Manson Jurors Sworn in, Sequestered Immediately
Thursday, July 16th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 16 – A jury today had been selected and sworn in for the Charles Manson murder trial. It was told almost immediately that panel-members will be sequestered.
The confinement of the jury, ordered by trial Judge Charles H. Older, came as a shock to most of the seven men and five women sitting on the panel.
It first was believed Judge Older would not order the jury confined to a hotel until after six alternate panel members had been selected and sworn in.
One of the defense attorneys, however, reportedly asked the Judge in chambers if the jury could be sequestered right away. The Judge went along with the idea and made the announcement.
Selection of the alternate jurors had gotten under way, meanwhile, with two of eight persons called excused.
There was no telling how long selection of the alternatives would take. It took five weeks — or 20 court days — to choose the jury itself.
A total of 141 prospective jurors were questioned and 129 of those excused during the long and tedious selection process.
Judge Older made the decision to sequester the jury before the trial began.
He wants the jurors and alternates kept away from news reports about the celebrated case and the trial.
Manson, 35-year-old leader of a nomadic band, is the alleged mastermind of the murders last August of actress Sharon Tate and six others.
On trial with him are three of his female companions, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins are charged with conspiracy and all seven murders. Leslie Van Houten faces the conspiracy charge and two murder counts.
Miss Tate and four of the victims were killed Aug. 9 at the Benedict Canyon estate rented by the actress and her husband, film director Roman Polanski. Wealthy market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary were slain the following day at their Los Feliz area home.
Miss Van Houten is accused only of the LaBianca killings.
The three young women have remained light-hearted and cheerful during much of the trial.
Manson and his followers frequently appear unconcerned that they are on trial for their lives.
Manson sometimes clowns for the young women and they giggle when he whispers to them at the counsel table. All three listen attentively.
All four defendants appear the happiest when the remaining members of the so-called “Manson family” visit the courtroom.
What there is left of the family lives at its stronghold, the Spahn Ranch near Chatsworth.
That was the base of operations for the cult when the Tate-LaBianca murders occurred. Manson later moved his group to the desert in Inyo County, where he was arrested.
The swearing-in of the jury came after trial Judge Older asked each of the 12 panel members if they could act “impartially and fairly.” Each said he could.
Although the average age of the jury is about 45 , individual jurors ranged from a man in his late 20s to one who is 74.
The jurors who will decide whether Manson and the others are guilty of the murder are:
Mrs. Thelma McKenzie, Commerce, a Dept. of Public Social Services employe; Mrs. Shirley Evans, a secretary for the city schools; William Mc Bride, Whittier, a chemical reactor operator: Alva Dawson, a retired deputy sheriff; Mrs. Jean Roseland, El Segundo, a secretary for Trans-World Airlines and Anlee Sisto, La Mirada, an electrical technician.
Also, William Zamora, a division of highways engineer; Miss Marie Mesmer, Los Angeles, a former drama critic; John Baer, an electrical tester for the Dept. of Water and Power: Mrs. Evelyn Hinez, Highland Park, an insurance company secretary; Walter Vitzelio, a retired security guard and Herman Tubick, a mortician.