Monday, March 13, 2017

Ten TLB "What Ifs?"

Parallel Universes

I generally don't indulge in "what if?" scenarios, preferring much more to live in a world of "what is”— if I can. But occasionally I wonder how the whole TLB/"Manson Family" experience would have played out if certain things had happened differently. For examples:

1.  What if Winifred Chapman had decided to spend the night of August 8-9, 1969 at 10500 Cielo Drive? Would her murder -- that of a black woman --  have thrown a clog into any "Helter Skelter" scenario?

2.  What if the Kotts' party had broken up an hour or so later and the departing guests had encountered Charles "Tex" Watson cutting the phone lines into 10050 Cielo Drive or the bloodstained killers exiting the property after they committed the murders there?

3.  What if Rudolf Weber had been a little more proactive and had gone to the police with his recollection (including license number of vehicle) of a suspicious group of young people using his hose on the night and in close proximity of a mass murder? (Weber's home was almost two miles from Cielo Drive but it was off the same main road -- Benedict Canyon Drive -- that any hypothetical killers would have likely used coming and going from the crime.)



4.  What if the "members" of "the Family" had scattered with the four winds after their departure from Spahn's Movie Ranch in September of 1969 instead of sticking together and being arrested en masse at Barker Ranch in mid-October? Would the concept of a fanatical group of murderous hippies been a harder sell to the public and a jury?

5.  What if Susan Atkins had not confessed her role in the Tate-LaBianca murders to her fellow inmates at Sybil Brand? In what other ways could/would the case have been solved?

6.  What if Susan Atkins had not repudiated her grand jury testimony and gone on to testify for the prosecution during the murder trial? Would the more "innocent" Linda Kasabian have been convicted of murder?

7.  What if Charles "Tex" Watson had been extradited to California in time to be tried along with Charles Manson and the three girls? Would that have changed the whole "Manson as demonic puppeteer" theme?

8.  What if Charles Manson had been allowed to defend himself during his murder trials? How do you think he would have handled witnesses like Linda Kasabian and Paul Watkins?

9.  What if Manson (or any of his codefendants) had demanded a separate trial? Could any of them have gotten a better deal for themselves if they had pursued their defenses individually and self-centeredly, with only their own welfare as their primary concern?

10.  What if the California Supreme Court had not abolished the death penalty in1972 and the convicted killers had been executed shortly after the conclusions of their trials? Would public fascination in the case be less than it is today because the players would not have been as much of an ongoing part of the American consciousness as they have been for all these decades?

184 comments:

simon davis said...

Hi George, the answers are:

1.No.
2.Depends how many guests and how well armed they were. Assuming equal numbers and armaments, the possibilities were: (a) Kotts and friends invite Tex et al in and resume the party - so much to talk about (b) call police (c) a citizen's arrest would be attempted (if available in Cal. at the time) or (d) the Kotts and guests defecate themselves and/or faint.
3. The defendants would have been arrested and tried earlier.
4. No.
5. Les. Van Houten was admitting things to police at almost exactly the same time, so it would likely have been solved at or about the same time.
6. No.
7. No.
8. Appallingly.
9. Yes.
10. Maybe.

St Circumstance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
St Circumstance said...

It sucks trying to type on phone.

Number 5 - plenty of people were talking and it wouldn't have taken long without Susan snitching. Lulu. Decarlo. Even the girls who fled barker would have pointed the inept cops in the right direction.

Number 8 - Manson was allowed to defend himself. The better if would be what if he had actually taken it seriously. What if he had actually tried to walk ?

He didn't and that is nobody's fault but his own.

Finally - from my perspective- had California not abolished the death penalty- we would have all been spared the expense of housing and feeding these people who to this day have never shown true regret or remorse for what they have done. If they had we wouldn't keep hearing from them how unfair it is.

And the environment would not be any better or worse at all lol for all the harping about his environmentalism-

What has Charlie or his message actually accomplished to do any siginificant good for the environment all these years?

xreles said...

8. What if Charles Manson had been [a-l-l-o-w-e-d] able to defend himself during his murder trials? How do you think he would have handled witnesses like Linda Kasabian and Paul Watkins?

xreles said...

11. What if Judge Older had been allowed to defend himself during this murder trial?
Do you think a bullet to the forehead of a charging, crazed Charles Manson would have been aggravating or mitigating or factors at all?

xreles said...

8. I don't confuse allowed with able.
11. I would be hate to be denied the spectacle of all the Crazy Manson prison interviews.

lostgirl said...

What if Debra Tate had spent the night at Cielo? Would the killers have gone ahead with the crime even if it meant killing a kid? They avoided one house because CM saw photos of kids in the house.

Robert C said...

My take:

(1) Chapman's murder would not have affected the Helter Skelter scenario. Collateral damage.

(2) Kott's Party run into Tex Party before murders = Tex Party making a run for it but likely committing something as heinous elsewhere at another time. Kott's Party encountering Tex Party after murders is a tough call really depending on many things.

(3) Proactive Weber -- another tough call depending on several things.

(4) Scattering Family -- doubt it would change the concept and sell (killer hippies) other than it would have taken far more time to track.

(5) Atkins keeping silent to cellmates -- prosecution would likely lean on other family members offering deals for testaments.

(6) Atkins/Kasabian -- Kasabian would be at higher risk for prosecution as associate to murder and may have gotten time but probably not death.

(7) Tex early extradition -- I don't think that would have saved Charlie's bacon because he would still have been identified as the ring leader. And in that scenario I could envision Tex blabbing a lot more about how Charlie made him do it.

(8) Charlie was initially allowed to talk but he preferred to try and turn the whole court affair into a lecture on his perspectives and complaints. This was not sustainable. However, had he been more astute with his topics and presentation I think there might have been a distinct possibility his sentence would have been more favorable to him. In short he screwed himself and I firmly believe that.

(9) Tried separately -- I think it's possible some of them may have gotten a lighter sentence, especially if they all pointed the finger at Charlie, but they were going to do time anyway. I can see Charlie and Tex (perceived as the ad hoc 'boots on ground' leader) getting death, the three women involved in the murders getting a 'lighter' life, some others like Kasabian getting some years. Regarding finger pointing at Charlie -- they may have been more willing to do this being tried separately than if in the same court room with Charlie, especially if they had their own individual counseling and realized how serious the matter was.

(10) The 'mass execution' of them would have been sensational for years after but I do think the bulk interest would have dwindled far more with time. However, forum discussion over the particulars we are involved with today would likely continue to the present but perhaps with fewer forums and fewer people sustaining interest.

DebS said...

#1 Winifred Chapman. I think the reaction of her being in the house would depend on what the killers thought was the motive for doing the killing in the first place. Had they genuinely believed in Helter Skelter, that the killings needed to look like they had been done by Blacks then the killings may not have taken place.

I think the motive is key here and perhaps if Chapman was there and killed it would have made Bugliosi rethink Helter Skelter as a motive presented to the jury.

Matt said...

Good point, Deb.


simon davis said...

The evidence of the main killers was fairly overwhelmingly that they were on no-think auto-pilot when they were killing. Tex didn't even recognise his victims as human beings. Neither did Sadie - they were "mannequins" or "IBM machines". Katie testified to teh same effect. They genuinely believed in HS, and would later reason and rationalise their killing as being HS related, but at the time they were in no-think mode.

HS wasn't presented to the jury by VB. It was presented to the jury by the 10 witnesses who testified on oath about it. All that VB did was summarise their evidence. His role in it was quite limited. They told the story to him, then they told it to jury.

If Chapman had been killed, it would not have made a skerrick of difference to what those witnesses said in their evidence. It would have gone to the jury in exactly the same way.

These witnesses had to be called in any event for other forensic reasons, the most important of which was that HS connected CM to the murder scenes. This was infinitely more important than HS being tendered as a motive (something which the pros. generally does not have to be prove and almost certainly did not have to prove in the circumstances of this case).

In short, the death of Chapman would have been, at the very most, a blip on the jury's screen on the relatively unimportant subject of HS as a motive. It did not come anywhere near touching HS as a link between CM and the murder scenes. It did not come anywhere near touching HS in its other important role as corroboration of the witness Kasabian (although that too started dwindling in importance as the trial progressed simply because there was so much other corroboration of her - in the end most things she said got independent corroboration).

grimtraveller said...

What if Winifred Chapman had decided to spend the night of August 8-9, 1969 at 10500 Cielo Drive? Would her murder ~ that of a black woman ~ have thrown a clog into any "Helter Skelter" scenario?

I think it would have and it would have been interesting to see how Bugliosi got around this, if he did. We may well have seen Aaron Stovitz remaining as lead prosecutor throughout the trial, "Helter Skelter" would probably never have been written and the case would possibly be confined to a small footnote in a very interesting decade.
One of the essential elements of HS was that Blacks were meant to kill Whites which would lead to revenge attacks and killings which ~ importantly, yet oft forgotten ~ would lead to the White man pretty much decimating himself via a civil war. It sort of mirrored what was happening in America with the conservative vs liberal thing.
But if one of the victims was Black, that would give the defence some serious ammunition to fire at the conspiracy. It could turn out to be that little bit of stitching that ends up being unpicked, causing the whole garment to fall apart.
An associated question would be, what would Tex, Pat and Susan have done if, once in the house, they discovered Mrs Chapman there ? Especially having already killed Steven Parent....

grimtraveller said...

What if the Kotts' party had broken up an hour or so later and the departing guests had encountered Charles "Tex" Watson cutting the phone lines into 10050 Cielo Drive or the bloodstained killers exiting the property after they committed the murders there?

If they'd encountered Tex up the pole, what would have happened would depend on whether he had the gun with him. I guess it would also depend on what kind of people the Kotts' friends were. It would have been interesting, say, if one of the men was ex~military or ex~services or ex Police force.
If they'd encountered the bloody killers just coming out of Cielo, I think there may well have been more than 5 victims that night. The killers were still armed although we don't know that any of the Kotts' party weren't. Mind you, if the Webers' attitudes are anything to go by, older people weren't afraid to have a pop at the younger generation, even in the dead of night !

StarRider said...

It's a shame nobody at Cielo Drive had a firearm handy and put an early end to the evening, at least they would have had a chance. Absolutely senseless crime.

ColScott said...

Simon Davis-


I have to give you the Pulitzer for the most stupid and inane comment of 2017. Helter Skelter is already established as a fiction by the fucking BUG designed to bring Manson responsibility for killings he was not present at and had unclear control over. Thank you for your posting now I know to just skip the fuck over anything you write in the future.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Don't let him scare you Simon, he won't bite, he just barks a lot. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Mr. Humphrat said...

And now for a stupid and inane question from me: since George has raised the what if scenarios. What if Sharon hadn't taken in the kitten and locked the dogs up? And a follow up of sorts-were there one or two dogs locked up in the main house? And was there another dog in the cottage with William Garretson?

Mr. Humphrat said...

I wonder how Tex would have behaved if he shared a trial with Charlie and the girls. Would he have stood when the girls did to shout things or sat there grinning or been detached from them?

Dreath said...

Col Scott said:

"Helter Skelter is already established as a fiction by the fucking BUG designed to bring Manson responsibility for killings he was not present at and had unclear control over."

You have a tendency here and on your site to make this kind of statement- Bugliosi made up HS, Lukashevsky was present at the Crowe shooting, Parent is gay, etc.- and either support the claims with some third party's opinion or, sorry, with nothing at all (oddly, even when some evidence exists). You proclaim it as authority.

If you have something other then your opinion to support this statement I would really appreciate it if you would share what you have. I would love to have proof VB made up HS, coached 30 witnesses and pulled off the greatest scam of all time. My God what a lawyer he was!

Dreath said...

I just realized he'd been an attorney for less then 5 years... F Lee Bailey, Bruce Cutler, Clarence Darrow step aside...Vincent Bugliosi is the greatest lawyer of all time.

simon davis said...

The other thing about Ms Chapman being one of the victims is, on one view of it, it makes the scene at Tate look even more like Helter Skelter than it already did look. Manson's prophecy was that Blackie would rise up against Whitie because Blackie had been subjugated for so long and it was his turn (karma). There would be a black/white conflagration which would bring this about. Seems to me Tate might have looked even more like a black/white conflagration with a dead black woman there (who BTW was a servant of her white masters).

But even if that's wrong, it would have been a very minor blip for VB. You rarely get cases without some such little blip in your case theory. I regularly sweated over such things. What actually was remarkable about this prosecution was that there were so few such blips. Ten witnesses - each xx'd by 4 attorneys (admittedly some didn't xx, and some of the xx was very amateurish) - end result is none of them are contradicted. Ten uncontradicted witnesses. It doesn't get any stronger than that in either civil or criminal litigation. Well I had six witnesses in a fraud case once (I'm talking about witnesses on one issue), and thought that was great. Maybe Dreath has had better.

Thank you Mr Humphrat. I'll just put it down to SPS and move on.

grimtraveller said...

What if Rudolf Weber had been a little more proactive and had gone to the police with his recollection (including license number of vehicle) of a suspicious group of young people using his hose on the night and in close proximity of a mass murder?

