Friday, February 11, 2022

California Supreme Court Refuses Van Houten's Appeal

75 comments:

Matthew said...

Political prisoner

Dan S said...

Beating a dead horse

David Lane said...

Strictly speaking LVH isn't a 'political prisoner', it's far more sinister than that. A political prisoner would have supporters, and possibly in large numbers, whereas LVH has few and indeed it was quoted at one of her parole meetings that 'the public aren't ready for the release of LVH ( or words to that effect). Given that it was over 50 years ago , how many people actually living today are aware of the 1969 events or LVH. Perhaps those making these decisions and 'protecting' us will be waiting until no one is currently alive from 1969.

Political prisoner, not sure , but political decision certainly and total inequity.

grimtraveller said...

David Lane said:

Political prisoner, not sure , but political decision certainly

In the reality of the way we actually understand things and actively live, it seems to me that there's virtually no difference. That's not a "release her now !" or a "keep her locked up and throw away the key !!" for Leslie, just a statement of suspected fact. It has been mooted so many times, that no Guv'nor is going to "release a Manson" on their watch, even if that "Manson" rejected the whole Manson ouvre 48 and more years ago. And given that too frequently, the guv'nor {both Brown and Newsome} has cited demonstrably incorrect facts as their reasoning behind saying "Nope !", one is not left with much choice but to conclude that, they got nothing. In Leslie's case in particular, she's too old and changed to be a threat of current dangerousness, and one can't keep a person that meets all the necessary set by LE criteria in prison just because some people sign a petition, not being totally or intimately au fait with all the nuances and details of the case.
So.......whether one thinks it serves her right {to some extent, she can't complain} or is a dyed in the wool supporter, looking at it as neutrally as one can, I think that the phrase "political prisoner" is not an unfair or a false one.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Counterculture prisoner maybe?

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Bobby and Leslie were shot down ten days apart. I hear the bell tolling for Pat in June.

tobiasragg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tobiasragg said...

I think it is pretty much game over for Van Houten at this point. This likely represented the best possible chance for LVH to pull an end-run around the politically-pressured denials coming from the statehouse and obtain freedom on a technicality. The fact that the Supreme Court would not even hear the case tells us all we need to know about what her chances actually were.

Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Watson, Bruce Davis and Bobby B. will die in prison.

The great irony here, of course, is that it was the California Supreme Court that has allowed Van Houten to remain alive for all of these decades in the first place. Be careful what you wish for . . . ?

G. Greene-Whyte said...

I'd bet that way if I was a betting man, Tobias.

David Lane said...

When you consider that Manson himself from a theoretical perspective, and I have to be careful how I word this (please be easy with your replies), ‘didn’t kill anyone’; he had less blood on his hands than any of the aforementioned famous five.
It’s because I personally see injustice in these parole cases (compared to other prisoners) and my general loathing and distrust of politicians that I favour LVH certainly being released. However, Manson was never going to be released and thus yes, they will all most likely die in prison.

Now there is no way this is going to put closure on, specifically, LVH’s ‘future’. So outside the box, if she did manage to earn release, how would she fair, what would she do?

What skills does she have that would help her assimilate. Would she need to hide from the press, from neighbours, from authors. At past retirement age how would she sustain herself, what state support is there, would she receive?

I understand she’s been a model prisoner, does that not mean she more than copes with the regime? After all I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be the fairy tale ending of Shawshank Redemption.

grimtraveller said...

David Lane said:

When you consider that Manson himself from a theoretical perspective, and I have to be careful how I word this (please be easy with your replies), ‘didn’t kill anyone’; he had less blood on his hands than any of the aforementioned famous five

Hmmm.....
In one sense, you're right. I think, however, that there is a difference between having less blood on your hands because you actively didn't kill someone {although Shorty and Gary might have words to say on that one}, even though your crime partners did, and blood being on your hands because you didn't actively kill someone, but you instigated the murders or deaths of people.
As far as I'm aware, Hitler, Bin laden and a whole host of others that have given the order to kill people, never actually did so themselves, yet, would many of us seriously argue that they are not culpable in the matter of those deaths ? And what about people that hire hitmen ?
For me, at least, it is not a grey area. The TLB victims would have lived to see at least another day had it not been for Charlie. We can say all we like about the aforementioned famous five and their bloodthirst and overkill tactics ~ and they all got precisely what they deserve and as far as I'm concerned, can't really complain. After all, they ended lives. However, I, for one, do not believe for a moment that those murders would have happened without Charles Manson. On the nights that they happened, none of the perps were planning to out killing.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Grim, I command you to bring me a Turkish Pizza from Bremen, Germany. I will send the location. Leave a witchy tip for the Turks.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Hocus pocus skiddlely doo you are now my zombie.

grimtraveller said...

