Monday, June 19, 2017

Never Trust An Eyewitness

A number of people believe Bugliosi 'coached' witnesses ('coached' to me means: directed their testimony where he wanted it to go before they took the stand-told them how to answer his questions). I think the theory goes like this: Bugliosi invented the Helter Skelter motive from a few philosophical musings Manson may have made during the timeframe. Bugliosi then expanded the thread to become 'Helter Skelter' (perhaps in anticipation of a future book deal). He then communicated Helter Skelter to at least a dozen other witnesses through his coaching and he threatened witnesses if they didn't adopt his theory of the case. He then had them all come to court and tell the story. This never happened.

But.... that doesn't mean we can trust the eyewitnesses and it also doesn't mean Bugliosi didn't influence the testimony of witnesses. He could have done so with no ill intent at all and without even knowing he was doing so.

Eyewitness Memory

It may come as a surprise but eyewitnesses to traumatic events are remarkably unreliable witnesses. Far from being the source of detailed information regarding such events they are frequently wrong and frequently include in their descriptions of events information borrowed from other sources. They seldom actually are able to recount the events with any accuracy a short time after the event.  In fact, eye witness memory is so unreliable that in 2014 the National Academy of Sciences after an extensive review of the issue called for major changes in both law enforcement procedures and the conduct of criminal trials to address the problem. While you read this quote consider these crimes.

"Factors such as viewing conditions, duress, elevated emotions, and biases influence the visual perception experience. Perceptual experiences are stored by a system of memory that is highly malleable and continuously evolving, neither retaining nor divulging content in an informational vacuum. As such, the fidelity of our memories to actual events may be compromised by many factors at all stages of processing, from encoding to storage and retrieval. Unknown to the individual, memories are forgotten, reconstructed, updated, and distorted."

From the NAS study: Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eyewitness Identification (2014) 

Problems When Memory is Encoded

Studies have identified a number of factors that can impact memories at the time the events occur- encoding. One of the most significant is clearly present in this case when it comes to our eyewitnesses: the trauma or the stress level of the event. 

Eyewitnesses to traumatic events frequently have a poorer memory of the event due to the stress of the event. The graph to the left shows how this happens: at the peak (which varies witness to witness) a witness will have clarity and actually remember events perfectly but outside that peak stress zone (too much stress or too little) memory will suffer significantly. They will become 'weapon focused' and remember seemingly inconsequential details while being unable to remember important events or ‘the big picture’. These witnesses will frequently describe their emotional or mental status during the event as 'being in shock'. Aharonian, Ani A. and Bornstein, Brian H., "Stress and Eyewitness Memory" (2008). Faculty Publications, Department of Psychology. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In one study subjects were shown a video of a violent attack. They were then asked to identify 40 items of information from the video. The group consistently underperformed a second group who watched a ‘sanitized’ version of the same event. Clifford and Scott (1978)

Examples of this effect can be seen in this case.

In the midst of the horror, after Jay Sebring is shot and Watson is stabbing him, victims are screaming and chaos ensued, Atkins has a vivid recollection of a dog peering in the window of the house- an inconsequential event. When asked in a narrative style to describe to the grand jury what happened this memory is foremost in her mind.

Q: What happened next?
A: There was still some light from outside so that we could see on the inside. I looked over and I saw a dog in the window. The dog ran away.

This effect, some experts warn, can also make the witness appear calloused or cold hearted: 'How could they not see 'X' and notice 'that'? 

Bernard Crowe offers a classic example of weapon focus, carrying the issue one step further and actually requiring the gun to be pointed at him: weapon focus.

Q: I show you People’s 40 for identification. Have you seen that revolver before?
A: Yes, It looks like it. But I was a distance away.
Q: This looks like the revolver Mr. Manson had in his hands when he shot you?
A: Why don’t you point it at me. Then I could tell.
Q: Something like this?
A: Yes. Could be.

Kasabian remembers Frykowski falling into the bushes and can describe this event and the events immediately surrounding it with great detail but never mentions Frykowski and Watson passing within feet (maybe inches) of her as she stood on the walkway when they crossed the walkway into the yard. Frankly, remembering Krenwinkel's 'upraised knife' is likely the result of the traumatic nature of these events. 

How does Kasabian describe her mental state? Being in shock.

Q (Buglioli). Now, when you say your car, you are not referring to the car of the man in the driveway?
A: No.
Q. You are referring to the car you came in?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you enter the car?
A. Not at first.
Q. Were you by yourself at the time?
A. Yes.
Q. What was your state of mind at that point?.
A. I was in a total state of shock.

Q (Fitzgerald). And at that time you were in a total state of shock; isn’t that correct?
A. Yes.
Q.That has been your previous testimony, that you were in a total state of shock.
A. Yes. 

The first thing eyewitness memory studies suggest is that it is probable none of our eyewitnesses have accurate memories due to the traumatic nature of these events, alone. This has nothing to do with lying or coaching by Bugliosi. It is simply what happens when a witness is confronted by such violence: their memory suffers. 

Memory Storage Issues

The second place where memories are affected is while they are stored and before they are recounted. 

It is indisputable that the passage of time does not improve eyewitness memory, ever. That is why myself and others rely more heavily on sources closer to the events of July-August 1969 instead of parole hearings and books written years after the events. Witnesses forget and when they do other factors begin to fill in the missing pieces when they are required to recall the past event.

One study compared the accuracy of witness identifications after 3 days and 5 months. The study found no false identifications after 3 days but after 5 months, 35% of identifications were false. Malpass and Devine (1981). Although an admittedly simplistic, non-scientific, approach, given this study by December 1969 our eyewitnesses may have forgotten or reported inaccurately about a third of what occurred on those nights.

Numerous studies have shown that memory changes over time. Eyewitnesses incorporate information learned after the event into their memories. For example, they may talk to another witness, read a newspaper account or see a TV account of the event and use that information to fill in their memories. This is called witness conformity. And if the source is viewed as 'reliable' by the witness the likelihood is even greater that they will adopt the memories of someone else. Gabbert, Fiona; Wright, Daniel B.; Memon, Amina; Skagerberg, Elin M.; and Jamieson, Kat, "Memory Conformity Between Eyewitnesses" (2012). Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association.

Eyewitnesses may also fill in holes in their memory by combining two memories into one or by using biases or expectations of what probably was seen or what should have been seen. The image to the right was used in a study in 1947. Allport & Postman 1947. The vast majority of subjects after being shown the picture later identified the African-American as the person holding the razor.

And it seems that as witnesses recall (describe) an event over and over as time passes they drop details from earlier versions and add new details to later versions. These details are frequently obtained from other sources. All things being equal, accuracy declines with each new telling. 

It is, then, plausible that after Susan Atkins' Grand Jury testimony (or her story) became common knowledge (and certainly after the trial) every one of those present at Cielo would begin to adopt what I call the 'official narrative' as their actual memory. This can happen even if, for example someone thought they remembered that Sharon Tate was stabbed on the front porch. They will or could abandon their own memory and adopted someone else's and again, no evil intent need be ascribed. They are simply filling in their own missing information from what someone else who witnessed the event describes. Even if they have a memory of an incident they might abandon theirs if their memory is 'sketchy' and adopt the memory of another because they trust that recollection or it seems more 'solid' then their own.

Why This Happens

Most people conceive of memory like a video tape. Turn it on and the memories play. In reality memory is more like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing. Viewing conditions, duress, elevated emotions, other versions of the story and biases increase the number of missing pieces and the passage of time increases the number further. As humans, we attempt to fill in these missing pieces and draw on outside sources.