On one hand, Weber could be seen in the same vein as William Garretson who in 1999 confessed on TV that he'd withheld some info during his polygraph and that in actual fact he'd seen one woman chasing another on the fateful night. Granted, he didn't know at the time whether it was a party or whether it was one of the murders happening, but at the very least, from day 2, the Police would have known that they were {or least could be} looking for at least one woman, which, together with the info Whiteley and Guenther shared with Jess Buckles about Gary Hinman, Bobby Beausoleil and the 'hippies' that were led by the guy they were convinced was Jesus, may well have zeroed in on Spahn a little quicker and sharper.
There again, what I see in Rudy Weber is something that stands against this notion that has been put across since 1969 that pre~trial publicity sunk Charlie and the defendants. When I read William Zamora's "Trial by your peers" I was struck by two things, among many others. Firstly, that those on the eventual jury didn't have much if any interest or knowledge of and in the case. It's not like they were keeping up with all the developments. We know far more about stuff than any of them ever did and they were not aware of what was going on outside the actual courtroom once the trial started.
One of the features of Zamora's book {and one that provoked some ire later among some of his fellow jurors} is that being sequestered was a trial in itself. They were cut off from the outside world and turned in on each other. They weren't influenced by any publicity because they were barely aware beforehand and during, they were really blocked off. Even when Charlie showed them the infamous Nixon line about his guilt, people have overlooked the obvious; namely that there were those on the jury that didn't like Nixon and didn't give a shit what his opinion was.
Rudy Weber shines a light on all of that because he was so unaware of the hype and mania surrounding the "Tate" case that it didn't even occur to him to report the incident that happened just 2 miles from the scene. It was someone he worked with that called the Police and told them ~ and then, not until late December.

grimtraveller said...

What if the "members" of "the Family" had scattered with the four winds after their departure from Spahn's Movie Ranch in September of 1969 instead of sticking together and being arrested en masse at Barker Ranch in mid-October? Would the concept of a fanatical group of murderous hippies been a harder sell to the public and a jury?

That's an interesting one. Three of the Cielo death squad did flee, it doesn't appear to have been public knowledge, or certainly not emphasized, that 4 scared shitless teenage girls had had to escape from Barker and from time to time, other Family members, like Bruce and Brenda, did go underground and disappear.
Also, initially, not everyone seemed to be opposed to the idea of a group of murderous hippies, as long as they weren't going for them ! Mind you, a lot of people were scared and many of them had been suspicious/contemptuous of "longhairs" {read "hippies"} anyway. It wasn't a difficult idea to believe because some people {eg, some of the people out in those desert towns around Death Valley} had had some negative experiences of the Family anyway. Word catches on.
While it's undeniable that the press and media in general spread the information about the Family and sometimes in ways so biased that it made magnetic tape look like water, it's also true that the Family didn't exactly go out of their way to appeal to the pig masses. Especially when it turned out that some of them were murderous !

St Circumstance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brownrice said...

Simon davis said:
“Manson's prophecy was that Blackie would rise up against Whitie because Blackie had been subjugated for so long and it was his turn (karma)”

Wow! Australia’s answer to Vincent Bugliosi… awesome! Seriously though Simon, you should try reading that previous quote with a South African accent instead of an Aussie one… it’d sound soooo much more passionate & authentic :-)

Nice result in WA though, eh?

simon davis said...

Nice result indeed. And very satisfying that the rednecks led by the red haired one took a drubbing. So you're an Aussie ? WA ? Rugby or Aus Rules ?

I've discovered Grim Traveller was been a Liverpool supporter for (?) 47 years ? Takes him back to the 72/73 season - Clemence, Lindsay, Lawler, Smith, Lloyd, Hughes, Keegan, Case, Heighway, Toshack, Callaghan. And I'm not even a L/pool supporter (although I always have a soft spot for them because they've always entertained and I'm a Beatlemaniac)!

BTW, Grim you are to be applauded for getting these crimes back into their proper perspective by working hard at thinking what was happening at the time. To the extent I've researched the whole thing, you are right that not everyone was besotted with the story. It is easy at a distance to be sucked into the newspaper headlines and the sensationalism about movie stars acquiring guns, and also writers like Joan Didion who with artistic license conveyed the impression that the crimes changed LA/Hollywood and indeed the world and marked the end of the 60's etc etc. Yes it was a huge media event, and I suspect news cycles were a bit slower and longer in those days, but not everyone follows the news.

I think Zamora's book is compulsory reading frankly. Skip the intra-jury scandals and gossip. The book is important in the history because he was a witness to the trial. And of course he lets readers into the jury's deliberations. The only doubt the jury ever had was about Van Houten. Once they sorted that, it was verdict time. The process took 10 days which, in my experience, is very quick for a 9 month trial. Quick turnaround time usually means conviction.

George Bishop and Ed Sanders were in-court witnesses too. I haven't found Sanders' book as helpful. But Bishop and Zamora are indispensable. Interestingly, Bugliosi, Bishop and Zamora (prosecutor, observer and juror) were at the epicentre of the trial and yet sometimes have conflicting accounts of what happened. Three eye-witnesses, not more than yards apart from each other, and yet they have different versions of things, including things said. And some things in the transcript - important things too - never made it into anyone's book.

simon davis said...

Amusingly, one thing VB did in his book was skirt around anything remotely embarrassing for him. For example, his description of the calamity where he was unable to get in evidence about association is rather glibly written off as Judge Older having a bad hair day. Sure Older was probably in error, but when you read the transcript you see how ineptly VB himself dealt with the situation. That was almost a game breaker. The whole thing almost collapsed there and then.

Also, there was the surprising "rapping" between CM and VB throughout the trial. This of course got turned around on VB in the appeal court, and drew a rebuke to the effect that, while VB had not necessarily done anything improper, it was nevertheless inviting trouble to converse with an opposing party. VB eases himself through this in his book, perhaps anticipating when he wrote it that it would become a point in the forthcoming appeal. You just should never talk to an opposing litigant, unless his lawyer is present and at least 2 or 3 independent witnesses. And even then, only say "hello", "goodbye".

simon davis said...

Grim I really think you should do law and become a criminal lawyer. You'll come across lots of Manson cases. Not many are as long as Manson's case because most people in his position either plead guilty pretty early, or if the trial runs the prosecution doesn't have as much evidence to adduce. But it is great fun ! Especially if you like thinking through factual conundrums, as you do.

simon davis said...

PS my wife, who is a better lawyer than me, agrees !

ColScott said...

Simon continues to buzz as background noise and Humphrat whose name sounds like gas passing chimes in as if to think he matters.

Matt is this what is left at the site ? Ignorance passing the time on the net?

Meanwhile Dreath, why must you be so tiresome?

Parent was gay
Bryn was at the shooting
HS was a made up motive


Now since you continue to revel in your lack of education I supposed I must clarify the obvious.

Were elements of HS talked about, while stoned out of their fucking gourd, by multiple people? Sure. He did not make up the idea of HS- he made up that it was a coherent philosophy and that it was a motive. Without making it up he doesn't get Charlie for anything.

Water is wet. DReath is a douche. HS was a BUG fantasy. These are all established facts.


The BUG committed perjury during a Death Penalty trial, misused the prosecutor's office to stalk a private citizen and beat up his mistress. He was a piece of shit who would do whatever it took to win.

simon davis said...

You have got to be joking !

He needed HS? What about Charlie's gun (did you know a gun was used?), what about Charlie's connections to the houses?, Charlie's thong? Charlie's disciples? Charlie's rope? Charlie was at the murder scenes well and truly before anyone adds HS. And then after the trial, BTW, we get Charlie's red bolt cutters and Charlie's glasses. The only thing missing was a signed confession pinned to the front door of the murder venues. All without HS.

This just arrant nonsense. By whom, or where, were your so-called facts "established"? On the local park toilet wall, by the sounds of it.

Have you ever run a case? Have any idea about circumstantial evidence? Proof? Conspiracy? Admissibility of evidence?

Sober up, read the law and get some education from someone who knows, and read the transcript. Then come back and lecture us all on your dingbat fringe crazy theories.

grimtraveller said...

What if Susan Atkins had not confessed her role in the Tate-LaBianca murders to her fellow inmates at Sybil Brand? In what other ways could/would the case have been solved?

As flawed as the book "Helter Skelter" may be, there is a reason why it will always be the definitive tome on this case. Simply, it gives a more or less chronological breakdown of the investigation, the whos, whens and hows. In a rather interesting interview that Cats Cradle77 does with Irving Kanarek, there's a point where she says she threw away her copy of HS and Kanarek tells her off. He says {around 1:12:15} that she shouldn't have done that and that the book was good for fact checking. Even Charlie accepts that in the book "the names and dates are right." He spent almost a year writing to Kanarek in the mid 70s, asking for a copy of it, as can be found in Michael White's "Crucified ~ the railroading of Charles Manson."
The reason I point out the book is because the book painstakingly shows how the investigation came together and it becomes clear on multiple readings that as important as Susan's confession was, the net had been drawing in on Charlie from a number of directions. For starters, he was on the October LaBianca detectives suspect list. Before the Atkins stuff became known via Howard and Graham's late November interviews the Police had spoken with and received damaging info from Kitty Lutesinger, Brooks Poston, Paul Crockett, Al Springer, Danny DeCarlo and had even asked Charlie if he knew anything about the murders. Charlie's parole or probation officer, Samuel Barrett had already put in a letter at the start of October recommending that Charlie go back to prison because of his antics.
As Mike McGann pointed out, the Police solved the case, not Bugliosi. However, he put in the spade work that turned a solved case into a provable case that ultimately secured convictions. And as more digging was done, more come up that ultimately rendered Atkins' confession a piece in the jigsaw rather than the jigsaw itself that it had been back in December '69. It was an important bridge and crucial to the indictments.
It should be remembered that when Susan told Ronnie Howard, Nancy Jordon, Virginia Graham and Roseanne Walker of her involvement in the Cielo, LaBianca and Hinman deaths, she wasn't expecting it to go any further, certainly not to LE. So the charges of her being a loud mouth snitch are rather unfair. You can see her mutate into something approximating that simply through inexperience. Taking on LE on her own and remaining tight lipped and steadfast was something she couldn't sustain and showed that she simply didn't possess Charlie's cool or knowledge of law enforcement.
It's kind of ironic that Charlie, who had good reason in his mind not to trust 'mothers' and who gave women a definite place in his scheme of things that was beneath that of the men, should ultimately be partly undone by the fact that the young women he so subtly cultivated {not without their own consent and delight, it has to be said} just couldn't stop talking.

simon davis said...

Having read the transcripts, I have to say I pretty well agree with everything he said in his book. Not just the facts and dates. In some places he actually understates things. I know there is a lot of distrust of the man, but I have to say, no offence to anyone here, that distrust mainly breeds on this blog.

The only thing I'd quibble with in Grim's post/comment is that the police solved the case, not VB. I disagree with this. This was actually the source of some mild embarrassment for Bugliosi. Conventionally, and for good reason, lawyers distance themselves from investigation. One reason is that investigators can be called upon to testify, and the last thing a lawyer conducting a case wants is to be called as a witness because nobody is left to run the case in his absence (we rarely have the luxury of off-siders as VB did in this trial). That means, usually, surrendering the brief. So you lose your work for the week, or month, or whatever. Anyway, the somewhat unique thing about this case was the extent to which VB took the unusual step of taking the investigation into his own hands. He actually concedes this in his book. I know the feeling because in my early days I was apt to do the same thing, not wholly mindful of the risk of being seen to be too close to my client's case/cause. I'm sure he was driven by the hype and the chance of winning the trial of the century, not to mention the obvious incompetence of the police (which BTW is not unusual - it happens, no offence to the good police officers out there, its just that at the best of times police depts. are big cumbersome inefficient clumsy organisations). So VB went looking through the police tubs and visiting places etc etc, not the sort of stuff lawyers usually do. I have to say I find it inescapable that he put the case together and its success was despite the police rather than because of it. None of this - I repeat none - can necessarily be taken the next step to say he did anything improper.

And I have to ask this - in fairness to VB, how many of the loads of vitriolic things said, especially on this blog, were ever put to him so he had a fair opportunity to respond? If they were, then what was his response? If the response was unsatisfactory, then well and good he was a bad guy. Its a fundamental tenet of dispute resolution, indeed democracy and fairness, that conclusions not be drawn before the party against whom a complaint is made has a fair opportunity to answer the charge. The alternative is viglantism and tyranny. Colonoscopy Col sounds just like Herr Judge Freisler shouting down dissenters in 1930's Germany. USA is supposed to be the leader of the free world, but Colon makes it look like Nazi Germany. And so far as I can tell (SO FAR) the whole of the "hate Vince" campaign looks the same. Supply the evidence - not gossip or lazy "beliefs" - supply the EVIDENCE, and I'll happily reconsider.

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

A Charles Manson Saga update from me.

In my first post here on this
Manson Family Blog, I asked 3 questions.
I have now confirmed 2 of the 3, and a lot of the credit is due to this blog, and thank you.

There are certain people who read this blog that need closure....
....if possible...I've been in contact with 2. In fact, from what I have been told, this blog is read by some very vested interested people.

I now have it zeroed-ed in into where that Construction Site was. I just had a street wrong.
Just like Rocky Bateman in The OJ Simpson Case, there are "Items" yet to come to the surface in The Charles Manson Saga, and ESPECIALLY concerning that Construction Site.

Also, Charles Manson DID write
Letters to people. He called his letter to me a contract. That was his words to me. And also in reality, it was a letter he wrote me.

Mr. George Stimson:

Could you please ask Ms. Sandra Good if she knows anything about "Situations" that went on at that Construction Site?
Certain People need Closure. It IS the right thing to do if she knows.

Mario George Nitrini 111
--------
The OJ Simpson Case

Dreath said...

ColScott said,

"DReath is a douche."

That's it? I spent the last 16 hours waiting with bated breath for your invective comment and that's all I get?

