Thursday, March 12, 2015

Goodbye Helter Skelter Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen

While it is no secret that Patty is pro drug theory, Stimson does not entirely agree with her when discussing the Tate LaBianca Murders. We have seen before that he believes that bad synthetic drugs manufactured by Gary were the reason for the Hinman Murder, Tate and LaBianca were a result of favors owed to Charlie and Bobby Beausoleil. The murders were, Stimson says, the killers' own idea about how to show their devotion to Charlie and to get Bobby out of jail.  Let's look a little closer, shall we?

Chapter Fifteen: "The Real Motive."

Stimson begins by listing the possible motives for Tate LaBianca and discounting them all in turn. Cielo was not chosen in order to send a message to Terry Melcher, but rather because Tex was familiar with those surroundings. Charlie Manson does not have an uncontrollable blood lust: his songs were not full of death, and he did not choose Death Valley because of its name as Bugliosi has contended. Frykoswki burning the residents of Spahn over drugs was an early line of investigation by the LAPD that went nowhere.

The real motive, Stimson writes, was to get Bobby out of jail. He quotes many of the family members as having said this time and time again: if not at first, then later at parole hearings, in interviews and in their books. Stimson pulls quotes from Tex, Susan, Pat, Leslie, Gypsy and Sandy to illustrate his point. He quotes Charlie as having said that after he cut Hinman's ear he was not willing to commit any more violence, telling the others that "you're all putting me back in the penitentiary." When they asked him how to get Bobby out of jail, he said that he didn't know, but reminded them that they "owed him." He told Tex to "pay (Beausoleil) what you owe me" but says he did not specifically direct him to commit the additional murders.

Stimson says that the copycat motive was obviously not a good idea. The police already had Bobby's fingerprints at the scene and he was arrested in the dead man's car with the murder weapon. Nevertheless, Stimson claims it is the true motive with two other "contributing factors:" the historical context of the time, and the use of speed by Tex and Susan for several days before the murders.The fact that Charlie is very anti speed, Stimson contends, shows that the Family members absolutely did not do everything that Charlie told them to do or not do. Furthermore, since speed causes aggression, homicidal tendencies, paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis and irrationality it makes bad ideas seem like good ones. Stimson quotes Tex as saying of the murders that "it was as though Charlie's instructions were tape recorded in my mind and being played back, step by step, as I needed them," and chalks this up to auditory hallucinations because Charlie supposedly never told Tex what to do that night. Bugliosi discounts the importance of speed in the murders. He ignores most of the drug use at Spahn except for the use of LSD which he says Charlie used to brainwash his followers; this is because the DA did not want drug use mitigating his version of the murders.

Chapter Sixteen: "Charles Manson and the Law."

This is an extremely long chapter and in places gets very technical concerning California law. Patty had a rough time of it so if she misses anything significant she sincerely hopes that George will chime in. The two stated purposes of this chapter are to find interpretations whereby Charlie could be found not guilty of first degree murder and to explore his claim that he was denied his sixth amendment right to defend himself pro per. In order to do this, Stimson asks that we assume that the previous analysis in his book is correct. He begins by listing four essential elements that must be proven to obtain a first degree murder conviction: premeditation, deliberation, intent and malice. In addition, a first degree murder conviction can be obtained if the murder was part of an attempt to commit arson, rape, robbery, mayhem or as a lewd act against a child. Stimson says that in his prior analysis, none of this applies. Even if cutting Gary's ear can be considered mayhem, there is an exception if it was committed in self defense, and Charlie has stated that he did it in order to disarm Gary, who had a gun. Further, Rosemary's stolen wallet is irrelevant to the prosecution's case because "no charges were ever filed." Regarding intent: if we assume as Stimson asks us to that Helter Skelter was not the true motive, then there can be no intent. Tex remembers Pat and Leslie asking, "did he say to kill them?" because they did not receive any instructions from Charlie.

