Manson Defense Hits Use of Shell Casings
Friday, September 11th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 11 – The defense in the Sharon Tate murder trial Thursday tried to stop the state from introducing as evidence gun shell casings which the prosecution says were found at the Spahn Ranch, one-time headquarters for Charles M. Manson and his hippie-style clan.
In a hearing outside the presence of the jury, defense attorneys claimed the shell casings were illegally seized without a search warrant.
Superior Court Judge Charles Older denied the first suppression of evidence motion by Daye Shinn, attorney for defendant Susan Atkins.
However, he allowed attorneys for the other three defendants —Manson, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel — to continue arguments and questioning on their similar motions to suppress the evidence.
Manson and his three followers are charged with murder-conspiracy in the death of Miss Tate and six others early in August 1969.
A homicide detective, Sgt. Robert Calkins testified that he went to the suburban ranch Nov. 19, 1969, along with six police officers and a member of the district attorney’s staff.
He said they obtained verbal permission from owner George Spahn to search the ranch—and even had Spahn repeat the permission into a tape recorder.
But, Calkins added that now he can’t find the tape.
Manson’s attorney, Irving Kanarek, asked: “Are you telling us that the Los Angeles police department, in this case, which it has termed so fantastic in importance…that they lost this tape?”
The prosecution objected to this as “argumentative and absurd” and the judge sustained the objection.
Calkins said he would search further for the tape, saying: “It has not disappeared. I just can’t locate it at this time.”