“Motive is not an element of the crime charged and need not be shown. However, you may consider motive or lack of motive as a circumstance in this case. Presence of motive may tend to establish guilt.
Bugliosi in his book points out that he didn't need to prove motive. He also spends his time focusing on HS as a motive. However, he's being a little bit dishonest when he discusses the importance of HS. HS served a more important role in Bugliosi's case then simply being the motive. HS, in essence, is the conspiracy and without HS it is highly unlikely he could have proven a conspiracy to commit murder.
I quote the appellate court to show how an appellate court reviews a jury verdict: they give complete deference to what the jury ‘might’ have found and don't speculate about what they did find. Note also that the jury could choose any theory in arriving at guilt or innocence, not just those offered by the prosecution.
Manson climbing in the car the second night and driving at least part of the way (or directing the driver) or entering the LaBianca house or tying them up with the thong are all sufficient acts to convict Manson of felony murder. In fact, any one of these acts is sufficient just like the driver of the getaway car who never enters the liquor store where his accomplice shoots the clerk.
Helter Skelter: The Conspiracy
Once Manson is convicted of conspiracy to commit (first degree) murder the penalty is precisely the same as if he had carried and used the gun at Cielo Drive.
Can the DA get a conviction?
MR. PART: Now, as you know, Charles Manson, along with yourself and a lot of others, are in great
A while ago I was rightfully called out for a comment I made. This was the comment: “You may not like the laws, lawyers, judges, juries but unless you have some pretty good evidence Manson never got in that car the second night the moment he did a DA straight out of law school could have put him away.”
Ok, maybe not straight out of law school but I still think the concept is accurate.
Climbing into the car the second night leads Manson directly to prison (or death row) for the rest of his life given the heinous nature of these crimes.
On the morning of August 8. 1969 Manson is guilty of nothing related to the Tate-LaBianca murders. It is not a crime to think about murdering people or even talking about it (with some exceptions).
In fact, an argument can be made that Bugliosi would have had a very difficult time convicting Manson (if Manson put on a defense and actually woke up and asked for a separate trial) as of the morning of August 9th. Even after the Cielo Drive murders I think it would have been more difficult to convict Manson.
But the minute Manson climbs in that car with the murderers from the previous night and those who would murder that night (except Clem) and proceeds to Waverly Drive Manson is convicted.
1. He has now directly aided and abetted the crime of murder.
2. He has now participated in a robbery or burglary where a murder occurs.
3. He has handed the DA an 'overt act' in furtherance of the conspiracy (something missing until then- look at III and IV above).
Does the rest of the evidence including statements attributed to Manson by Kasabian, Lake and others help seal the deal? Of course it does but at that moment when Manson made the decision to climb in that car he stepped onto the gallows.
What About 'Clem'?
In my opinion Steve "Clem" Grogan is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder after the LaBianca murders. There is really little doubt about it. So why wasn't he charged in Tate-LaBianca?
Here is what Bugliosi says on the subject:
"At this time we were unaware that Susan Atkins had made some significant omissions in her grand jury testimony— including three other attempts at murder that night. Had we known of them, we probably would have asked for an indictment of Clem. As it was, however, all we had against him was Susan’s statement that he had been in the car. And we still had a slim hope that his brother, whom we’d contacted at the Highway Patrol Academy, might persuade him to cooperate with us."