Manson ‘a Second Christ’ to Linda, She Tells Jury
Friday, July 31st, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 31 – The chief prosecution witness in the Tate-LaBianca murder case testified today that she felt cult leader Charles Manson was “the Messiah…the second coming of Christ.”
The dramatic testimony came under grueling cross-examination of Linda Kasabian, the 21-year-old mother of two, whose damning testimony under direct examination has brought brutal questioning by the defense.
The girl, who smiled and demurely tugged at her skirt told of participating at sex orgies at the Spahn Ranch where the cult “family” lived.
At one point in her testimony in Los Angeles Superior Court she admitted to loving Manson both physically and mentally and said she “felt he was the Messiah come again.”
“I thought he was God-man…a second Jesus Christ. He just seemed to generate this love. What he said seemed to be pure truth. This is what I had been looking for. This is what I saw in him.”
Although she questioned “in my mind” some of Manson’s philosophies she never openly challenged his beliefs.
“Charlie talked about his philosophy, but I can’t remember it all. It just didn’t stick in my mind. I just let go of it because I knew it wasn’t true.”
Although her testimony seemed contradictory she was told “never to ask why…never to disagree.”
“The girls always said we never question Charlie. We just know he is right. In my own head I disagreed, but was afraid to say so. He’s a heavy dude.”
Mrs. Kasabian claimed the girls believed everything Manson said. “They worshipped him. Would die to do anything for him – out of love.”
Speaking of Manson, Mrs. Kasabian earlier said he had made love to her four times during her brief time at the ranch. But on her first night there he had left her alone.
It was Charles (Tex) Watson (fighting extradition in Texas) who had first made love to her when she arrived at the Chatsworth ranch.
“I met Tex when I arrived July 4. He took me into a dark shed and made love to me which was an experience I never had before — totally different.”
When asked if it was her first sexual experience she quickly replied, “no,” and added, “my hands were clenched when it was over. I had no power to open them. One of the girls said my ego had died.”
The trial was interrupted earlier today by an inflammatory remark by Manson during the cross-examination of Mrs. Kasabian.
The long-haired hippie leader apparently became aggravated as Linda Kasabian answered questions about her entry into his “family” and apparently muttered within the earshot of the jury, “ask her about the goddamned money.”
Deputy Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi jumped to his feet, interrupting Mrs. Kasabian’s answer to a question put to her by defense attorney Paul Fitzgerald.
“Mr. Manson is making all kinds of inflammatory remarks that the jury can hear,” Bugliosi shouted, demanding an immediate conference at the bench with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older.
A few minutes later, tempers still short, Manson’s attorney, Irving Kanarek, demanded that his client be “protected” from Bugliosi.
The fiery young prosecutor in walking past Manson’s chair en route back to his own seat at the counsel table apparently muttered something to Manson.
Mrs. Kasabian began her second day under cross-examination detailing how she joined the family “like a blind little girl in the forest — I took the first path that came along.”
Admitting that she was a “pioneer” in group living situations, she said at the time she joined Manson’s “family” she “wasn’t together – I was impressionable.”
Dressed in an orange Mexican-type skirt and a peasant blouse, Mrs. Kasabian said she and her husband separated because “there was just no harmony” between them.
The same day she joined the Manson “family” at the Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth at the suggestion of Catherine “Gypsy” Share, a “family” member.
She said her husband, Robert Kasabian, and a friend of his, Charles Melton, came to the ranch a few days after she arrived but she hid from them because she didn’t want to “leave the ranch with him.”
Preceding Manson’s burst, she testified that she had mentioned to Charles “Tex” Watson (charged with the seven Tate-LaBianca murders but fighting extradition in Texas) that she was going to South America with her husband and Melton using money Melton had inherited.
It was at this time Manson’s “inflammatory remark” allegedly was made.
The girl admitted under cross-examination that she had “slept with all the men at the ranch” but had “no special feeling for any person.”
In her testimony Thursday, Mrs. Kasabian said two days before she fled from Manson’s “family,” the hippie leader not only ordered her to kill a friend but gave her the knife with which to slit his throat.
Mrs. Kasabian, who admitted in an off-hand manner that she had used LSD “50 times in the past four years,” told the seven-man, five-woman jury that she foiled the murder attempt by knocking on the wrong door. But, in turn, Manson temporarily foiled her escape plans with family guards posted at their Spahn Ranch home.
Highlight of Mrs. Kasabian’s testimony Thursday, and the part that visibly disturbed Manson and his three girl followers — Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — came when the girl began telling of Manson’s “order” to kill a casual friend.
The thought came to the hippie chieftain, the girl said, as they strolled hand-in-hand on the beach, apparently near Redondo, while three of his other followers — Miss Krenwinkel, Miss Van Houten and Watson — were killing market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.
“Charlie asked if I knew anyone at the beach, and I said no. Then he said, ‘What about that man you and Sandy (Good) met…isn’t he a piggy?’ I said he’s an actor, and Charlie asked if the man would let me in…and would let my friends in. I said he would.”
