Manson Jury Chosen
Monday, July 13th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 13 – A jury to hear the Tate-LaBianca massacre murder case against cult leader Charles Manson and three of his girl followers will be sworn in Tuesday, it was learned today.
The five-woman, seven-man panel selected in four weeks, was excused today to allow attorneys to argue pretrial motions.
Although not officially accepted today by the prosecution, the jury had been accepted by defense attorneys Friday, and prosecutors indicated at that time they “might” also accept the panel.
Following close-door sessions between attorneys and the judge, it was indicated today the panel was acceptable to all.
Prosecutor’s had exercised 10 peremptory challenges and the defense had exercised 6. However, 141 jurors were questioned and 129 excused, mostly for economic or personal hardship reasons, during the lengthy process.
Thirty-five of the jurors had been eliminated because they admitted that pre-trial publicity had influenced them. Another 13 claimed they were opposed to the death penalty, which the prosecution will ask for all four defendants.
Much of the questioning of the prospective jurors was held in secret, on orders of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older, who is hearing the case. The secret sessions were ordered because of the possible influence on other jurors during questioning, Judge Older explained.
Argued today were motions for a change of venue, also based on pre-trial publicity, and a challenge both to the petit (trial) and grand jury systems. All were expected to be denied by Judge Older.
Following formal swearing in of the jury Tuesday morning, selection of six alternates is expected to take up the rest of this week.
Opening argument by the prosecution probably will begin Monday. Deputy Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi said the argument will last a half hour. Defense attorneys indicated they would attempt to reserve their opening remarks for a later time.
The first witnesses on the stand are expected to be the coroner’s deputies and investigators who first viewed the five bodies strewn at the home and grounds of the Sharon Tate residence in Benedict Canyon last Aug. 8, and the bodies of wealthy market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in the Los Feliz home the next day.
Expected early on the stand also is Linda Kasabian, 20-year-old novice member of Manson’s hippie cult who has turned state’s evidence in return for immunity.
Charged with Manson for the murders at the Tate home are Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel. The two girls and Manson, together with Leslie Van Houten, also are charged with the LaBianca murders. All are charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
A sixth member of Manson’s “family,” Charles Watson, is still fighting extradition in Texas.
By MARY NEISWENDER