So how might Bugliosi have influenced the witnesses in this trial?

Memory Recall Issues

This is where I believe Bugliosi had the greatest chance to influence the evidence in this case and he even helps me reach this conclusion by bragging about it. 

Studies show, overwhelmingly, that an interviewer can create memories based on how they interview the witness. By 'create memories' I mean they can fill in those missing jigsaw pieces (and even replace some of the existing pieces with alternatives) through the interview process. I mean they can create memories. 

More importantly the witness will actually come to believe the false or created memory. The witness will confidently adopt that information as their actual memory. That, by the way, will make them less susceptible to impeachment by cross examination because they truly believe it. This is called the ‘misinformation effect’.

Jean Loftus, Phd was one of the leading original psychologists in the study of eyewitness memory. In one study she showed groups a film of two cars having an accident. To one group she asked "How fast was the blue car going when it contacted the red car?" To another group the question was framed as "How fast was the blue car moving when it smashed into the red car?" Those who responded to the second question on average placed the speed of the blue car 10+ mph faster than those asked the first question. (Loftus, Miller, & Burns, 1978)

Misinformation effect can affect memory easily, and without any intention to deceive (Allan & Gabbert, 2008). Even slight differences in the wording of a question can lead to misinformation effects. Subjects in one study were more likely to say ‘yes’ when asked “Did you see the broken headlight?” then when asked “Did you see a broken headlight?” (Loftus, 1975). The image they had previously been shown did not include a broken headlight.

If the interviewer uses leading questions in the interview the misinformation effect is compounded. We already know Bugliosi had a habit of using leading questions in the trial. Why would we believe he was any different in the interview process? We also know he was described by some as having a quick temper (a sign of impatience). That would tend to reinforce the notion he would lead a witness to get to the point quicker. 

Now, what happens after multiple interviews? The witness’s memory of events doesn't deteriorate with multiple interviews instead it gets better. So what's the problem?

The problem is this is usually due to 'created' memories supplied inadvertently (or perhaps purposefully) by the questioner. Multiple interviews fill in those missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. Engelhardt, Laura, "The Problem with Eyewitness Testimony" Stanford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 1.1 

In this case Bugliosi brags about interviewing witnesses multiple times.

"I rarely interview a witness just once. Often the fourth or fifth interview will bring out something previously forgotten or deemed insignificant, which, in proper context, may prove vital to my case."

Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders (p. 274). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Danny DeCarlo: 

"I interviewed Danny numerous times, one session lasting nine hours, obtaining considerable information that hadn’t come out in previous interviews."

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


"I talked to her from 1 to 4: 30 P.M. on the twenty-eighth. It was the first of many long interviews, a half dozen of them lasting six to nine hours, all of which took place at Sybil Brand, her attorney usually the only other person present."

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

It is not surprising Bugliosi brags about this:

"The more times a witness tells his story, the more opportunities there are for discrepancies and contradictions, which the opposing side can then use for impeachment purposes. While some attorneys try to hold interviews and pre-trial statements to a minimum so as to avoid such problems, my attitude is the exact opposite. If a witness is lying, I want to know it before he ever takes the stand. In the more than fifty hours I spent interviewing Linda Kasabian, I found her, like any witness, unsure in some details, confused about others, but never once did I catch her even attempting to lie. Moreover, when she was unsure, she admitted it."

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

He's wrong and in fact what he is doing is creating memories. He is both creating and filling in those missing pieces and when he's done the witness believes it.

Proving Bugliosi Contaminated the Well

The only way to prove Bugliosi had the impact on this trial that he may have had would be if we could actually get our hands on a taped version of his interviews from the first interview through the last.

Are there indications of 'modified' witness memories? I think there are.

Jerrold Friedman

Jerrold Friedman testified on direct examination that he received a call from Steven Parent at 11:45 p.m. But on cross examination he said this:

I said, "It's awful late, Steve."
He said, "Well, what time is it?"
And I had a clock right by my phone. I picked it up and looked at it and I said "l1:30.
He looked at a clock where he was and said “No its 11:25”.
And then I realized, yeah, I had my clock set five minutes fast so I would never be late for work.

 [Aside: So much for the fact this call was when Steven Parent set the clock.]

[Aside: By the way, this was actually a rare example of exceptional cross examination in this trial. Kanarek makes Friedman tell the events in a narrative, which causes him to change his original testimony.]  

In fairness, Friedman also said this during his cross examination.

A: And he said, "Well, I will be there in 15 or 20 minutes," and then he said, "No...better make it 40 minutes so I will be there by 12:30"

[Aside: This series of exchanges on cross examination likely led to a conversation between Bugliosi and Sam Bubrick at the Watson trial and a stipulation there that the call occurred at 11:50 p.m. Friedman did not testify there.]

To me this testimony shows Freidman having been ‘led’ to 11:45 sometime prior to his testimony and then recalling his actual memory through Kanarek’s examination technique.

Rudolf Weber

Weber was interviewed first by Bugliosi and Calkins at Weber’s house December 29, 1969 and
Calkins again later that afternoon. We know what he told Detective Calkins thanks to
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, to the best of my recollection…we went to bed around 9 o’clock which is our usual bed time –
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Who…Who is we? excuse me.
RUDOLF WEBER: My wife and I.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Would you identify your wife, please?
RUDOLF WEBER: Her name in Mila(?)
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, thank you.
RUDOLF WEBER: We, uh – ‘cause I have to be at work at 6 o’clock in the morning. So, about – it must’ve been about 1 o’clock, I heard the uh, the sound of, running water.

But during his trial testimony he gets more certain.
Q: Did anything unusual happen that night sir, after you went to bed?
A: Well, it was about 1:00 o’clock in the morning, that would be Saturday morning.
Q: How do you know it was 1:00.
A: Because I looked at the clock.

Notice how between December 29, 1969 the date of the interview and August 19, 1970 the date of his trial testimony when his memory should fade Weber's memory actually improved. To me this suggests he received a little help in filling in the missing pieces. I’d also point out that he doesn’t answer Bugliosi’s initial question but blurts out 1:00, a sign that something isn't right, but I’ve done that before.

Timothy Ireland

The First Tate Homicide Investigation report notes:

“Between 0100 and 0130 Mr. Ireland was awake, alert and watching the sleeping children. He heard a male voice from what seemed to him a long distance away to the north or northeast shout, 'Oh, God, no. Stop. Stop. Oh, God, no, don't'. Ireland said that the scream persisted for approximately 10 seconds. The male voice was clear and he did not notice an accent.”

At trial, presumably also after having spoken to someone at the DA‘s office in preparation for trial, Mr. Ireland changed his answer. He now places the scream at precisely 12:40 a.m. basing the change on what Mr. Sparks told him regarding the time.
Q: About what time was this?
A: Approximately 12:40 a.m.
Q: You say you told Sergeant Henderson that it was between 1:00 and 1:30 a.m.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now, what caused you to change your mind about the time.
A: When I talked again to Mr. Sparks, who was the man I first contacted about hearing the noise and asked if I could look around the camp, he said the time was 12:45, because he noticed it on his watch.
Q: You spoke to Sparks a second time after you spoke to Henderson?
A: Yes, sir, I spoke to Henderson and Lee and Richards.

