• Manson Trial Opens; Defense Asks Dismissal

Manson Trial Opens; Defense Asks Dismissal

LOS ANGELES, Jun. 15 – Direct violation of court orders, including the release to news media of evidence, and a new motive for the Tate – LaBianca murders, was expected to be alleged today by defense attorneys as the legally snarled case of murder against Charles Manson and three members of his “family” opened in Los Angeles Superior Court.

In a motion for dismissal of charges against all defendants, attorney Paul Fitzgerald was expected to argue that because the prosecutors “laid out their entire case” to a magazine writer — directly violating the court gag order — none of the defendants can get a fair trial, since the prospective jurors would be influenced by the article.

The article, which appeared in a hippie-type tabloid, apparently was a tape-recorded interview with one of the prosecuting attorneys. The trial was scheduled to begin with jury selection this afternoon, following an in-chamber conference between the judge and all attorneys.

The newly alleged motive for the murder of actress Sharon Tate and six others, including Leno LaBianca, hinges on the killing of musician Gary Hinman by Robert Beausoleil, a member of Manson’s “family,” according to the interview.

Manson’s only chance to help Beausoleil was to show the actual murderer of the Topanga Canyon musician was still at large. Beausoleil had called Manson from county jail following his arrest for the Hinman murder and informed him “he had said nothing,” the article said.

Because of this friendship, Manson ordered Charles V. Watson and three girls to go to the home of Terry Melcher on Cielo Drive and kill anyone they found there, the prosecutor said. Most important, Manson indicated that they leave a sign, similar to the one, “political piggy,” left at the Hinman home, according to the article.

Susan Atkins, one of the defendants, wrote the word, “pig” on the door of the Tate home. “Political pig” was written in blood also at the LaBianca home, the article indicated.

Never-published details revealed in the article included the facts that a fork was left sticking in LaBianca’s stomach, a knife in his neck and pillow cases were placed over his head.

The prosecutor admitted in the article that the district attorney’s case was not strong in the LaBianca’s deaths, and all they were depending on was the testimony of Miss Atkins and later Linda Kasabian, who is now a witness for the prosecution.

Also never revealed to the general public was that the clothing worn and later discarded by the Tate killers had been traced to another member if the Manson “family.”

Catherine Share, the prosecutor said, purchased the clothing. The blood on the clothing has been identified as that of the victims at the Tate house.

The entire article is being cited by Fitzgerald in an attempt to get Judge Charles Older to dismiss the charges.

Just picking a jury for the Tate-LaBianca murder trial may take three weeks or a month because of extensive pretrial publicity and an expected defense tactic of challenging the state’s jury selection system. The prosecution and the defense will be able to dismiss without explanation 40 tentatively seated jurors each.

The prosecution has more than 75 witnesses that it plans to call, and it is not uncommon to hear predictions at the Hall of Justice that the trial may go on as long as two years.

Manson, an ex-convict and head of a “family” of drifters, most of them girls fleeing unhappy home lives, is accused with four codefendants of murdering Miss Tate and four other persons in an isolated home in the Hollywood Hills last Aug. 9.

Members of a group who testified before a grand jury late last year said Manson was considered a “guru” and that his charismatic charm allowed him to exercise almost complete control over his followers. One girl, now a defendant, said that she was under “a hypnotic spell” at the time of the killing.

Manson and his band are also charged with the killing of LaBianca, a wealthy supermarket chain owner, and his wife in their Los Angeles home the day after the Tate slayings.

Others killed with Miss Tate were Jay Sebring, 35, a hairdresser; Abigail Folger, a coffee heiress; Voyteck Frykowski, 36, Polish producer and writer; and Steven Parent, 18.

The defendants in the Tate case, in addition to Manson, are Miss Atkins, 21; Miss Kasabian, 20; Patricia Krenwinkel, 21; and Watson, 24. Watson is now in custody in Texas and is fighting extradition. The Texas Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear his extradition plea Tuesday.

All the defendants are also charged with the LaBianca murders along with an additional young woman, Leslie Van Houten, 19. Manson, Miss Atkins and a third person, Bruce Davis, 26, who is still at large, have also been indicted for the Hinman killing.


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