Teacher Seated As Manson Juror
Thursday, July 2nd, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 2 – A teacher at the same high school in which one of the defendants in the Tate-LaBianca mass murder case was homecoming princess was seated tentatively today as a juror as the slow process of selecting 12 veniremen continued in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Mrs. Thelma Thompson, an English and journalism teacher at Monrovia High School, was tentatively seated after she said she did not know the defendant.
She was the 82nd juror called in the slow-paced murder trial of Charles Manson and three of his girl “followers”— Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel.
Miss Van Houten was elected homecoming princess at the high school in 1964. Her younger sister and brother now attend the same school.
Dist. Atty. Evelle J. Younger was slapped down by the judiciary both in Los Angeles and San Francisco Wednesday, and a motion — based on his “irresponsible” actions — for a mistrial in the Tate-La Bianca murder trial was denied.
Younger, who asked the State Supreme Court to order a hearing on the competency of Irving Kanarek, attorney for cult leader Charles Manson, brought the slow-paced Manson family trial to a stop. Attorneys halted the usual questioning of prospective jurors to ask about their reaction to Younger’s charges.
All jurors admitted knowing about the prosecutor’s Tuesday press conference in which he challenged Kanarek’s competency.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older, obviously irked, warned the prospective jurors not to place any weight on Younger’s action.
”The actions of the district attorney in calling a press conference at a time when a jury is being selected is an irresponsible act,” Judge Older said.
“You are not to consider that act or any other as bearing on this case. I hope it will not come up again.”
Later, the judge, discussing a prosecution request that jurors be warned not to read newspapers, watch television or listen to radio, called the district attorney’s act “inconsistent… an inconsistency apparent to anyone.”
“The district attorney has consistently opposed the order against publicity and the augmentation of that order,” Older said. “He opposed in-chamber sessions and opposed not allowing press access to the transcript.”
Meanwhile, Younger’s plea to the Supreme Court to order a hearing on Kanarek’s competency was summarily denied.
By MARY NEISWENDER