Monday, February 6, 2017

So Manson Didn’t Kill Anyone.

Charles Manson was convicted of seven counts of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit
murder. Manson didn't kill anyone on August 9th or August 10th and was never near the murder scene on August 9th. It is probable Manson relied on these facts when he orchestrated the murders, assuming he could not be convicted of a crime he did not actually commit. Legally, however, Manson didn’t need to kill anyone to go be convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder and if convicted of either he was going to end up exactly where he is today.

A Little Background

A trial involves two components: the facts and the law. The jury (if there is a jury) is the fact finder. The jury decides the facts of the case. The judge tells the jury how to apply those facts to the law. In order to be convicted of a crime the DA must present facts to the jury which prove each element of the crimes brought against the defendant. The proof must reach the level of being beyond a reasonable doubt or to a 'moral certainty'. The jury decides whether the DA was successful. 


At the end of the trial after both sides have finished what is typically called closing argument or summation the judge ‘instructs’ the jury on the law applicable to the crime: he tells the jury what the DA needed to prove. This process is known as instructing the jury or charging the jury and occurs through what are known as jury instructions. The jury then retires and deliberates applying the facts (evidence) to the instructions (law) to determine guilt or innocence.

The jury doesn’t return from deliberating and say ‘why’ they reached their conclusion. They simply state their conclusion. So, for example, if, as in this case, the jury is instructed on both first degree murder and felony murder the jury does not tell the court which crime they believe the defendant committed. They simply say guilty. 

The jury in the Tate-LaBianca trial was given several avenues by which to convict Manson of murder and Manson may have been convicted under any of them. We will never know. In fact, Manson didn't even need to be convicted of murder to end up in prison for the rest of his life (or on death row).

The Jury Instructions

What follows are several of the actual instructions read to the jury by the court. My thanks to Cielodrive for providing this. The instructions are in quotes. The rest are my comments.

Circumstantial Evidence

A lot has been made of Bugliosi’s use of ‘circumstantial’ evidence. This is what the law says on the subject as recited to the jury.

“Circumstantial evidence means evidence that proves a fact from which an inference of the existence of another fact may be drawn.

An inference is a deduction of fact that may logically and reasonably be drawn from another fact or group of facts established by the evidence.

It is not necessary that facts be proved by direct evidence. They may be proved also by circumstantial evidence or by a combination of direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. Both direct evidence and circumstantial evidence are acceptable as a means of proof. Neither is entitled to any greater weight than the other.”

The argument Manson was only convicted on circumstantial evidence and thus should not have been convicted is not well taken. Direct evidence is not necessary. 

Motive 

Here is what the law said on the subject of motive in 1971.

“Motive is not an element of the crime charged and need not be shown. However, you may consider motive or lack of motive as a circumstance in this case. Presence of motive may tend to establish guilt.

Absence of motive may tend to establish innocence. You will therefore give its presence or
absence, as the case may be, the weight to which you, find it to be entitled.”

The instruction explains why Bugliosi wanted to establish a motive. Remember, the motive could have been any of the motives discussed on this site. It need not have been Helter Skelter (HS) for the same instruction to be read to the jury.

Bugliosi in his book points out that he didn't need to prove motive. He also spends his time focusing on HS as a motive. However, he's being a little bit dishonest when he discusses the importance of HS. HS served a more important role in Bugliosi's case then simply being the motive. HS, in essence, is the conspiracy and without HS it is highly unlikely he could have proven a conspiracy to commit murder. 

Murder

This was the instruction given on the murder charges.

“Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, with malice aforethought.

"Malice" may be either express or implied.

Malice is express when there is manifested an intention unlawfully to kill a, human being.

Malice is implied when the killing 'results from an act involving a high degree of probability that it will result in death, which act is done 'for a base, antisocial purpose and with a wanton disregard for human life or when the killing' is a direct causal result of the perpetration or the attempt to perpetrate a felony inherently dangerous to human life.”

*****


"Aforethought” does not imply deliberation or the lapse of considerable time. It only means that the required mental state must precede rather than follow the act."

*****

All murder which is perpetrated by any kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing with malice aforethought is murder in the first degree. The word "deliberate" means formed or arrived at or determined upon as a result of careful thought weighing of considerations for and against the proposed action. The word "premeditated" means considered beforehand."

At first glance it would appear to be rather difficult to convict Manson of murder under this instruction if he didn’t actually kill anyone. How can he be guilty if he didn’t ‘kill a human being’?

Aiding and Abetting Murder

Here is the first way Manson could be found guilty of murder and actually kill no one.

“All persons concerned in the commission of a crime who either directly and actively commit the act constituting the offense or who knowingly and with criminal intent aid and abet in its commission or, whether present or not, who advise and encourage its commission, are regarded by the law as principals in the crime thus committed and are equally guilty thereof.

A person aids and abets the commission of a crime if he knowingly and with criminal intent aids, promotes, encourages or instigates, by act or advice, or by act and advice, the commission of such crime.”

From this instruction you can see why Bugliosi wanted Manson’s statements in evidence such as ‘now is the time for Helter Skelter’ or ‘go with Tex and do what he says’ or ‘get a knife and a change of cloths’ and even his statement to ‘leave something witchy’.  The instruction also reveals the significance of Manson driving the car, entering the LaBianca house and tying the couple up with a leather thong. All of this aids, promotes, encourages or instigates the commission of a crime.

Felony Murder

Bugliosi also had the court instruct the jury on felony murder.

“The unlawful killing of, a human being, whether intentional, unintentional or accidental, which occurs as the result of the commission or attempt to commit the crime of burglary or robbery, and where there was in the mind of the perpetrator the specific intent to commit such crime or crimes, is murder of the first degree.

