Manson on Stand Seeking End to ‘Jail Harassment’
Thursday, August 13th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 13 – Hippie leader Charles Manson, his long hair uncombed and his shirt-tail hanging to his knees, took the witness stand today in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial to seek release from what he charged was “harassment” in county jail.
But all the accused murder-mastermind had a chance to do was spell his name.
Manson, through his attorney, Irving Kanarek, had charged that he was being mistreated in jail by being forced to undress seven times a day, made to walk back and forth until he was exhausted, view his visitors through a double screen and was not allowed to keep even pencils in his cell.
The hearing on his motion to halt the harassment, was brought to a halt when Kanarek charged that the sheriff could not be represented by the district attorney’s office but should be represented by the county counsel.
When Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older indicated the hearing should be delayed a week to allow the county counsel to enter the case. Kanarek attempted vainly to withdraw his objections.
Meanwhile, Linda Kasabian, in an in-chambers session, had seven counts of murder and one of conspiracy against her dropped, enabling her to walk from the courtroom today a free woman.
The 21-year-old mother of two, however, resumed the stand for the 14th straight day, answering questions mostly on drugs and their effect on her.
Shortly after the dismissal of charges against the former Manson “family” member, there was a short ceremony in which her jail bracelet was snipped off her wrist. Her attorneys said they would take her to lunch at a downtown restaurant and try to “set up” a press conference.
Under questioning by defense attorney Ronald Hughes, she admitted that when smoking marijuana one day she has difficulty remembering later what happened that day.
“Sometimes grass takes you to a state of nothingness — just bliss,” she said, in extolling the virtues of marijuana.
She said she searched for truth through drugs — mainly LSD – and some of the drug-truths she still believes. What she doesn’t believe, she said, is that Manson is still Jesus Christ. She said she stopped thinking he was the Messiah during the killings at the Tate home.
Questioning of Mrs. Kasabian on the drug aspects of the case appeared to bore the jury. They stopped taking notes and two dozed in their chairs.
Wednesday, Mrs. Kasabian, the prosecution’s star witness, testified under cross-examination that when she leaves jail she won’t use drugs again because she no longer needs them “to get high.”
“I get high without drugs by closing my eyes and just meditating,” she said.
It was not drugs, she claimed, that made her participate in the murders at the Benedict Canyon home of actress Sharon Tate, but the “power” hippie leader Charles Manson had over her.
“I just wanted to do anything and everything for him…because I loved him…he made me feel good…he was just beautiful…he never lied to me”
As far as her feelings now about Manson and the three girl defendants with him, she says she feels only “compassion”.
“I wish they would get up here and do what I’m doing tell the truth,” she said.
While a member of Manson’s “family” at the Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth, she testified, she “had delusions.”
“One was that Charlie was Jesus Christ…another was that I had to hide from my husband. Practically the whole trip that was laid out was a delusion,” she said.
By MARY NEISWENDER