Manson, 3 followers Sit Quietly at Pre-Trial Hearing
Tuesday, June 16th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jun. 16 – Charles Manson and three of his female followers yesterday apparently decided to quiet down so they could remain in the courtroom during a hearing before the start of their murder-conspiracy trial.
Manson and the others were ejected from the courtroom several times last week during similar hearings when they refused to sit or face the judge.
Yesterday afternoon, however, all four sat quietly for about 45 minutes as Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older discussed certain motions with attorneys.
Judge Older also ordered jury selection in the celebrated murder case to begin today at 10 a.m., signaling the start of the often-delayed trial.
Manson 35, Susan Atkins 21, Patricia Krenwinkel 22, and Leslie Van Houten 19 are accused in the August slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others.
Two other members of Manson’s “family” also are charged with the murders, but one is expected to turn state’s evidence and the other is fighting extradition to California.
Prior to opening of jury selection today, Judge Older will conduct a hearing on a contempt allegations against two of the attorneys in the case.
One is Daye Shinn, representing Miss Atkins, who was out of town three days last week and did not attend any of the pretrial hearings those days before Judge Older.
The jurist told Shinn he will have to “show cause…why the court doesn’t find you in contempt.”
The other attorney is co-prosecutor Aaron H. Stovitz.
Defense attorneys have claimed Stovitz should be held in contempt of court for allegedly violating a gag rule on pretrial publicity in the Manson case.
The allegation stems from a March 11 interview that Stovitz allowed two reporters from The Rolling Stone, underground newspaper, published in San Francisco.
As a result of the interview, The Rolling Stone published an article titled “Porfiry’s Complaint,” in which, the defense contends evidence surrounding the murders never before made public was published.
The defense team also has sought dismissal of the charges against Manson and the three young women on the basis of the same article.
Judge Older gave defense lawyers until Monday to submit to the court additional declarations and affidavits on the publicity surrounding the article.
He said he would take the matter under submission June 25.
Paul J. Fitzgerald, Miss Krenwinkel’s lawyer, argued yesterday afternoon that The Rolling Stone article contained “very massive, comprehensive, detailed statements of facts not yet proven.”
He contended the material was “prejudicial and deprives the defendants of a fair trial.”
Also joining in the motion were attorneys Ira K. Reiner, representing Miss Van Houten, and Irving A. Kanarek, representing Manson.
Dep. Dist. Atty. Vincent T. Bugliosi claimed the “biggest disseminator of this article had been, unfortunately, Mr. Fitzgerald himself.”
The Judge cut Bugliosi off, however, when the prosecutor said he wanted to make the “observation for the press” in the courtroom.
“You will not make any observations for the press in this courtroom…you’re not broadcasting,” the Judge declared sternly.
Judge Older also denied a request by Kanarek that the Sheriff’s deputies outside the courtroom be ordered to stop giving spectators a “cursory search.”
Manson apparently had objected to Kanarek that some of the members of his family who are living at the Spahn Ranch near Chatsworth, the cult’s stronghold, were searched before being allowed inside.
The attorney claimed the search denied Manson his right to a fair and public trial.
Judge Older, however, said he himself had given the order for the search and it would stand.
The jurist additionally denied a request by Shinn that the whole proceedings be postponed until a later date.
Shinn had based his motion on grounds publicity in the case should be allowed to die down before starting the trial.
Manson spoke out loud only once during the proceeding.
During an in-chambers session with the judge yesterday morning, Kanarek had asked that novice Atty. Ronald Hughes, a “family” confidant and one-time lawyer for Manson, be allowed to serve as his co-counsel.
Judge Older later asked Manson if that was his request.
“My desire is to be my own attorney,” Manson replied.
Hughes, however, said he did not want to be co-counsel and the matter was dropped.
(Manson once represented himself, but was later required to get an attorney when the court ruled he was incapable of acting as his own lawyer).
Also scheduled to be discussed sometime today is Kanarek’s challenge of the manner in which petit (trial) jurors are chosen in Los Angeles County.
Judge Older, however, said the motion could be brought up any time before an entire panel is sworn in and said jury selection can get under way.
The proceedings will be recessed Thursday and Friday.
On Thursday, Manson and Miss Atkins are to appear in Santa Monica Superior Court on a separate murder case — the July 27 slaying of musician Gary Hinman. Judge Older’s courtroom will be closed Friday for renovation.
The two other members of Manson’s “family” accused of the murders are Linda Kasabian 20 (who was to appear in court yesterday for trial date setting, but Judge Older postponed that appearance until Aug. 17) and Charles “Tex” Watson 24, who remains in Texas fighting extradition, but there was a possibility he too might return to Los Angeles this week.
Mrs. Kasabian, Bugliosi said, is expected to be the “star witness” at the Manson trial.
It is believed the prosecution has offered her immunity for her testimony.
Mrs. Kasabian, the mother of two, was a relative newcomer to Manson’s roving cult.
Her attorneys, Gary Fleischman and Ronald Goldman, were in chambers for a short time yesterday morning, but left after the Judge allowed a postponement of trial date setting for their client.
It is nearly 10 months to the day that the mass murders occurred.
Miss Tate 26, and four of the victims were variously stabbed and shot on Aug. 9, at the rented Benedict Canyon estate shared by the actress and her director husband, Roman Polanski.
Polanski was in Europe when his wife, eight months pregnant with their son, was killed. Also slain that day were hairstylist Jay Sebring 35, a former fiance of Miss Tate; coffee heiress Abigail Folger 26; her Polish playboy boyfriend, Voityck Frykowsky 37; and Steven Parent 18, of El Monte, who had gone to the estate to visit the teen-aged caretaker.
On Aug. 10, the group, allegedly killed wealthy market owner Leno LaBianca 44, and his wife, Rosemary 38, at their Los Feliz home. Both were stabbed to death.
It was not until December that police disclosed members of Manson’s “family” were wanted in connection with the slayings.
The first break in the case reportedly from Miss Atkins herself.
The young woman had been jailed on another murder charge and allegedly told the story of the Tate-LaBianca killings to a cellmate.
Miss Atkins also reportedly implicated herself and her friends when she testified before the County Grand Jury, which indicted the six.
She is now believed to have changed her story, however.
The trial, when it finally gets started, promises to be a long and complicated one. Attorneys have explained the complexity is due to the number of defendants and the multiple charges against them.
By SANDI METTETAL