The specific intent to commit burglary or robbery and the commission or attempt to. Commit such crime or crimes must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”

*****
“If a human being is killed by any one of several persons engaged in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate the crime of burglary or robbery, all persons who either directly and actively commit the act constituting such crime or who knowingly and with criminal intent aid and abet it its commission, or, whether present or not, who advise and encourage its commission, are guilty of murder of the first degree, whether the killing is intentional unintentional, or accidental.”

This is the second way Manson could have been found guilty without killing anyone. The defense objected to this instruction and on appeal argued it was not proper because Bugliosi had ‘relied’ on HS during the trial. The appellate court disagreed. Instead that court said "whether Watson harbored the requisite animus furandi [intent to commit robbery] prior to entering was a question of fact for the jury." and noted "[t]he trier of fact is not limited by any hierarchy of theories selected by the prosecution". 

I quote the appellate court  to show how an appellate court reviews a jury verdict: they give complete deference to what the jury ‘might’ have found and don't speculate about what they did find. Note also that the jury could choose any theory in arriving at guilt or innocence, not just those offered by the prosecution. 


What we learn from this is that the courts are not going to guess how the jury got to their verdict. The felony-murder instruction would have allowed the jury to find Manson guilty of first degree murder even if the murders were all accidental. Again, Manson didn’t have to kill anyone. 

Manson climbing in the car the second night and driving at least part of the way (or directing the driver) or entering the LaBianca house or tying them up with the thong are all sufficient acts to convict Manson of felony murder. In fact, any one of these acts is sufficient just like the driver of the getaway car who never enters the liquor store where his accomplice shoots the clerk. 

Conspiracy to Commit Murder


Here are the instructions.

“A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to commit any crime, and with the specific, intent to commit such crime, followed by an overt act committed in this state by one or more of the patties for the purpose of accomplishing the object of the agreement
Conspiracy is a crime.

In order to find a defendant guilty of conspiracy in addition to proof of the unlawful agreement, there must be proof of the commission of at least one of the overt acts alleged in the indictments. It is not necessary to the guilt of any particular defendant that he himself committed the overt act, if he was one of the conspirators when such an act was committed.

The term "overt act” means any step taken or act committed by one or more of the conspirators which goes beyond mere planning or agreement to commit a public offense and which step or act is done in furtherance of the accomplishment of the object of the conspiracy.”

*****
“Each member of a conspiracy is liable for each act and bound by each declaration of every other member of the conspiracy if said act or said declaration is in furtherance of the object of the conspiracy.

The act of one conspirator pursuant to or in furtherance of the common design of the conspiracy is the act of all conspirators. Every conspirator is legally responsible for an act of a co-conspirator that follows as one of the probable and natural consequences of the object of the conspiracy even though it was not intended as a part of the original plan and even though he was not present at the time of the commission of such act.”

*****

“It is not necessary in proving a conspiracy to show a meeting of the alleged conspirators or the making of an express or formal agreement. The formation and existence of a conspiracy may be inferred from all circumstances tending to show the common intent and, may be proved in the same way as any other fact may be proved, either by direct testimony of the fact or by circumstantial evidence, or by both direct and circumstantial evidence.”

*****

“In Count VIII the defendants are Charged with conspiracy to commit murder in Violation of Sections 182.1 and 187, Penal Code of California, a felony, as follows:

That on or about the 8th through the 10th.day August, 1969, at and in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, Charles Manson, Charles Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Leslie Sankston (whose true name is. Leslie Van Houten), the said
defendants, did willfully, uawfully, feloniously and knowingly conspire, combine, confederate and agree together to commit the crime of murder, a violation of Section 187, Penal Code of California, a felony.

It is alleged that the following were overt acts which were committed in this state by one or more of the defendants for the purpose of furthering the object of the conspiracy:

OVERT ACT NO. I
That on or about August 8, 1969, the said defendants, Charles Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and Linda Kasabian did travel to the vicinity of 10050 Cielo Drive in tha City and County of Los. Angeles.
OVERT ACT NO. II
That on or about August 8, 1969, the defendants, Charles Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins did enter the residence at 10050 Cielo Drive, City and County
of Los Angeles.
OVERT ACT NO. III
That on or about August 10 1969, the defendants, Charles Manson, Charles Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Leslie Sankston (whose true name is Leslie Van Houten) did travel to the vicinity of 3301 Waverly Drive, City and County of Los Angeles,
OVERT ACT NO. IV
That on or about August 10, 1 969, the defendants, Charles Manson, Charles Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Sankston (whose true name is Leslie Van. Houten) did enter the residence at 3301 Waverly Drive, City and County of Los Angeles.”

The penalty if convicted of conspiracy to commit murder is the same as first degree murder. Regardless of whether Manson was convicted of murder or conspiracy to commit murder he still would have faced the death penalty. As the jury was instructed:

“If you return a verdict, of guilty of murder in the first degree as to any particular count or
verdict of guilty of conspiracy to commit murder as alleged in Count VIII, then the matter of punishment as to those counts will be considered and determined in a separate
proceeding.”

The separate proceeding is the guilt phase of the trial. If Manson is convicted of conspiracy to commit murder he is still headed towards the gas chamber. 

Helter Skelter: The Conspiracy


So what was the conspiracy? The answer is the Family’s agreement at Manson’s direction to fulfill Manson’s prophecy: Helter Skelter. This is the true importance of HS, one downplayed, in my opinion, by Bugliosi in his book. In fact, I would argue that without HS there is no conspiracy. 

The fact we might describe the notion that they could start a race war by murdering upper middle class or wealthy white people, then hide in a bottomless pit in Death Valley and emerge years later to rule the world as fantasy is irrelevant. A conspiracy need not be either achievable or even logical. 