Maybe you could upgrade to "neener-neener" next time.

grimtraveller said...

simon davis said...

a Liverpool supporter for (?) 47 years ? Takes him back to the 72/73 season - Clemence, Lindsay, Lawler, Smith, Lloyd, Hughes, Keegan, Case, Heighway, Toshack, Callaghan

It was 1971 that I fell in love with Liverpool and with 2 exceptions, that was the team. Toshack was my favourite footballer as a boy. He was described as the thinking man's centre forward. Keegan was about a month away from joining when I started supporting them. The bright eyed boy at the time was this ultra blond called Alun Evans. At one point, he was the most expensive teenage footballer in Britain. He promised much but delivered little and when Keegan came and scored on his debut, Evans' days were numbered. Last I heard, he was driving a van in Oz.
I don't have any memory of Jimmy Case until the '75~'76 season. The guy that played in his position from '71 was a tiny Scottish university grad called Brian Hall. I loved both players but Case went on to be one of my all time faves and he is the one player that I feel Liverpool sold on too early.

I think Zamora's book is compulsory reading frankly

So do I. It's universally panned among TLBers but it's such an important book. I remember being struck by how much he amplifies dialogue that Bugliosi used in HS a year later. It really is a great window on the jury and it is because of that book that I just won't buy the statements that posit them as being dumb or easily bought by Bugliosi. Zamora's insight is invaluable as far as I can see.
I really enjoyed George Bishop's one, "Witness to evil" too. I think there are some remarkable insights in there and he seems to have been the first of the pre~"HS" authors to actually cast doubt on HS as one of the motives.

you should do law and become a criminal lawyer

I'm afraid I'm too old for that now ! To be honest, being a lawyer never interested me. My sister, who is a Judge, was the lawyer in the family and my Mum's oldest brother who was just known as 'Magistrate.' I like things connected with the law and murder has fascinated me since I was quite young but it's only one of a number of things that interest me. I must say though, I've never come across a case with all the nuances, twists and turns as this one. When I first read HS, it took me about 10 days and I used to rush home from school to read more each day. No book had ever grabbed me like it at the time.

grimtraveller said...

ColScott said...

he made up that it was a coherent philosophy and that it was a motive

Even I could argue that persuasively {while not necessarily believing it} had matters ended with Cielo. But anything in that direction is completely blown out of the waters with the advent of the LaBianca murders. It's that episode that really gives HS legs to transport the body. And Bugliosi was very clear about HS being itself circumstantial evidence. He stated "that from circumstantial evidence of one fact we infer the existence of another fact" and went on to speak of Watson's fingerprint. It's a fact it was there but it only circumstantially points to him as a murderer. The same with HS. There was tons of evidence that pointed circumstantially to HS being one of the motives. In fact all 3 motives presented at the trial were collated from lots of evidence that pointed circumstantially to their existence. As George pointed out back in 2015, circumstantial evidence is nonetheless bona fide evidence. ColScott is fond of saying Bugliosi had the killers stone cold but he didn't. He had circumstantial evidence of their guilt. Evidence {whether direct or circumstantial} needs to be interpreted and the sheer weight of evidence for HS was interpreted. But for it to be interpreted, it had to be there in the first place. Which is why saying that Bugliosi made it up is a surprisingly ignorant thing to say.

Sime's World said...

My big "what if" would be, "What if the police released into the public domain that "Healter Skelter" (sic) had been written on the Labianca's refrigerator?

ColScott said...

Bugliosi had the killers stone cold. They were all going down. He wanted Charlie because that made small man Bugliosi a bigger man

George Stimson said...

Good one, Sime's!

grimtraveller said...

ColScott said...

Bugliosi had the killers stone cold

Circumstantially, yes.

They were all going down. He wanted Charlie because that made small man Bugliosi a bigger man

Your posts remind me of Mal Waldron's piano notes.

Sime's World said...

My big "what if" would be,

One of mine would be "what if the three former housemates of Harold True were still living at the house next door to the LaBiancas and happened to be in the night Charlie made his way up the drive to their place ?"

ColScott said...

Grimster


I do not think you know what circumstantial means. Fingerprints are forensic evidence. And Circumstantial evidence is real evidence you are just trying to denigrate it.

Bob otev said...

Agreed this is why bug was present an speaking for kasabain at every interview she did even 40 year's later.why bother if there's not something to hide?

ColScott said...

Bobby me boy-


He had a narrative that he needed to control and that became his life.

Dreath said...

Oddly, while ColScott. has less then flattering things to say about Simon they actually agree with each other on this point: "Bugliosi had the killers stone cold."

And like Simon and the Col., I share the same view.

I also share the view with Simon that he also had Manson 'stone cold'. And that is where we both part company with the Col. I assume because he believes Manson is wrongly imprisoned.

Where Simon and I part company slightly is I believe HS was necessary to convict Manson: (1.) it made him the originator of the conspiracy (HS) and (2.) it proved 'intent to murder' which was necessary for the conspiracy conviction, which, in turn is how Manson is convicted of seven counts of murder.

DebS said...

Simon, you are probably correct that a good number of people here at the blog are less than impressed with Bugliosi overall. He may have been a good prosecutor but as a human being he was a shit. I get my distain for Bugliosi from something called "The Vincent Bugliosi Story" by George Denny.

Please download the file for the complete story from this post-

http://www.mansonblog.com/2013/01/bugliosi-milkman-and-mistress.html

Dreath said...

Deb said: "He may have been a good prosecutor but as a human being he was a shit."

Got to agree with that.

Dreath said...

A lot of good 'what ifs' Mr. Stimson.

Mine go back a bit as I'd like to avoid the murders.

What if Stephen Desper had encouraged Nick Grillo to listen to the "Beach Boys sessions" (if they are any good- not sure this would have helped) instead of putting them under the console?

What if a probation officer after Ventura County or Leggett had pulled his early release and sent him back in until October '69?

starviego said...



11 - If Mario George Nitrini had combined forces with Irving Karnarek, could they have dragged out the trial for another six months? Or at least have confused the jury to the extent they all spontaneously combusted?

starviego said...


12 - If Judge Older agreed to Charlie's request to allow the female co-defendants to perform the "strip and suck" maneuver on the male jury members, would that have swayed their opinion?

13 - If Charlie had demanded that he be tried by a jury of his peers and asked that all jury members be dosed with 300 micrograms of the BEL's best during final jury deliberations, would that have made a difference?

These are the hypotheticals that keep me up at night....

bucpaul2812 said...

My persoanl take on the situation? Had Leslie and Susan managed to keep quiet, "conscience" would have gotten the better of Linda, she eventually would have come forward but, given the climate of the times, it woud have taken ages for law enforcement to have taken her claims seriously because there would have been the mentality that her disclosure was nothing more than the ramblings of a delusional/drug addled hippie.

DebS said...

Has anyone seen the inscription on Bugliosi's grave marker? You know he left instructions for his family or the cemetery to comply with his wishes.......

Check it out-

https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=147626204&PIpi=132859831

Bob otev said...

The odds of randomly selecting a house with 2 people suspected of drug dealing the first night an a man with connections to mob money on the second are pretty astronomical

simon davis said...

May I say this respectfully? If you come into this case by reading VB's book, as a lay person, then you get the impression that VB wants you to get - that this was a hard case and he heroically drew it together and worked up the HS motive theory which won the case. Not to mention the saleability of all things Beatles and also the wild HS stuff gave the book a real commercial zing. In effect he says he won the case with his motive theory. As a lawyer, if you have to bear down on concepts like motive to earn a living as I did (pay the mortgage etc), you become very sceptical about a claim that motive "wins" or "loses" a criminal trial. It rarely does . And if you come into the case via the trial transcripts and the appeal judgment, you become even more sceptical that the HS motive won this case. The irony about the anti-VB lobby is that it has swallowed hook, line and sinker VB's sales pitch for himself and his book that he and his motive won the case, without ever stopping and thinking "well is that really right ?" Instead people tend to just accept what he says that he won the case single-handedly with his wild HS motive theory and then either jump to the conclusion he was was a hero, or as on this blog jump to the conclusion he was a bad guy. The unquestioning acceptance of the premise of his book, by both sides, is misplaced.

The truth, the law, about motive in criminal trials is as follows.

There are 3 types of criminal trial: (a) strong prosecution case (b) mid-strength, "close" or "borderline" prosecution case (c) weak prosecution case.

Motive is just one of the pieces of circumstantial evidence in a criminal case case. Its absence does not derogate from a strong case. Its presence does not act as makeweight, or fill in gaps, in a weak case. It follows that in cases (a) and (c), motive almost always has little or no work to do. Motive only ever comes alive (if ever) in case type (b) where things are finely balanced. If the prosecution can find a motive, then that may well tip the scales its way. And if no motive is found, then the scales may tip the other way. In practice, presence or absence of motive only very rarely is so decisive as to cause any scale tipping.

So what type of case was the case against CM? Undoubtedly it was a case (a). Before you get to any consideration of motive you had the following circumstances:

(1) CM connected to the murder scenes by his disciples - indubitably the most important circumstance of all - if this was never established, what use or relevance would HS be? HS was dependent and parasitic upon proof of the leadership/association circumstance. I think I may have earlier said nothing much worked in the prosecution case without leadership/ association.

(2) CM's gun - connection.

(3) CM's rope - ditto.

(4) CM's thong - ditto.

(5) Connection of sorts between CM and the houses.

(6) CM's throat slitting gesture.

(7) CM hiding in cupboard when arrested.

(8) CM's admission about the being the one doing the killings (to Flynn).

(9) CM is in the driver's seat as they leave and Atkins yells out to Flynn "we're going out to get some pigs".

(10) CM had a propensity for violence (attack judge, assault young people at Ranch, can't recall what else went in).

All of that is before you even come to HS. It would be odd if the prosecution proved all of the circumstances and the jury still hesitated and said "yes, but we want to know why?". The essential question for any jury is not "why" the crime happened, but whether it happened.

simon davis said...

Now let's add HS to the above list of circumstances and you should be able to see why earlier I said this was an easy case - add HS and you get clear links to the murder scenes, and you get a motive (I actually prefer to call it a part of the motive equation for reasons which will be made clear in my book), and you get corroboration of LK.

Now, the separate question of whether HS was a creation or a "fiction" or a "fantasy", or whatever spin the colo-rectal surgeon was trying to put on it. There were ten witnesses. Ten UNCONTRADICTED witnesses on oath. Not one, not two, not three, but ten - think about the power of that in court for a moment. Then twenty-one other people outside of the court case, almost all independent of each other, all saying the same things as the witnesses. And a nine month trial and an appeal where CM and IK were quite prepared to say anything no matter how "specious", "silly", "absurd", and effectively said nothing against HS. I could go on and on and on. Any suggestion that HS was somehow the fiction or creation of the prosecutor is nonsense.

VB didn't need HS to in the trial to win the case. He needed HS in the trial to sell the book.

Finally, the last thing I have to emphasise is that I regard VB's skill and integrity quite highly. My comments about his motives in writing the book should not be interpreted as criticisms of the man himself. Having now had experience with the publishing industry, I suspect he was leaned upon to produce the book in a certain way. I suspect, but have no proof, that he was told to spice it up by adding Beatles and wild HS. (Mick Jagger was knocked back by a publisher because his manuscript didn't have enough sex and drugs.) I also remind readers that he was a babe in the woods in law and in publishing. It is somewhat unrealistic to expect him to resist the types of commercial pressures which were probably placed upon him.

simon davis said...

Finally, thanks debS for the article and may I say thanks for your patience with me.

Thanks Grim for those wonderful memories - how could I forget Hall and Evans ! I supported the team that everyone loved to hate - Leeds. I was pleased to read that Revie and Keegan became great mates in later life. I loved that Liverpool team - Heighway, Toshack, etc wow ! Except when they played Leeds ! LOL !

simon davis said...

Hi debS I couldn't reach that link you sent me. I've found two things. One is a post on a site called "Lies About Manson" and the post is called "George Denny 111 charges Vincent Bugliosi with perjury". The other is a typed document called "The Vincent Bugliosi Story" on some ATWAR site. Are these the same things or do they make similar points, or do I need anything else?

simon davis said...

PS the typed document is very long. I wouldn't mind knowing before I embark on it whether its is the highest the case goes against VB or whether I should wait on anything else, kind regards, Simon

simon davis said...

OK, read Mr Denny's 147 page document. Is that it? Any more takers? Going . . . going . . .

grimtraveller said...

ColScott said...

Grimster
I do not think you know what circumstantial means. Fingerprints are forensic evidence. And Circumstantial evidence is real evidence you are just trying to denigrate it


Forensic evidence can be circumstantial evidence. I gave you an example from Bugliosi's closing argument.
I already said circumstantial evidence is real evidence when I said "As George pointed out back in 2015, circumstantial evidence is nonetheless bona fide evidence."
You're too keen to be right and as such, miss what is actually being said.
I'm well aware of what circumstantial means in terms of evidence in a court case.
I do like "Grimster" however. It's better than "De Grimster" {ouch !}.

black_love_in_space said...

it made magnetic tape look like water

That is just about the strangest thing I've ever...um...thing I've ever...um....

St Circumstance said...

What if Melcher recorded Charlie and he became a big star???

Would he have been a better person or would his instincts have taken over at some point anyway?

Someone once said you can take a guy out of the streets but you can never take the streets out of the guy...

Not sure what I think about that

Mr. Humphrat said...

starviego LOL

grimtraveller said...

black_love_in_space said...

it made magnetic tape look like water

That is just about the strangest thing I've ever...um...thing I've ever...um....


Yeah, it was pretty esoteric. I liked it though. I don't know where it came from within my psyche.

simon davis said...

I supported the team that everyone loved to hate - Leeds

My Dad was a Leeds supporter. They were a great team though they weren't known as the "champion runners up" for nothing ! A few years ago, I heard Peter Lorimer give an interview and he was asked why they so often fell at the final hurdle and he said that the team never ever quite believed in themselves enough, which I found hard to fathom. The only player they had in the glory days that wasn't an international was the perennial substitute, Mick Bates.

Bob otev said...

The odds of randomly selecting a house with 2 people suspected of drug dealing the first night an a man with connections to mob money on the second are pretty astronomical

Not in 1960s California ! Or for that matter in a number of inner city areas in the USA....

