Link Massacre to Beatles Song
Friday, July 24th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 24 – The prosecution said today that Charles M. Manson, inspired by a song by the Beatles, ordered the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in order to start a “black-white revolution.”
“He believed the Beatles were speaking to him across the ocean,” Dep. Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi said in his opening argument at the Los Angeles Superior Court murder trial of Manson and three hippie-type girl followers.
The words “helter skelter” and “rise” taken from a song lyric by the British singing group were found scrawled in blood on the walls of the home where a wealthy market owner and his wife were slain, Bugliosi said.
“The words meant the black man was rising up against the white establishment and murdering the entire white race,” Bugliosi said, ”except for Manson and his followers who would go to the desert and live in the bottomless pit…a phrase he found in Revelations 9 of the Bible.”
“The evidence will show,” Bugliosi continued, “that Charles Manson hated black people but also hated whites whom he called pigs.”
Manson and three young women are charged with murder-conspiracy in the killings of Miss Tate and four visitors to her home last Aug. 9, and the so-called “copycat” slayings the next night of Mr. and Mrs. Leno LaBianca their home.
Manson, who entered court with a bloody “X” carved into his forehead, sat solemnly listening to the prosecution’s description of the massacre murders and the charges that he diabolically planned and executed them using the influence he had on his “followers.”
The long-haired leader of what has been described as a nomadic hippie cult later issued a statement through his attorney that he had “Xed myself from the world.” The wound apparently was made by his fingernail.
Bugliosi, in the half-hour opening statement which was interrupted at least a dozen times by objections from Manson’s attorney, claimed that Manson’s motives were many.
“The evidence will show Manson to be a vagrant wanderer, a frustrated singer and guitarist, a pseudo philosopher, but most of…a killer who masqueraded behind the common image of a hippie, that of being peace loving.
“Manson is a megalomaniac who coupled his insatiable thirst for power with an insatiable obsession for violent death.”
Bugliosi, whose family sat in the spectators’ section of the jammed courtroom, claimed Manson was the unquestioned leader and overlord of a nomadic band of vagabonds who called themselves a family.
“It invariably consisted mainly of females,” the prosecutor charged, “and that was by Manson’s design. He felt that to become powerful he needed men, but he couldn’t attract men to his family without there being women to satisfy their every need.
“Manson, in fact, was the dictatorial leader of the family and everyone in the family was slavishly obedient to him. Eventually, at his command, they murdered.”
The prosecutor claimed that the chief prosecution witness will be Linda Kasabian whom he described as “not a hard core member of the family.”
Bugliosi said Mrs. Kasabian will testify that Manson instructed her to get a knife the evening of the Tate murders and a change of clothing and her driver’s license and go with Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel and “do everything Tex told her to do.”
“Although she did not enter the Tate residence and did not commit any of the murders she will testify to her observations including being an eyewitness to Steven Parent’s death by Charles Watson in the driveway of the Tate residence, and to the murders of Voityk Frykowski and Abigail Folger by Charles Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel on the lawn of the Tate residence.
“When the group returned to the Spahn Ranch after the five Tate murders, Manson was waiting for them,” Bugliosi said. “Tex Watson reported to Manson what had happened after which Manson asked each of them if they had any remorse for having committed the murders and they all replied that they did not.”
Bugliosi said his witness will testify that Manson said they had been “too messy” the night before and he was going to show them how to do it.
The next evening Manson drove to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, went inside and tied them up, returned to the car and instructed his followers how to murder them, the prosecutor charged.
The motives, Bugliosi said, were many, and included the fact that Manson wanted to foment a black-white race war in which his family would emerge victorious.
Bugliosi spent little time in his opening statements on the three-girl defendants — the third is Leslie Van Houten — but only claimed they were “willing participants.”
“By their overkill tactics — for instance, Voityk Frykowski was stabbed 51 times, shot twice, hit on the head 13 times, and Rosemary LaBianca was stabbed 41 times – they displayed that murder ran through their blood.”
Manson sat solemnly throughout the emotional opening statements and smiled only briefly at his three co-defendants. He later issued a statement in which he claimed that the establishment had “created the monster.”
“I am not of you, from you, nor do I condone your wars or your unjust attitudes. I stand with my X, with my love, with my God and by myself. I know that I have done and your courtroom is a man’s game, Love is my judge.”
By MARY NEISWENDER