‘Manson Girl’ Pleads Innocent to Slayings
Wednesday, March 4th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 4 – Patricia Krenwinkel, the fifth of six nomadic hippies charged with the murder of actress Sharon Tate and six others, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the crime after she was denied the right to act as her own attorney.
Appearing in the Los Angeles Superior Courtroom of Judge George Dell, the 22-year-old ex-college student admitted she had never before defended herself in court, never even observed a jury trial or studied any law.
”l do realize the severity of the crimes with which I am charged,” she told the jurist as she stood quietly before the bench, “but there are a lot of complexities in this case and I don’t want to give up my voice.”
“That somehow sounds like what Charles Manson said and he was standing about 10 feet away from where you’re standing when he said it,” Judge Dell answered. “Were those words suggested by him?”
“No, they weren’t,” the girl replied.
Judge Dell, who questioned the long-haired girl on points of law before making his decision not to allow her to act as her own attorney, said he felt “the defendant does not have the competence to defend herself” and if allowed to do so, “would result in severe prejudice to herself.”
Public Defender Paul Fitzgerald, who had been ordered by the court to discuss the case with the girl in jail, was appointed to defend her, he had earlier said there would be no conflict of interest in the public defender’s office acting as her attorney.
Fitzgerald, as soon as the girl had answered “not guilty” to the indictment charges read by Deputy District Attorney Aaron Stovitz, requested a hearing date for two motions. He said he will ask dismissal of the charges because of lack of sufficient evidence and a change of venue to another county.
Both motions will be heard March 10 in Dept. 106, Los Angeles.