G. Greene-Whyte said:

Grim, I command you to bring me a Turkish Pizza from Bremen, Germany. I will send the location. Leave a witchy tip for the Turks

I bought a Turkish pizza in Düsseldorf, once. I wouldn't recommend them.

David Lane said...

Agree with you totally grimtraveller. Especially, although it can't be proven 100% your conclusion:

'However, I, for one, do not believe for a moment that those murders would have happened without Charles Manson. On the nights that they happened, none of the perps were planning to out killing.'

I believe that, the prosecution believed that, I suspect a good number of US citizens aware of the murders believe that and it appears the parole board will have undoubtedly considered that.

So it disturbs me that Governor Newsom isn't willing to see that. By letting the final decision be made by a politician it leads to public opinion being influenced in a biased manner. Those that vote for Newsom will invariably side with his opinion and decisions regardless of how correct they are. Thus by default it's easy for him to validate his decision because 'I have the backing of all the people that voted for me'.

It would be interesting, although I presume not possible, for LVH to ask for a transfer to another state and see if she would get the same hand dealt.

tobiasragg said...

"However, I, for one, do not believe for a moment that those murders would have happened without Charles Manson"

Sure, Manson authored the crimes, but LVH and the others carried them out.

That Manson was guilty of conspiracy does not change the fact that LVH is also guilty of murder. Unlike any of the other incarcerated murderers that I am aware of, LVH seems very clear on this point. She indicates that, as a follower who made the active choice to place her trust in Manson, she is just as responsible for his misguided leadership and its results as he is.

As for transferring to a different states' prison system for a crime committed in California, yeah that's not possible. Nor would it likely change much, I don't think. Newsom isn't the only CA guv who has denied Manson people in their bid for freedom.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Tobias, I volunteered you to join me for tacos with Rosie TP if she's lurking.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Grim, I've only had Turkish Pizza once, in Bremen, and it was fantastic. We seem to be at loggerheads here.

tobiasragg said...

"Tacos with Lurkers"

Sounds like a podcast:D

G. Greene-Whyte said...

I always LOL when I think about Max Frost deciding to step away from his telephone talks with Billy G after Billy dropped the three eyed baby story on him. I'd like to think I'd keep on but how many times in a row can you ask, "Are you sure you saw a three eyed baby?

G. Greene-Whyte said...

*end quote

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said...

Sure, Manson authored the crimes, but LVH and the others carried them out.
That Manson was guilty of conspiracy does not change the fact that LVH is also guilty of murder


I agree. But that's actually besides the point being made. They are where they deserve to be, make no mistake about that. I don't think there was any miscarriage of justice.
But that shouldn't mean we can just discard reality.
Bugliosi was of the opinion that they had murder in them, anyway. But he kind of contradicted himself, when he said things like "Susan who sang in the church choir and nursed her mother while she was dying of cancer, couldn't be held responsible for what Sadie Mae Glutz had done."
Yes, they committed murder. But I'll say it again; for all of their low level crimes, not one of them showed a predilection for violence and the potential to kill. And on the evening of August 8th, I've come across nothing to suggest that they were thinking of going out and killing anyone, even with Susan and Mary having been there when Bobby killed Gary.

Unlike any of the other incarcerated murderers that I am aware of, LVH seems very clear on this point. She indicates that, as a follower who made the active choice to place her trust in Manson, she is just as responsible for his misguided leadership and its results as he is

I think, in Leslie's thinking {not that I know her !!}, that this is one of her smarter moves, although Guv'nor Newsome ain't buying it. I think she throws this in for the benefit of the parole board. It's one of her ways of "acknowledging responsibility."
But if you really think it through, it isn't that smart a move. She was 19 when she hooked up with Charlie. 19 year olds rarely have the real world experience to match those twice their age, and even if they've been through a lot that is rare for their age, the maturity, to be able to see so far ahead and "make" a more streetwise con like Charles Manson.
Love him or hate him, almost every single person that had any kind of contact with the man are surprisingly agreed on one thing ~ he had the ability, through much experience, of reading people. When supposed guardians of morality and those that are meant to be taking care of you to put you back on the straight and narrow abuse you and allow others to sexually interfere with you, you learn a whole lot about people. When girls from supposedly upright homes will turn their backs on those homes and what they learned in them, and do all manner of things that they would not want their communities to know about, you learn a lot about people. You learn that things are not always as they are pitched to you when you're young. And so on, and so forth.
It's frankly ridiculous to make the point Leslie makes. As Susan Atkins pointed out in her shambles of a book "The myth of HS", the reason no one was running away from Charlie in '67, '68, is because what he represented was nothing bad to them. If anything, he was a positive support, where a number of his troupe felt they had not had it from those that should have been giving it, like their families.
If things hadn't descended into murder and say, the Family had naturally broken up and gone their own way by 1972, I wonder how many of them would have looked upon that time as a bad experience.
But no, her allegiance to Charlie is not responsible for where he led them.