A conspiracy seldom can be proved by some recorded conversation between the co-conspirators. It typically has to be proven by their actions, especially those actions that demonstrate their relationship as co-conspirators or confederates operating in unison. Here, that is the evidence of the interrelationship of the family members with Manson and in particular those elements of the testimony that demonstrated his control- or put another way- those elements that demonstrated Family members’ willingness to engage in activities at his behest.

Bugliosi effectively presented the story of how Helter Skelter grew in the mind of Manson  and his followers culminating in his statements during the summer of 1969 that directly implicate him in the crimes. The appellate court in People vs. Manson summed up the conspiracy this way:

“Manson spoke of Helter Skelter constantly. With the passage of time, his concern became intense. He finally proclaimed he would have to cause the revolution. There is specific evidence that Manson declared the belief that he would have to show the "nigger" how to do it. Family member Dianne Lake testified that in the summer of 1969 Manson told her "... we had to be willing to kill pigs to help the black people start revolution Helter Skelter." In the presence of Lake and of the co-appellants Manson said, "I am going to have to start the revolution." By the summer of 1969, the time he predicted Helter Skelter would begin, he talked about it more and more. Quite obviously, a fundamental part of life in the commune entailed exposure to Manson's obsession with Helter Skelter.”

Once Manson is convicted of conspiracy to commit (first degree) murder the penalty is precisely the same as if he had carried and used the gun at Cielo Drive. 

Can the DA get a conviction? 

The DA needs to prove an agreement. This comes from the very organization and activities of the Family, including the murderers. Orchestrated sexual activity, the 'sermon on the mount' type sing-alongs with Manson on the rock, the commune lifestyle and most importantly embracing the concept of Helter Skelter and accepting the idea as fact all infer agreement. Frankly, Manson’s courtroom antics probably sealed the deal for most of the jurors. It’s not his control per se. It is the ‘group-think’. How could anyone reach any other conclusion but that the four defendants in the courtroom (and other Family members) were of like mind.


The DA also has to show that the agreement included the specific intent to commit first degree murder- the unlawful taking of life with malice aforethought. It did. The plan, according to Bugliosi, was to start a race war by killing white people. Manson's own words and the subsequent events- the murders- are sufficient to establish the requisite intent. 

Perhaps Leslie Van Houten described the conspiracy the best when interviewed by her attorney on December 29, 1969 (Thanks again Cielodrive):

MR. PART: Now, as you know, Charles Manson, along with yourself and a lot of others, are in great
jeopardy in this trial.


And there are many indications that if Manson is convicted of these first degree murders, that he may die in the gas chamber.
Have you ever had any thoughts that perhaps this would be like a second crucification?

MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah, many times.

MR. PART: Tell me about it.

MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, it seems strange that it would happen again, seeing as he already died once; but if it did it would be all right; because what we did was because of this part of the plan that we have no control of.

MR. PART: Now that you mentioned “the plan that we have no control of,” tell me what you mean.

MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, it seemed like after we knew what was going to come down we tried talking to leaders, you know, black leaders, and we saw that they were stalling.
And it was almost as though we had to make the first move for it to continue to develop, to get bigger so that it would happen because the black man loves us so much that he would be our slave and do everything we said, let us beat him and mistreat him for so many years that he almost doesn’t want to do what he has to do, but he sees that he has to do it.
And so it was up to us to start it.

MR. PART: Now, you say that you talked to some black leaders.
Who were these black leaders?
And you say it was up to us to start it.
Now, what do you mean by starting it?

MISS VAN HOUTEN: I don’t know. All I know is his name is John and he — he’s pretty big in government. And I don’t know. He may not be, you know. But we thought he was.
And starting — starting it was that — to just start killing people. Because it’s going to be blood for blood.

MR. PART: Now, did you believe that the — that the black people would to have to start killing the white people?

MISS VAN HOUTEN: No, it wouldn’t be that way.
White man would kill white man. The black man would sort of be there, too, helping him along.
Because we — it was — it’s like white man is divided, you know. We aren’t united in our thoughts. And the black man is more together. They are more one in their thoughts, you know.
They’re — they’d — in here I’ve gotten a lot of talk about how they call each other sister and each other brother. But very seldom do two white girls say, “Hey, sister,’ you know.
They greet you when you come in, you know. Say, “Say, sister, come on in. Want a cigarette?” You know.
They don’t do that.
And so white man would kill white man for their beliefs. If they didn’t believe the same, they’re going to knock each other off.
And then black man would be there to sort of help them.
Crawling in the night.

MR. PART: Well, how were you going to start the this revolution?

MISS VAN HOUTEN: By killing. 

MR. PART: Could you explain that?

MISS VAN HOUTEN: By doing a murder that had no sense behind it, and by putting words that would make people scared. Because the more fearful the people get, the more frantic it will get, and the faster it will happen.


Finally, the DA needs an 'overt act' in furtherance of the crime. These are set forth in OVERT ACTS III and IV above. 

Could the same result have been obtained under other motives? Yes, planning copycat murders is a conspiracy. Getting revenge for a drug burn or trying to muscle in on someone's territory is still the basis for a conspiracy. Bugliosi, in part due to his own blinders in seemingly ignoring the Hinman murder, had scant little evidence for any of these theories- or just missed it. He had to prove HS was the motive, in my opinion, not because he needed a motive but because he needed a conspiracy to commit murder. 

Getting In the Car

A while ago I was rightfully called out for a comment I made. This was the comment: “You may not like the laws, lawyers, judges, juries but unless you have some pretty good evidence Manson never got in that car the second night the moment he did a DA straight out of law school could have put him away.”

Ok, maybe not straight out of law school but I still think the concept is accurate. 

Climbing into the car the second night leads Manson directly to prison (or death row) for the rest of his life given the heinous nature of these crimes. 

