Manson Complains He’s Being Mistreated in Jail
Thursday, August 20th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 20 – Charles Manson, accused of masterminding the brutal Tate-LaBianca murders, today complained he was being mistreated in county jail.
At a hearing preceding his trial on seven counts of murder and one of conspiracy, the self-styled guru charged his jailers’ treatment of him was tantamount to “kicking a dead man.”
“The mental aspects (of the treatment) is much more cruel than the physical. If you come in and beat someone, it’s over, with. But this every day, every day, every day mental treatment is too much,” Manson told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older.
In County jail fatigues, his long hair uncombed, Manson complained that he had to go through “a lot of confusion” even to talk to his attorney.
“Everything, including my words, are called contraband,” he said. “I’m not allowed to give anything written to my attorney unless officers read it. If I get a prospective witness we have to talk through a screen that you can’t see through. And it’s hard to communicate if you can’t see.”
Manson said he has been searched up to 26 times a day, including his mouth, ears, hair, armpits and private areas.
He said he is not allowed to keep pencils, paper, pens, paper clips and rubber bands in his cell, and at one time when he was in the “lockup” (solitary) he lost what privileges he had, including the use of a mattress and blanket.
His mail, he said, was not being delivered since he was brought from the new Central Jail to the downtown Los Angeles jail atop the Hall of Justice.
“I used to get 20 to 30 letters a week, now I get two or three,” Manson complained, adding “only the hate mail gets through!”
He said most of his letters are forwarded to the Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth where the Manson “family” lives and some are sent back with notes from the sheriff “not to write to me because I am a bad guy.”
The hearing was continued until 8:30 a.m., Friday, to allow the trial to continue on time.
As Manson stepped down, a friend of his, ranchhand John H. Swartz Jr., took the stand and the jury was brought in.
Swartz, the 12th witness in the trial, admitted he owned the car which the prosecution charges was used to take the murderers to the Tate home.
Wednesday, Linda Kasabian, the prosecution’s chief witness in the case, told newsmen after she finished 18 days on the stand, that she now plans to “get nearer to God” and hoped the four Manson “family” members her testimony could condemn would “fall on their knees and beg forgiveness.”
In a specially called news conference, at Los Angeles Police Department’s Parker Center, the soft-spoken hippie said she wanted to “go into the wilderness with my children — go back to nature.”
Sitting between her two attorneys who fended off questions that could bring contempt charges against her, the 21-year-old mother of two said she and her children would find a wilderness alone — without her husband, Bob. She will not go back to life in a commune, she said, because “now I can do my own thing.”
If she had her life to live over again, she said, she would “know people and myself a lot better” but her only regret is “that, this thing (the murders) ever happened.”
Her new-found freedom she claimed “is a state of mind” and her 18 days of testimony was a “form of punishment.”
Answering questions with even more caution than she did on the witness stand, Mrs. Kasabian said she no longer thinks policemen are pigs: “My experience now with policemen convinced me…that they are people.”
Mrs. Kasabian, who had her hair tied in pigtails and wore a new longsleeved orange dress with a pair of hippie-type moccasins, has been living in a downtown Los Angeles apartment since she was granted immunity. She has been guarded by three Los Angeles police officers.
The young hippie’s lengthy testimony ended in a flurry of courtroom confusion which subsided somewhat as other witnesses began parading to the witness stand.
Timothy Ireland, a graduate student and part-time teacher at the Westlake School for Girls, a half mile from the Benedict Canyon home of actress Sharon Tate, was the first to take the stand following Mrs. Kasabian.
Supervising a “sleep out” for 35 children at the school, Ireland said he heard a man screaming for 10 to 15 seconds “Oh, God, no…Please don’t…Oh God no…please don’t, don’t don’t…no no…” the night of the murders at the Tate home.
“I got up and ran around the camp to see if anything was going on at the camp area, woke up the supervisor to see if he had heard anything, and got in my car and drove around. But I saw nothing,” he testified.
He set the time at 12:40 a.m., based on the word of the supervisor, who looked at his watch, he said.
Under cross-examination, he admitted the time he originally told police was 1:30 a.m.
Stately, grey-haired Rudolf Weber, at whose home the prosecution claims, the four killers stopped to “wash off” with a garden hose, said he was awakened by “running water” about 1 a.m. and encountered four teen-agers in his front yard.
“When I came around the corner, I saw them and said, ‘Just what in the h-e-l-l are you doing?’ The man was sort of pleasant about it,” Weber testified. “He said ‘Hi…we’re just getting a drink of water.’ I saw a car parked in the middle of the street and said ‘Is that your car?’, but the man said ‘no, we were just walking’.”
But, the retired chief steward at the Brentwood Country Club testified solemnly, the four started walking towards the car and he followed, shining his flashlight on the license plate of the car.
“It was GYY435, and I wrote it down after I got home.”
Weber said, however, he failed to call police and several month’s later threw the paper away on which he had written the license number.
Shown a picture of the car believed used at the time of the killings, Weber could not identify it, claiming it “looked different.” He also said he could not identify the teen-agers, except that the man was tall – “about 6 feet, one inch or two” and one of the girls was small “less than five feet and about 16 years old.” Charles (Tex) Watson, now fighting extradition in Texas, is 6-feet, 1-inch tall, and Linda Kasabian, the shortest of those charged with being at the Tate home is slightly more than five feet tall. The youngest who prosecutors charge with being at the scene is Susan Atkins, who was 20 years old at the time.
University High School student Jim Asin, who called police to the Tate home after the maid found the bodies and came running from the estate screaming, was the final witness as court ended Wednesday.
By MARY NEISWENDER