As for transferring to a different states' prison system for a crime committed in California, yeah that's not possible

Bobby Beausoleil spent much of his prison time in Oregon. But he was neither tried nor convicted there.

tobiasragg said...

"And on the evening of August 8th, I've come across nothing to suggest that they were thinking of going out and killing anyone."

It mightn't be surprising to you, but I do think Bugs was largely right on this point. I contrast even the fairly normal LVH with Kasabian and I have to think, "well yeah - they DID have the capacity to murder within them." Some of them, at least.

As for the premeditation bit, I do have to disagree slightly on this one. Both Krenwinkel and Van Houten have discussed the same thing: Manson approaches them to ask if they are willing to do what needs to be done [this was in the trailer on the 8th, as they were tending to the children] and he asked them the same question: "are you willing to kill" - or words to that effect. Both of them separately state that their answer was "well no, we don't want to do it, but we know that it has to happen, so yeah." With LVH, who of course was not sent out that night, the exchange was repeated on the boardwalk prior to them leaving on their journey toward Griffith Park.

With Krenwinkel, this eagerness seems a bit more understandable. She had little else going on in her life, so she threw all of her chips onto the Charlie bet. Van Houten's situation was different - she WAS pretty normal and she had achievements and accomplishments in her life by that point. I do not take her modern-day statements of responsibility lightly or with cynicism. I really feel that she was a "normal" girl who lost her mind for a while in her youth. Today she seems like a well-heeled CEO wife who has somehow managed to find herself in a prison situation. I DO really feel that she is as rehabilitated as one could possibly hope to be, but then I think of someone like young Frank Struthers and the impact that all of this had on his sad life and I don't mind her prison granny status quite so much. I dunno, it's complicated. For me, at least.

"If things hadn't descended into murder and say, the Family had naturally broken up and gone their own way by 1972, I wonder how many of them would have looked upon that time as a bad experience."

Oh, completely agreed! I think that even the likes of a Gypsy or Moorehouse probably look back on those couple of years with mixed feelings, even today. I do think it is difficult for many to really put themselves back into the way things were if you were young in the latter part of the 60s. The sociological aspects of the six-part Epix series does about as good a job of recounting this reality as any I've seen, an entire episode is largely devoted to the environment from which these kids sprang. As wretched as their (truly wretched) existence really was, the whole Manson experience was QUITE idyllic in most ways. Until it wasn't. Something (or some things) turned in Charlie's mind in early summer that year, and the entire thrust of the experience shifted as a result. As you well know, many of the participants have spoken of this phenom in the years hence.

tobiasragg said...

Circling back to the first point of yours I called out to respond to above, I do believe that these people WERE conditioned to be prepared for murder by 8/8. No, the girls were not thinking "tonight would be a great night to actually off some pigs" but they'd spent weeks and weeks listening to Manson's take on the LA riots happening at the time and what it all meant in the larger scheme of things. At least, they were conditioned enough to think and to respond "well no, I don't want to do this but it does have to happen - so, yes." The LVH tape from December 1969 is testament enough to this fact, I think, when she repeats these very points to her lawyer and indicates that she has no regrets over what she did - and that she'd do it again if she had to.

"Bobby Beausoleil spent much of his prison time in Oregon"

That is a fantastic point, and one I'd completely forgotten about when I typed the post you are responding to. Now I wonder how exactly that came about. I don't think I ever really looked into that, but it is a bit curious, no? Why might Oregon have taken on a decidedly unpleasant California inmate? Could such a thing happen today, or was that move a product of its time? And would Bobby stand a greater chance of parole today if he were still being incarcerated up in Oregon? I am not motivated enough to go off in search of answers on this one, but it is a rather interesting question, isn't it? Perhaps this is a new rabbit hole you can leap into, unless you've been sheltering there all along and I simply haven't educated myself enough on this point.

Finally, I do have to say that I absolutely love bouncing these things around with you. On the one hand, you are far too ready to agree with most everyone and I sometimes find myself wondering where you really stand - even though I have a vague idea already, I suppose. But on the other hand, you seem a really nice guy and you obviously know your stuff (you're far more into this than I) and the critical thinking bits of your grey matter are firing well.

I believe that having a beer or two with you, along with some lurker tacos perhaps, would likely be a very enjoyable experience. I'm afraid I would ultimately disappoint you, however.

David Lane said...

It was myself tobiasragg that introduced the question of transfer of LVH and what affect that would have on her parole applications.