DebS said...

Bugliosi overall....He may have been a good prosecutor but as a human being he was a shit

That may well be true but that could be said about thousands of our celebs, politicians, sporting and war heroes, that they were great at "- - - - - " but shit human beings. JFK, MLK, Bob Marley, John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, Henry Kissinger, Winston Churchill, Madonna ~ the list is endless. Equally true is that lots of people loved them.
I was never impressed by Vincent T when I saw him speak on TV. On all the shows and documentaries I've seen him in, I find him really irritating. It would really irk me, the way he'd truncate for TV what I'd previously read in interviews or in his book and the way he'd talk about the threat of the Family 20, 30, 40 years after the events as though they were still a viable current threat at the time he was speaking. It would nearly drive me to distraction when he'd tell that story of the day he heard the death penalty had been quashed and how Charlie had beaten the rap ~ but never the others. He's not even impressive in Robert Hendrickson's book although he does say some interesting and insightful things in it.
But hey ! I think he did a superb job convicting the TLB murderers, I have much time for him on that basis and that basis alone and I think his book is superb. Flawed, by no means the last word, but superb and eminently readable.

ColScott said...

He had a narrative that he needed to control and that became his life

Blimey Col, that could so describe you ! ☺ ☺
That said, I do agree with you on that. Mind you, you can't exactly hold him responsible if when he was alive writers and documentary makers kept coming to him with a request {and $$$s} to be in their show and spice up their lame productions. He'd rather talk Kennedy....And he surprisingly modified bits as the years went on, such as stating that he didn't really know if Manson really believed in HS literally ~ something he wouldn't have said to the jury circa '70/'71.

Bob otev said...

this is why bug was present an speaking for kasabain at every interview she did even 40 year's later.why bother if there's not something to hide?

In one of the interviews, she came across as an incoherent, drug sodden wreck and Bugliosi talked over everyone, going back decades !
On the other hand, on that 40th anniversary documentary, he didn't always talk for her and she spoke for herself and told us about getting into Steven Parent's car which we'd never heard before, even from the killers. So one could argue that your selective bias is showing through.

grimtraveller said...

What if Susan Atkins had not repudiated her grand jury testimony and gone on to testify for the prosecution during the murder trial? Would the more "innocent" Linda Kasabian have been convicted of murder?

Bugliosi says he would have gone for a 2nd degree charge against her and certainly not the death penalty. But that is very much in the context of after the fact post~conviction gratitude that he says that.
Towards the end of your "Is Linda's 2nd night testimony credible" thread, I've been posing some points and ???s and Dreath has been answering and it makes for some interesting food for thought.
I'm still stuck on the part of Atkins' deal with the DA that states that whatever she testified for the Grand jury could not be used against her and could not be used against her accomplices. Without some independent corroboration to tie in Kasabian, I can't see how the prosecution would be able to proceed against her. There was independent corroboration to tie everyone else into the overall conspiracy ~ but not Kasabian or Clem. Obviously I'm looking at this with the benefit of 48 years hindsight and lots of debate with keen minds but I, at present, don't see how she could have been convicted if she played it right. Dreath pointed out that it was known that she was there but it was known Clem was there and it was known Tex was at Shorty's demise, it was known that Charlie shot Lotsapoppa and that TJ was there. None have ever faced their particular music.
I think Gary Fleischmann could have injected more than enough doubt to get Kasabian acquitted and even Bugliosi acknowledged that her acquittal was a definite possibility.
Another thing that occurs to me is this; if Atkins was the star witness for the prosecution, I suspect that she would have been grilled alive by the other lawyers. Although, according to John Gilmour in "The Garbage People," Charlie supposedly thought Linda wasn't made of stern stuff and would crumble at trial, she turned out to be 'quite a performer' and I think it's because she really had the truth on her side, where it mattered. Whereas Susan was distinctly dodgy and changeable. She was never grilled by the opposition during the Grand Jury because there was none. Even by recantation time she was darting from one story to another. Apart from the obvious stabbing Sharon Tate and tasting the blood bit, she said no one was on drugs either night. But we know differently now. There was the matter of what happened when they left the LaBianca house. Little things perhaps, but indications that Susan was 'gettable' in a way that Linda never was. She had achilles heels that a little rubbing might eventually break, while Linda was a waster that wore not her heart on her sleeve, but her life.

Bob otev said...

Manson has seemed offended by the absurdity of the helter skelter motive in all interviews ive seen.all these years has said that was d.a.agenda not his .its garbage an a fairy tale I can't understand any one buying this bull shit

Bob otev said...

Its mind blowing how easy the public swallowed all the bullshit of the 1960s.if it was on t.v. it was the truth. That magic bullet of Oswald's for example. If Walter Cronkite said its the truth.this shit would never fly today

Lynn said...

Favorite question yet. Or what if he landed a major contract/label and failed.

Lynn said...

Thank you for posting that. Didn't realize he was from Hibbing. Hibbing is not a big town, wonder if he and Bob Dylan knew or knew of each other? Bug's older by about 7 yrs.

simon davis said...

One thing VB wasn't was cool. I doubt he was a Dylan fan. I think he said, or I inferred from something, that he didn't like the White Album. Certainly Judge Older and the jury didn't like it. Older cracked some wicked joke about it at some stage. I should have flagged that one. Zamora found it monotonous and boring. I'd be surprised if any of them were still awake by the time Revolution 9 finished (if they got that far). Bloody long hairs with their loud guitars screaming instead of singing. What's the world coming to.

simon davis said...

Well Grim its housework time. I wonder if Clarence Darrow ever had to do housework. Some people whistle while they work. Some sing. Me? I do running commentaries of 60's and 70's English soccer matches ! My fave is of course Kenneth Wolstenholme from the '66 WC Final - "the Germans think its over - it is now" as Hurst's volley thunders into the net ! John Motson, Gerald Sinstadt, Brian Moore (what a gentleman !).

Dreath said...

Grim,

"On the other hand, on that 40th anniversary documentary, he didn't always talk for her and she spoke for herself and told us about getting into Steven Parent's car which we'd never heard before, even from the killers."

Didn't she also say she took his wallet? I think I remember that. That didn't happen so........

simon davis said...

Is this the interview where she is in semi-darkness and VB does all the talking for her ? I have that somewhere, will check.

Guys is there anything more from George Denny or anyone that sets out the complaints against VB? I'd just like to know before I venture to write something in my manuscript about VB. In particular is the Denny document the basis for the "established facts", or whatever the phrase was, in the Colon's earlier comment ? In other words the stuff about bashing the mistress etc. I'd just like to be very accurate and not do a disservice to the argument in the event that I form the view that the argument is wrong. I'd like to know I've got it at the highest it can be put.

"Keegan, Toshack, square to Heighway - oh what a goooooooooaaaaaal!!!!!!!"

simon davis said...

Grim, I think Revie coached Leeds that if they got to 1-0, they were to shut up shop. Whereas Shankly coached L/pool that if you get to 1-0 then you try your hardest to make it 2-0, then 3-0, and so on. I tender Exhibit 1 - the '74 Cup Final v. Newcastle. Call it killer instinct I suppose. But I think that Shankly coaching set up that great L/pool success. And Revie's coaching, as great as he was, ironically also explained their otherwise inexplicable run of 2nd places. Lorimer's comment is a bit of a cop out, although geez I loved watching him play.

simon davis said...

You know we Aussies are experts at what it takes to lose, grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. Exhibit 2: Greg Norman.

Kevin Marx said...

Hey Simon, interested to hear what angle you will approach the case from in your book. Have you got any "new" information or anything slightly unique or will it be your interpretation of information and facts already established? Have you spoken to anyone connected to the case?

Dreath said...

Simon,

I'll send you some stuff on VB.

DebS said...

Simon Geo. Denny was running against Bugliosi for Los Angeles District Attorney in 1972. Both Bugliosi and Denny lost the election. Then in 1974 Bugliosi ran for state attorney general and Denny again went after Bugliosi. Bugliosi lost that election, too.

George Denny was Bruce Davis's attorney.

There are many articles written at the time of the two elections where Denny and Bugliosi are at loggerheads.

Send me an email if you want to be more specific or you want articles.

Off topic- Are write about you going to write about William Farr, the newsman that spent quite a bit of time in jail for not revealing his source about the celebrity hit list? Bugliosi and Shin were taken to court over that because it was thought that either one or both was the source. Lots of side stories come with the Manson Murders case and this one is particularly interesting to me.

http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/522/464/184138/

simon davis said...

Thanks everyone, much obliged.

Kevin, the angle is that the history of the murders and trials is in a very haphazard state presently, and it would benefit from an experienced and independent trial lawyer going back and looking at the primary source docs, most importantly initial interviews with lawyers, trial transcripts etc to bear down properly on what the trial was about, and by inference what actually happened in the murders. You see, without meaning to put myself on a pedestal, it is bleedingly obvious that most people haven't got much idea about, for example, how motive actually works in a criminal trial, nor indeed about the process of fact-finding (perhaps fact checking is the new buzz word), nor what prosecutors do. Trial lawyers do this day in and day out for a living. I've done this for 30 years (5 years study before that) very full time, 6 to 7 days per week. Now can you imagine my angst when I see people waxing lyrical about motive, circumstantial evidence etc. It'd be a bit like me telling you how to do your job, or telling my surgeon how he should do his lobotomy on me !

Now, one of the little known trial lawyer skills is working out from the way in which your opponent conducts his case what in fact the real facts of the event in question are. By this mean - the topics he chooses for xx, the topics he doesn't choose, the questions he does or doesn't ask, the objections he makes or doesn't make etc etc. Nobody has ever done this except Bugliosi but he wasn't independent.

And yes there are many new stories to be found when we go back to the trial and understand the law properly. Many new stories just leap out. Many old loose ends get tied up. Whether you buy my book or not, I urge you to always make referable your understanding of this case back to the original client lawyer interviews of the defendants now available at cielodrive.com, and in Watson's case more-or-less in his first book "Will You Die For Me?", and always be discerning and questioning. Armed with those interviews, then branch out to the transcript, or you'll get a more digestable version of the case in the appeal judgment. The transcript is torturous, and you probably need a lawyer to help you understand it - no offence. But it is essential to get back to those original materials because what the people said then is infinitely more probative than they may say now, or in fact have ever said since. Bugliosi's book is excellent but be careful of the way he treats HS and bear in mind he had a personal stake in emphasising the importance of HS. Whatever you, don't unquestioningly accept whatever VB says.

Interview people connected? You mean witnesses, defendants closely connected? Absolutely avoid that like the plague. I've learned through experience there is nothing less conducive to good fact finding than meeting and greeting. You are almost immediately compromised as a writer. Besides, it is patently clear nobody remembers much. Take note of Dreath's comments about memory. The current psychological research would have it that they had forgotten a lot of it by the time of the trial (surprising but probably true !).

Thanks for your interest !

debS thanks heaps ! I was not proposing to write about the Farr/Shinn/Bugliosi stuff, of which I am aware and have read, but I will have a look to refresh my memory.

Thanks Dreath again, that would be good.

Cheers beers !

penny lane said...

Hey Simon...are u east or west oz...u cant be from the NT ....u can spell :)

simon davis said...

Hi Penny Lane, I'm east coast, just south of Sydney. Where are you ?

StillGrooving said...

What if Rudolf Weber had been a little more proactive and had gone to the police with his recollection (including license number of vehicle) of a suspicious group of young people using his hose on the night and in close proximity of a mass murder?

I wonder why Watson didn't attack Weber when he was spotted? I guess one could say that he was following orders to ONLY take out the people at the Tate residence. But if Tex truly believed that the murders would be famous enough to launch a black vs. white war, one has to wonder why Tex wasn't more concerned about someone spotting a WHITE man rinsing blood off his body onto the lawn in such close proximity to the murder scene.

penny lane said...

Hey Simon...i was joking about the NT comment ..Im in the west...:)

grimtraveller said...

What if Charles "Tex" Watson had been extradited to California in time to be tried along with Charles Manson and the three girls? Would that have changed the whole "Manson as demonic puppeteer" theme?

That Watson fought extradition so hard, once his lawyer had convinced him going to LA would be a daft idea, tells me that Tex was a conniving guy that looked out for no.1 and had woken up from his Charlie dominated slumber and realized that this could cost him his life. Unlike Leslie and Pat, he wasn't interested in going to the gas chamber to save Charlie and discover if there really was no death and unlike Susan he had no children that he could be blackmailed into going to bat for Charlie with.
That Watson went through the whole routine of trying to fake mental illness both pre and during the trial {standing about with his mouth hanging open, not answering questions when he was asked simple things like his name and calling a plethora of psychs to testify on his behalf} when it was clear that on both nights of murder he was clear minded indicated that he was, even with the evidence against him, going to go the whole hog to avoid being put to death. I have no doubt that had he been tried with the others he would have tried to sink them, pretty much the way he did in his trial.
Right from when he went home to Texas, he cut his hair and dressed in a way that was well toned down from his California appearance. Once arrested, there weren't press conferences, wild eyed looks, lawyers galore meeting with him, photogenic star quality, humorous utterances and importantly, his role as the chief TLB slayer was downplayed. Why ? Because pretty much from the first time the Family appeared on the Police radar in connection with the murders, things revolved around Charlie Manson. When Detectives Whiteley and Guenther went to see Jess buckles, it wasn't Tex they talked about Bobby being an associate of. Virtually every snippet of info that came the cops way orbited Charlie. They even thought the main killer was Charlie when Susan + Howard & Graham described the killings. Even Steve Zabriske, whom we know absolutely nothing about and who disappeared from history more than 2 weeks before Bugliosi was put on the case, told the Portland cops that 'a Charlie and a Clem' committed the murders.
Charlie couldn't stop talking when he had the bit between his teeth and he played such a huge part in the lives of the Family with so many of them talking about him all the time that to not conclude back in '69/'70 that he was pulling strings is at best naive. ColScott speaks of killings he was not present at and had unclear control over but there is a whole conversation to be had about control, what it is, how it works, its limits, its adaptations. When a government sends soldiers to war, it has unclear control over ज़रा सी बात {minutiae}.
Tex was out for himself and I think he would have provided a major contrast between himself and Charlie, even more so than he did present.
However, I also think that the major arbiter in how both Tex and Charlie would have been perceived had they been tried together would be Leslie, Pat and Susan. It's how they would have behaved towards them that may have held the key as to who was seen as the one directing traffic.

grimtraveller said...