Bugliosi did interview Ireland before the trial. But more importantly this illustrates how memories can be impacted by the memories of other witnesses. Here, the impact may be innocuous, but clearly Ireland’s actual memory of the events changed because of what Sparks said and by August 19, 1970 he believed it. In August 1969 he did not: witness conformity.

The Jakobson Interview

To really determine what Bugliosi did we would need to have tapes of all his interviews. We have the taped interview of Gregg Jakobson by Bugliosi on February 20, 1970. It can be found The problem is the interview is clearly not the first of Jakobson and not the first of Jacobson by Bugliosi. This is noted about 30 seconds into the interview. We can’t really track if Bugliosi's style had any impact because we don’t have the starting point. But from my review of that interview I can say this:

Bugliosi repeatedly throughout the interview uses two approaches that according to all those experts above are going to impact Jakobson’s memory. He asks leading questions. He also makes statements about what ‘others’ have already told him and asks Jakobson to confirm their viewpoint. Sometimes Jakobson does and sometimes he doesn’t. When he doesn’t did Bugliosi then go back to the other witness and interview him again? We don't know.

In my opinion this tape confirms that Bugliosi is doing precisely what he should not have done and he is likely affecting the witness’s memory. Unfortunately, we can’t see the impact because we don’t have the starting point to compare. This is one of three interviews Bugliosi conducted with Jakobsen and not the first.

[Aside: To me, Jakobson’s testimony is a lot of fun to read. Aside from the fact the ‘anti-Helter
Skelter wing’ never seem to actually explain him away, in my opinion, defense counsel are revealed as utterly inept. 

Jakobson gives quite a dissertation on Helter Skelter and is aided significantly by Fitzgerald’s robust cross examination which allows him to repeat much of it. His ‘real’ client wrote what on the fridge, again? Why let him bang the drum twice!

Hughes’ only possible defense, and only chance to avoid the death penalty for his actual client, is Manson’s control over Van Houten. Hughes does an exemplary job of proving the independence of the family members, especially the girls, and Manson’s lack of control. 

Shinn seems to want to ‘bond’ with Jakobson about trees and nature and Kanarek strives mightily to prove Manson had a right to have a grudge against Jakobson and Melcher for misleading him about that record deal through Melcher. Can you say secondary motive?

Several times Bugliosi objects and then says ‘objection withdrawn’ when he realizes the improper question actually helps his case. 

[Aside: What on earth could they be smiling about? They didn't get paid and they didn't win. And three of them threw their clients under the bus. IMO]

From the available evidence it appears that Bugliosi breaks three of the memory rules.

     1. He interviews the witness multiple times.

     2. He asks leading and suggestive questions in those interviews.

     3. He acts as a bridge between witnesses. He carries witness #1’s memories to witness #2. In other words, he facilitates witness conformity through his interview style.

Could these three factors, if applied to Kasabian over six interviews and 50 +/- hours, have impacted the accuracy of her testimony? Yes. In fact, the probability is very high.

One last point. This doesn’t mean Bugliosi is 'unethical' or 'evil' or 'broke the law'. Probably most of you have heard the Jakobson interview long before this post and never even noticed anything. Probably, neither did Bugliosi. It’s just his style and to him it was effective even if it was effective for all the wrong reasons. His quote above is revealing. He recognized that witness memory 'improved' through his methodology. He didn't recognize that it may have been doing so because he was providing the missing pieces. 

Now if he was consciously doing this, knowing he would effect their testimony…..that would be a different story. 

[Aside: Why is Bugliosi standing like that, facing the wall like he's in the corner? I mean the wall is too big to be an office door, isn't it?]

Pax Vobiscum



brownrice said...

Excellent post, David... though I don't think I'm as forgiving of Bugliosi's methodology or ethics as you :-) The unreliable and subjective nature of most peoples' memories (or indeed perceptions) is a favourite hobby horse of mine. You've explained & demonstrated it very, very well in this post. Well done.

brownrice said...

re: the photo of Vince at the bottom...

And who can forget the classic Stephen Kay quote “Not only was Vince a damn fine lawyer but he was also one humorous hombre. A favourite party trick of his was to sneak into other lawyers' offices when they weren’t there and piss in the corner. He was just a barrel of laughs!”

Sorry... I couldn't resist :-)

Matt said...

I heard someone say something once that really resonated with me: "When you remember something you really aren't remembering the event. You are remembering the last time you remembered it."

And so I guess, we are really just "playing telephone" with our own memories.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Thanks for the post, David. I will read more when I have time. Re: the Bugliosi photo at bottom, it reminds me (memory uh-oh) of the opening scenes of the Manson documentary when I think he is about the walk into a courtroom entrance perhaps.
Regarding my memories, I almost always equivacate, even if I'm almost sure of something. Don't trust my brain for a second, ugh.

AstroCreep said...

The issue I have with alternate theories/motives starts with your second sentence.

It implies that Bugliosi premeditated the motive and knew the outcome before having all or very few of the facts.

From the very beginning of his assignment to the case, Bugliosi acknowledged that motive did not need to be proved to get a guilty verdict. From the beginning of his assignment, he was on a quest for evidence and at every turn was being given information that supported the Helter Skelter motive.

As stated before, Helter Skelter was the GROUP motive that Bugliosi found most logical given the evidence and statements he collected. It was likely not each individuals motive or reason to go kill. In reality, the individual motives (that were proven in court) were more that Manson was seen as the leader and the individuals were just following orders. The female defendants and idiots on the street corner pretty much proved this regardless of group motive.

Does anyone remember when Hillary Clinton talked about getting off the airplane under sniper fire in Bosnia? My point is, after spending about 10,000 hours telling yourself something, it can become fact. 10,000 hours is generally the same amount of time required to build muscle memory- when actions take over and things become reflexive and second nature.

I believe the earliest recollections are the most factual. After that, individuals involved in the case had their own reasons for making the statements that they did.

Maybe this has been covered at length in the past, so excuse me for asking- Has anyone provided an alternate reason for WHY all of the girls and idiots on the street corner mimicked everything Charlie did? If he wasn't the ringleader, why did they represent him as such?

David said...

Brownrice said:

"though I don't think I'm as forgiving of Bugliosi's methodology or ethics as you"

Thank you.

As to the comment: I think part of my viewpoint about Bugliosi consciously altering memories/testimony comes from the fact I don't like giving him that much credit ;-)

Chris Till said...

Another well-researched and well-written post.

As it seems that many are concerned about motive for the July-August 1969 crimes, I reckon I’ll put my two cents in. To begin with, I have no concrete idea what the motive of the various conspirators and actors were.

But… I suspect different players had different motives. For some, no motive was required. They were just in it for the thrill of the kill. Some are natural born killers who need no motive to act. For them, killing is a certain kind of fun. Others may have believed they were Biblical avenging angels. Others may have believed they were freeing tormented souls, as the gang in the revered novel "Stranger in a Strange Land" did. Others may have believed they were somehow helping to get BB free. Others may have initially thought they were just going creepy crawling and hoped to either maybe steal a few bucks or just have some weird fun. Others’ motive may have extended no further than peer pressure. Some may have believed they owed the ringleader a favor and were just trying to pay back the favor. Some may have thought they were doing nothing more than just making their bones, in underworld parlance. The ringleader’s motive may have been tainted with power tripping and screwing with peoples’ heads, mixed with a lifelong loathing of the wealthy.

