Manson Complaining Of Barbaric Treatment
Thursday, August 13th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 13 – Charles M. Manson complained today of “unjust and barbaric treatment” by jail officers, saying he is searched and forced to walk until exhausted.
He added in a “cease and desist” motion at the Sharon Tate murder trial that he and his attorney have to interview prospective witnesses through a thick mesh screen that makes vision difficult, and a deputy sits so close he can hear even whispered conversations.
Meanwhile, as expected, charges were dropped against Linda Kasabian, who won immunity from prosecution for her testimony as the state’s star witness. She emerged smiling from a session in the judge’s chambers where the seven counts of murder and one of conspiracy were dismissed. She was expected to be out of jail and into a hotel room later in the day, then leave town after completing her testimony some time this week.
Manson’s attorney presented the “desist” motions before the regular court session. Manson himself took the stand to testify but, after taking the oath and giving his name, said no further word — the hearing was postponed a week after the judge ruled that the sheriff’s department needed an attorney.
The prosecution in the case was prepared to represent the department but the defense objected, saying the attorney for the sheriff should be neutral. The judge ordered the county counsel’s office to provide a man.
Manson in a declaration accompanying the motion said “several times daily I am forced to completely disrobe to nudity then forced to dress, becoming alternately nude and dressed . . . As frequently as six or seven times a day each of my body cavities is searched. I am forced to walk to and fro in a hallway until I am completely exhausted.”
The bearded, hippie-type clan leader, who came to court barefoot and in jail denims, was joined in the motion by his three women co-defendants, who said they have to talk to visitors through a screen and want it removed.
The Manson motion preceded resumption of testimony by Miss Kasabian, who has been asked a strange series of questions that a lawyer says were written out by Manson’s three girl disciples.
The questions included: “Are you in such a state of mind you could sit on a rock for the rest of your life and be happy? …What is love? …What is reality?…Is God reality? …What do you think of the defendants?… Do you accept yourself?”
The 21-year-old mother of two did not have to answer most of the questions, however, because prosecution objections to them were sustained.
Later she burst into laughter for the first time in 13 days on the stand when Hughes asked her about a substance that, she said she thought was catnip.
Hughes said the questions he asked before the laughter incident were framed for him by defendants Susan Atkins, 21, Patricia Krenwinkel, 22, and Leslie Van Houten, 20, who are on trial with Charles Manson on murder-conspiracy charges.
The girls giggled as their questions were asked, and just before court recessed Wednesday they were observed thumbing through transcripts of the day’s testimony, presumably reading their own questions.
“The girls worked on some questions they wanted to ask and they gave them to me over the lunch hour,” said Hughes, who is handling his first case. ‘I asked all of their questions; now I’m asking my own.”
Gusts of laughter swept the courtroom at one point as Hughes produced a small plastic bag filled with a green leafy substance. The judge hastily called a bench conference. Then Hughes handed the bag to Mrs. Kasabian.
She looked puzzled and said, “It looks like really refined marijuana with a lot of stems.”
Hughes asked her to smell the substance, and she burst into laughter, exclaiming, “No, I believe it’s catnip.”
Hughes didn’t say why he gave it to the witness.
All of Hughes’ questions related to drugs. He went through long lists of names, asking Mrs. Kasabian which ones she had taken.
She said she had tried marijuana, LSD, THC, methedrine, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, morning glory seeds, amyl nitrate, the cough syrup Romilar.
Mrs. Kasabian said in direct testimony that she experimented with hallucinogenic drugs
while living in a series of hippie-type communes. However, she has denied that she was on
drugs during the week in August 1969 when Miss Tate and six others were slain.
Mrs. Kasabian has been granted immunity from prosecution in the slayings for telling
her story. She says clan leader Manson ordered several followers — including the three women
— on the killing missions.
Hughes started questioning after Manson’s lawyer, Irving Kanarek, ended his eight-day cross-examination of Mrs. Kasabian. Hughes began by asking whether the atmosphere of me Manson “family” headquarters – a movie ranch – lent an air of unreality.
Mrs. Kasabian said members sometimes family played roles such as hillbillies or cowboys and Indians. “Yeah, it was sort of a cowboy trip (life style) … The whole trip was a delusion.”
Asked if she had other, “delusions,” she said she did, and one of them was that Manson was Jesus Christ. Later, she said, she decided Manson was “the devil, a devilish man.”
Asked what she thought of the four defendants seated at the counsel table, Mrs. Kasabian said, “I have compassion for them. I wish they were up here doing what I’m doing, telling the truth.”
In ending his cross-examination, Irving Kanarek, Manson’s attorney, elicited from Mrs. Kasabian the admission that she stole $5,000 then joined Manson’s nomadic clan seeking refuge.
Mrs. Kasabian said she took the $5,000 in July 1969 from Charles Melton, a friend of her husband who lived with the Kasabians in the back of a truck. She said Melton received the money as an inheritance but “I thought it was for all of us.”
The petite Mrs. Kasabian, who previously testified she joined Manson’s clan after a rift with her husband, said she took the money after she met a Manson “family” member and discussed joining.
The witness said she gave the money to Manson clan members.
Prosecutors said no charges were filed in connection with the $5,000 and none are expected.
By LINDA DEUTSCH