Bob otev said...

Manson has seemed offended by the absurdity of the helter skelter motive in all interviews ive seen

Well, he denies any responsibility of any kind for the murders in interviews he's given down the years. So it doesn't really matter what motive is put forward. As long as it puts him as the motive holder, he ain't biting. If Charlie is pitched as being the commander or originator, to him it's absurd.
He cannot admit it. To do so would be to admit he was guilty of these murders.
In men's jail, that would net him....."a rough time."

all these years has said that was d.a.agenda not his

The prosecutor had to put the case together so in one sense he's not entirely off base. It was kind of Bugliosi's agenda. But don't ignore the evidence that came his way and the direction it was pointing in. As I've pointed out many times, the framework of HS existed in statements by Al Springer, Brooks Poston, Paul Crocket and Danny DeCarlo even before Bugliosi was even on the case. And by the time he'd been on it a week, Ronnie Howard and Virginia Graham {plus Susan} had added to it. And within a month and 3 days of them, Leslie had put it so blatantly to Marvin Part. They may not have always used the phrase but they outlined the tenets between them. And then there's Pat and her writing at the scene of the crime. She may as well have written "Charlie woz 'ere."
None of these had anything whatsoever to do with Vincent Bugliosi. In a sense, one could actually argue that he was a little slow off the mark.

its garbage an a fairy tale I can't understand any one buying this bull shit

An old acquaintance of mine said that about my belief in Christ. But I've lived it for 32 years.
Very few people have ever been prepared to look at Charlie from a spiritual and religious perspective {as opposed to religious sensationalism}, particularly in the way he did not separate "church and state" for want of a better phrase. When one looks down that road, it's amazing how scenic the route becomes.

Kevin Marx said...

Thanks Simon. Yes cielodrive.com is indeed a treasure trove - listening to the the series of recorded interviews was particularly fascinating.

Its interesting that your book will not be based on any personal interviews with people - but I can understand your point about the memory issue, 48 years is a long time!. This approach will definitely set it apart from many of the other books on the case.

grimtraveller said...

Bob otev said...

Its mind blowing how easy the public swallowed all the bullshit of the 1960s.if it was on t.v. it was the truth

Yeah, but in television's infancy one would hardly expect programmers to come right out and lie or deceive. Now, we've had much experience of the kind of artifice that the media as a whole can spray the viewer with and as such, many more people than back then are beyond discerning, they're downright cynical.

simon davis said...

I'd be surprised if any of them were still awake by the time Revolution 9 finished (if they got that far)

I tried manfully for nearly 20 years to like "Revolution 9." I failed woefully. I love the Beatles stuff {apart from "Thank you girl" and "This boy"} and could talk about every stage of their career for years. But Rev 9 is beyond the pail of shittiness. It's not even good noise.

One thing VB wasn't was cool

No, but he did one thing that no one else in the legal community seems to have done which is to try to understand exactly where the Family were coming from. Whereas Caballero and Part saw them as insane and Fleischmann thought 'deals' and Caruso and Shinn saw money, Bugliosi straddled that important bridge between psychedelia and legality and put it together in ways opposing parties could access......and spend half a century fighting !

John Motson, Gerald Sinstadt, Brian Moore...

Along with Barry Davies, David Coleman and the legendary Hugh Johns, my favourite 6 commentators. These men truly brought football alive and brought a dimension to the game that is forever etched on the mind and memory of many of my generation that loved the game in the 70s. One of my stock phrases in life came from Coleman ~ "goals pay the rent !"

Lynn said...

what if he landed a major contract/label and failed

I daresay he'd be like High Tide, Help, Amalgam, Away, Kristyl, Aviary, Roadmaster, Fraction, Totty, Unity, Jameson Raid, Spud, Alco, Mushroom, Fuzzy Duck, Peter Tessier, Wits End and a thousand other artists that made one or two records, possibly among them utterly brilliant and underrated works, yet sank without a trace who then, 30~40 years later, were discovered in the download age and dug by a tiny but hugely appreciative set of discerning listeners. Someone might even have written an article or done a documentary on him as a relic that released a lost psych classic or two.

Dreath said...

Didn't she also say she took his wallet? I think I remember that. That didn't happen so........

She didn't actually say that. She said that Tex ordered her to get his wallet so she got into the car and looked at him {to which she testified ~ she just didn't say she was in his car at the time !} and became aware that although he was there in body, his spirit was elsewhere. In the years after she made this revelation, there were numerous comments and debates about her and so many peoples' consensus was that little miss innocent was finally starting to tip her hand and show that all her posturing back in 1970 was a sham and that she was a lying wench that had more input in the murders than was ever brought out. But nowhere does she say that she took Steve's wallet and when the Police searched him, the wallet was there, with money in it.
It was the smokeless smoking gun.



simon davis said...

It wasn't just Poston et al on HS. Just about anyone that Charlie came into contact with in late 1969/70 came away from their meeting with an earful of HS - even down to Stephanie Schram's sister. Likewise another true believer Tex who even preached all about it to his former girlfriend Jeanne Denise Mallett in Copeville. Lawyers, fellow inmates, police, ex-girlfriends, Grand Jurors, doctors, relatives, counsellors, journalists, musicians - if you encountered the Family in 1969/70 you got a spray of HS. At some point after the Rolling Stone interview published on 25 June 1970, CM woke up out of his stupor and the penny dropped that he ought to stop talking about his obsession because it might just land him in the gas chamber. Since then its been "mum's the word", say nothing about HS.

I wholly agree with Grim about Tex. When he awoke, he was prepared to say anything to save his skin. He even conceded it in a gormless sort of way in his book, to his credit (?), for what that is worth.

Thanks Kevin, I find it hard listening to those tapes, but have gone through the process to verify that cielo's typed them out correctly (no offence Cielo ! but you know I'm a lawyer). Also, as in court, you pick up a lot by the way people say things, eg the spontaneity of the response, or a long pause before answering while they think what they should say.

Penny Lane, its nice to meet another Aussie there's a few floating around on this site. I think we sometimes irritate others, I know I do !, we have some embarrassing deficiencies, but geez Louise I love us !! We may not be teh best country, but we are the luckiest !

grimtraveller said...

Kevin Marx said...

Simon.....its interesting that your book will not be based on any personal interviews with people

I think that's a good thing. Right from the start there were so many conflicting memories and even in these latter 20 or so years, if you look at Charlie's supporters that he's spent years talking with, there's more conflicteze and contradiction ~ of each other. Pat's last parole hearing shows her to still be largely incoherent, rarely actually completing a sentence and therefore coming over as having little real memory of much of what was going on. If anyone lived in an acid daze back then, it was her.
No, it'll be interesting to have a lawyer's perspective that takes into account their actual interest in the case. We've already seen the benefit of that with Dreath.

simon davis said...

I think Revie coached Leeds that if they got to 1-0, they were to shut up shop

Billy Bremner said that up until they won their first title in '69 {that year again !}, there was that negative aspect to them but once they were crowned champions, Revie let them off the leash and Bremner's feeling was that between the 2nd part of '69 and '74, Leeds played some of the best football seen in post~war Britain.
I have a DVD that I put together from a couple of videos I had, one showing the goals they scored on the BBC and one doing the same for ITV. It's hard to argue with Bremner's assesment.
My favourite 2 Leeds moments though are the shock 5th round FA cup defeat to 4th division Colchester in '71 and the shock FA cup final defeat to 2nd division Sunderland in '73. That double save from Jim Montgomery can only be described as insane.

Lorimer's comment is a bit of a cop out, although geez I loved watching him play

Old hot shot ! What a winger. Him on the right wing with Eddie Gray on the left with Sniffer Clarke and Mick Jones as the two marauding centre forwards. What an attack. In those days though, even below average outfits like Norwich and Sheffield UTD had potent attacks. In fact, many teams from the lower divisions had goalscorers that would be worth a mint today, guys like Derek Hales, Ted MacDougal, Brion Yeo, Dixie McNeil, Ronnie Moore....
I heard Peter Lorimer say that he was only a right winger by default. He actually saw himself as a creative midfield playmaker but the team had Bremner and Johnny Giles in those positions and there was no way he could dislodge them. So he settled for the winger's berth ~ and wracked up more goals than any other player in their history.

DebS said...

Denny was running against Bugliosi for Los Angeles District Attorney in 1972

Regardless of what George Denny said, Bugliosi was never convicted of anything. So regarding his prosecution of Charles Manson, the sideshow is something of a red herring, interesting though it is. Few people regard Vincent T as a kind of LA Mother Theresa.

brownrice said...

Simon davis said:
"Just about anyone that Charlie came into contact with in late 1969/70 came away from their meeting with an earful of HS - even down to Stephanie Schram's sister."

According to Vincent Bugliosi and every book since. Strangely enough, when Stephanie Schram surfaced on these sites a few years back and was interviewed, she had no recollection at all of Charlie waxing lyrical about Helter Skelter to her family.

Grim said:
"but he did one thing that no one else in the legal community seems to have done which is to try to understand exactly where the Family were coming from."

Hardly. He took a fairly widely held belief amongst the youth movement of the time (i.e the revolution was "coming down fast") and dumbed it down into a racist cartoon version suitable for middle America. "This is what happens if you take LSD and listen to the Beatles" as Beausoleil described it... the perfect horror story for the Nixon era.

grimtraveller said...

simon davis said...

He even conceded it in a gormless sort of way in his book, to his credit(?)

I think it is to his credit. I know it's easy and fashionable to rag on Tex but I like to step outside of that and give credit where it's due. Besides, for me it's an important statement about the stirrings of his awareness of God at that time because it's really in that context that he says it, that is, he was aware of God's moving in his life even then but rather trust God, self preservation took over. As a Christian I can sadly report that this is something that blights most if not all Christians at some point and it's a continual challenge not to go down that road. For Tex it was neither the first nor last time....

gormless

That's a word that has all but disappeared from the English language, certainly in its actual usage. It was a common word when I was at school in the 70s.
About 4 years ago, this kid that lives down our road that we used to look after till his parents finished work and was sort of an acquaintance of one of my kids, I described him one day as gormless. When my son asked me what it meant, I told him to look it up in the dictionary, so he did. He thought I was terrible for saying it but we couldn't stop laughing because he could see what I meant even though I was only being tongue in cheek.

Just about anyone that Charlie came into contact with in late 1969/70 came away from their meeting with an earful of HS - even down to Stephanie Schram's sister

And this, the day before the murders themselves began !

Kevin Marx said...

Yes cielodrive.com is indeed a treasure trove

As is the man himself. A scholar and a gentleman, a wizard, a true star.

grimtraveller said...

brownrice said...

Strangely enough, when Stephanie Schram surfaced on these sites a few years back and was interviewed, she had no recollection at all of Charlie waxing lyrical about Helter Skelter to her family

Probably because at the time, she was busy packing her clothes ! Her sister didn't live with the wider family. Besides which, Stephanie doesn't need to have remembered it seeing that it didn't concern her.
But which interview[s] are you referring to ? I remember her on Truth on Tate/LaBianca {if indeed it was her} asking whether there would be any interest in her writing a book. And she did an in depth interview with Brian and Cats at the TLB radio show or whatever it was called back in 2012 and he doesn't ask her about it. I see nothing of that ilk on ColScott's site. Can you link me to where it is that she says she has no recollection, just so I can see the context ?

Hardly. He took a fairly widely held belief amongst the youth movement of the time (i.e the revolution was "coming down fast") and dumbed it down into a racist cartoon version suitable for middle America

I don't understand what you mean by "dumbed it down into a racist cartoon version suitable for middle America" {can you explain that ?} but the first part of your sentence is partly what I was talking about. He brought to the surface some of what was being talked about by the Family and the young, but not understood by the wider populace of middle aged and oldies. Charlie on the other hand pointed out the generation gap to the judge but wasn't interested in bridging any gaps or explaining in an accessible manner and can hardly complain about any caricatures and lazy journalism that has since followed. Although I share his disdain for it.

"This is what happens if you take LSD and listen to the Beatles" as Beausoleil described it... the perfect horror story for the Nixon era

Are you saying that it wasn't one of the horror stories of the Nixon era ? Regardless of where one stands on it ? Young people committing murder ? Young people getting murdered ? A baby 2 weeks away from being born and his mum ? Steve Parent who was just leaving after visiting a new acquaintance ? A couple butchered in their own home in the dead of night after the woman has already been shaken about hearing about the Cielo killings ?
As for Bobby's statement, it's a fairly silly one and typical of Bobby not thinking through the implications of what he says because that isn't what Bugliosi says by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, in my 1977 copy of "Helter Skelter" the very first thing one reads in the preamble is the very opposite of that. Further to that, in the book itself he makes specific mention of acid's propensity to effect different people in different ways and points out that Paul Watkins had had more than 200 trips yet was clear and bright and shows himself pleased when Judge Older rejects any notion that Kasabian's mind has been blown by LSD.

brownrice said...