On the other hand, perhaps all were unified in the notion of starting a race revolution by writing Beatles lyrics in blood. Which is an odd way to start a race war, as blacks were not generally known as Beatles fans (although Wilson Pickett covered “Hey Jude” and Fats Domino and Richie Havens covered “Lady Madonna”).

Certainly, thoughts of imminent revolution were part of the spirit of the times in 1969. Many Americans in the counterculture, the left, and even the dominant culture thought a revolution was at hand. Folks wondered what and who would start the revolution. Many of the left-wing bombers circa 1968-1978 likely sought to be the revolutionary vanguard to light the fire of revolution. Though they became known as the New Year’s Gang, the Madison, Wisconsin bombers of 1970 called themselves the Vanguard of the Revolution. On January 1, 1970, they stole an airplane and (unsuccessfully) bombed a Wisconsin munitions plant from the air. My point being that part of the HS motive was being the revolutionary vanguard, a not unusual desire for some caught up in the zeitgeist. (For more on the misplaced revolutionary fervor of that time, I strongly recommend Bryan Burrough’s 2016 instant classic, "Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence.")

After all, Jacobson called CM an “active revolutionary of the time in that area. Like Castro in the hills before he overthrew the government. Charlie advocated the overthrow of the government and the police force and everything.” (Mindfuckers: A Source Book on the Rise of Acid Fascism in America, p. 83).


Manson Mythos said...

Study history and politics right up till today and you'll see this case isn't much different. The United States shot down a Syrian aircraft just recently for attacking US backed "rebels". Rebels armed by the Obama Administration to take out "bad guy" Assad. All in the name of democracy and social justice. But we KNOW that wasn't the real motive. Oil, gas lines, money and power were. But that doesn't sound righteous nor a good excuse to get the American public cheering. Just like murder over dope disputes isn't.

Charlie most certainly was a master of "the noble motive". Read How to Win Friends and Influence People, a book we know Charlie studied and it will make sense. Not that I believe the murders were his idea or HS was used to get them to kill, but I believe later it was used as a cover, as it was to cover the the reasons why the ranch went into combat mode after Crowe. It appears that HS tickled the fancy of some of the younger people at the ranch, thus the fantasy became a motivation tool and a way to keep them out of the know for the real reasons a lot of things were happening.

Bugliosi ran with the fantasy. Much like many Americans run with the fantasy we are in Syria to fight terrorists and take out a demon named Assad. Or that the Paris Agreement is really all about helping to prevent climate change and isn't just a shake down that benefits nobody but the EU/US Oligarchs.

St Circumstance said...

Really great work!!

Very interesting...

David said...

Thank you, Saint.

Dave1971 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn said...

Dear David1971,

Could you please quote or state to whom you are writing? Thanks.

ziggyosterberg said...

Nice work, Dreath.

What did Bugliosi have on Jakobson that made Gregg willing to testify? And not only testify, but to sit there multiple times ruminating on what he thinks, Charlie might think, lyrics to Beatles songs mean, to Charlie. And also listening to Vince reading verses from the Book of Revelation. And again, ruminating on what he thinks, Charlie might think, those verses mean, to Charlie.

Incidentally, there's a part of the Jakobson interview where Bugliosi says, with some uncertainty, "Well, I, I think the word apocalypse means, uh, revelation".

The book of Revelation is named "the Apocalypse" in most Catholic bibles. Vince would know that if he was a good Catholic boy like Matt and ColScott. And he also wouldn't mangle the pronunciation of "Euphrates" so badly.

David said...

Ziggy said:

"What did Bugliosi have on Jakobson that made Gregg willing to testify?"

Why did Bugliosi have to have something on Jakobson? While Jakobson tells the HS story with Beatles four part harmony and Fitzgerald has him do an encore his testimony from a 'guilt' perspective isn't particularly damning. He doesn't link HS to the murders in large measure because his discussions with Manson happened months before the murders.

Maybe he just felt it was his 'civic duty'. If you want shenanigans I think the better question is why didn't Wilson testify? That one IMO reeks of 'prosecutorial discretion'.

Of course I could also answer this way: a subpoena.

Dave1971 said...

My replies are directly under the person im replying to post

Dave1971 said...

Thats a great question David, why didnt Dennis testify, he was a pivotal figure in this whole saga, more so than Jakobson or Melcher, Wilsons comments to people after the trials even up until his death suggested that he knew the real motives behind the killings

David said...

Actually, Dave1971, they don't appear that way if you use a computer to read here. They just fall next in line.

ziggyosterberg said...

David said...

"If you want shenanigans I think the better question is why didn't Wilson testify? That one IMO reeks of 'prosecutorial discretion'."

Dennis might be the reason why Jakobson was so loquacious. That and the fear of his wife finding out about all the hookers that he shtupped at the Ranch.

ziggyosterberg said...

Dave1971 said...

"Wilsons comments to people after the trials even up until his death suggested that he knew the real motives behind the killings"

Are there any other "real motives" other than Helter Skelter or Copycat that would necessitate writing various forms of the word "pig" in blood at the scene?

Matt said...

...all the hookers that he shtupped...

Ziggy you make me miss NY. You don't hear words like "shtupp" in NC :(

Chris Till said...

"What did Bugliosi have on Jakobson that made Gregg willing to testify?"

From his extensive 1970 interview(s) with David Felton, as published in "Rolling Stone" and the great "Mindfuckers" book, as well as his later interview(s) with Jeff Guinn in Guinn's 2015 cheapshot bio, I think it's fair to say that Mr. Jacobson just likes to talk about CM.

As an aside, Mr. Jacobson seems to particularly like to emphasize what a fabulous dancer CM was. "There have been many dancers in this world that I have seen, but no one ever danced like Charlie," "Mindfuckers," p. 83. And, as I recall, Guinn's 2015 bio begins with GJ's story of going to the Whiskey-a-Go-Go circa 1968 with CM, Dennis Wilson, and Terry Melcher, and watching agog as CM danced.

As far as Dennis Wilson, as I recall, he never gave a post-summer 1969 press interview about CM, only perhaps a few scattered asides.

Dave1971 said...

To ziggy, my theory has always been that it was a drug deal gone bad, theres too much testimony telling me that both Frykowski and Sebring were small time dealers, that's just my opinion

Dave1971 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DebS said...

I think the most likely reason Dennis Wilson did not testify is because he could not be trusted by the prosecution to give damning evidence against Manson. He may have made a good defense witness but the defense attorneys only called witnesses in the penalty phase of the trial.

Most accounts of Dennis's relationship with Manson would have us believe that Dennis cut off contact with Manson in 1968 when the lease was up on his house. David has shown us that was probably not true because of interviews Dennis did with the Record Mirror as late as July 1969 where Dennis had nothing but good things to say about Manson.

Manson Mythos said...

Jakobson was doing damage control for himself, Melcher, Wilson, Brother Recordings, etc. .....needless to say even the minimized association presented in the press and at trial they had with Manson was a scandal and damaging to repuations enough. That they were all about of a drug nexus would have made it work. Needless to say they would have wanted to keep Wilson away from the trial and case as much as possible. With Melcher, they needed him to support Bugliosi's case.

The Record Mirrior article came out in December '68. But regardless, Manson and Wilson were still in contact even after the Tate murders.

IlovePho said...

I'll never understand the hatred people have for Vincent Bugliosi. He prosecuted the shit out of the killers, and got guilty verdicts. What's the problem? Shouldn't the hatred be towards the actual killers instead? This blog used to be all about different viewpoints, and now every other posting is about blaming the victims, Manson was framed, Bugliosi is Satan, Leslie Van Houten was just misunderstood, Gary Hinman was a drug dealer, etc. What absolute lunacy!

lurch said...