On the morning of August 8. 1969 Manson is guilty of nothing related to the Tate-LaBianca murders. It is not a crime to think about murdering people or even talking about it (with some exceptions). 

In fact, an argument can be made that Bugliosi would have had a very difficult time convicting Manson (if Manson put on a defense and actually woke up and asked for a separate trial) as of the morning of August 9th. Even after the Cielo Drive murders I think it would have been more difficult to convict Manson.

But the minute Manson climbs in that car with the murderers from the previous night and those who would murder that night (except Clem) and proceeds to Waverly Drive Manson is convicted. 

1. He has now directly aided and abetted the crime of murder. 

2. He has now participated in a robbery or burglary where a murder occurs. 

3. He has handed the DA an 'overt act' in furtherance of the conspiracy (something missing until then- look at III and IV above). 

Does the rest of the evidence including statements attributed to Manson by Kasabian, Lake and others help seal the deal? Of course it does but at that moment when Manson made the decision to climb in that car he stepped onto the gallows. 

What About 'Clem'?

In my opinion Steve "Clem" Grogan is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder after the LaBianca murders. There is really little doubt about it. So why wasn't he charged in Tate-LaBianca?

Here is what Bugliosi says on the subject:

"At this time we were unaware that Susan Atkins had made some significant omissions in her grand jury testimony— including three other attempts at murder that night. Had we known of them, we probably would have asked for an indictment of Clem. As it was, however, all we had against him was Susan’s statement that he had been in the car. And we still had a slim hope that his brother, whom we’d contacted at the Highway Patrol Academy, might persuade him to cooperate with us."



Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders (p. 223). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition. 

To me this logic doesn't make sense. After they lined up Kasabian they clearly had the exact evidence Bugliosi says he was missing to get the indictment. He could then go get one. He sort of leaves the impression it was somehow too late by then (which is not true) and then seems to say 'well, we got him anyway for Shea'.

I think the real answer is found here:

"If the psychiatrists had examined one of Manson’s followers and, on the basis of such responses, found him insane, what of his leader?"

Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders (p. 163). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

At the time Bugliosi thought Grogan could get off on an insanity plea and that his own witnesses like DeCarlo and Springer would help accomplish that result. Bugliosi wanted to avoid that possibility and the impact Clem's presence might have on the trial. Look at the history of Van Houten. Outside the original trial her diminished capacity defense almost worked. In fact, it worked so well the DA changed his approach to felony murder during her last trial. 







41 comments:

George Stimson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George Stimson said...

For another legal point of view, please read Goodbye Helter Skelter, Chapter 16 (with further recommended background reading of Chapters 6 thru 11 and 13 thru 15).

St Circumstance said...

Good stuff.

Your going to get the argument Charlie never went inside Labianca.

They have to prove that because you are right about him having to not been in there at all. It's the only way they can make his case

So they will ;)

starviego said...


"MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, it seemed like after we knew what was going to come down we tried talking to leaders, you know, black leaders, and we saw that they were stalling. ...

MR. PART: Now, you say that you talked to some black leaders.
Who were these black leaders? ...

MISS VAN HOUTEN: I don’t know. All I know is his name is John and he — he’s pretty big in government. And I don’t know. He may not be, you know. But we thought he was. ..."


The Family tried talking to 'black leaders?' Now that's interesting. Just another lead never followed up.

grimtraveller said...

St Circumstance said...

Your going to get the argument Charlie never went inside Labianca

No, I don't think that will be the case. In George's book, he clearly states that he went into the LaBianca house. He actually says he had a conversation with Leno {which, interestingly, Emmons reports him as admitting but in a different way}.
I've said before, I think George's book is excellent. It's a definite riposte to "Helter Skelter" and in my opinion, the two need to be read together. But if you happen to be someone that takes on board peoples' words, you might have an inkling into why I think George's book sinks Charlie further in the mire than HS ever does. In much the same way that Bobby, in trying to push the drug deal as some kind of mitigation for the murder of Gary Hinman, ends up sinking both himself and Charlie solidly in the quicksand.

Dreath said...

This was the instruction given on the murder charges

When I first read George's book, I remember him saying something to the effect that there were really only 3 instructions to the jury that mattered in regards to the viability of HS. But a month or so later when I read William Zamora's book, I came across the entire 78 or so instructions to the jury from the judge. It was a mind blower because there's quite a lot in there that enabled me to understand with greater depth, things like conspiracy, circumstantial evidence and the like. It enabled me to see why, for example, all those convicted in the Hinman murder were and why Mary Brunner wasn't. None of the TLB murderers have a leg to stand on once one understands those instructions. The argument "Charlie never killed anyone" {highly debatable in the Shea and Hinman cases} is a bit like saying "Osama Bin Laden never killed anyone."

starviego said...

The Family tried talking to 'black leaders?' Now that's interesting. Just another lead never followed up

Until you examine it and turn it around. Can you find me anywhere in the annals of Family history where any one member ever corroborated that statement ? Virtually all of Leslie's statements in that interview have been repeated or corroborated elsewhere, close to the time or down the years. But not that one.
That leads me to regard its veracity as rubbish, rather like Diane Lake's supposed comment that Bernard Crowe was "the black member of the Family."
I wouldn't be surprised if Charlie used that as a makeweight in his argument that the Family must kick off the revolution {significantly, he never specified when, therefore leaving it to take a hold of their minds by osmosis}, you know, "well, I've been speaking to black leaders and they can't see it......." It brings to mind what Bobby said back in October:
"....you know, Charlie was a liar. I mean, he just lied to everybody. He manipulated people by telling different people different stories. And you know, the story that he told the other people would have been a story to one set of person, would have been a different story than he told to someone else."

St Circumstance said...

Grim in this case you misunderstand. I read George's book and highly roccomenf as well.

I have stood in front of WVerly with George alone and listened to his reasoning.