Grim said:
"But which interview[s] are you referring to ? I remember her on Truth on Tate/LaBianca {if indeed it was her} asking whether there would be any interest in her writing a book. And she did an in depth interview with Brian and Cats at the TLB radio show or whatever it was called back in 2012 and he doesn't ask her about it. I see nothing of that ilk on ColScott's site. Can you link me to where it is that she says she has no recollection, just so I can see the context ?"

Well Cats seemed pretty confident of Stephanie being who she claimed to be. I can't point you to that link because like all the rest of that site, it no longer exists. It occurred in the discussions surrounding the interview (which was extensively promoted, linked to & discussed on Cats' site because at that time, her & Brian Davis were working together). Cats was asked if Stephanie had talked much about Charlie's Helter Skelter blag. Her answer (as best I can remember it) was that Stephanie seemed to think it wasn't such an obsession as "history" insists and didn't remember him preaching it to her sister at all.

brownrice said...

Grim said:
“Are you saying that it wasn't one of the horror stories of the Nixon era ?”

What I’m saying is that without the Beatles, LSD & Sharon Tate, these crimes probably wouldn’t be much more than a historical footnote. Throwing Helter Skelter into the mix largely served to obscure the fact that the killers were more wannabe gangsters than hippies… and provided an over-arching narrative that transformed vicious petty psychopathic criminality into a morality tale of the 60s culture wars. It’s interesting to note that all the witnesses that Bugliosi drew upon to build this narrative had something to gain by giving voice to it… either by reduced sentences (deCarlo for instance), media attention (Watkins) or the opposite (Melcher, Jacobson et al).

Vince was a smart guy. I’m sure he had no illusions about acid OR the gullibility of the general population and was well aware of what most people in middle America would focus on and remember about the case. He also knew what would sell a book.

simon davis said...

Grim I'll come back to Leeds/L/pool later. I'm sure the good administrators don't want me talking about some barmy English soccer trivia from way back when LOL !

Now Kevin Marx, I'm pleased people seem to be getting their minds around the memory issues. As counter-intuitive as it seems, our memories even for supposed life changing events is not as good as we tend to think.

Now the equally important thing about the early interviews with the lawyers is this. Legal interviews are cloaked in client/lawyer privilege. This means the interviewee has an understanding that what s/he says will be confidential and never be released outside the 4 walls of the lawyers office. The reason the law confers this privilege is to encourage clients to tell the truth to their lawyers. It's a very serious and heavy privilege. What is incredibly unique about this piece of litigation is that, for whatever reason, the privilege has been waived and we now get to see what they told their lawyers. All things being equal, the high probability is that what they said to their lawyers was the most reliably truthful account of things to anyone. Yes, sometimes clients lie to their lawyers, but it is the exception rather than the rule. Furthermore, the formality of the legal interview (men in suits) is regarded as a factor which favours truthfulness (as does the solemnity of court proceedings, about which I could tell a great story and will one day).

For these very powerful reasons, the truth of most of the events very likely resides within those client lawyer interviews (including Tex's book - subject to distilling what actually was said to the lawyer in 1969 and what was added by the time the book was published in 1978), or things that can be inferred from those interviews.

OK, now quiz time. No, Grim, not Leeds/L/pool ! Besides contemporaneity and legal context of statements, there is another type of statement that is usually regarded as highly probative of the truth - statements made independently of litigation. For example, statements recorded in business records independent of litigation. Now without giving away too much more of my book, if you get the chance have a look at Karlene Faith's book The Long Prison Journey of LVH. There you will find a fair goldmine of statements made independently of litigation (it was after they had been convicted and probably irrelevant to any pending appeals). Hint - have a look at what the 3 girls were telling their therapists in late 1972 at pp. 22 to 23. I can't really reproduce it for you for copyright reasons.

In summary, look for statements by people that are contemporaneous, or statements made to lawyers, or statements made independently of litigation and you're well on your way to learning the truth about TLB. Once you get these skills down pat, you'll come to realise what a fairly simple case this one was. Much simpler than many I had as a trial lawyer, and I was fair dinkum only a middle of the range quality.

Finally, when Dreath says something, pay close attention. He's too nice a guy to blow his own trumpet, and very shy about pulling out the "I'm a lawyer" card (which I don't care about now 'cos I'm retired !). Seriously everyone stands to learn a lot from his contributions, no matter how dreadfully tiresome he maybe !!!

And I don't know if he realises this, but cielodrive.com has largely cracked this case. I can't emphasise enough the importance of those early interviews. Everyone raise a glass to him.

penny lane said...

Great result brownrice..Im in the west...so happy the dick lost or I would be heading east...!

simon davis said...

Go east young woman !! Oh wait a sec, what makes you think it might be better here ? LOL !

penny lane said...

Belly laugh..thx star !

simon davis said...

Ha ha ! I'd be rooted on this blog site if it wasn't for you Aussie mates, oh and some other very nice people too. We gotta stick together !

grimtraveller said...

brownrice said...

without the Beatles, LSD & Sharon Tate, these crimes probably wouldn’t be much more than a historical footnote

I won't argue with that.
Today !

Throwing Helter Skelter into the mix largely served to obscure the fact that the killers were more wannabe gangsters than hippies

Yet they all got death sentences after being tried and convicted.

and provided an over-arching narrative that transformed vicious petty psychopathic criminality into a morality tale of the 60s culture wars

Well, sometimes petty psychopathic criminality is a good representation of something that is actually a morality tale.

It’s interesting to note that all the witnesses that Bugliosi drew upon to build this narrative had something to gain by giving voice to it

When you deal with people who are aligned to the underworld or figures in the underworld and there's a case in which witnesses are needed, quite a number of them are going to be drawn from that pool. I don't see what is unusual about the fact that some of witnesses that were dodgy bartered away charges that were hanging over them. I would have done exactly the same thing. Why would anyone testify in a murder trial in which there was a possibility that their life could be in danger for doing so ? Forget altruism mate ! Imagine if you had charges of forged cheques and stolen bike engines hanging over you and you testified in a case with no deal and with the possible threat of your life being expunged and then at the end of months of being somewhat nervy, you testify and then you get prosecuted and sent to jail after putting your neck on the block. Are you so altruistic that you'd be happy with that ?
Not a bit of it.
You know as well as I do that there is no moral high ground here. If you were facing 3 years in jail but you were a witness to some much bigger, more important beef, you'd bargain your minor cheque forgery charge away and if you didn't, you deserve everything that would be coming to you.
Charlie hung with many on the wrong side of the law. It therefore could not mean anything other than a number of witnesses that were on the wrong side of the law. They were smart. "Get rid of the smuggling charge and I'll talk !" What would you rather have, killers walking free or a charged but not tried cheque forger walking free ?

St Circumstance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grimtraveller said...

What if Charles Manson had been allowed to defend himself during his murder trials? How do you think he would have handled witnesses like Linda Kasabian and Paul Watkins?

Charlie was allowed to defend himself during his trial. But because of the way he went about it, in a trial that carried a possible death penalty, experienced Judges felt that he was incompetent to act as a lawyer which is why the status was revoked. Personally, I've long felt this was an error and the Judge should have given him a stiff warning and then implemented Bugliosi's suggestion, which was that Charlie represent himself, with assistance from an experienced lawyer sitting with him to help navigate his way through the various legal minefields.
I think the same result would have occurred because the same evidence and sequences were still there. Even more damaging stuff may have come out if Charlie had been guiding things as a lawyer, we'll never know.
It is interesting that the two witnesses mentioned that could be ripe for a shaking are Watkins and Kasabian. Kasabian demonstrated throughout her time on the stand that she simply was not afraid of the Family. She didn't react to Sandy getting in her face and screaming that she'd kill them all, she didn't flinch when Charlie did the cutthroat motion, she didn't back down when Susan and Leslie had a pop, she was keen to get in how she filched Charles Melton's $5000 completely sideswiping Charlie's attempts to discredit her by shouting out about it to the hearing of everyone in the room and when Charlie said she'd told 3 lies already, she stared him down and answered back that it was the truth and he knew it. In the end, Charlie was reduced to writing to her to come back to the Family. I think Charlie had seen an indictment due to Susan, knew what Pat was telling Claude Brown in Alabama and what Leslie was saying to Marvin Part and he successfully levered them into changing their stance. As John Gilmour reports, Charlie thought Linda would crumble once the trial began and not for the first time, badly miscalculated.
As for Paul Watkins, he seems to have had a real resentment towards Charlie and having already been 'released from his agreements' with him, was hanging out with the Family and enjoying their favours while simultaneously helping the prosecution. I think he would have welcomed the chance to go toe to toe with Charlie. A bit like he did with Paul Crockett later in the 70s, when Paul W had it in for someone, he did so with maximum resentment and willingness to damage.

Dreath said...

What if Charles Manson had been allowed to defend himself during his murder trials? How do you think he would have handled witnesses like Linda Kasabian and Paul Watkins?

Well if he was smarter then the attorneys he would have asked one question of Kasabian and then shut up: "Isn't it true you have been granted immunity from prosecution for your role in these crimes in return for your testimony here today in support of the prosecution's case?'

grimtraveller said...

St Circumstance said...

At this point aren't we the ones who made this legend and keep it going?

No.

Sime's World said...

My big "what if" would be, "What if the police released into the public domain that "Healter Skelter" had been written on the Labianca's refrigerator?

There may have then been a Gregg Jacobson or a Dennis Wilson or others that may have remembered hearing about it from Charlie/"that guy" and maybe passed that on to the Police. Mind you, when Steve Zabriske went to the Portland cops and told them a 'Charlie' and a 'Clem' were responsible for the killings, the Police didn't even bother to file a report.
Stephnie Schram said, back in '69 "after I came out of the desert and I read all these articles and stuff, you know, about the Tate thing -
I knew that they did it, you know. I, nobody ever said anything, but just from the way they talked and the things they did and you know little snatches of things I'd hear, here and there I could read these articles and just put them together."
So who knows ?

brownrice said...

Cats was asked if Stephanie had talked much about Charlie's Helter Skelter blag. Her answer (as best I can remember it) was that Stephanie seemed to think it wasn't such an obsession as "history" insists and didn't remember him preaching it to her sister at all

From Bugliosi's book:
While Stephanie was getting her clothes together, Manson talked to her sister who was also a Beatles fan. She had the White album and Manson told her the Beatles had laid out 'the whole scene' in it. He warned her that the blacks were getting ready to overthrow the whites and that only those who fled to the desert and hid in the bottomless pit would be safe.As for those who remained in the cities, Manson said, 'People are going to be slaughtered, they'll be lying on their lawns, dead.'
It's never made clear whether Bugliosi got that from Stephanie or her sister but either way, Stephanie wasn't even in the room when this was being said so it's hardly surprising she'd not recall it 40 years later. It didn't need to be an obsession. It only needed to be something that came up in conversation.

simon davis said...

The only thing I'd quibble with in Grim's post/comment is that the police solved the case, not VB. I disagree with this

Perhaps 'solved' is, as VB put it, a gross overstatement. But I can understand what Mike McGann meant. He was pointing out that having gotten nowhere much for a couple of months, their spadework turned up the major leads that led to the killers and brought Charlie into the orbit of the murders. It wasn't Bugliosi that connected the Cielo & LaBianca crimes. Without a doubt he gave the overall investigation shape but before he was on the case, the Police had made significant strides and set matters in a direction from which it never really deviated again in terms of who to look for regarding the killings.



brownrice said...

No offence Grim, but sometimes you respond like a politician i.e. you plough on with a detailed paragraph’s worth of what you actually want to say… completely ignoring (or misinterpreting) the points raised in the previous comment. A reasonably effective debating strategy no doubt but nonetheless a cheap trick (if conscious). I wasn’t even vaguely worried about the state of the witnesses’ souls or the rightness or wrongness of their actions. I was querying their believability.

Sime's World said...

I'm strongly of the belief that when the Waverly Drive killers returned back to Spahn's and reported that "Healter Skelter" (sic) had been daubed on the fridge, it would have surely sent Charlie into a tail spin - the act akin to leaving a calling card. How fortuitous for them that the police kept it quiet.

Not that I had any first-hand reports, and please correct me - but there was a "Helter Skelter" nightclub/rave/event(s) held at the ranch which drew a sizable contingent.

brownrice said...

Si, you’re absolutely right about the Helter Skelter nightclub/gig at Spahn. From memory, it was Sanders who first logged that one. Personally, I have no doubt that “helter skelter” was a phrase much-used by Charlie. (In many interviews, he’s quite open about it… “helter skelter is chaos” or something to that effect.) What I have a problem with is seeing the phrase as anything much more than typical Charlie wordplay/gobbledeegook used to describe the “coming revolution” that lots of people in the underground believed in & talked about at that time.

When it gets conflated into a full-blown ontology complete with underground rivers & chocolate trees… and this in turn then gets sold as a motive, I kinda draw the line. Somehow, I doubt very much that “helter skelter” played any real part in any of Bobby’s, Tex’s or Charlie’s actions. The only one I think who woulda paid it much literal credence was poor delusional, bible-quoting Katie… it meshed so perfectly with her neuroses & cultural conditioning. Even for her though, I feel it would’ve been far outweighed as motive by her desire to fit in and her (again culturally-conditioned) habit of doing what the blokes told her to do.

Matt said...

Jeff Guinn. SSDD. Sigh...

Dreath said...

Melvin Part's interview should be mandatory listening before a discussion about whether any of the murderers believed in Helter Skelter. I recommend the audio and not just the transcript so you can get the full effect.

http://www.cielodrive.com/updates/leslie-van-houten-interviewed-by-marvin-part/

Then someone please explain to me where or how she came up with that 'fantasy' on December 29, 1969. Or maybe tell me who fed it to her (Bugliosi isn't a candidate- he didn't speak with her). After this Part went 'all in' on an insanity defense and told the judge in chambers she was bat sh--. That got him fired......by Manson.

