Manson, 3 Followers Removed From Courtroom Again
Saturday, October 3rd, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 3 – Charles Manson and his three female followers were evicted from their murder trial again on Friday after the cult chief announced loudly that it was the public’s “judgment day, not mine.”
The scene was a repeat performance of Thursday’s frantic session when Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten were thrown out of court because they taunted the judge.
Again Friday morning Manson burst into song, but the tune was a new one.
He sang a few bars of “That Old Black Magic” in his off-key voice. Thursday he sang “The Old Gray Mare, she ain’t what she used to be.”
Manson and the three girls have been on trial since last June for the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others.
They were tossed out of several pre-trial hearings, but Friday was the first time they had been evicted from the trial. The defendants will listen to the proceedings via a loudspeaker.
The morning antics came after an in-chambers session that attorneys had with trial Judge Charles H. Older.
The first thing that happened when the prison-denim clad defendants walked into the courtroom was the ‘young women standing, raising their hands and telling the judge, “Hail, Caesar!”
They sat down, apparently because the stern faced judge ignored them. Then Manson piped up and said, “May I suggest that the court try itself…you’ve been doing a very poor job of showing the public any justice.”
The judge admonished Manson to be quiet and the bearded defendant warbled, “That old black magic has me in its spell…”
“Sit down, Mr. Manson,” the judge said.
Manson said he would “if you allow me to maintain a voice.”
“You hold rights up in front of me and you give me none,” he said, adding, “you’ve been ordering me forever.”
Manson said he was “ready to proceed” if he were given his voice, but he claimed that if he was not allowed to ask questions of witnesses his appearance in the courtroom only meant that he was a “photograph” in front of the jury.
“It’s your judgment day, not mine,” said the 35-year-old Manson calmly as he looked at the judge, the jury and the spectators in the courtroom.
With that, the judge apparently decided he had had enough and told uniformed bailiffs to take Manson into a holding cell adjacent to the courtroom.
“Have a good day,” Manson said as he walked out.
With that, the young women got into the act and began chanting, “look in the mirror…judge yourself ”
One of them told the judge, “You don’t let us have any voice either.”
Another said, “You don’t hear us anyway…it goes in one ear and out the other.”
“You’re not a man,” all taunted as the judge told bailiffs to take them out of the courtroom.
“Have a nice day,” they said, parroting their leader.
Judge Older told the seven-man, five-woman jury, which witnessed the whole act, to disregard the comments of the defendants.
He told defense attorneys their clients could return to the courtroom if they were willing to proceed without interrupting. Defense attorneys said that during the long session in chambers they had been unable to guarantee that Manson and the young women would behave themselves.
The judge made the order to evict the defendants from the trial on the basis of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision which gives a jurist such power if he decides defendants are disrupting proceedings.
Following the music and comment session, which lasted about five minutes, testimony by prosecution witness Juan Flynn resumed.
Flynn, a 26-year-old former hand at the Spahn Ranch near Chatsworth, has testified that Manson admitted to him that he was responsible for the murders.
The witness had been on the stand since last Monday and was excused shortly before noon when his testimony concluded.
The defendants were also absent during the afternoon session of the court, which lasted only a few minutes. The rest of the session was held in secret behind closed doors in Judge Older’s chambers.
At first, attorneys argued about the admissibility of a tape recording of Flynn taken Dec. 19, 1969, by California Highway Patrolman.
The judge finally allowed the jury to hear a portion of the tape recording, which was a nearly word-for-word repeat of Flynn’s testimony about Manson’s alleged admissions.
The judge’s ruling was a blow to the defense, which had tried to prove that Flynn had conjured up the story in the past few weeks.
Highway Patrolman David Steuber testified, however, that the tape recording was an accurate representation of what Flynn had told him in Inyo County last year.
After Steuber’s few minutes of testimony and the playing of the tape recording, attorneys and the judge went back into chambers to argue about whether testimony from a former jail mate of Miss Atkins would be allowed.
Miss Atkins last fall allegedly told Virginia Graham, a 37-year-old redhead, that she and the others did the murders.
Miss Graham, recently paroled from the California Institute for Women in Corona, appeared in the courtroom briefly with her attorney, Robert K. Steinberg.
If the judge allows her testimony, it will probably come when court resumes tomorrow morning.
By SANDI METTETAL