Monday, December 10, 2018

The Snitches of Spahn

".. somebody was watching every move he(Manson) made..."
      --Preston Guillory, ex-LASO Deputy who participated in the Spahn Ranch raid

In the wake of the Aug 16, 1969 Spahn Ranch Raid, Charlie and Family thought that someone had ratted them out to the cops.  At the top of their list was ranch hand Shorty Shea, who got murdered because of it.  Frank Retz, a neighbor who allegedly wanted the Mansons gone, is also mentioned in this regard.

But there is evidence that the Family may have had an abundance of snitches:
sbuch113 said...
"I know a man who was a Jr. Fireman at the fire station near the Spahn Ranch during the Manson era. Years ago he told me of some of the strange goings on at the ranch.  He went into quite a bit of detail about how the ranch was being watched by law enforcement....... Including an on site informant and from strategic hilltop locations. He also talked about the frequent contact fireman had with Manson and others."

Who was it?  Some names:

Ruby Pearl Molinaro

Her obituary said, “She ran the Spahn Ranch where the Manson Gang was caught. She noticed lots of guns and knives in Charles Manson’s dune buggy and called the sheriff. He was then taken into custody.”
 [Credit to DebS]

Kitty Lutesinger

On page 9 of the Spahn Ranch Raid Report/PDF file we read :

"On the date of August 10, 1969, at approximately 12:15 p.m., your affiant, William G. Gleason, received information from Informant No. 1"

Author Ed Sanders makes clear that 'Informant No. 1' is Lutesinger::

"On August 10, Sunday, Sergeant William Gleason of the Los Angeles sheriff's office visited Kitty Lutesinger at her parents' ranch where she had fled following Manson's kill-threats. Sergeant Gleason was compiling a file of disturbing information about the Spahn Ranch preparing for a huge police raid to come the following week. He had become aware of Miss Lutesinger when she had run away from the Spahn Ranch on July 30 and Frank Retz had driven her to the police station."
[Credit to poster 'Jax' and  mansonblog contributor 'Brian G']

Bill Vance.

 It's possible he got pinched in one of those Family burglaries or auto thefts and the cops made a deal with him:  "You be an informant on the goings on at Spahn or you go back to prison!"   Then after all the arrests he just drops from sight.  I have never come across any interview with him, either by media, police, or prosecutors.

Gary Hinman
Charles Manson BBC Interview Part 4 8:30 mark
(re Hinman) "He was an informant for the government. He was playing all kinds of treacherous games that he shouldn't have been playing. See when you're in the underworld you got to be truthful. If you lie and you're faking and you're snitching and it catches up with you, it bites you... "

Danny DeCarlo

Bikers are notorious for their hatred of snitches, and everybody knows they operate under a strict 'no snitching' rule.  Though there are apparently exceptions, as this article from 1973 shows:   Feb, 1973
...(Sonny)Barger(of the Hells Angels) testified that over the past few years, he has frequently dealt with the Oakland police to turn over weapons or the locations of weapons to them in return for the release of jailed Angels. It was simple as that; the Angels paid off the police in guns they themselves had peddled to radicals or revolutionaries and in return the police let the Angels operate.

One of the more murkier aspects of the Manson case is where they got all the guns they collected in the spring of '69 and kept up at Spahns, until they were all seized by the Sheriff after the Aug 16 raid.  I think the conventional wisdom says Danny DeCarlo supplied most of them, and DeCarlo, of course, was a member of a biker gang.

So it is entirely possible, then, that the Straight Satans were playing the same game and had the same deal with the law as the Hells Angels did up in the Bay Area.  Supply the guns to the 'radicals' and then snitch them out to the Fuzz.

One could even take it a step further and say that it was 'suggested' to DeCarlo that he hang out with the Family and keep an eye on them, in return for certain favors to be granted to him or his club mates by the court system--like charges to be dropped in other matters.  Certainly it is true that DeCarlo never faced any charges for his activities at the ranch.