Dreath said...

Oh and someone back east- tell me whether that ABC show tonight is worth watching. Thanks.

leary7 said...

I consider brownrice the smartest and best poster in TLB land. But I do vehemently disagree with his assessment that "without Sharon Tate, the Beatles and LSD the murders would have been a footnote".
It was the zombie group mindset and the charasmatic leader that gave this story "legs" as they used to say in the journalism world.
We've beaten the subject of Charlie Manson to the point that he has become almost a cartoon. But in the day...in that time and setting...he was a wildly compelling figure.
A good what if is contemplating if the Manson Family phenomonon could have occured on the east coast...say in NYC. Or was ot totally California centric.

Dreath said...

Leary7 said: "But in the day...in that time and setting...he was a wildly compelling figure."

I was too young to have been 'aware' in 1969-70: 8-9. But I remember my Goldwater-republican dad putting a shotgun in our front hall closet and remember him saying when I asked 'why': "because the hippies are breaking into peoples houses and killing them with knives in California." I also remember my nearly-Marxist mother yelling 'that's not true!" from the kitchen.

I grew up about an hour from Kent State and when that happened: the hippies were coming!

So, 'yes' he was a compelling figure even in small town, Ohio.

Not sure we've beaten it all into a caricature. For me, at least, it is the desire to get 'history' right- regardless of the opinions of the authors and others. As I've said several times: for 73 years the Titanic sank as one piece: "A Night to Remember". Now we know it split in half just like 16 year old, John B Thayer and only 16 year old John B. Thayer said (and had drawn) in 1912.

Dreath said...

With the advent of the internet we can research things that required years in 1970 in about an hour. We can locate and see Spahn Ranch (or what it looks like today) without ever leaving our homes. Crime scene photos, yearbook photos, obscure paragraphs from newspapers in New Hampshire and actual trial transcripts.

We can draw upon our collective knowledge and despite Grim's reliance on the eyewitnesses see from forensic websites (and on-line conversations with modern investigators) that a 1" or 1.5" knife simply can't inflict a 3/4 inch wound and that does, in fact, change the official story. Oh, we can debate until the end of time who believed what and which motive was 'the' motive and this post- George's- more then many others (including all of mine) makes you think and realize just how fragile events are, how fragile history actually is because any of these changes, change everything- what if Steven Parent had not stayed for that beer? His GF- yes, GF ColScott, might be happily married to him with grandchildren today and appearing in ABC specials talking about how he just missed being shot to death. And, yes, Ziggy, he might be the manager of a Radio Shack.

I think that is how we impact the historical narrative. When I, at least, says 'prove it' I mean it with an open mind. I mean this is what I see, show me I'm wrong. I mean show me what evidence there is that says X-Y or Z (used, on purpose). Show me how LVH wasn't 'all in on HS' and I'm not being 'cheeky' when I ask you to explain how she ever came to believe that HS is crap. Tell me how LK was fed a story by VB with Fleischmann in the room. Show me because..... 100 years later.... the Titanic did break in half and now we know it sank, not because of an iceberg, but because of a coal fire that weakened a bulkhead.

And that is what being an 'historian' is all about. And that is what we are. IMO

This comment was inspired by Saint. ;-)

Dreath said...

"Believe that HS is crap" should be "HS crap".

Done now have a safe St. Patrick's Day!

Jennifer Hays said...

Hi, I'm mostly a lurker here but I love your blog so much. I read every new post immediately. My husband doesn't enjoy discussing the Manson Family so I have to say this to somebody...I just finished watching the ABC show. It was not great, but I didn't expect a lot from it. However, they kept showing a photo that was supposedly Susan Atkins' mugshot but it was NOT really her. It was some actress from a movie playing her. I think it might have been the History Channel documentary. They showed it at least twice and I was kind of irate after the first time. Did anyone else catch this?

Lynn said...

Not true. Several survivors also said they saw the ship split in two. https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/articles/wormstedt.pdf

Robert C said...

The ABC Manson Family show tonight also showed a number of clips from Robert H's movies. I wondered if that was a copy write infringement or not. Since Robert H. has passed were they taking advantage, did they pay Robert's benefactors for use, or is that material now in the public domain ?

Dreath -- always appreciate your search for truth but in the case of the Titanic, it has not been definitively proven a coal fire was ultimately the cause of or even a contributor to the sinking. Just one theory. Also, it's still speculation the ship broke on the surface. Some believe it did so after submersion. It was a long way down. ;-)

Jenn said...

Not PD. Robert's heirs would have claim on the residuals.

David said...

Lynn and Robert C.,

You are right. Thank you for illustrating my point. If you knew those facts, very cool. If you looked them up.....fantastic.

PS: I found this very interesting: https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/acquitting-the-iceberg.html

For many reasons.

As to Mr. H: we should take up a collection and buy his movie rights and all the film he held and we have never seen- the five hour documentary. That would allow us to stop this and help his family and perhaps allow a new movie that I think ColScott could help with and Mr. H may have wanted.


Matt said...

Jennifer, welcome to the discussion. You are way more patient than I if you watched the entire thing. I bailed after about 20 minutes. I can't stand to see that much of Guinn. If he's the expert a TV special relies upon then I can't waste that much time.


grimtraveller said...

brownrice said...

No offence Grim

None taken. I like debate which by its very nature demands different and often opposing thoughts and ideas.

completely ignoring (or misinterpreting) the points raised in the previous comment. A reasonably effective debating strategy no doubt but nonetheless a cheap trick (if conscious)

Better that than a cheat prick.
I'll often use a quote/comment as a jumping off point to say something as I'm sparked off by different things.

sometimes you respond like a politician

Given the the actions on my behalf recently by our local member of parliament, Barry Gardiner, I'm going to appropriate that as a backhand compliment !

I wasn’t even vaguely worried about the state of the witnesses’ souls or the rightness or wrongness of their actions. I was querying their believability

I know that. But your "querying" doesn't just end there does it ? It's a query with a built in conclusion. I simply explore the other side of the mountain.
For the record, I think a number of the prosecution witnesses were dodgy as people and it's important to question their believability and to state whether one thinks they lied and why.
I often find however, that the "querying their believability" bit is part of a larger picture designed to introduce doubt of some kind to the overall result. So I will comment on that. If the way I do things comes over like a cheap trick, be aware that I consider the contributors to these pages as people whose views are not only worth thinking about and considering, but of potentially sufficient weight to alter any thoughts or views I may currently hold and that includes you.
By the way did you used to post on ColScott's site ?








Sime's World said...

Brownrice - thank you for the clarification re: the HS club. I am sure that I read/heard it somewhere else other than Sanders....

Without going too far off topic, CM succinctly decodes (IMHO) the Mansonia fascination as being allied closely to the involvement of Sharon Tate. It's a small quote - but worth hearing. It's on the Bill Scanlon Murphy BBC radio documentary. I had a copy of it and it disappeared. If there is anyone out there with a file or whatever - can they let me know or better still, load it up for us all to hear. In view of some of the shocking documentaries of late - this is well above average.


thttp://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/d3f90f3a93524f67ba5f996dc7af8a7d

Jennifer Hays said...

Hi Matt, thanks for the welcome! It was pretty bad and I agree about Guinn. He seems so gleeful when he's being interviewed, it's very weird. He was on the verge of bursting into laughter describing how CM met Squeaky on the boardwalk.

brownrice said...

Sime’s World said:
“Brownrice - thank you for the clarification re: the HS club. I am sure that I read/heard it somewhere else other than Sanders….”

Sanders (I think) was just the first to report it. Many other books have since. From memory, they only did one or two gigs before they were shut down by the cops or the sheriff’s department or some such. No doubt this would’ve given rise to some kind of official report.

Matt said...

Jennifer Hays said...

He was on the verge of bursting into laughter describing how CM met Squeaky on the boardwalk.


Funny, that's the exact moment I shut the TV odd.


Matt said...

off :)

Sime's World said...

Re: Jeff Guinn. It may be of interest to everyone here that I emailed Guinn more than once to ask him to clarify his assertions regarding Joel Pugh. Principally, his claims that (a) Pugh was a Manson "Family" member; (b) that Pugh was married to Sandy Good; and (c) that Pugh had travelled over to the UK with Bruce Davis to study Scientology - which as far as my researches uncovered - are all completely without basis. To date there has been no reply.

It is pretty shameful that when my researches are freely available, Guinn chose to go with a mythical take on Joel's movements. If he didn't believe what I had to say, he could have contacted the Pugh family for clarification. Given the length of time he took to write his book and (presumably) a sizeable advance to hand, this would have been within his remit.

Matt said...

Sime's World said...

It is pretty shameful that when my researches are freely available, Guinn chose to go with a mythical take on Joel's movements.


Even more shameful that ABC didn't take the time to vet Guinn properly. Those shows are never accurate, they just go for ratings. Kinda like FOX News.


Jennifer Hays said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Hays said...

This is the mugshot they showed in last night's doc. I have no idea who this is, but I really don't think it's Susan Atkins. I'm almost positive it comes from a movie or tv dramatization but I can't place it. This photo comes up a lot if you search online for her mugshot, along with what I have always assumed was the real one.

Fake? mugshot: http://imgur.com/r/creepy/9IhCjEO

Real mugshot: http://www.cielodrive.com/photo-archive/susan-atkins-aug-16-arrest.php

Panamint Patty said...

http://www.mansonblog.com/2012/07/ready-manyard-keenan-as-charlie.html?m=1

Jennifer Hays said...

Thanks, Patty. What a shoddy documentary.

DebS said...

Jennifer, you can see a bit of the magazine's parody, including the page with the photo of the fake Atkins here-

just scroll through the pix.

http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/maynard-keenan-tool-charles-manson-418710797

Jennifer Hays said...

Thanks, DebS! Very interesting. I know I've seen the fake Atkins photo around but the rest is new to me.

grimtraveller said...

brownrice said...

What I have a problem with is seeing the phrase as anything much more than typical Charlie wordplay/gobbledeegook used to describe the “coming revolution” that lots of people in the underground believed in & talked about at that time

The coming revolution that much of the counterculture talked about at the time is partly why I don't see HS as being particularly unusual. The Weathermen wanted to bring on a revolution and weren't averse to killing in order to achieve their ends. The counterculture in general had a vision and various ways to achieve it ~ and see to it that pretty much everyone lived according to it.

When it gets conflated into a full-blown ontology complete with underground rivers & chocolate trees… and this in turn then gets sold as a motive, I kinda draw the line

The term clearly among those that believed it denotes a happening that had a number of elements to it. The looking for the underground rivers {which Charlie attests to during his speech at his trial} and lodgings may not have been called HS but it was believed in as the place to escape HS so HS serves as a "catch all" for all of that 'conflation,' including the civil war and the eventual re~enslavement of 'Blackie.'

Dreath said...

We can draw upon our collective knowledge and despite Grim's reliance on the eyewitnesses see from forensic websites (and on-line conversations with modern investigators) that a 1" or 1.5" knife simply can't inflict a 3/4 inch wound

Woah, Padre ! I never said that nor did I imply it.
I certainly do not disregard what the eyewitnesses say. It's fairly obvious that they don't all agree on everything so I can hardly be relying on them. I don't know how many times I've commented that Watson's accounts sound like something he's read as opposed to recalls. I question many things from different approaches, including your good self. Interestingly, I did concur with you that your conclusion could be the way that particular crime happened.

Jennifer Hays said...

This is the mugshot they showed in last night's doc. I have no idea who this is, but I really don't think it's Susan Atkins

She looks like she wears a contrived mad look as would be expected for a movie or TV show or magazine entry whereas Susan's Spahn Ranch raid mugshot stare didn't need to be put on ! She looks like she could pass for the late Steve Took's sister.


David said...

Grim....all is good......I was trying to be funny.

grimtraveller said...

What if Manson (or any of his codefendants) had demanded a separate trial? Could any of them have gotten a better deal for themselves if they had pursued their defenses individually and self-centeredly, with only their own welfare as their primary concern?

Possibly. Susan was offered a deal, took it and threw it away. Leslie was offered immunity regardless of her role and turned it down. Pat initially fought extradition. Two of them were offered deals, the other felt initially that it was in her interests to stay as far away from LA and Charlie as possible.
I think Charlie knew that they were all wobbly teeth and tried to control them by having this joint defence, which I think was one of the things that sunk him. I don't go along with George's notion that it was selfless love that made him go the joint route. He was aware that all the female killers had cracked which could be seen from Susan and the Grand Jury, Leslie's lawyer insisting she was insane and not fit for trial and Pat fighting extradition {and being the one that needed reassurance about getting caught from him in the first place}.
The joint defence, far from demonstrating selfless love actually demonstrates as little else could, his domination. None of them were ready to go to the gas chamber until he got in their ear. So they all possibly would have done better for themselves had they gone it alone. It seems to me that Charlie tried to have the best of both worlds, not go on his own and be seen to be abandoning anyone, but behind the scenes manœuvering things to his advantage, not envisaging that one day his co~defendants would come out and tell the world what really was going on.


grimtraveller said...

David said...

Grim....all is good......I was trying to be funny

My bad and my apologies.
That'll teach me ! ☺

David said...

Ok, I just lost two hours of my life watching ABC's latest contribution to the subject.

I learned three things:

I learned that the motive for the Tate murders was clearly the Wilson/Melcher snub and the motive for the second night was equally, clearly HS and with the well placed commercial break I didn't even notice the motive suddenly changed.

I also learned how the TV crew's (ABC?) discovery of the clothing was the break the police needed to catch the killers.

And ABC has conclusively proven Susan Atkins stabbed Sharon Tate to death and Watkins killed everyone else seemingly ignoring Van Houten's and Krenwinkel's admissions on their own show that they stabbed someone.