Anyone know if there's an online version of Mindfuckers? Always wanted to read it. Public libraries obviously don't have it, and when one does come up for sale the price is usually too steep for my wallet!

Jenn said...

Dave1971: "My replies are directly under the person im replying to post"

No they aren't. For example, if this was in answer to me, your post isn't right under mine.

DebS said...

MM, there was a July 5, 1969 Record Mirror article where Dennis is obviously talking about Manson and Spahn. I can't find David's post on that right now but check your email, I sent you the article.

David said...


Here is the post too:

Ilovepho said: "This blog used to be all about different viewpoints, and now every other posting is about blaming the victims, Manson was framed, Bugliosi is Satan, Leslie Van Houten was just misunderstood, Gary Hinman was a drug dealer, etc."

That really isn't the point of the post. Bugliosi 'out lawyered' the hell out of the defense counsel and in my opinion the right people are exactly where they should be. The point of the post is the title.

When I read comments I am always struck by the fact commenters will occasionally disregard (or make assumptions of error regarding) the objective evidence/physical evidence and witnesses such as Jakobson and frequently cite something one of the eyewitnesses (murderers) said as 'proof' that the objective evidence is wrong. I feel the analysis should be the other way around: if there is a conflict assume the objective evidence is correct and the eyewitnesses are wrong until something objective establishes its the other way around.

I certainly didn't intend to bash the victims and apologize if that is how you read the post.

Matt said...

ILovePho, the slant of the blog hasn't changed much if any. Bugliosi did do the world a service by gaining convictions. It's just the path he took that is in question.

Different viewpoints are welcome. If a commenter feels Manson was framed they have a right to explain why they feel that way. What commenters believe is not necessarily what WE believe.

If Hinman was a dealer it changes the motive behind his killing, not who did it. If you think us authors are blaming victims then I call your reading comprehension seriously into question.

Dave1971 said...

Yeah Chris i remember Jakobsen talking about how Charlie pretty much lit up the dance floor at the whiskey, said it was like there was an electricity coming off of him

Dave1971 said...

David ive never seen one post from anyone on any blog who is a Helter Skelter doubter who actually blamed any of the victims or even denied that Tex, Patricia, Susan, Leslie and most likely Linda were the killers, my interest as a HS non believer is what the actual motives for the killings was, what happened to all known "family" victims is evil and wrong and nothing they did in their lives was deserving of being murdered

David said...

Dave1971: gotta say 'huh?' About your comment to me. A little help. Please.

Dave1971 said...

Sorry David i actually meant that for Ilovepho

Dave1971 said...
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brownrice said...

IlovePho said...
"I'll never understand the hatred people have for Vincent Bugliosi. He prosecuted the shit out of the killers, and got guilty verdicts. What's the problem? Shouldn't the hatred be towards the actual killers instead?"

Why hate anyone? "Hate" is seldom helpful.

"This blog used to be all about different viewpoints, and now every other posting is about blaming the victims, Manson was framed, Bugliosi is Satan,

Who said Bugliosi was Satan? Everyone knows that Charlie was :-)

"Gary Hinman was a drug dealer, etc. What absolute lunacy!"

Other than being illegal under an antiquated and ineffective law, why is being a drug dealer automatically construed as a bad thing? Particularly when we're talking about pot or psychedelics. I've always felt about drug dealers much the same way that Homer Simpson does about Mo the bartender... "How can I hate you, Mo? You sell me beer."
Even more so at the time that these murders happened.

Matt said...

Exactly, brownrice. When someone says that Gary Hinman was a drug dealer it is typically meant as a statement of "fact", not a judgement. And ILovePho, I say that to make a point about WHY a commenter might say he was a dealer, I'm not actually taking the position that he was one (in the interests of that reading comprehension thing).

grimtraveller said...

Dave1971 said...

My replies are directly under the person im replying to post..........Sorry David i actually meant that for Ilovepho

to quote someone that you want to reply to in bold, if you don't want to just use "speech marks," use < followed by b followed by > then put in the quote that you want to reply to then add < followed by / followed by b followed by > and their comment will be in bold and it's a little clearer whom you're replying to.
The only way on this site that your answers will be directly under the quote you're answering is if no one publishes their own comment while you are composing yours which means you either have to be a speedy writer, live in the UK or somewhere with a zany time difference to America or be plain lucky !

ive never seen one post from anyone on any blog who is a Helter Skelter doubter who actually blamed any of the victims or even denied that Tex, Patricia, Susan, Leslie and most likely Linda were the killers

I smilingly note that one unnamed protagonist towers above the ones you do name....

brownrice said...

Other than being illegal under an antiquated and ineffective law, why is being a drug dealer automatically construed as a bad thing?

For me it really depends on who that dealer is actually dealing to and what they are selling or supposed to be. You made an interesting point in the other thread about qualifications to speak authoritatively about drugs. For me the same can apply sometimes to the seller.

IlovePho said...

This blog used to be all about different viewpoints

I think most of the debates over these last couple of threads show that it still is and thankfully so.

David said...

Bownrice's comment triggered a memory (see how I tied that back to the post):

You know the dealer, the dealer is a man
With the love grass in his hand
Oh but the pusher is a monster
Good God, he's not a natural man
The dealer for a nickel
Lord, will sell you lots of sweet dreams
Ah, but the pusher ruin your body
Lord, he'll leave your, he'll leave your mind to scream

Steppenwolf: “The Pusher” 1968

Or if you prefer the original by Hoyt Axton:

Yeah, the dealer take a nickel
Give you lots of fine dreams
But the pusher take your body
And leave your mind to scream
God damn the pusher

grimtraveller said...

IlovePho said...

Shouldn't the hatred be towards the actual killers instead?

No. Like you, me and Queen Elizabeth 2nd, they are human beings that have erred. They have/had parents, siblings, partners, thoughts, wishes and desires. Listening to and trying to understand them is much more profitable and enables one to place their feelings when and how they arise, in the right context.

Matt said...

When someone says that Gary Hinman was a drug dealer it is typically meant as a statement of "fact", not a judgement

While true, I've noticed that it's a point often made with an "anti official narrative" foundation so it's hard not to conclude that if Gary can be trashed, then that throws doubt on the reasons, the real reasons, for his murder which then shines its light on official "motive" narratives on this case in general.
For me, his death has little to do with whether or not he used to move drugs. That side of things becomes irrelevant if one is to believe Bobby's story because Bobby is adamant that he and Gary ha sorted out their problem. I think there is more than enough official and anecdotal {autopsy, the Family, Bugliosi} information to hand to be able to reach the conclusion that Gary was involved at some level with drugs of different kinds. His very involvement with Buddhism was directly drug related according to Police reports.
The biggest culprit of the idea that somehow Gary brought his fate on his own head is actually Charlie, who, in addition to making sure he told Nicholas Shreck that Hinman was a government agent feeding info on countercultural undesirables {or word to that effect}, coined the stark but brutal phrase "Hinman killed Hinman."
According, ironically to Bobby and the original accomplices, Charlie is the basic reason Hinman is dead, not whether he moved drugs now and then.

Chris Till said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Till said...

lurch asked if "Mindfuckers: A Source Book on the Rise of Acid Fascism in America" (1972) is online anywhere.

