Watson Arrives Too Late
Saturday, September 12th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 12 – Charles D. “Tex” Watson, the last of those indicted for the Tate-LaBianca murders, was finally returned to Los Angeles Friday night, but too late to stand trial with Charles Manson and three female members of the “Manson Family.”
Watson, 24, was arrested in his hometown of McKinney, Tex., 10 months ago shortly after he was indicted along with Manson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten. Until Friday he had successfully delayed extradition by appealing all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Manson and the three female codefendants had already been placed on trial. The state’s star witness in the case, former family member Linda Kasabian testified that Watson was present when actress Sharon Tate and her four houseguests were murdered Aug. 9, 1969, and that he also took part in the murders of Mr. and Mrs. Leno LaBianca the following night.
Watson arrived at Los Angeles International Airport under heavy security precautions and was hustled into an unmarked police car for the trip downtown to Parker Center where he was booked on seven counts of murder and one of conspiracy. Authorities said he would be arraigned Monday.
Watson’s attorneys had fought extradition on the grounds he could not get a fair trial in California because of the publicity surrounding the trial of Manson and the three young women. They appealed the case all the way to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, who Friday refused to halt proceedings and ordered Watson taken from the Collin County Jail where he has been in solitary confinement for nearly 10 months.
During Friday’s session of that trial, a member of a motorcycle gang who lived with the family said that Manson gave all the orders at the family’s Spahn Ranch hideout.
Danny DeCarlo, 25, leader of the “Straight Satans” motorcycle gang, said he lived with the family for six months in 1969, during the time the Tate-LaBianca murders occurred.
He said Manson, 35, persuaded him to join the family by telling him that anything at the ranch, including the women, were his for the asking.
The prosecution was using DeCarlo’s testimony in an attempt to establish that Manson had absolute power over his followers, including the power to order them to commit murder—although he did not actually kill anyone.