Well, maybe I heard them incorrectly.

grimtraveller said...

Sometimes, it's good to be in England !

Robert C said...

**Grim said : The Weathermen wanted to bring on a revolution and weren't averse to killing in order to achieve their ends. The counterculture in general had a vision and various ways to achieve it ~ and see to it that pretty much everyone lived according to it.**

Hold on, Hoss. The Weathermen's platform was anti-Vietnam War and pro-Civil Rights, not generically revolutionary. They went to extreme lengths to avoid casualties which was successful except for three of their own in accidents. Their targets were empty government buildings and structures. That is, they were averse to killing (although a few of them imagined setting off a bomb at a military officer's ball but decided it would involve too much collateral damage). The bombings at the time were considered symbolic and retaliatory against US bombings in Viet Nam and Laos (which did kill large numbers of people).

And the counterculture did indeed prefer an alternative lifestyle but I don't ever recall any insistence "everyone lived according to it".

brownrice said...

What Robert C. said.

grimtraveller said...

Robert C said...

they were averse to killing (although a few of them imagined setting off a bomb at a military officer's ball but decided it would involve too much collateral damage

I didn't mean their intention as a group was to kill. Prior to the bomb that killed the three members there were elements that favoured armed and violent revolution. Not being adverse to people being killed is not the same as saying you intend to kill people. It was after the bomb killed the three that Bill Ayres says that they made sure that no one would be hurt in any of their activities. But as you say, some planned to do some damage at the officers ball. At what point did they decide there would be too much collateral damage ?

What if the California Supreme Court had not abolished the death penalty in 1972 and the convicted killers had been executed shortly after the conclusions of their trials? Would public fascination in the case be less than it is today because the players would not have been as much of an ongoing part of the American consciousness as they have been for all these decades?

I have no doubt that this is the case. Being alive, having interviews, writing books, having visible parole hearings, Susan Atkins' saga leading up to and including her death, all these and more have kept all of them in the public eye. Also, Charlie is an interesting character, the way all the convicted killers turned against him, his contradictions, their revelations ~ if all of them had died in and around 1973~ish, there would be other criminals that we'd focus on although I doubt there'd be many that get the kind of traction "the Manson Family" gets. One could argue that we're actually fortunate that none of them were executed because if nothing else, it has afforded us all over the world, an insight into criminal behaviour and some of its genesis that we probably wouldn't otherwise have had.
Another way of looking at it, how many executed criminals from the last 30 years are regularly and generally remembered in the USA and have programmes made and books written about them ?
In Britain, because we don't have the death penalty, most murderers tend to disappear into the mists of time unless they've committed murders that are thought to be particularly heinous and even then, rarely do we hear anything from them, the way we do from those connected with TLB.

grimtraveller said...

StarRider said...

It's a shame nobody at Cielo Drive had a firearm handy and put an early end to the evening, at least they would have had a chance

I wonder, what if, when Susan Atkins had gone into Sharon Tate's bedroom, Jay Sebring had employed his martial arts skills, chopped Atkins in a surprising move across her throat so she couldn't scream and dislocated her shoulders or broke her neck and then made his way out of the side door with Sharon.

Robert C said...

*Grim said: Prior to the bomb that killed the three members there were elements that favoured armed and violent revolution.*

There are always those who prefer a more aggressive approach. The Weathermen opted not to attack people.

*Grim said: But as you say, some planned to do some damage at the officers ball. At what point did they decide there would be too much collateral damage ?*

It was only the ruminations of a few because they had access, collateral damage immediately assessed as untenable.

Jenn said...

I just returned from a trip and watch the ABC TV garbage of a show. Blech. Regarding he question about Robert being owed anything because they used stuff from his films: I'm afraid not. The snippets used are easily brief enough to fall under the "fair use" provision of the copyright law.

Shamrock466 said...

Can someone please elaborate what Guinn said that was inaccurate. He is a bit over the top? Yes, but he is fairly accurate.

Shamrock466 said...

Also, I was really puzzled that the whole ,"Did Manson return to Cielo after the murders" didnt come up. That to me is still the number one dilemma that haunts this case to this day.

Monica Wooten said...

The ABC Special had very unique photos of Abigail Folder starting a little less than half way in that I had never seen on any blog, including this one, and I have been a lurker for years. I thought it was fascinating. The show got a lot of facts wrong, but I was mesmerized by those photos and kept having to rewind and pause to ponder on her, who I have always considered one of the most tragic of the victims.

grimtraveller said...

In what other ways could/would the case have been solved?

It is a point of interest that even though Susan Atkins was booked on suspicion of murder in the Hinman case and was spoken to by detectives Whiteley and Guenther on Oct 13 {just after the Barker arrest} and said nothing about the Tate or LaBianca murders or even about Charles Manson ordering any murders, it was the name of Charles Manson that appeared on the LaBianca detectives suspect list that October.

beauders said...

For those interested Guinn has a book coming out on Jim Jones, The Peoples Temple, and Jonestown. I'll have to buy it and am preparing myself to be unimpressed. I disliked his book Manson, especially when he said Manson had a happy childhood and was spoiled by his relatives. All one has to do is look at how involved the boy was in the system to know he did not have a happy childhood and certainly was not spoiled. Those of you interested in other groups like Manson's on the East Coast should look at Mel Lyman's group in Boston. If you have a copy of "Mind Fuckers" it has a section on Lyman as well as on Manson. Everything in "Mind Fuckers" was taken from Rolling Stone articles, so that is another avenue to the Lyman cult.

grimtraveller said...

grimtraveller said...

The Weathermen wanted to bring on a revolution and weren't averse to killing in order to achieve their ends

Robert C said...

Hold on, Hoss

What I should have said was that some of their number gave the impression, along with other strands of the counterculture, that it wouldn't exactly be a disaster if some of those identified as the enemy were to die, be killed or fall under the banner of collateral damage. Bernadine Dohrn's comments re: the TLB murders and Bill Ayers' rejoinder to "kill your parents" {something also mooted by Abbie Hoffman} added to the thinking that death for "some people" was acceptable if push came to shove. Bobby Beausoleil certainly picked up on that and in that 1998 interview with Michael Moynihan, spoke of how he thought people like Leary and Hoffman with their pronouncements were really irresponsible, clearly pointing out that people took these kind of spokespeople at their word and didn't think in terms of irony or nuance {if there were any}. That Dohrn years later said her comments about what a cool thing it was for the LaBianca killers to have killed pigs and eaten in the same room was a jokey statement that was taken out of context or that Bill Ayers said that his "kill your parents" was a stupid and glib thing for a 20 year old to have said doesn't really excuse them because at the time they {and others} left people like Bobby with impressions that 30 years later he could look back on and speak of as literal. And state that he was not in agreement with the general tenor of their words ~ which was somewhat ironic, coming from him.

grimtraveller said...

What if Manson had demanded a separate trial?
+
The joint defence, far from demonstrating selfless love actually demonstrates as little else could, his domination


In my opinion there is a very simple reason why Charlie did not dare be tried separately.
When Susan, Pat, Linda, Leslie and even Bobby were separate from Charlie, they fingered him as the one that pushed these murders. Susan told Virginia Graham, Ronnie Howard, Nancy Jordon, Richard Caballero, Paul Caruso, Vincent Bugliosi and the Grand Jury. Leslie told Marvin Part. Pat told Claude Brown. Linda told two hitch hikers plus Joe Sage and Jeffrey Jacobs and her Mum. When they were together with Charlie, no one squealed. As soon as they were separated, they all squealed. Once they were jailed post trial and came to their senses, they reverted to their original separation mode of "Charlie is responsible for this. Yes, we did it and we'll take our lumps but he was the originator and wellspring of those killings."
He knew just by the grand jury indictments that Susan squealed. He knew by Pat fighting extradition from Mobile that if she hadn't already squealed, she'd soon crack as they had her prints and she had no confidence apart from him. He knew by the motions Marvin Part tried to put before the judge that Leslie had squealed. He knew from Joe Sage's phone call a few days after the LaBianca murders that Linda had squealed. He knew from Bobby's lawyer that Bobby was about to finger him in the Hinman killing.
Whenever any of the lawyers tried something in the interest of their client, they got bombed out by Charlie. When Richard Caballero and Marvin Part interviewed Atkins and Van Houten respectively, with the aim of laying the groundwork of a psychiatric defence and possibly a separate defence, both were fired.
Manson would not dare let any of the women be tried apart from him. He even tried to get Linda to rejoin the Family once the trial was underway. It had already worked with Susan.
The irony is that being so together ultimately had the opposite effect. It demonstrated his influence and helped sink them all.

grimtraveller said...

What if Charles "Tex" Watson had been extradited to California in time to be tried along with Charles Manson and the three girls? Would that have changed the whole "Manson as demonic puppeteer" theme?

When I began to discover that separate from Charlie in 1969 and early 1970, everyone blabbed, it struck me as amazing that there is a discernible pattern of what happened when separated from Charlie. And that pattern was partly broken during the trial with his co ~ defendants. But once they all realized that they weren't going to die in the gas chamber and they had their lives in front of them, the pattern resets itself and eventually they all blab. Tex, Clem, Bobby, Bruce and Gypsy too. That alone tells me that there was something incredible about his presence. People can scorn all they like and they will, but for me, it's undeniable. When Tex was acting mentally ill at Atascadero Hospital, Charlie told Bugliosi "give me 20 minutes with Tex. I'm sure I can cure him" or words to that effect. That's a man that knows what he's doing.
He says he wasn't directing traffic. I suspect he means that he wasn't directing traffic as we understand it. But he sure as hell was directing it in a magical mystery tour sort of way and in George's book, he says as much, more than once.

David said...

Grim said: "The irony is that being so together ultimately had the opposite effect. It demonstrated his influence and helped sink them all."

While I agree with you, I actually believe what happened under Manson's control is even worse then that. And when I see it I alternate between disappointment in my profession and anger. Manson left the 'girls' unrepresented at that trial. Each of the defense counsel represented Manson and regardless of who they technically represented each asked questions and offered arguments that helped only Manson and, in fact, hurt their clients, until the appointment of Maxwell Keith. It did seem to dawn on Hughes what he had done just before he disappeared but by then he had done as much damage as he could. Bugliosi's very arguments regarding Manson's control and the Heater Skelter motive were a strong argument for diminished capacity by each attorney especially if they could sever their cases from the rest.

From Atkins' 1978 parole hearing:

"Mr. Caballero: As far as I’m concerned—I think she will vouch for this—that attorney [Shinn] was Manson’s attorney, not her attorney, so when you speak of the influence of Manson and the lawyer it is, in my opinion, synonomous [sic] with Mr. Shinn. When Mr. Shinn came into the picture and had her withdraw her previously-given testimony from the Grand Jury, he was sentencing her to death. And she went along with this; and he did this just in Manson’s interest.

Later, I will discuss with you my conversations with Manson and this will become apparent to you. So I don’t want you to think that Mr. Shinn did anything contrary to what Mr. Manson wanted done. It wasn’t that way. I always wondered about that from an ethical point of view—which I won’t get into at this point."

His conclusions are inescapable from the trial transcript. And IMO their actions were unethical. They should have each argued 'ineffective assistance of counsel' on appeal and may have won....except Fitzgerald and Shinn stayed around to make sure that wouldn't be the basis for an appeal. Keith did- against his own representation- and won.

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H.K. said...

I have wondered the exact same thing, regarding Mrs. Chapman. I have also wondered what would have happened if Debra and Patti were there, spending the night, in the Loft?....

grimtraveller said...

brownrice said...

Simon davis said:
"Just about anyone that Charlie came into contact with in late 1969/70 came away from their meeting with an earful of HS - even down to Stephanie Schram's sister."


According to Vincent Bugliosi and every book since. Strangely enough, when Stephanie Schram surfaced on these sites a few years back and was interviewed, she had no recollection at all of Charlie waxing lyrical about Helter Skelter to her family


and

It occurred in the discussions surrounding the interview (which was extensively promoted, linked to & discussed on Cats' site because at that time, her & Brian Davis were working together). Cats was asked if Stephanie had talked much about Charlie's Helter Skelter blag. Her answer (as best I can remember it) was that Stephanie seemed to think it wasn't such an obsession as "history" insists and didn't remember him preaching it to her sister at all

I've just listened to that interview with Stephanie {if it is her}, indeed, the written transcript has around 4 pages missing which I typed up myself and completely glaring by its omission are the words Helter and Skelter. Nothing is asked about it, it's not talked about, it never comes up. You'd think that if you actually got hold of a former Family member, especially one that wasn't hardcore or that was new at the time of the murders like Linda Kasabian or Stephanie Schram, HS would be one of the first questions they'd be asked about, you know, how prevalent was it if it was at all. A while back, George did a piece on Country Sue and the HS door. He poo~poohed its importance but even though Sue was relatively new, he brought out she'd been one of the artists that painted the door. In other words, even a Helter Skeptic made connections, if only to scotch their centrality. Brian that was one of the interviewers is a helter skeptic. Later on in the discussions part, he is adamant HS was not the motive.
But it does not come out in the interview. He doesn't mention it. When he has a chance to solidify his case, he doesn't. So I myself am highly skeptical that Stephanie said anything about it, much less disconnected her sister from Charlie's 'preaching.' If she had scotched it, this would have been gold dust for a helter skeptic like Brian Davis. Him leaving out her dissing of what we've been told about Charlie, her sister and HS would be akin to ColScott interviewing Bugliosi, Bugliosi saying HS was his invention and Col not including that in the broadcast or transcript. In other words, it wouldn't happen.
I'm amazed that they didn't ask her about HS but that leads onto the fact that she couldn't therefore have contradicted the truth of what Charlie supposedly said to her sister.