The reason I brought this up is because the legal system in parts of the world differ greatly and the outcomes even more so. Without introducing too much detail as to the where and how of this particular case, I refer to an incident in Thailand whereupon a British woman was found guilty of drug smuggling and sentenced to 25 years. As in other cases (strangely mainly where women were serving time), the UK government became involved and through an international agreement they arranged a transfer of the woman to a UK prison and she never completed the sentence there. Although the crime was outside their jurisdiction in one other case the reduction of a sentence applied in Thailand was supported by UK Customs and Excise (again a young woman).

To place figures on this, the US multiplies time served in a Thai prison by a factor of 6, thus 4 years in a Thai prison would be the equivalent of 24 years.

So not only is a crime dependant on who you know (Charlie) but where the crime is committed, where you serve the time and whether a politician (or government) is involved. All crimes are obviously not equal, but there appears to be a huge discrepancy in the way justice is served.

Chris B said...

It's one of those things isn't it? Patty Hearst does bad stuff and gets released early and is eventually pardoned and gets to have bit parts in John Waters Movies.
The Calley(sp?) Fella does that My Lai (again sp?) Massacre and gets a few few years house arrest on a massive army base before the president steps in and he gets to go home.
Our gang became super notorious and their public personas became part of the US pop-culture shorthand for super senseless evil home invasions.
I always get the feeling that the in and out of gang thought they were running the media show in 1970-71. Tragically the public image got away from them and with an eye off of the ball the publication of HS twinned with Squeaks gun waving at P. Ford cemented their legendary status.
If in doubt choose the legend over the truth. They had no one 1972-76 to put their side of things over. Bugliosi claimed the legend and made the super watched TVM and cast them in stone for always.
Squeaks and Sandy just supported Bugs view and buried them. I often wonder if their jail time was to offset the guilt.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:
I have to think, "well yeah - they DID have the capacity to murder within them."

There is no human being that doesn’t have the capacity to murder. Things like willingness, desire, motivation, propensity and likelihood are different matters though. But in the right circumstances, anyone can commit murder. It’s just that, fortunately, for most of us, that right situation or combination of circumstances never arrives.

As for the premeditation bit, I do have to disagree slightly on this one. Both Krenwinkel and Van Houten have discussed the same thing: Manson approaches them to ask if they are willing to do what needs to be done and he asked them the same question: "are you willing to kill" - or words to that effect

Yes, but firstly, Leslie, at least, did not regard killing on a divine mission as murder. Secondly, the heart of the point is that Manson approached them. They, as you point out, were looking after the kids, not thinking about, or planning to go out and start HS. At this late point, it was still rather abstract to them. It was Cielo that catapaulted this abstract vision into concrete reality. And after that point, Leslie, having known about Pat’s involvement, wanted in. But even then, when it came to the action, she could not do it. Nor for that matter, on either night, could Pat {or, when one thinks about it, Susan}. Watson is the one that fortified their resolve.
It’s important to note that in their minds, kicking off HS and enacting their ordained mission, was their raison d’etre for their actions, not just satisfying some inherent bloodlust. It’s also interesting that the “murder” of Lotsapoppa and that of Gary Hinman did not produce self directed episodes of murder in the Family. But they did lay the groundwork {along with many other things built up over a 2 year period} for a slew of Charlie directed episodes.
By the time Shorty was dead, the genie was out of the bottle and death had become the Family way of life ~ even though they failed pretty woefully at killing, post arrest.

Both of them separately state that their answer was "well no, we don't want to do it, but we know that it has to happen, so yeah."

That’s partly why I say that without Charlie, it is extremely doubtful they would ever have murdered. Now, of course, we can never know this. I mean, either one may have lashed out in future years at an abusive partner or someone that was putting their children in harm’s way. They may even have joined the armed forces. Theirs seems to me to have been a case of acting without really thinking first and then justifying….until they had to face the reality of what they’d done. But both women were thinking along those lines even before their pleas or trial. I’ve long found it interesting that Leslie stated that she used to cry when she’d think about the LaBiancas’ children finding them ~ so she would shut it out of her mind. Even pre~1970, she was wavering. And we all know Pat was.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

With Krenwinkel, this eagerness seems a bit more understandable

I sometimes describe Pat as “dangerously in love” with Charlie. I believe her when she says she didn’t know murder was on the menu that first night. I don’t doubt that she tried hard to kill. But she pretty much failed with Abigail and Rosemary {in the technical, physical, actual sense} which was why Tex had to come in and attend to her matters. Manson’s words the next night are instructive ¬> “Make sure the girls get to do some of it.” It was Watson that put it bluntly to Leslie, “Get to it !” She had cold feet when it came to actual killing.

