Manson’s New Pleas Are Heard
Wednesday, May 27th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, May 27 – Motions to change attorneys, suppress evidence, and throw out the whole case against accused murder mastermind Charles Manson and three of his female followers were heard in Los Angeles Superior Court today in a confusing pre-trial court session.
With seven attorneys present and two others and a Superior Court judge subpoenaed to testify, the hearing resembled a stage show rather than an austere multi-murder trial.
Manson and his followers are accused of the murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others at her Benedict Canyon Estates home last Aug. 9, and the slayings the next day of wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife in their Los Feliz home.
Clean-shaven and appearing pale and gaunt, the hippie leader was sullen when he entered the courtroom for what was to be a routine substitution of attorneys. Meanwhile, three of his female followers, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Susan Atkins, smiled and waved to family members in an animated get-together as they awaited the appearance of their leader.
Judge Charles Older, who attempted to keep decorum, several times shouted at attorney Irving Kanarek to “sit down.” Kanarek attempted to substitute himself for attorney Ronald Hughes in defense of Manson and later attempted to get permission for Manson to defend himself.
After listening to Manson argue that he was qualified to defend himself, Judge Older ruled that the defendant was “hopelessly inadequate” to represent himself in a “case of this complexity.”
Judge Older also refused to recognize Kanarek as Manson’s new attorney despite the fact that the lawyer had said it was a substitution of “mutual consent” and was not subject to denial by the court.
Judge Older asked Kanarek to take the stand and be sworn in the substitution of attorney plea, but Kanarek refused, shouting that Deputy Dist. Atty. Aaron Stovitz, one of the prosecutors, maligned him in the press and that his rights would be violated if he acceded to the judge’s wishes.
The motion for substitution was delayed until Monday.
Defense attorneys for the three female defendants offered a series of motions. A minor one was granted and the others delayed.
By MARY NEISWENDER