My answer is: I don't know. Years ago, I ponied up $80 and bought it on Amazon. If you can afford it, it's worth it. There are three sections: one on CM; one on Mel Lyman; and one on Victor Baranco. The CM section is fine. The Baranco section is not gripping. And the Mel Lyman section is fascinating (but may be character assassination). Lyman is one of my favorite acid gurus of that era. Besides acid, the Lyman Family were into carpentry and folk music and were quite productive. The book came out of a series of "Rolling Stone" magazine articles, but I'm not sure if the book has more than just the original articles or expands upon them.

Not to derail the OP's post, but is anyone else working on a compare/contrast essay on CM and Emmett Grogan of the Diggers?

Dave1971 said...

Grim it was actually Bill Scanlon Murphy that Charlie told that about Gary, basically said Gary was a govt informant "playing all kinds of treacherous games" and sold some drugs that caused Bobbys wife to lose her baby but i thought she ended up having the baby didnt she?

Manson Mythos said...

It's highly possible Hinman was an informant, considering his interest in far left politics. Communist scumbag Gloria Steinem admitted not long ago she was working with the CIA as an informant and one of the most celebrated members of the Black Panthers who's been openly praised in the various sympathetic documentaries about them was working with the FBI as an informant. An interesting project for somebody would be looking in to seeing if there is an FBI file on Hinman. I would bet nearly all of the radicals and assholes like Hoffman, Rubin and Leary were stooges for US intelligence.

A lot of people like to spread tinfoil hat insanity that the murders were "staged" as apart of Operation Chaos, but Operation Chaos was simply, I believe an operation in which US intelligence wanted to see if foreign influence was meddling in the counter culture, probably Cuba and Soviet. Similar to the "Russian investigation" of today.

As for what Charlie says: almost everything he says, there is a degree of truth. But his mind isn't exactly perfect nor is his memory. So while he is not fabricating nonsense, not everything he says might be accurate and he has mixed up people and situations. They also used him as guinea pig for a various of chemical brain cocktails in the 70s to the 80s and there is no doubt these drugs effected his mind.

DebS said...

MM, if one were to send for any FOIA documents at the FBI/DOJ they would probably receive a letter much like the one I received when trying to get Susan Atkins file. Gary was related to the Manson case and no doubt his file, even what might not have been related to Manson, et al, has been destroyed like Susan's file.

Susan would have triggered an FBI file when she was arrested pre-Charlie in Oregon for taking a stolen vehicle across state lines and the firearms charges.

grimtraveller said...

Dave1971 said...

it was actually Bill Scanlon Murphy that Charlie told that about Gary

Cheers mate. It plays quite a prominent part in Schrek's book. Perhaps a poor assumption on my part.

and sold some drugs that caused Bobbys wife to lose her baby but i thought she ended up having the baby didnt she?

I've seen a number of references to Bobby's 'wife' Gail, but he stated during a parole hearing that he'd not been married before jail and his child was with Kitty Lutesinger.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER WELCH: Okay. Were you married prior to coming to prison?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER WELCH: Do you have any children prior to coming to prison?

INMATE BEAUSOLEIL: Yes, I had one out of wedlock child. Her name is Jeanne Beausoleil. She's written a letter for this hearing.

Of course, one should never trust an eyewitness !

Manson Mythos said...

Somebody involved in this case for many, many years told me, and this is unvarified, but a lot of people had it in for Hinman because he was selling weed that was sprayed with Paraquat and some of his batch ended up being sold to some Hells Angels.

brownrice said...

Chris Till said:
Not to derail the OP's post, but is anyone else working on a compare/contrast essay on CM and Emmett Grogan of the Diggers?

No but I'd love to read one. There's an interesting throw-away line in Sanders' The Family, where he makes the comment that Charlie was hanging round with a prominent Haight Ashbury character not long after his release... and that it's a pity he didn't pick up on some of the guy's more ethical behaviour & beliefs (or words to that effect). I've always wondered if that were Grogan. Charlie obviously borrowed a lot from the Diggers and I'm sure his street-savvy ex-crim persona would've resonated with them (at least initially). The other option is perhaps Steven Gaskin...

Apologies for being off-topic.

Dave1971 said...

To brownrice, Charlie talked about the Diggers in his interview with Charlie Rose, talked about meeting a kid when he got to San Francisco and he asked the kid where he gets food with no money and the kid told him about the diggers

Dave1971 said...

Manson Mythos i think its more an issue of what i call "con talk" with Charlie, he gives you nuggets of truth inside of a rambling sometimes incoherent story and uses alot of metaphors, Doris Tate said what you said about Charlie, that he speaks in riddles but rarely ever lies, i think its based on years spent behind bars where the worst thing you can be is a rat

DebS said...

Paraquat wasn't used on marijuana until the mid 70s when the US government started spraying pot fields in Mexico. Do a google search for Paraquat Pot.

starviego said...

Chris Till said:
Not to derail the OP's post, but is anyone else working on a compare/contrast essay on CM and Emmett Grogan of the Diggers?

The whole idea of taking an old school bus and traveling the country was pioneered by the Merry Pranksters of the Bay Area, of which Grogan was one. Numerous others, of course, followed course as the '60d went on. And the Family appears to have copied this hippie template exactly. But was that just coincidence?

ziggyosterberg said...

RIP Hinman/Hells Angels "Paraquat" drug burn theory (murdered by a Google search).

ziggyosterberg said...

Krenwinkel's Parole Hearing resumes today

Matt said...

That paraquat thing was going on when I was in high school. We had our coal mine canaries that were more than happy to sample the weed before the rest of us were willing to chance it.

Chris Till said...

In fact, Emmett Grogan was not a Merry Prankster. He co-founded the Diggers in San Francisco, c. 1966.

Dave1971 said...

I wish Vegas was taking odds on Krenwinkels parole, id bet my house on a denial, i like what Harold True said about her, "ahhh Krenwinkel man, she carries her brains in a lunch box" lol

Dave1971 said...
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starviego said...

Krenwinkel July 17, 1978 Parole Hearing Transcript
MR. S. DANA GILBERT, Attorney for Krenny: "... the State in the form of the prosecution will not let the people forget that they were part of the Manson family. And it doesn’t matter if you try to break away. You will not be allowed, not by Manson, but by the State, by Chief Davis, by the District Attorney’s office, you will not be allowed to forget that you were part of the Manson family. And everything you do is because you’re a part of the Manson family. .... Don’t you think we’ve had enough of this? It’s been almost eight years now."

Come on, people! It's been almost eight years now!

starviego said...

Chris Till said...
In fact, Emmett Grogan was not a Merry Prankster. He co-founded the Diggers in San Francisco, c. 1966.

Whoops! I was thinking of Wavy Gravy(aka Hugh Romney), one of the first to do the 'hippy bus' thing.

william marshall said...

Anyone have a copy of Shreck's 2011 Manson file they want to sell please email me at
I'm willing to pay a decent amount of $$ considering how hard it is to find

Panamint Patty said...

Friendly tip for Dave1971: Don't hit your back button to avoid double posts.

St Circumstance said...

I read an interview with Deb Tate today and she is predicting release for Pat.

She won't get past Brown anyway but I would be more shocked than I have in a very long timd if Krenny gets past the board before Lulu.

Shocked!! But Deb pointed out some statues in Krenys favor.

A couple of them seem to be getting closer and closer. But...

I still believe none of them ever actually walk. But I don't have the same level of confidence I did when I first started paying attention.

Sorry for off topic Dave this was an excellent post.