Can Charlie be considered guilty of a conspiracy with respect to Tate La Bianca? Stimson again lays out the essential legal elements: agreement, two or more persons involved, specific intent, unlawful object or means and an overt act. Stimson notes that Charlie specifically said that he wasn't entering into any agreements with the others because  he had already committed two illegal acts (Lotsapoppa and Hinman) and did not want to go back to prison. Tex did say that Charlie specifically told him to kill, but this evidence was presented after the Tate LaBianca trial,  it is inadmissible without corroboration and was likely fabricated or hallucinated because he had been using speed for days beforehand. In the Hinman Shea trial, Bruce testified that Charlie said that they were going to kill Shorty beforehand, but again it is an uncorrobrated assertion and therefore inadmissible. In that trial, Stimson says that the case against Charlie was as weak at the case against some of the others involved who were never charged.

Manson, Stimson says, had no defense in the Tate La Bianca trial: his defense rested without calling any witnesses or presenting any evidence, while the prosecution took nine months to present their case. Charlie says that he was used by the Bug, who by 1970 had tried 105 felony jury trials and lost only one. When Bugliosi says that "the primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict, but to see that justice is done," the author and Charlie say that he was full of shit. Charlie was legally entitled to a trial within 60 days of arraignment. Even though he stated that he was ready to begin, it took five months until jury selection began.

It was Judge Keene (who was later replaced by Older) who revoked Charlie's right to pro per because of unorthodox requests he made of the court. Later, Bugliosi stated that the DA was willing to let Charlie defend himself but Judge Older again denied it. Furthermore, Older denied Charlie's request to replace his lawyer, Ronald Hughes, with Irving Kanarek because he disliked Kanarek's courtroom style. To let Kanarek represent Charlie, Older said, would be a "miscarriage of justice." However, Older never expressed any concern at all that Hughes had never tried a case before. Moreover, Stephen Kay brushed off this constitutional question as a mere "sticking point" with no elaboration. Countless habeas corpus appeals have been filed since the trial protesting Charlie's imprisonment but all have been given a rubber stamp denial. If Charlie is so obviously guilty, Stimson wonders, then why are they so afraid to let him back into court?

Linda Kasabian, the DA's star witness, was unshakeable and very believable to the jury. Stimson brings Linda's credibility into question because she stole money from Charles Melton on Topanga and from her father in Florida. Additionally, Stimson says that Linda lied to a social worker about leaving California before the murders happened. Sandra Good calls her "experienced:" she was loose, she got high a lot, she liked to creepy crawl. Furthermore, she abandoned her daughter Tanya. Another witness, Danny DeCarlo, is not credible to Stimson because he testified that he was smashed most of the time and because he testified in exchange for not being prosecuted over having Shorty Shea's weapons. Greg Jakobson was an important witness, but Stimson points out that he said "I don't know if he wanted (Helter Skelter)...whether he intended it to happen or wanted it to happen, I don't know." Of Little Paul, Stimson reminds us that Paul said "someone was going to show (black people) how to start Helter Skelter" but could not clarify who that someone was supposed to be.

Of the Jury, Stimson writes that some of their conclusions "were not necessarily logical" because they accepted Linda's uncorroborated evidence, evidence that Charlie was once at Cielo as proof of his involvement, and assumption that Charlie's leadership meant that he ordered the murders. Furthermore he states that they did not follow instructions #2, #36 and #52 which require that the circumstances of the crime must be reconciled two ways and that a more reasonable explanation must not exist than Helter Skelter. Here, Stimson says, the copycat motive is far more reasonable.

The copycat motive was brought up during the penalty phase, but not during the trial itself because Charlie was not allowed to defend himself. Stimson finds it ironic that defendants Colin Ferguson and Ted Kaczinski were given this right whereas Charlie was not. Had he been able to defend himself, Stimson feels that he could have effectively countered and discredited Linda, Paul, Danny and many others who testified against him. Charlie's defense would have been based on his inability to lie and the position that he could not have had maliced aforethought because he lives in the NOW. He would never have gotten others to do what he would not do for himself. And, Stimson says, he was not the leader of the group. He was never in charge at Spahn's Ranch: George was.

Stimson wraps up the chapter with a long quote by Charlie demonstrating how he feels he was bought and sold by the media and by people who were trying to get book deals. He feels that even the gag orders were a set up so that they could be broken to gain more publicity and to put things into the public record. "I believed that I had rights...I didn't know that all that was bought and sold...that's the reason I didn't plead guilty and get diminished capacity. Had I pled guilty, I'd have been out in 18 months."