But - also - I have argued with more than one person over the years who say Charlie went next door and never entered labiancas.

I'm sure it will come up if this thread is up long enough.

Or maybe not. Lol. But I promise it's been argued to me before.

Jenn said...

It's pretty much universally agreed upon that Manson entered the house. He therefore participated in the murder, whether or not he did the tying.

grimtraveller said...

St Circumstance said...

I have argued with more than one person over the years who say Charlie went next door and never entered labiancas.

I'm sure it will come up if this thread is up long enough


I'm sure it will and I don't doubt for a moment that there are those that will argue it. Charlie even argues it in his 2011 interview with Vanity Fair {only to imply later in the sentence that he was there and left Tex when he left !}. When I was going through ColScott's site, AC Fisher Aldag spent a couple of years arguing that Charlie wasn't even in the area on that night and though I can't swear to it, I'd not be surprised if you weren't one of the people that called her out on that or at least questioned it. I think Marliese {I'm not sure if that's the right spelling} was another.
It will be argued by somebody. But when it comes up, the argument can be instantaneously slammed shut, a bit like when Nicholas Shreck writes in his book that Dennis Wilson went to India in 1967 with the Beatles to study with the Maharishi when it was 1968 and Mike Love not Dennis.
No, Charlie was there. He openly admits it. He says he left before the action took place but that's kind of irrelevant.

St Circumstance said...

Sigh..... Marliese :)

St Circumstance said...

And if you have not heard me say this before and you think I am a reasonable and fair guy...

Read Goodbye H/S by George Stimson... It is the most well written and reasonable argument you will ever hear for motives other than H/S. If anyone would have access to information to confirm - it would certainly be him. As well, George is a very bright and articulate guy.

(I watched the Beatrice Berry interview and thought they were all nuts as much as any of you.)

But when you meet a guy in person and talk with him for awhile you get a better feel.

He is not. He is as intelligent and capable as I am if not maybe more. He certainly is more resourceful.

George makes some really compelling arguments which are fair. I believe he feels strongly Charlie was not responsible for murder and he should be considered carefully...

I think Charlie did go into the Labiancas and its alright if anyone else does not lol

;)

starviego said...


Grim said...

"Can you find me anywhere in the annals of Family history where any one member ever corroborated that statement?"

Well maybe if someone had asked, in any of the investigations or the parole hearings.

Dreath said...

Starviego,

While I hesitate to mention this, I can't resist:

"John" Huggins was the #2 guy in the LA chapter of the Black Panthers '68-69.

He and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter we shot to death on the UCLA campus on January 17, 1969.

Frank "Franco" Diggs was the dope/gun man of the LA Panthers. He was found stabbed multiple times and shot to death by a 9mm on or about December 28, 1968. Case never solved.

Some claim the 9mm that shot Diggs was taken in a raid on Black Panther "HQ" in 'early 1969'- problem: there is no Panther 'HQ' in early '69. There was a raid on Huggins' home on January 17, 1969, which led the Panther 'elite'(Elaine Brown/ Geronimo Pratt) to claim the Carter/Huggins murders were FBI directed. But from my search no 9mm was actually taken in that raid- Diggs 'allegedly' hated 9mm's because they could be traced easier then the classic .45, which was army surplus.

"John"......."Panther shot"......"UCLA"


No Black Panther (interview/ autobiography) and no book about the Black Panthers even so much as mentions "Manson"- not even a passing 'it was the summer of '69- that I have found.

Cue the X-files music......

Dreath said...

George,

I didn't mention your book on purpose- not to ignore it/cast it aside/'shelve' it- but to leave the door wide open for competing opinions. Perhaps an 'editorial' error. I certainly did not intend to ignore it but hoped it might spur some spirited debate.

David

grimtraveller said...

starviego said...

Well maybe if someone had asked, in any of the investigations or the parole hearings

A major feature of both the investigation and subsequent discussions pertaining to not only TLB but all the murders was the Family view and in particular, Charlie Manson's view of Black people. It reached such saturation that nearly half a century later, many get lost in a somewhat lazy stereotype of "Manson was a racist" without understanding what a racist actually is or without getting to grips with the nuances of what Charles Manson actually had to say about race, in particular the Black race.
In all of that, Leslie's statement to Marvin Part is the only one of its kind that I've come across. Of course, I haven't read everything pertaining to the case, what I'm aware of is probably only a drop in the ocean, but such a statement is surely of major significance ? Again, until you look at it closely. She has no idea who this Black leader was except that he was called John and was in government. Perhaps it's my warped sense of humour but I find that distinctly funny, genuinely so. Quite often when I read things that various members of the Family said about Black people back in the day, it comes into sharp focus that none of them really knew any Black people.
And while I agree with you that asking questions is the quickest route to particular answers, it has to be said that a] The Family were pretty loose with the lip, with or without pressure {hey, they were young} and b] HS was primarily about what Charlie saw happening, then and in the future. Where it became a matter for the Family to kick off isn't really known {Paul Watkins seems to have been the first recipient of that info, if one believes him} but it never came up that part of it was encouraging or appealing to Black people to get it on. That was left to people like Paul McCartney to do from a safe distance, thousands of miles away in St Johns Wood in songs like "Blackbird."

Awaitingmyescapewithlove said...

I wonder how much of that is actualky true and how much is stuff heard through the grapevine in the family?

Mr. Humphrat said...

great job, Dreath, thank you.
Does anyone remember the source for the supposed Charlie quote to Susan Atkins, "you put me back in the penitentiary woman?" And did that supposedly happen right when they returned from Cielo? Because that wouldn't square very well with him also asking them if they feel remorse. I have interpreted his asking if they felt remorse to mean he knew in advance what they would do and he was asking them in a level headed way that would suggest he was not angry or flustered with their actions.

