since he had entered a double plea of innocent and innocent by reason of insanity.
One would be a trial on Watson’s sanity and the other would be to determine the penalty if he is
found sane — death or life imprisonment.
The defense is seeking verdicts of either second degree murder or manslaughter because of Watson’s alleged mental incapacity at the time of the killings.