Key Witness Against Manson Says She’s Terrified Of Him But Loves Him
Tuesday, November 10th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 10 – Dianne Lake, 17, one of the chief prosecution witnesses against hippie leader Charles Manson and three of his girl followers, testified today in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial that she was terrified of him, jealous of him, and was — and still is — in love with him.
Manson, who was ejected from the courtroom Monday for being disruptive, made one minor outburst as the girl was testifying about her love for him.
“She loved everybody. Don’t put it on Mr. Manson,” the defendant shouted from his seat at the counsel table.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older ignored the outburst and Manson sat quietly as his former “family” member continued her fourth day of testimony before the five-woman, seven-man jury.
The girl said she became afraid of Manson in August 1969, when the Tate and Labianca murders occurred, but, at the same time, loved him.
“Do you love Mr. Manson now?” the cult chieftain’s attorney, Irving Kanarek, asked.
“Yes,” replied Miss Lake.
She said she loved Manson “very much” at the same time he was keeping steady company with a young family recruit, Stephanie Schramm, but also was very jealous of the relationship.
The threat on her life which prevented her from telling the truth in testimony before the county grand jury which indicted Manson and five others came directly from Manson, Miss Lake said. The threat was made while the clan was living in Death Valley, she said.
Manson, she said, also told her not to talk to anyone about anything while they were being held in the Inyo County jail in October 1969.
Monday, while Miss Lake was on the witness stand, Manson shouted at an attorney, “Why don’t you go home if you’re not going to ask any questions, lawyer?”
The hippie leader apparently objected to the fact that Ronald Hughes, representing Leslie Van Houten, refused to cross examine the girl because of “limitations” put on him by Judge Older.
Hughes contended that he could not question the girl on relevant matters because of “censorship” imposed by Judge Older to eliminate hearsay evidence.
Shortly thereafter, following several objections by the prosecution which were sustained by Judge Older, Manson spoke out again.
“One of these days you’re going to be overruled, man,” Manson shouted at the startled judge.
Despite a warning from the judge that “one more outburst and you will be removed,” Manson spoke out again.
“You’ve got your flunkies,” the now-short-haired hippie said. “It’d be a different story if it were just you and I.”
At this point, Manson was escorted from the courtroom — the third time in the now 22-week-old trial — and Dep. Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi began redirect examination of the young witness:
“Why didn’t you tell the truth before the grand jury?” he asked.
“Because I was afraid I would be killed by members of the family if I told the truth and Charley told me not to say anything, to anybody, who was part of authority.”
The girl also admitted she lied to police officers for the same reason.
Under cross-examination by Paul Fitzgerald, representing Patricia Krenwinkel, she admitted she was “still afraid” but that her fear how was “different” than it was when she testified before the grand jury Dec. 8, 1969.
“Then I felt like I was in a world of my own — unprotected. Now I feel more protected.”
Miss Lake admitted that both she and Manson were in jail on Dec. 8, 1969 and she did not think Manson was going to get out of jail to kill her, “but,” she added, “he has power over other people.”
Earlier, the girl said she started using marijuana and LSD at the age of 13 — a year before she met Manson. She said her parents, now living in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, had given her and her younger brothers and sisters drugs. She said she ran away from home and joined Manson’s “family” in 1967.
She admitted taking LSD more than 100 times and only twice under pressure.
“I didn’t want to take it (LSD) but I was afraid not to take it. I was afraid of the family.”
On one LSD trip, she said, she had visual hallucinations.
By MARY NEISWENDER