Manson Pal’s Jury Hears of Cries
Friday, August 6th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 6 — A jury was assured yesterday that the screams heard by Miss Barbara Hoyt came from the missing Donald J. “Shorty” Shea, the cowboy actor for whose murder Steve Grogan, 20, a Charles Manson followers on trial.
Miss Hoyt, 19, under cross examination by defense attorney Charles V. Weedman said it was not possible that she had mistaken the neighing of horses at California’s Spahn movie ranch for the cries of a human voice.
She told a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court she was certain that the voice she heard was that of Shea. The same night in August 1969 that she heard the screams, Miss Hoyt said, she had prepared Shea’s hamburger dinner.
Miss Hoyt explained that she and other members of the Manson family frequently cooked for cowboys employed at the ranch.
When the defense lawyer asked her if she also prepared hamburger for the Manson group, the witness replied that they did not eat meat.
Miss Hoyt said she left the Manson family in September 1969, but has associated with its members since. She admitted that in September 1970 she had engaged in sexual relations with Grogan.
The witness also admitted that, when she heard Manson say Shea had committed suicide “with a little help from us” and that Shea’s body had been cut into nine pieces, she had not believed Manson. At the time, she added, it did,not occur to her to associate Manson’s remarks with the screams she had heard the night before.
No threats against Shea were made in her presence, Miss Hoyt said, but in Shea’s absence Manson and others frequently talked about Shea.
“Everyone was careful about what was said in Shorty’s presence,” Miss Hoyt testified. “They did not talk to him. They just stared at him.”
Miss Hoyt said she could remember no blood on Manson’s clothing when he announced Shea’s “suicide” but she did recall that Manson was carrying a knife.
In previous testimony, she said Manson and his followers regarded Shea as a police informer, feared that he would try to evict them from the ranch and resented his having married a black woman.