“Ok, we’ll go then and you kill him,” the girl quoted Manson as saying.
Manson then gave her a pocket knife with which to do the job, and “started going about telling me how to do it,” she testified.
“I said ‘I’m not you…I can’t kill anyone’ …was very much afraid. He said ‘As soon as you see him slit his throat right away.’”
Manson then gave Clem Tufts, another family member, a gun and told him to shoot the actor, but instructed him if “anything goes wrong, don’t do it,” she said.
The actor, she said, was a man that had picked up her and Miss Good as they were hitchhiking. The meeting, she intimated, had been a casual one.
“We went to his apartment, had something to eat, took a shower and made love with him.”
She told the court Manson wanted to be shown where the man lived, and they walked into a Venice apartment building. But she said, she showed him the wrong door. Manson then planned how she, Tufts and Miss Atkins should do the killing, then left in his car, telling them to hitchhike back to the Spahn Ranch when they had completed the job.
When she took her two accomplices into the building, she said, she intentionally knocked on the wrong door, and when a men came to the door she said, “oops, wrong door” and the plan to kill was aborted.
En route back to the Spahn Ranch, she said, they got rid of the gun, stopped by the home of a friend Topanga Canyon, “sang and smoked some pot.”
The day after the murders, she testified, she decided to leave and hid a sleeping bag and some baby clothing, knowing Manson would not allow her to leave freely.
“I planned to leave that night, but there were people walking around — the guards — so I didn’t. In the morning Charlie told me to go to town and visit Bobby Beausoleil (a family member who has been convicted and sentenced to die for the murder of musician Gary Hinman), Sandy and Mary (Brunner, who has been given immunity for her testimony in the Beausoleil case). They were all in jail.”
She testified she couldn’t see them that day, so decided to pretend to visit them the next day, but, in fact, flee.
“I got dressed straight, fixed my hair and put on makeup, and went into the parachute room where Charlie was asleep with Stephanie, the new girl, I said goodby.”
When she ‘bid Manson farewell, she said, she intended to leave Los Angeles, but didn’t tell him because she was afraid to.
“I didn’t look for Tanya (her 2-year-old child) because she was with the whole family, and there was no way I could take her without being questioned. I knew I had to leave, but something within myself told me she would be alright and I could come back later and get her.”
She said she had picked up two hitchhikers the day before, and told them she had to get away from the much. They agreed to pay for the gas if she took them with her to New Mexico. The car broke down near Albuquerque, the two hitchhikers refused to pay the repair bill and the credit card she had, the mechanic discovered, was not valid, so she continued on foot to Taos, New Mexico.
“I wrote a letter to the family, though,” she said without a smile, “and enclosed the keys and told them where the car was and said it would cost $20 to get it out.”
The reason Taos was her destination, she said, was that her husband was there.
“I told him (her husband) that I witnessed those murders and told him Tanya was back there. He told me we had to go back, and I told him I was afraid we’d he killed.
“He was living with a girl named Susan, and wanted to send Susan back, but I said that wouldn’t work either. He said to give him a day and he’d think of something. I couldn’t stay with him because he was living with another woman, so I hitchhiked to Albuquerque and asked Joe Sage — he’s with the Zen Buddist Macro Biotic Retreat — for $100 to get back.”
Sage, she said, was told about the Sharon Tate murders and the fact the killers had her child, so he gave her the plane fare, but first called Manson to verify her statements.
“Charlie told him I’d flipped out…my ego was not ready to die…I’d run away.”
When she got to Los Angeles, she said she called the ranch looking for Manson, but reached Miss Krenwinkel instead.
“You just couldn’t wait to open your big mouth, could you?” she quoted the girl as saying.
She finally regained custody of her child, who had been placed in a Saugus, foster home when the family was arrested in a raid on the Spahn Ranch. With the little girl she hitchhiked to Florida to be with her father.
“I wanted to forget, but I saw newspapers and kept reading about it…I wanted to get in touch with you people,” she said nodding to the two deputy district attorneys handling the case, “or the relatives of the people killed, but I was too much afraid and too much pregnant.”
Instead, she went to her mother’s home in New Hampshire where she was arrested the next month.
During her direct testimony, Kasabian admitted taking LSD “50 times during the past four years,” and it was on this statement that the defense attorney zeroed in as cross examination opened.
Denying that it affected her thought processes, Mrs. Kasabian said she calls it “realization” and that she could remember the exact amount of times because “I can usually remember the exact trip.”
She also admitted using peyote, which she described as “a form of cactus…looks like a button…grows in Southern Texas…and is a hallucinogenic drug.”
“The sole impasse for taking it is for God realization,” she said, “but I realize you don’t have to take LSD or peyote to discover God.”
The first hallucinogenic she took, she said, was morning glory seeds, but followed that with LSD, peyote, mescaline, tsilocycin, and methedrine. She “passed up” STP, she said.
Although she admitted “dropping acid” at the Spahn Ranch only once, she said her last “trip” was on mescaline in September, a month after the killings.
By MARY NEISWENDER