I do not take her modern-day statements of responsibility lightly or with cynicism

Nor do I. But I think she’s trying to say what she thinks the boards want to hear in that specific regard, rather than something she genuinely believes herself.
Nothing Leslie could have done would have stopped Charlie. He was the fait accompli long before she arrived at Spahn with Gypsy.

I really feel that she was a "normal" girl who lost her mind for a while in her youth

I kind of agree. But I think that of most of them. The problem is with that notion of ‘normal.’ Most conflate normal with good. Leslie and Pat learned in a shocking way just what ‘normal’ was as a teen in mid 60s America. The actions of their parents {affairs, divorce, forced abortions etc} were normal. I’m not blaming Pat’s or Leslie’s parents, but they opened a door in the lives of their daughters that a Charlie Manson was only too happy to walk through.

I DO really feel that she is as rehabilitated as one could possibly hope to be

I’m inclined to agree. However, there is only one way that can ever be put to the test and the Guv’nor of Cali doesn’t want to play ball.

but then I think of someone like young Frank Struthers and the impact that all of this had on his sad life and I don't mind her prison granny status quite so much

Ok, this is going to be a difficult thing to say, but I’m going to say it. Frank’s life was devastated by the murders. But it did not have to be something that hamstrung him. He had choices open to him that the perps didn’t have. That does not in any way, take away the heinously bastardly thing that the perps did. And that’s partly why, if they should all die in jail, they can’t really complain.
But Frank could have lived his life differently. We all could. Of course, the same has to apply to the perps. The irony is that to a large extent, they all, bar Charlie, turned their lives around somewhat, and made fairly good choices, but Frank didn’t, Linda didn’t.

I dunno, it's complicated

It is. But it becomes less so when one views life as being full of nuances and paradoxes.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:


On the one hand, you are far too ready to agree with most everyone


Ha ha, check the archives. I’ve had the wars ~ now I need the peace !
For me it’s entirely logical; pretty much everybody makes good points at various junctures and some of those good points I agree with and some, I assuredly do not. I don’t really mind if someone is dissing me; if they say something I agree with, I will say so and add it to my bank of food for thought. I’ve been splayed all over the sidewalk by Ziggy Osterberg, Surgio, SAG, Equinox, MHN, the Col, Destroyer of opinions, Considinium or whatever their name was, Vera Dreiser, Manson Mythos, Brian something or other, Katie, Diligaf, Sharmagne Leland-St. John, Columbo, NojusticeNoPeace, Flip and countless others {well, I’m not counting !} across a few sites over 6½ years and we’ve had long, passionate and heated debates, arguments etc. But they were all right about many things {well, Sharmagne wasn’t, but that’s another story}. I’m not going to ignore that.

I sometimes find myself wondering where you really stand

A few people have said this to me over the years. When I first landed at Lynyrd’s site, Katie there asked me if I was a Charlie supporter. And at Cielo’s site, Billy Esquire expressed his frustration at me never seeming to take a side. Also, there {I write there as Fred Bloggs}, 3 people, Pam, Jason and Lee think I’m an apologist for the perps and all criminal scum of the earth. Others think I’m Bugliosi’s pet slave, Vera often implies that here, some think I’m Linda’s unpaid defender of the faith, some feel I’m Helter Skelter till I die……
What it boils down to is that I won’t accept just anything from anyone. I do robustly think things through and I think that everyone is of value and that history is simply not one way. So I try to take into account what all the players in this saga say or have said, at the time, along the way and recently. It pays dividends. It means I can discuss things from a wide variety of angles. I can speak positives towards Charles Watson in one segment while being highly critical of him in the next. I can discount the notion that Charlie never lied, yet I can see fairly clearly how his early life led fairly solidly to him being the person he became, while not being the actual cause. And so on. There are different angles to each character and I find them interesting to discuss.

you obviously know your stuff

Well….I don’t have access to any special knowledge. Whatever I read or hear is freely available to anyone that wants to check it out. I have quite a few different interests and I’m pretty much the same in all of them, whether it be WW2, racial history, Liverpool football club, the Beatles, Nigeria, drugs, education, childhood, British history, politics etc, etc. Where many paddle, I dive deep. But only because I want to know and I’m not going to just accept stuff because someone who claims a special bank of knowledge happens to say so.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

