Monday D-Day for Manson
Saturday, February 7th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7 – Hippie “high priest” Charles Manson, charged with masterminding the slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others, will appear in Los Angeles Superior Court Monday for setting of a trial date.
Haggard, disheveled and complaining he isn’t getting his constitutional rights, Manson was taken before Judge Malcolm Lucas Friday in at attempt to secure dismissal of the one conspiracy and seven murder charges filed against him in the Tate and Leno LaBianca cases. The judge denied both motions.
Manson, wearing rumpled faded blue denim jail clothes, his long hair uncombed, admitted he was “nervous” as he attempted to get his motion for dismissal before the court. His “nervousness” apparently stemmed from his problems in the County jail.
Sheriff’s officials reported the long-haired leader of the hippie cult charged with the Tate-LaBianca massacres refused to come out of his cell when ordered to do so at 5 a.m. Friday.
Manson, officials indicated, said he “did not want to eat breakfast.” Jail rules require prisoners report to the dining room whether or not they eat. Sheriff’s officials said he will remain in solitary confinement for five days.
In the short hearing Friday, Manson appeared a far cry from the confident, brightly garbed hippie leader who appeared in court before. He spoke softly, appeared near tears at one time and another almost shouted.
He claimed the Grand Jury transcript, presented to him at a previous court appearance, has nothing in it that could possibly convict him of murder.
The Grand Jury indictment, he said was brought about by “one frightened girl’s testimony.”
“She said I played the guitar. She said I told her to do what Tex said. I only tell people to do what they want to do. There is nothing bad about me in the whole transcript.”
Judge Lucas said he read and considered Manson’s motion to dismiss seven murder charges and one conspiracy charge against him, also his writ of habeas corpus, but before he could continue Manson tried to interrupt.
“You may speak when the court finishes, Mr. Manson,” Judge Lucas said.
At one point Manson was almost on the verge of tears when he was asked to further argue points of law by Judge Lucas.
“I have no pencil. I have no law books. I just came from solitary confinement. And I guess I’m a bit nervous.”
Manson initially withdrew a motion to dismiss the charges but later argued for their dismissal.
At one point in the short hearing, he raised his voice in anger when Dep. Dist. Atty. Aaron Stovitz objected to “lay persons assisting him.”
The lay people apparently were Manson’s cellmates in the pro per tank.
“I’m contending that this indictment is illegal,” he said, raising his voice but remaining seated at the counsel table.
“The obtaining of the indictment was unconstitutional. If a man can take one person’s testimony and drag him before the world…because one girl said something bad about some guy they crucified me in the news media.
“This man,” Manson said pointing to Stovitz, “can take a girl’s testimony with not one fact in it and get an indictment. The only reason she told the story was because she was afraid of losing her baby.”
The judge’s denial of the two motions brought Manson’s angry statement, “Well, let’s go for Monday. That’s a good day for a trial.”
Manson was brought into court again Friday afternoon when Leslie Van Houten, one of his followers who is charged only with the slayings of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca, changed attorneys. As principal in the ease, Manson is entitled to witness all pertinent proceedings.
Manson and Miss Van Houten, 19, gazed at each other during the brief proceeding and grinned broadly. At times, Manson made clowning faces at the pretty, dark-haired teenager. Miss Van Houten giggled.
Meanwhile, it was reported that Manson may be maneuvering to have all six defendants represented by one attorney, and thus perhaps block one from testifying against another.
In Denver, attorney Francis Salazar said, “I have been talking to Manson and some of the other people. Well, it’s kind of vogue, but there is a possibility I will represent not only Manson but the others involved.”
He said he had been to Los Angeles to talk with Manson and others on more than one occasion, “I was requested to talk to them,” he added.
He said he would be in Los Angeles Monday and might have definite word by the middle of next week.
Salazar, who has been practicing law in Denver since 1951, said virtually all of his cases are criminal cases.
Susan Bartell, 19, was arrested on a traffic warrant Friday outside the Hall of Justice while en route with a group of friends to the Manson hearing.
Sheriff’s deputies took Miss Bartell into custody to answer the traffic warrant for which bail was $34.
Also in the group was Catherine Meyers, 22, whose grandmother owns the land in Death Valley where Manson and his followers lived at the time of his arrest last October on auto-theft charges.
By MARY NEISWENDER