There is no evidence Gary sold drugs it's all rumor and innuendo. No proof ever existed Gary sold drugs. Not one spec of actual
Evidence ever resisted. Just stories and rumors.

Helter Skelter does have actual evidence to support it. I have laid out the list many times.

Me thinks some people make this a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

If what happened with that group of people isn't fascinating enough god help you. Why the need to try and add layers and put in questions that may have already been answered?

I think it's cause some will look for anyway to obsolve Charlie and his group from responsibility in some way for what they did

There is no and never will be a good excuse for the brutal violence they committed to Shorty Gary Sharon Jay Gibby Steve and Voutek.

Drugs. Sex. Burn. Copy cat. HS.

End of the day is it so important why? Do any of the above make it ok for those animals to beat and stab people to death?

Think hard about what your trying to excuse and weigh the cost of human life.

What if Gary was someone you cared about? And that happened to someone in your family...

What would you think about someone who slandered his name and questioned his character after he was brutally tortured??


St Circumstance said...

Last comment on motive and I'll let others have final say....

Bugs was told by over a dozen people about how much of an influence HS was to Charlie and the family. He saw it written on property at ranch and in blood at the crime scene.

That's real. Not stories or rumors.

Tex Pat Lulu have all stated that is why they did it and was at least part of the motivation.

They actually did the killing. That's real. Not stories or rumors.

So how anyone can absolutely rule out the possibility that HS was part of the motivation is totally beyond me??

Ignore facts and testimony and put my faith in unproven stories and rumors??

Not me. I will believe what my eyes see and what my ears hear. Not what strangers with self interest spread.

Peace friends. :)

St Circumstance said...

Ok one more word. It's been awhile lol

I'm not as experienced with this as some. I'm not nearly the researcher or brains as most.

But I have read almost every book. I have watched hundreds of hours of parole hearings. I have read transcripts for 9 years now. All the biographies. Police reports. Trial

For almost a decade.

I'm smart enough to comprehend what I learn. And it's really simple if you just look without predetermining your opinion.

There is just no evidence to support any motive beyond a reasonable doubt. There is more evidence on record to support HS that any other potential motive.

Sorry that's just the simple truth.

So if you can't know for sure what the motive is? How can you be so sure what the motive isn't??

Anyway thanks for indulging me 😉

CarolMR said...

Very true, St. I'm old enough to have been in high school when TLB happened. I remember reading about the Helter Skelter motive before Bugliosi ever came into the picture. It didn't come from Vince.

grimtraveller said...

David said...

I feel the analysis should be the other way around: if there is a conflict assume the objective evidence is correct and the eyewitnesses are wrong until something objective establishes its the other way around

For everyone since the morning of 9th August 1969, the story begins with the objective evidence. And the objective evidence didn't prove anything that went towards netting the culprit{s}. It established much but proved nothing. It took the revelations from the eyewitnesses to put flesh on the bones. The objective evidence then assisted what was revealed. Had Susan Atkins and Kitty Lutesinger never spoken, indeed, if all of the Family had, Mafia like, kept Schtuum, what could the evidence have proved ?
Similarly, if everyone had talked and confessed all day night, without objective evidence, what could have been proven ? Nothing really. What a person said on their own would, I imagine, just be hearsay.
It seems to me that the two walk hand in hand.

grimtraveller said...

CarolMR said...

I'm old enough to have been in high school when TLB happened. I remember reading about the Helter Skelter motive before Bugliosi ever came into the picture. It didn't come from Vince

Are you sure about that ? That you remember reading about HS as a motive before Bugliosi came into the picture ?
I'd say that was impossible. Not because it wasn't around in fragments {it was ~ from at least 8 people} but because the statements that contained any pointing to HS weren't public, were police and lawyer interviews and jailhouse tongue waggings and Bugliosi didn't finally put it together himself until Feb '70.

grimtraveller said...

St Circumstance said...

So if you can't know for sure what the motive is? How can you be so sure what the motive isn't??

I'd love to know from Helter skeptics exactly what it is or why it is that they think HS is a crock. Is it the idea itself or the man that is identified with putting it together or other things ?
I'm genuinely curious

Trilby said...

Krenwinkel was denied.

Dave1971 said...

To St. Circumstance like i always say with this case the right people are locked up and thats a good thing, talking about the "whys" of the case is just very interesting, just a really cool way to pass the time

Dave1971 said...

To St. Circumstance like i always say with this case the right people are locked up and thats a good thing, talking about the "whys" of the case is just very interesting, just a really cool way to pass the time

Dave1971 said...

To William Marshall, same here, i havent been able to find a copy anywhere

David said...

Saint said: "Sorry for off topic Dave this was an excellent post."

No need to apologize. I sort of view this as a 'sports bar' or aa good 'pub'. Not everyone comes there to watch the game but they still have a good time.

Then again, that might be why I help derail other posts...hmmm...maybe I should rethink that (channelling Saint) LOL.

Grim said: "It seems to me that the two walk hand in hand."

Of course they do. I think my point was- if the objective evidence says "X" but Atkins said "Y" so therefore "X" must be wrong- is backwards. I know you use comments asa jumping off point but that style does tend to suggest now and again that someone said something different then what they actually said. Maybe use the whole quote.

Saint said: "Do any of the above make it ok for those animals to beat and stab people to death?"

Answer provided by Trilby: "Krenwinkel was denied."

Dave1971 said...

Looks like ol Patty is gonna be buried in the California Correctional Center for Women at Chowchilla graveyard lol

starviego said...

It's too late to save the dead. But we can still save the living. As Moses said to Pharaoh "Let my people go!"

St Circumstance said...

1971 - I agree its much fun to wonder about the puzzle and try to figure out what really happened...

Matt and Deb S and Col and the serious TLB Scholars are all about getting to the very bottom and I respect that and would love to know if there is a real truth myself.

But some people "Create" motives ( much like they accuse Bugs of doing lol) or alternative possibilities- NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATIONS OF WHAT HAPPENED-

but because they can - in some fashion- erase some culpability for Charlie. That is it. They care not who or what gets trashed in the process.

Thats ok with me, I guess, if that is your thing. Do what you gotta do to defend your position and your guy...

But Come on Man.... Dont step on the memory of a brutally slain man by trying to introduce question's about his character or lifestyle as to say he somehow had it coming. And make no mistake- That is exactly what they are doing...

That is all I am saying...

DebS said...

I'm not going to put up a new post with the news that Krenny was denied parole. I'm pretty sure that's what most expected the outcome would be despite the battered partner thing.

She was denied for five more years. You can read about it here-

Dave1971 said...

To St. Circumstance, yeah as far as motives go i always say there has to be enough "smoke" to be a "fire" thats why im a believer in the drug burn theory and not the stupid MK ULTRA or satanism bullshit, i think theres reasonable evidence there for drugs, police reports of more than one dealer implicating Frykowski and Sebring, drugs found at the scene, killers were all known drug users, i can understand why people believe in the HS theory and i think possibly even the girls may have believed in ut as a motive but not the main person Tex

Dave1971 said...
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Dave1971 said...

As far as ive read there isnt much reason for Leslie to hold out hope with the Tex tapes, it seems the only new things in them is possible info on the Tennerelli and Stubbs murders and also the third unnamed murder, im guessing maybe the CHP officer

william marshall said...

Anyone have a copy of Shreck's 2011 Manson file they want to sell please email me at
I'm willing to pay a decent amount of $$ considering how hard it is to find

Trilby said...