and the critical thinking bits of your grey matter are firing well

Ever since my early teens, I’ve found myself in a plethora of situations where those around me, for better or worse, have done, said or thought things that left me in the position of having to seriously think and then work out what to do or how to respond. That’s the cauldron where critical thinking is shaped. Even taking the blogs, there have been and still are, many keen minds that help sharpen the mind with what they come out with. I may not agree some of the time, but that’s not as important as engaging.
For example, there’s much that George Stimson presents that I don’t agree with. But, to just cast him and his views aside, because of my own opinions would, in my view, be churlish. I’ve long taken the view, that I can take the viewpoint of someone I disagree with and understand it sufficiently, that I could actually argue in its favour as though it were a seriously held view of my own. In the process, I discover that there is far more nuance and paradox in life than most people I know, care to acknowledge. And so a George, a Manson Mythos, a Vera Dreiser, a Tom O’Neill, a Nicholas Shreck, a Michael White, a Destroyer of Opinions etc, and yes, a Charles Manson, can say many, many things that are accurate, true and right. They can say things that are believeable, even if their sometime approach may be abrasive. I’m not going to ignore what someone says, that I find to be right or true, just because the popular vote and majority opinion is that they must be dismissed.

I believe that having a beer or two with you, along with some lurker tacos perhaps, would likely be a very enjoyable experience

Well, if you’re ever in London, let me know.
I do like tacos. But you know what I find ? I find that the filling nearly always burns my mouth !
But that doesn’t stop me !!

I'm afraid I would ultimately disappoint you, however

Not a chance. No one that’s got opinions on this case would disappoint me. I may not agree, but agreement is not the name of the game for me. I’m actually interested in what people think and why.

Speculator said...

Grim - are you seriously saying that you don’t think the girls knew that murder was the plan when they were heading up to Cielo? They had knives, a gun, rope, bolt cutters??? What do you think they thought all that was for?? Krenwinkel stated at one of her parole hearings that she knew the plan was to kill two women at Cielo?? Watson at his latest hearing says that they argued on the way up in the car about what they had to do??? And you’re saying they were oblivious to all of this? I guess it’s back to the case of believe which snippets of statements you want to and ignore/discredit the others as poor memory etc etc. I find the general sentiment of sympathy to these killers quite distasteful. I don’t just mean from you. Particularly when in another post we see the butchered body of poor Rosemary LaBianca. Let’s blame it all on Watson and keep the “girls” on first name terms, Pat, Lesley, like we know them and it’s all a bit more cosey. Poor little girls who’ve bid become poor old gals. I guess the fact that they were happy to hang around and have a shower and laugh and joke over chocolate milk at the LaBiancas whilst two butchered bodies lay nearby is all down to them being mislead, abused and whatever else excuses we can think of. And the fact that they subdued a terrified lady and prevented her from escaping before helping to kill her in what must have been absolute agony and terror is just one of those things that any misguided kid would do on a night out. All part of growing up eh!!

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Pump the brakes, Spec. Typing Van Houten and Krenwinkel sixty times per article gets old when Leslie and Pat are available. There's no more to it.

And I'm all for moving almost every elderly inmate over 70 and with a spotless prison record into a nursing home situation if they can't be outright released. I'd even feel that way about you if you did something terrible.

I have a ton of issues with Tex that will come through whenever I write about him. To put it lightly, he'd never get the nursing home option if my opinions somehow mattered.

David Lane said...

I understand and agree mostly with your point of view Speculator. My position is based on the system being equitable, and its clearly not. The system (not just the other posters here) has found LVH (shorter than Leslie) suitable for parole and another human being is promoting their political interests at the price of fairness. That may well be seen as sympathy; thus every inmate that has committed a crime, served time and then been paroled falls under the same definition. Surely no one sees parole as sympathy?

We must also take into consideration that the power to deny parole was only granted to Governors on November the 8th 1988. Thus if Bugliosi had been correct with his 15-20 year estimate she could be free, at least of political intervention. I’ll introduce for the 3rd time the geographical inconsistency that is present here, not all states require the governors approval.

I started work 2 days after the 8th August 1969 and retired (although I still have a business) 3 years ago. In that period I’ve contributed to society financially and positively (I’ve built several houses that will still be standing in 100+ years). Whose to say that if LVH had been paroled at a time when she was still able to be productive that it would have been a benefit to society rather than a burden. It appears she managed to do that in 1978/79 when she was released on bond.
Does the word ‘parole’ exist for LVH? Watson should fry.

tobiasragg said...

There have been multiple accounts of the conversation in the auto prior to arriving at Cielo. According to all who have spoken on this point, the quartet rode largely in silence for a good long while, and it was not until they were approaching the neighborhood that Watson related what it was that they were to do. One of them (can't remember which) once related that there was a fair amount of disagreement or debate over the plan, but obviously things were settled by the time they pulled up alongside the telephone pole.

Interestingly, there are also times where multiple participants have forgotten this element or neglected to include it in their parole hearing descriptions. One of the more notable examples of this came from Krenwinkel in her last hearing. There she indicated that she had zero idea what they were about to do, including after Parent had been shot as they were walking up to the house. This claim beggared belief and, in fact, motivated a stern rebuke from the Commissioner, who cautioned her to think long & hard for the next five years over exactly how truthful she wanted to be. This warning is part of what makes her upcoming (and futile, let's face it) hearing so fascinating.