Karate Dave Lipsett

Covered in a previous thread:

 And from the "OO-ee-OO" file, we have

Field Marshall Cinque DeFreeze of the Symbionese Liberation Army

Who Ran The SLA? by Dick Russell
Ann Arbor Sun, January 22, 1976
(Donald) DeFreeze, as an informer for a special Public Disorder Intelligence Unit(of the LAPD), did not want for "useful" tasks. During the fall of 1969, police sources recall DeFreeze informing on the Charles Manson family concerning a planned arms burglary. He next surfaces in Cleveland on October 11...

Now the big question is, if they had an informant within the Family's ranks, why weren't they able to finger the Mansonoids for TLB long before they did?  Or prevent TLB by arresting Charlie and his minions for the murder of Gary Hinman or the attempted murder of Bernard Crowe?


Post-Barker arrests snitches:

One thing is certain-- during the trials, the information received from one or more informants was absolutely reliable:
Captain A. R. Stoyanoff, Homicide Bureau, advises:

On 12-2-70, information was received that the Manson Family were attempting to purchase or obtain hand grenades.

On 12-9-70, the Intelligence Bureau advised that hand grenades had been stolen from Camp Pendleton and were in the possession of the Manson Family (not confirmed).

On 12-14-70, information was received from an informant that Charles Manson had pulled a string attached to a number of hacksaw blades up through the window from the outside of the Hall of Justice. Information was relayed to the jail and hacksaw blades were recovered on approximately 12-17-70.

On 7-9-71, information was received that Charles Manson had bragged of having the telephone numbers and addresses of investigators, District Attorneys and jail deputies. On that same date, Deputy Stevens, Hall of Justice Jail, received a phone call at his residence from a person he believes to be a female member of the Manson Family.

On 7-14-71, information was received that Kenneth Como, MC/31, a Folsom Prison inmate serving life for robbery, was to be returned to Los Angeles County as a witness for the defense in the Shea murder trial. Further, that Como had been visited by the Manson Family and was a high escape risk.

On 7-22-71, Kenneth Como escaped from the 8th floor of the Old Hall of Records.

[They were warned he could escape.  And then he escapes.  Twice.   Hmmmm...]

On 8-15-71, information was received that Kenneth Como and members of the Manson Family did obtain guns from an unknown location to help free Charles Manson.

On 8-21-71, Kenneth Como, along with members of the Manson Family, robbed the Western Surplus Store in Hawthorne of 67 guns and ammunition and were subsequently arrested in a shoot out.

On 8-24-71, information was received that Judge Raymond Choate, Department 106, would receive a package containing a watch without hands signifying his time was running out.

On 9-3-71, Judge Choate received the package containing the watch with missing hands.

Some names:

Kenneth Como

All you need to know about Kenny-boy Como is that he is transferred from Folsom prison into the LA jails to testify in Charlie's Hinman/Shea trial, despite the fact he had no knowledge of Charlie and Family, nor the victims,  nor the crimes committed.  This did not cause the prosecuting attorney nor judge nor various judicial and prison officials to object.  So the whole transfer was obviously arranged by those who wanted to use Como to act as informant and provocateur.

The acid test was that Como, doing 20 to life for armed robbery in Folsom before he was transferred, gets out in 1981, doing 10 years.  For the two jailbreaks, the armed robbery, the shootout with cops, and two more subsequent attempts to break out of state prison, he got no extra time.  From a convict's standpoint, it was a pretty sweet deal.


This is the name of some guy who attaches himself to the Family during the TLB trial.  Some suspect he may have been an informant:

"beauders said...
   Hendrickson said that he believed "Kevin" was a police informant. "Kevin" started hanging with the Family due to the press coverage of Manson and the Family's commission of the murders and then up and disappears one day."


"To whom shall I speak and give warning That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed And they cannot listen."
    --  Jeremiah 6:10