I didn't have the time to write more than 3 words earlier (!); just want to add a comment saying how thought-provoking and informative your posts are, Dreath/Dave. Absolutely great. I'm tired & not very articulate at the moment, but the words are sincere.

Trilby said...

And also, for what it's worth, I agree with the comment pointing out that calling Hinman a drug-dealer isn't a slur. We're only human and most of us consider life a learning experience, right?

(Also, Matt, thanks for cracking me up with the weed/canary analogy. I don't remember Paraquat but I remember bad weed that had been "dusted" in the early 80s.)

For instance, calling Leno LaBianca a compulsive gambler & embezzler who stole from his family, & Rosemary a habitual grifter, is harsh yet supported by evidence. Revealing negative facts DOESN'T "JUSTIFY" their murders by ANY means, yet it would be remiss to not acknowledge these facts within context as being possible contributing factors. Who would an actuary rate as more likely to die in the course of their daily activities: a nun or a mountain climber?

I've found someone who lived in Topanga in that era who bought their mescaline and acid from a dealer named Eric, & they further knew Eric as being a friend of Hinman's who crashed at times at Hinman's house. While this source knew Hinman, they hadn't ever bought from him & couldn't corroborate rumors they had heard at the time. Very credible source (whom I stumbled upon, basically), & info matches what Ed Sanders said about Hinman having a mescaline-making partner named Eric.
Also, something I meant to post on your last thread: People asked how Hinman could have spent 1k in a few days. Easily: on Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism ie: trip (pilgrimage) to see the Dai Gohonzen in Japan with SGA. During my relugious-exploration era, I practiced this religion from about '82-'85, off & on. These trips to Japan were group excursions & greatly encouraged as part of your practice. In the early 80s the cost was several thousand (payable to SGA). So 1k was very feasible in '69. Then, as in my era, SGI HQ for L.A. was in Santa Monica (regional HQ would be referred to as the "Kaikan"), but "chapter" meetings held in members' homes as well as at the kaikan.

Sorry for being so long-winded. And hopefully I spaced the paragraphs properly so as not to piss off the people who get annoyed by formatting issues.

Trilby said...

Jeezus. Typos & I fu*ked up formatting. No excuses. *sigh*
Correct term should be: "SGI" NOT "SGA" for Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism's parent organization. At the time of his death, Hinman was in the preparatory stages of making this trip. I've always figured that's where a lump sum of $$ could have gone.

simon davis said...

David is spot on about memory, if I may say. Most jurisdictions have long since moved to amend various legislative provisions to reflect the things he talks about, certainly here in Australia that has been happening since 1995. Law reflects science, albeit dragging the chain somewhat slowly.

David, you might have referred to this and I have missed it, but just assuming VB "coached" Kasabian, it doesn't seem to have come across that way to the juries because they accepted her fully. I suppose that fits with your comments to the effect it was somewhat subtle, perhaps too subtle for the juries to appreciate.

I'm still struggling with this stuff. My training/experience was that not only are leading questions impermissible in evidence in chief (direct), they are actually "tactically" unwise because most juries see right through you if you try to put words into a witness's mouth. My approach, rightly or wrongly !, was to avoid leading as much as I could so the witness gets into a comfortable pattern of talking to the jury. I think there's no doubt that that is a much more persuasive way to present a case. I'd be surprised if VB wasn't caught in two minds frankly. On the one hand, "gee this is a big case, I really want these people to come through" and, on the other hand, "I must be careful to not let the jury(s) think I've coached, or am leading, these people, that equally will not win me the case".

I frankly find it hard to judge how he interviewed these people without seeing the records of the interviews (does anybody have those?).

simon davis said...

Sorry, also, the converse of what I've said about leading is that I would generally allow leading by my opponent where I didn't take issue with what was being said. (In fact, better that he does lead, because it is less witness talking, and more counsel talking which I liked.) Anyway, I am still struggling to work out what was really in issue about Kasabian's evidence. I mean the girls' lawyers were, I am sure (I think you are too), carrying instructions to the effect they agreed substantially with what Kasabian said. So the point is that the attorneys simply allowed some of VB's leading to go on (my memory of reading the transcripts which admittedly is getting a bit rusty). I remember thinking "gee I might have objected to that", then I simply assumed well they didn't really take issue with it. If you've already covered this, I'm sorry, its a long post !

St Circumstance said...

Trilby you make great points and it's ok to point out those things about Leno and Rosemary even if they are harsh...

AS long as they are true!!!

In the case of Gary. The drug thing is not fair in my estimation because there is not a speck of evidence to back it up. So in addition to being harsh - it's also not fact.

If the stuff about their others can be proven then I agree it's fair game to point out I guess..

But still not a real justification for what they did to them in any case to me....

Look I don't care what Anyome at Cielo was doing in their private life's or what kind of people they were off record - I am quite sure 9 month pregnant Sharon didn't deserve to be stabbed to death....

black_love_in_space said...

Haha! You said "revelations".

Get it? Revelations? Like in the Bible?

I kill me! Get it? Kill? Like in the murders?

Oh never mind.

simon davis said...

Well Saint, I have little doubt that Hinman had nothing to do with drugs. BUT there was a speck of evidence, as I understand it, in that there was white powder residue on some scales in a kitchen cupboard. Now, in theory, that could be peyote, which is the raw ingredient of mescaline (as I understand). It could equally have been self-raising flour I suppose, but let's assume for the sake of argument it was peyote. So what do you (we) say about that ? I think we say it only seems to add up to some sort of drug "activity" that was miniscule in dimension. It was either dealing on a miniscule basis, or sharing, or personal consumption. Isn't it ? What do others say ?

St Circumstance said...

IT was tested and found not to be drugs. You could speculate about a scale I suppose - but as the powder was tested and found not to be drugs...

I would say Gary liked to bake perhaps lol

St Circumstance said...

There was zero evidence Gary dealt drugs

St Circumstance said...

Again Simon. Your going into theory. This main was tortured. His memory deserves respect. If something is proven about the matter I will look at it and accept it.

But rumor theory and second hand stories are a bad basis to trash a murders persons memory and reputation.

That's the only point I'm trying to keep out there.


St Circumstance said...

I'll look for it this weekend. I believe it was in the Himman police report but can't remember exactly where for sure.

But I'm positive I read it. The scale powder was tested and not drugs.

St Circumstance said...

So you don't have to take my word for it lol. Only the facts!

David said...


I did not go into 'trial tactics' in the post. As to leading questions in the transcripts my impression is Bugliosi used them quite a bit (although drawing generalizations in a trial of this length borders on the absurd). Then from my observation the scenario typically goes like this:

Bugliosi: leading question
Kanarak: makes say three objections (one is 'leading the witness' and the others are terrible)
Bugliosi: only addresses one of the terrible objections (good tactic)
Kanarak: adds a fourth objection
Court: overruled

One example of this is during the Kasabian testimony where she is asked about the timing of going from Spahn to Cielo.

And, 'yes' to test the theory we would need tapes of every one of his Kasabian interviews and compare her answers over time and to her trial testimony and to the best of my knowledge those don't exist.

I did find it interesting that Bugliosi says that after each interview he would tell her to write him notes if she remembered things later. It would be interesting to see those notes and see if she gives any clues in them as to 'how' she remembered something- "You told me Sadie said X and now I remember X' . I thought I read somewhere on here that Ed Sanders might have some of them but could be wrong.

Thank you Trilby.