Of course, as you say, getting in the car on the second night puts him deep in the conspiracy.

Interesting observations on possible reasons they didn't prosecute Clem for riding along the second night.

St Circumstance said...

Clem is the ultimate irony. Nobody took him seriously. He was the "crazy" one.

Crazy like a fox lol. You think Bobby and Bruce would trade being a main guy with being the group idiot today?

Clem walking for giving up
A secret is the one single reason I have reservations Bruce knows more. I think if he has any info he could try to use - he would.

Unless - I guess it incriminated him
Further. I suppose when Clem talked it couldn't really hurt him.

Like everything else. Who knows?

Dreath said...

Mr. H said,

"I have interpreted his asking if they felt remorse to mean he knew in advance what they would do and he was asking them in a level headed way that would suggest he was not angry or flustered with their actions."

I agree with you. I have never been able to square those either and if so why physically go the second night? The 'remorse' quote also even suggested a bit to me everyone actually knew what was up in advance. And 'no' no one would want to admit that.

It always struck me as a pretty big risk sending them 'blind' especially Kasabian.

grimtraveller said...

Mr. Humphrat said...

Does anyone remember the source for the supposed Charlie quote to Susan Atkins, "you put me back in the penitentiary woman?" And did that supposedly happen right when they returned from Cielo?

Did it come from one of Charlie's filmed interviews ?
I've never believed such a conversation took place, particularly as it must have soon been made clear that Susan Atkins didn't actually kill anyone. Also, why would Susan killing for Charlie have put him back in the clink ? Why would not Tex or Pat killing achieve the same thing ? Why the assumption it would bounce back to Charlie ? And if he made the statement, why in the world go out with her the next night ?
It sounds like the kind of statement someone makes when they are trying to distance themselves from a particular crime ~ when they've had a good long period to think about how they're going to play it {and make others look bad}.

St Circumstance said...

Clem is the ultimate irony. Nobody took him seriously. He was the "crazy" one

Clem is the ultimate nail in the Family coffin. The living personification of straight pig society's hard won victory over the ideals of Charlie's alternative lifeway. It's not enough that the Family dissolved, it's not enough that two of his most fervent women {Mary & Gypsy} left his mores for the decidedly earthbound patter of a couple of AB affiliates, it's not enough that all of the killers turned on him after time and a dose of convention in jail opened their eyes, it's not enough that the killers all made good and began telling their versions of what actually happened, all initially having been staunchly in his court {no pun intended}, it's not enough that Clem led the authorities to Shea's body and in doing so demonstrated Charlie to have been untrustworthy to his own circle by leading them to believe that Shorty had been dismembered and beheaded; on top of all that Clem was paroled after his head cleared and led a straightforward, profitable life, demonstrating to both Charlie and society that they were in some ways both wrong about each other.
What's ironic is that he demonstrated to Charlie that society's 'programming' was stronger than his attempts to eradicate it while demonstrating to society that their programming was stronger than Charlie's attempts to eradicate it......but it would seem that society doesn't want to believe that a murderer can actually live that out. If Charlie was a bad loser, then much of the society that would protest against the remaining jailbirds' attempts at parole would appear to be.....bad winners.

grimtraveller said...

Dreath said...

It always struck me as a pretty big risk sending them 'blind'

On the face of it, it does seem that way. But then, I stop and think about how many successful ventures in life have gone that way. And up until then, the Family had seemed to be sufficiently together in mind and heart for that collective mind to almost be as one. Susan Atkins certainly conveyed that in her Grand Jury testimony. So if Tex led the charge, the object of the women was to support that charge with obedience. Like jazz musicians that have never played together before, they were improvising sufficiently to be able to make a worthwhile tune. They had their foundation with each other already. Atkins had strong relationships with all three. Tex was her speed buddy, Pat her close friend, having been together since the start and she'd gone out thieving with Linda through the night.
Poor example, I know, but even some lawyers do it in a way. Some will take on a case half an hour before it's to be heard and will make a credible job of it in many instances.
A teaching assistant will go into a class of 30 kids that they've never met and at the end of 45 minutes, will have helped a number of those kids come to grips with whatever subject it is that they were studying in that period. The TA may not even have known the subject in any depth themselves. Gang members have sometimes sent an initiate out to rob or kill 'blind.' It was certainly a risk sending the killers to Cielo but Charlie lived on the edge and it seems that peeling back the frontiers in ever increasing measures was his psychedelic norm.

Dreath said...

Grim said,

"Poor example, I know, but even some lawyers do it in a way. Some will take on a case half an hour before it's to be heard and will make a credible job of it in many instances."

Well only if they enjoy the thrill of flirting with malpractice.

Kasabian and Atkins creepy-crawl buddies? I think that's a stretch, Grim. There appears to be a hierarchy among the women and she is the anomaly. If I recall correctly there were some problems with some Family members remembering her name (but I may be mistaken on that one). And it didn't work out too well for any of them because she was.

George Stimson said...

"George,

I didn't mention your book on purpose- not to ignore it/cast it aside/'shelve' it- but to leave the door wide open for competing opinions. Perhaps an 'editorial' error. I certainly did not intend to ignore it but hoped it might spur some spirited debate.

David"

David,

Unfortunately the flu has overtaken me, so it will have to wait for the Tour.

Dreath said...

George,

Get well.

ziggyosterberg said...


"Geraldo: Susan Atkins comes home to you with bloody hands.


Charles Manson: Yeah.


Geraldo: She says “Charlie, look what I have done.”


Charles Manson: Yeah. She said “I give you the world. I just killed myself and I give you the world.”


Geraldo: So, how did you react?


Charles Manson: I said “You dumb fucking cunt, I already had the world. You just put me back in jail again.” That’s what she did, she put me right back in jail.