Personally, I find myself mainly agreeing with Speculator's take on the entire thing. It wouldn't bother me greatly if one or more of them are sprung eventually, but it also doesn't bother me in the least that they remain behind bars. At this point, I think their lives would be much easier if they just stayed put. Parole is difficult under the best of circumstances and the idea of tossing elderly women out into the world with no ability to collect social security and no real prospect of real employment seems almost more cruel than keeping them in. It does seem that LVH has friends ready to take her in, so I suppose that might make things a bit easier, I dunno. Either way, they're going to continue to live on the national dime anyway.

Spec does make a good point on Grim's stated POV. To not apply guilt for the crimes equally between the girls & Watson is rather silly. Yes, Watson personally authored more of the stab wounds than did the women (and all of the gunshots), but it took a family to pull off these murders and they share equally in the responsibility. Atkins did the restraining and Watson the stabbing, but each couldn't have done the deed without the other.

Side note: I often wonder what might have happened if half the people in LA who claimed they were "supposed to be at Cielo) on that night had actually been present. Can you imagine slipping in through a dining room window - gun and knife in hand and rope slung over your shoulder - only to encounter 63 Hollywood types engaged in a living room orgy? How embarrassing.

Finally, "My position is based on the system being equitable, and its clearly not. The system has found LVH suitable for parole and another human being is promoting their political interests at the price of fairness" doesn't wash.

The system of checks-and-balances IS the system, even before the Governor entered the picture, the parole board itself was never the final word. Their decisions have always been sent up the line for review, and some of those decisions over the years have been reversed.

Life, like the system, has never been equitable and never has it been fair. It is what it is.

David Lane said...

Just some thoughts on tobiasragg’s post:

I’ve not seen the transcript(s) of their discussion in the car on the way to Cielo, but from Kasabian’s testimony it appears she wasn’t aware of the final gory outcome. Maybe someone can point me in the direction of any such content, of course it may not be a 100% true record.

I agree with you that Watson and Atkins share equal responsibility for their actions and should have equal amounts of justice meted out to them. But I’m not sure that rule can be applied to LVH’s role and indeed the parole board are of a similar mind. In fact the connection of the two incidents has played a major part in the way justice has been served on many of the ‘family’.

It’s indisputable that the system is inequitable. You confirm that , but it ‘doesn’t wash’. Not sure I understand your logic there.

‘The system of checks-and-balances’
Where is the balance between LVH and William Calley?
‘the parole board itself was never the final word’
It is in many jurisdictions
‘some of those decisions over the years have been reversed’
inequity based on political motives.

I agree with you that life isn’t fair, it certainly wasn’t for any of the victims or indeed the victims family. It could be said that the victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time and that could also be said of some (LVH mainly comes to mind) of the perpetrators.

Because the system isn’t fair doesn’t mean we should accept that without questioning if we could make it better. Whether or not the future is ‘fair’ or even of any benefit to LVH doesn’t concern me as greatly as the fact that the system is wrong and we have the facility and ability to make it better. Political gain by an individual is no reason to skew a process. Maryland are proof that the system can be improved in that manner as they removed the governor from the process last year.

Of course I respect your opinion that you may not agree with the system being improved by removing the governors approval.

Speculator said...

David - surely you’re not applying some kind of “in the wrong place at the wrong time” equivalence between LVH and the victims???!!!!! Did I read that right???!!!! Unbelievable. Poor LVH was a victim after all eh.

Speculator said...

Let’s forget the fact that she helped Krenwinkel subdue RL and keep her in the bedroom - regardless of what wounds she actually inflicted herself. Did she not know what the game was going to be when she went out on the second night. Maybe she should sue the LaBianca relatives for the trauma they’ve inflicted on her all of these years and the parole board too for making her keep remembering when she was in the wrong place at the wrong time - through no fault of her own of course.

Speculator said...

Greene - I can think of a few short four letter words for them ;-) !!!

Speculator said...

The argument about why do we waste our taxes on keeping elderly prisoners locked up always seems a nonsense to me. I’m happy to pay tax for protection from and retribution against proven killers. It’s a lot more worthy a cause that some of the stuff the govt waste money on!

Speculator said...

Tobias - your comment about the possibility of there having been a whole party full of people at Cielo is an apt one and something I’ve pondered too. Afterall there were plenty of parties up there. It’s often made we wonder if the killers knew who would be there and if they did how they did - given that the house was supposedly a random target purely selected because Melcher used to live there. If you were Watson back at the ranch and Manson says I want you to go up there and kill everyone, wouldn’t the first thing you’d want to know be how many is everyone??

tobiasragg said...

