Manson Holds Jail Conference With Girl Co-Defendant
Friday, March 6th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 6 – Susan Denise Atkins met with her co-defendant Charles Manson, for an hour and 15 minutes Thursday in Los Angeles but declined to reveal much of what occurred.
After she left the meeting at County Jail, she told newsmen, “he (Manson) said I looked good.”
She said ”as of the moment” Richard Caballero still is her attorney.
There was speculation that the two defendants would discuss the possibility of Miss Atkins getting another attorney or representing herself.
Manson, 35, and Miss Atkins, 21, and three of Manson’s hippie clan are charged with the slayings last Angust of seven persons, including actress Sharon Tate. Another defendant is charged only with two of the slayings.
Newsmen asked Miss Atkins if Manson had advised her or commanded her to do anything.
She replied, “Charlie doesn’t advise — Charlie never commands.”
Caballero, who accompanied her during the meeting with Manson was more explicit about what had been discussed.
Mainly, he said, “He (Manson) told her he wants her to do what she wants to do.”
The attorney said Manson did not discuss Miss Atkins’ retaining another attorney.
Caballero explained that the three of them discussed various ways of conducting the murder trial, scheduled for March 30.
The lawyer noted that “he’s (Manson) giving different weight than I do to different evidence.”
Part of this, Caballero explained, is the role Miss Atkins will play in the defense.
The young woman reportedly was a principal witness before the county grand jury that indicted the defendants last December.
Caballero said whether or not he remains Miss Atkins’ attorney will depend on her decision to let him handle her defense as he sees fit.
Newsmen asked Caballero if he believes the prosecution could get a conviction against her without her testimony at the trial.
“Yes, if the evidence is left unexplained,” Caballero replied, referring apparently to the necessity of Miss Atkins taking the stand.
The meeting took place at a long table, with a partition in the middle. Caballero and Miss Atkins sat on one side, and Manson on the other.
Caballero said when the two defendants first came face tn face, they “laughed most of the time.”
He said they were “both very joyful.”
It was the first meeting between Manson and Miss Atkins since their arrests last fall.
Caballero said a portion of the conversation between the two was each asking the other how each had been treated in jail.
The attorney commented that the conversation then turned to a discussion of mutual friends, and later a discussion of the case.
According to Caballero, the discussion also turned to the other co-defendants.
“He (Manson) would like to see all of them,” the attorney said.
In earlier court proceedings, Manson successfully requested that he be allowed to interview his co-defendants, with their consent, in the preparation of his defense. He is acting as his own attorney.
Caballero said there were various details of the meeting he could not discuss, apparently because of their confidential attorney-client nature.
He said he would consent to another meeting between the pair if he is present.
Although it was a face-to-face meeting between Miss Atkins and Manson. Caballero said, they did not touch, embrace or kiss.
Miss Atkins, who usually wears colorful feminine outfits in her court appearances, was attired in a simple denim jail dress.
A few newsmen caught a glimpse of Manson, who wore similar jail attire. He carried a cardboard folder and his long hair was unkempt as usual.
After the meeting with Manson, Miss Atkins was escorted from the jail by one male and one female deputy to a sheriff’s patrol car which returned her to Sybil Brand Institute.
Susan Atkins heading into the Central Jail to meet with Charles Manson