(Source: Geraldo interview, 1988) ”

Mr. Humphrat said...

Ha Ha! Thanks Ziggy for sourcing that for me. Grim was right it was a TV interview.

grimtraveller said...

Dreath said...

Well only if they enjoy the thrill of flirting with malpractice

I did say it was a poor example !
But in England, a very real one. I know that because it's happened to me twice. I was somewhat dissatisfied both times but nevertheless, in one of the cases, I won. The other one I reached a kind of impasse. Point being, I hadn't met the lawyer in either case until a few minutes before we went in. But they did their job, I guess.

Kasabian and Atkins creepy-crawl buddies? I think that's a stretch

It may indeed be a stretch but if it is, it's a stretch that that has corroboration from both parties. In "Child of Satan..." Atkins says:
So we started stealing more. We stole credit cards, especially gasoline company credit cards to meet our soaring need for gasoline & mechanical parts for the dune buggies. I went "creepy crawling" with Linda into homes & garages ~ an expression that came from me as we practiced & mastered silent entry into places, armed with our knives & moved about the occupied houses without being detected. Barefoot, in old dark clothes, deadly earnest, we became expert in burglarizing right under the noses of the occupants.
6 years earlier at Watson's trial, this exchange took place when Linda was on the stand:
Q: And how did you get money to buy other things that you needed at the ranch?

A: l don't know. We used to have credit cards.

Q: How would you get these credit cards?

A: Either they were just there or somebody would steal them.

Q: Did you ever steal any credit card?

A: Yes.

Q: And did you go out with someone?

A: Yes.

Q: Who was that?

A: With Sadie.

Q: Approximately when was this?

A: Around the end of July.

THE COURT: I didn't hear the name with whom you went.

THE WITNESS: Sadie..

THE COURT: Sadie?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

Q BY MR. BUGLIOSI: You say Sadie. You mean Susan Atkins?

A: Yes.

Q: When did you go out with her?

A: About the end of July, I guess. I don't know the date.

Q: The end of July 1969?

A: Yes.

Q: And you stole some credit cards with her?

A: Yes.

Q: Where did you get the credit cards?

A: Out of cars.

Q: You brought them back to the ranch?

THE COURT: Out of where?

THE WITNESS: Out of cars.

THE COURT: Automobiles?

THE WITNESS: Cars, yes.

Dreath said...

Grim,

I didn't say they didn't creepy-crawl together (it appears once)- I took exception with your suggestion that made them 'close' like jazz musicians, you know this:

"Atkins had strong relationships with all three."

And on the other: "But they did their job, I guess."

Stick with the "I guess" part because I'd be willing to wager Saint's Coors Light they didn't.

ziggyosterberg said...


It's hard to believe that "creepy crawling" was ever a real thing. Seems like a big waste of time, if you ask me. Unless they were going in and stealing stuff. You'd have to be a real tard to B&E a home just to rearrange furniture.


On another note, why were all the great jazz musicians heroin addicts?

Dreath said...

Ziggy

Now that you mentioned it.....I have wondered that too.

Dreath said...

Well the first one anyway.

ziggyosterberg said...


Yeah, it's one of those things that doesn't make much sense. Manson is a hardened career criminal, and then he starts doing whimsical, goofy shit like "creepy crawling". Like Manson would risk going back to the joint or getting killed by a homeowner for "furniture rearranging".

Mind you, there is that story in Paul Watkins book of Manson continually trying to creepy crawl the bunkhouse at Barkers while the Crockett people (Juan, Crockett, Brooks, Watkins) slept.

No idea if that story is true or not. Much of the Watkins book is questionable, imho. He also claimed that Manson was sending Bill Vance out on creepy crawls with the crew because he was an expert on B&E. Another hardened criminal risking death or going back to prison for mindless shit. Ok.

Paul never went out on any creepy crawl missions himself. Only heard about them. Odd that he was never involved when he was living with all of them in the Gresham St house at the time when these creepy crawls were supposedly happening.

But Manson probably didn't want to risk anything happening to Little Paul, seeing as he was grooming him to take over the Family (LOL). Paul's book is the funniest read of all the case related books.

starviego said...


"In "Child of Satan..." Atkins says:
I went "creepy crawling" with Linda into homes & garages."

Not said is why they went creepy crawling in the first place. Probably because Charlie ordered them to do it, as part of their training leading up to murder.

Dreath said...

Starviego,

I don't know if they creep-crawled once, twice or 100 times. My issue was that there was a special relationship. This doesn't sound like one to me:

PAUL CARUSO: Who instructed you to go to that house?
SUSAN ATKINS: Charlie. Charlie instructed me and Tex and name also Charles, a girl by the name of Linda and Katie – Patricia Krenwinkel.

Dreath said...

or this:

RICHARD CABALLERO: What’s Linda’s last name?
SUSAN ATKINS: I don’t know Linda’s last name, she hasn’t been with us for very long.

grimtraveller said...

Dreath said...

I took exception with your suggestion that made them 'close' like jazz musicians, you know this:

"Atkins had strong relationships with all three."


There are some relationships within the Family that Susan hardly seems to have commented on down the years and others that she particularly mentioned, particularly in the context of the murders. She specifically spoke of her "dear friend" Tex, of being close to Pat and appears to be one of the people in the month that Linda was around that made some kind of a stab at a relationship with her {one could include Sandy, Mary, Gypsy and Leslie in that}. The relationship was "strong" in the sense that, having been out together while up to no good, there was a basis for them going out together and being involved in the activities of Cielo, having some previous common ground and having crossed certain lines.
The jazz musicians comparison was about improvising with players that you may not have played with. You find ways to complement the music you are playing, drawing on your own imagination, yet fitting in with what the other persons are doing, even though you haven't a clue what they are going to do next from one moment to another. So flying blind, to us may seem risky, but there are a number of parallels from everyday life.

