Prosecutor Final Summation Calls Manson a ‘Warped Megalomaniac’
Friday, January 15th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 15 – Labeling hippie leader Charles Manson a “megalomaniac…with a warped and frenzied mind,” the prosecutor in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial ended his final summation today. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury was expected to begin deliberations later today.
In his third day of summation, Deputy Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi compared the long-haired hippie leader and his love of animals to Adolph Hitler who “was very solicitous of his dog, Blondie, while writing the bloodiest chapters of world history.
“When Charlie Manson says he loves animals and thinks nothing of snuffing out the lives of seven human beings, he’s in good company.”
Then, methodically citing the evidence against Manson, Bugliosi pointed but that star prosecution witness Linda Kasabian’s testimony directly implicated him.
The rope which was found at the Tate home, tying two of the victims together, was believed part of a three-strand nylon rope bought by Manson, Bugliosi said.
He added that the revolver that killed Steven Parent, one of the Tate victims, and which was used in the murders of Voityck Frykowski and Jay Sebring, not only came from the Spahn Ranch headquarters of the “family” but belonged to Manson.
Bugliosi pointed out that testimony showed that Manson borrowed the car used in the killings and was at the ranch not only to send off the killers but to greet them when they returned.
Manson’s “intimidation” of several witnesses, Bugliosi said, showed a consciousness of guilt.
“In a reckless moment, he (Manson) put a knife to Juan Flynn’s throat and said, ‘You SOB, don’t you know that I’m the one who’s doing all these killings?’ That’s a confession.” (Flynn, a prosecution witness, was a cowhand at the Spahn Ranch.)
Then turning to the motive for the killings, which the prosecution has claimed was to foment a black-while race war, the prosecutor claimed that the hippie leader’s philosophy of life and the motive for the murders were “one and the same.
“These murders are incredibly bizarre. And the man who masterminded them — Charles Manson likewise had a strange and bizarre mind. He had a fanatical obsession and mania for helter-skelter. In his warped and frenzied mind helter-skelter was his vehicle for death that he could ride to unlimited power.
“The motive is far out, bizarre, strange, wild and unbelievable. I’ll stipulate to that. But look at the murders. As bizarre as these murders are they wouldn’t have the usual garden variety motive.”
Thursday, a bosomy blonde “apprentice witch,” shouting that the prosecution had “bribed, coerced and threatened witnesses,” brought a new kind of chaos to the case.
Juli Shapiro, who at one time claimed to be a protege of Hollywood mystic, Morlock the Warlock, interrupted Bugliosi’s closing arguments when she stood up near the rear of the courtroom and shouted that the prosecutor was lying.
Bugliosi, in the second day of his summation, was defending the credibility of his star witness. Miss Kasabian, claiming she couldn’t possibly have made up the details of the grisly murders, when the girl jumped up.
“That’s not true,” she shouted. “I have proof that the prosecution has coerced the key witnesses.”
As bailiffs, on orders of Judge Charles Older, rushed to her side and pulled her from her place in a back row of the spectators’ section, she continued to shout:
“The prosecution has bribed, coerced and threatened key witnesses in this case, and I have proof!”
The girl was taken, handcuffed, from the courtroom and later returned to court to be sentenced to five days in jail for “disorderly and disruptive conduct.”
The 19-year-old girl had been ejected from the courtroom early in the trial for coming to court, bra-less and in a seethrough blouse. She also had a buck-knife which was confiscated during another court appearance.
The Chicago native, who was not allowed to speak with newsmen, said, however, that she made her statements “because these people (the prosecution) haven’t got a case.” She intimated later that one witness was paid a $25,000 bribe to testify.
It was the second disruption of the courtroom by a young woman in the past two weeks. On Dec. 31, free-lance artist Nancy Jo Davis interrupted the summation of a defense attorney to claim she came to “defend my brother — Charles Manson.” She was also jailed for contempt.
Bugliosi’s closing statement has been interrupted frequently by objections from defense counsel as well as from Manson.
The prosecutor outlined the evidence against each of the four defendants on trial — Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — and a fifth defendant. Charles “Tex” Watson, also charged with the crimes but not on trial. He is currently confined to Atascadero State Hospital as insane.
Bugliosi told jurors that Linda Kasabian testified she saw Watson shoot and kill Parent and kill Frykowski, both victims at the home of actress Sharon Tate. Watson’s fingerprint also was found on the front door of the home.
Miss Krenwinkel, the prosecutor pointed out, was implicated by Mrs. Kasabian, who testified that she was with Miss Atkins and Watson when they went to the Tate residence and that Miss Krenwinkel was in the group that was “dropped off” in front of the LaBianca home.
“Linda Kasabian saw Patricia Krenwinkel stabbing and chasing Abigail Folger.” Bugliosi said, adding sarcastically, “And then Katie complained about her hand hurting because her knife struck bone and the handle hurt her hand…dainty, innocent, sweet Patricia Krenwinkel.”
Bugliosi also pointed out that the girl’s fingerprint was found in the Tate bedroom, and that she had told prosecution witness Diane Lake that she dragged Miss Folger from the bedroom to the living room. The prosecutor added that the refusal of the girl to give samples of her handwriting when ordered to do so by the judge showed a “consciousness of guilt.”
Susan Atkins, Bugliosi said, was not only placed at the Tate residence by Mrs. Kasabian but also “confessed” to three people, and wrote letters to others implicating herself. Another prosecution witness, Barbara Hoyt, also testified, the deputy district attorney said, that Miss Atkins had asked for three sets of dark clothing on the night the LaBianca’s were killed, adding that still another witness, Juan Flynn, testified she said “We’re going to get those — pigs” before leaving the Spahn Ranch.
Leslie Van Houten, only charged with the LaBianca killings, was placed, the prosecutor said, in front of the home by Mrs. Kasabian’s testimony and was quoted by Miss Lake as saying she “stabbed a dead body and wiped off fingerprints.”
“We’re talking about savages here,” Bugliosi shouted at the five-man, seven-woman jury, “not human beings.”
Then turning to Manson, whom he called a “vicious cold-blooded murderer,” Bugliosi claimed he is “like a chameleon…changes with his background.”
“Charlie Manson is a phoney — a con man — but a polished sophisticated conman. He’s worked hard at his craft — to put on the many faces he has.
“In this courtroom he wears the mask of a peace-loving guy — the original flower child. He has to wear this face to con you people into thinking he has not done the horrendous things the evidence shows.”
By MARY NEISWENDER