Key Figures In Slayings Meet In Jail
Friday, March 6th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 6 – Two key figures in the Sharon Tate murder, Charles M. Manson and Susan Denise Atkins, conferred for more than an hour in jail Thursday on defense strategy.
Miss Atkins’ attorney said later he and Manson disagreed on how the trial should be handled and whether he continues to represent Miss Atkins depends on whether she allows him to proceed as he sees fit.
The attorney, Richard Caballero said the long-haired leader of a hippy type clan and the woman whose comments reportedly led to arrests in the case laughed happily when they first saw each other – “She appeared to he very happy to see him and he appeared likewise.”
Manson, 35, and Miss Atkins, 21, are charged with murder and conspiracy in the killings last Aug. 9 of Miss Tate and four visitors to the actress’ home, and those the next night of Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca. Four other members of Manson’s “family” are similarly charged.
Miss Atkins, tall and pretty, told newsmen after the meeting that “He (Manson) looked good.” She declined to disclose what was discussed, saying “You’ll all get a chance to hear what I have to say when the time comes.” She added that “as of the moment,” Caballero remains her attorney.
In another action Thursday, Manson asked the State Court of Appeals to dismiss the indictment against him, saying he has not had a speedy trial.
Manson, who is acting as his own attorney, has asked to meet with all defendants, and the court has agreed, providing they are willing and are accompanied by their attorneys.
Asked afterward if Manson told her how to handle her defense, Miss Atkins said, “Charlie does not advise. Charlie does not command. He never has.”
Caballero, who sat in on the conference, said Manson doesn’t appear to be attempting to “mastermind” the defense for all defendants, that “he told her he wants her to do what she feels she wants to do.”
But he added that he and Manson have different philosophies on handling the case.
“He may take certain evidence too lightly,” Caballero said. “From the evidence I’ve seen they have enough evidence to try the defendants either separately or together.”
With that evidence in mind, Caballero said “Susan’s going to have to decide if she’ll listen to me and do what I want her to do.”
If she followed the wrong advice, could Miss Atkins be convicted on that evidence?
Said Caballero, “Yes, I think so.”
Manson claimed in the dismissal motion that he entered his plea of innocent on Jan. 28 and the March 30 trial date violated his right to a speedy trial. A similar motion was denied earlier by the Superior Court.