Stick with the "I guess" part because I'd be willing to wager Saint's Coors Light they didn't

You'd lose. Make mine a Cobra Zero.

ziggyosterberg said...

On another note, why were all the great jazz musicians heroin addicts?

Harry Shapiro makes an interesting point in his book "Jack Bruce; composing himself" when he says "Be~bop was music of social and cultural isolation, born from a sense of outrage and frustration among a new generation of black musicians in the early 40s. They refused to play 'Uncle Tom' in white dance band orchestras and found themselves with no work during the Depression. The music they developed was angry and deliberately difficult and the musicians who pioneered it {Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk etc} adopted an arrogant stance. They were unapproachable and inward looking, and turned their backs on a straight and blatantly racist white society. The barriers they threw up between themselves and the rest of the world created a romantic, tantalising image: the world weary Gothic shadow, the Wandering Jew with a saxophone. Central to the creation of this tragic hero and the whole process of cultural isolation was an overpowering need to alter the distasteful reality of everyday consciousness.....For those musicians who became hooked, the process of dependence was much more than the simple physical sensations of being stoned. Heroin served the symbolic, functional, psychological needs of the cool, aloof, hipster jazz musician who could insulate himself still further from the world.
But if for Black musicians heroin symbolized the flight away from white society, for white musicians it symbolized the flight towards Black society...They became, in Norman Mailer's words, 'White Negroes.' Their self conscious aim was to live with death as an immediate danger, to divorce oneself from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that unchartered journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self. Which is a pretty fair description of the heroin experience and a good part of the reason why many of the biggest names among white jazz musicians {Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Evans, Art Pepper etc} all acquired heroin habits to match their reputations...."

grimtraveller said...

Dreath said...

I don't know if they creep-crawled once, twice or 100 times

True, it's never made clear. I wouldn't be surprised if it happened only twice or thrice. I think the creepy crawling issue partly comes up because it establishes an escalation in the activities of the Family and a deliberate testing of nerve, almost a learning to delight in pushing oneself to the limits. During the Grand Jury, Susan said:
And one time one girl and I put on dark clothes and took it upon ourselves to do this ~ Charlie had no knowledge of this ~ we went out and creepy-crawled.

Q: Creepy-crawled?

A: Yes.

Q: Explain to these members of the Jury what you mean by that.

A: Moving in silence so that nobody sees us or hear us.

Q: Wearing dark clothing?

A: Wearing very dark clothes and move at night.

Q: Where did you go?

A: We hitchhiked over into ~ I forget the area ~ and we were scared to death, it was something neither one of us ever experienced, and wanted to experience it because everybody else in the Family was doing it.

Q: They were doing what?

A: Creepy-crawling.

Q: Entering residences at night?

A: Yes.

Q: And taking things inside the residences?

A: They never actually took anything inside the residence other than money. I never actually saw any money that they got from inside any of the residences.

Q: You and this girl on one occasion did enter a residence and take some money?

A: Not a residence, no.

Q: What was it?

A: There was an automobile parked on the side of the road. I opened the door and looked inside the glove compartment and saw some credit cards. I reached in and took them.

I thought it was interesting that she said that they took it upon themselves to do it. I would say that requires some degree of relationship, if only the beginnings of one.

My issue was that there was a special relationship

I don't think there was a 'special' relationship. But there was a prior one that helps explain why that group in particular {and the one the next night} could do what they did together with no real warning.
When I used a term like 'strong' I was using it in comparison to other relationships that existed between Susan and others at the time.

SUSAN ATKINS: I don’t know Linda’s last name, she hasn’t been with us for very long

She also said the same thing about Tex:

Q: Is Tex's name also Charles Montgomery?

A: That I don't know


and Leslie:

Q: Who is that?

A: That is Leslie.

Q: Do you know her last name?

A: No, I don't.

Q: Does the name Sankston ring a bell?

A: No. I don't think I ever knew Leslie's last name.


I must admit, I've had good friends whose surnames I didn't know for ages.

starviego said...


Dreath said...
During the Grand Jury, Susan said:
And one time one girl and I put on dark clothes and took it upon ourselves to do this ~ Charlie had no knowledge of this ~ we went out and creepy-crawled.

I think Sadie was only trying to protect Charlie. I doubt the bubbleheads did anything unless Charlie told them to do it or gave them permission.

Dreath said...

Grim said,

" But there was a prior one that helps explain why that group in particular {and the one the next night} could do what they did together with no real warning.
When I used a term like 'strong' I was using it in comparison to other relationships that existed between Susan and others at the time."

I just disagree with you, Grim. I don't see any particular connection between LK and any of them except Tex. Here's another quote:

SUSAN ATKINS: Well, I got back to the Ranch and as I said earlier, Charlie and Tex and Brenda and Katie and me were in the bunkhouse talking. And Linda was there. The reason I don’t remember Linda a lot is because she was not prominent in my mind. She wasn’t with us for more than a month.

LK is not even registering on her radar not even as a creepy-crawlier pal. I think it is far more probable that LK was chosen not due to some improvisational ability group think connection or a valid driver's license but the simple reasons that Tex had a relationship with her (and may have 'vouched' for her) that was pretty 'connected' and Charlie had dirt on her- a felony call it theft, robbery or burglary.

Another possibility is this was discussed in far more detail before and like LVH night number two Kasabian displayed a strong desire to go- although I lean towards the above.

PS: Could Atkins confusion there be that Tex isn't Tex 'Montgomery'?

Dreath said...

Starviego,

Dreath didn't say that- Grim did. Credit where credit is due.

ziggyosterberg said...


Dreath, why are you talking like Patty?

Dreath said...

Dreath doesn't know.