I see many have jumped on David's LVH-as-victim thought, so I'll not pile on other than to suggest that she was well aware and eager to participate in these crimes. She defends with zeal four months later with her lawyer, stating that what was done was correct and that she'd do it all over again, and it took her a good long while to finally change her tune. I am not insensitive to the fact that she was quite young and obviously quite influenced by an older man. I get it. Today she is a much different human being, but as Krenwinkel once tearfully observed "I can't change one minute of my past."

The California parole actually has two levels of review. All board decisions (the ones that we see video of) are reviewed and approved or not by the parole review board, and then of course the "yes" decisions go to the Guv for a final vetting. I have no real opinion on that arrangement, I just accept that it is what it is. If it changes, I'd accept that too. The voters in that state are responsible for the extra layer of decision-making, so it can be accurately stated that "they system" is really "the people" - our government bodies made up of our fellow citizens, after all, despite some folks maintaining an "us vs. them" attitude toward it all.

Point is, LVH sits in prison because that is where "the people" seem to want her to sit. There are lots of folks out there who see no reason not to release her, however, so this may one day change. Given the way public opinion on criminal justice matters has been trending over the last few decades, though, I wouldn't be holding my breath.

David, your point on our ability to change the system is taken and agreed with. Personally though, I feel much more motivated to strive for change in other societal areas, where people who have committed no crime suffer social injustices. That's just a personal priority though, nothing more.

As for the in-car conversation prior to the Tate crimes, it is true that Kasabian does not recall this in her trial testimony, which was a bit surprising to me. I've been reading the entire (!) original trial transcript, a bit at a time before bed, and I went through this testimony a few nights ago. I believe this point has been mentioned by one or two of the women in their parole hearings, so either Atkins and/or Krenwinkel I guess. I vaguely recall Krenwinkel discussing this in an early hearing and most recently choosing to omit this & other points, but my memory may be faulty on this one.

Watson has spoken to this point in many of his hearings and he includes this detail in his first book, stating:

"We drove in silence for some time, as if we were frozen. Finally I told the girls we were going to the house where Terry Melcher used to live because I knew the place, the layout, and that when we got there we were going to kill everyone we found and get their money."

Of course, Watson's memory hasn't been the most reliable over the years, but to me this does make rational sense. As we are recalling here, Tex & Co were creeping into a situation without having the foggiest idea of what they would encounter on the other side of that gate. It stands to reason that he'd have prepared his accomplices for what is to come rather than waiting for chaos to break out before beginning to bark "STAB! STAB! STAB!" orders. We should not forget that these folks were being groomed and trained to murder for at least a couple of months prior, if numerous former Spahnchers are to be believed. "I can't wait to get my first pig", indeed . . .

I wonder what might have happened if they had hopped the fence and found nothing - nobody home. Betcha this was a question the Kotts asked themselves a time or two in the years hence.

tobiasragg said...

Another observation, this one having to do with shared guilt and equal culpability. The point was made by someone at one of the more recent parole hearings. It might have been Leslie or it could have come from a board member, I can't remember. But the point that was made is that each one of the criminals needed the others to pull off what they did. Watson and Atkins could have entered Cielo as a pair, but chances are they'd not have been able to accomplish what they did. Watson might have gotten off a shot or two, but they would likely have been overwhelmed. The same was true of the second, 3-on-2 episode. Level of responsibility here is not measured by whose stabbing arm got the greatest workout. Krenwinkel is just as guilty of murdering Leno or Steven as Tex is.

Speculator said...

Tobias - you’re absolutely right. They were the sum of all of their parts and on both nights one of them likely couldn’t have executed the killings without the contribution and support of the others. And for anyone who feels injustice for these “girls” still being incarcerated - the thing that I found most profoundly sad and something that stuck with me was the extract from the police report that talks about Rosemary LaBianca likely having still been alive after the assault on her and crawling to her final resting place (as evidenced by the two blood stained areas in the bedroom). And probably having been unable to struggle any further because the lamp cord around her neck became fully stretched and restrained her at the point where she was found. Can you imagine what must’ve been going through her mind in those final moments and still having that instinct to try to flee. And all the while the girls were drinking chocolate milk, eating whatever, showering and trying her clothes on. And for all we know watching her final struggles.

tobiasragg said...

Autopsy reports indicate that Rosemary's lower spine was severed during the onslaught. This could have come from one of Leslie's stabs, but most likely was the result of Watson and his bayonet. Mrs. LaBianca was dragging dead weight from the waist down when she pulled herself along that stretch of floor. Had she somehow survived that night, she'd have never walked again.

One of the long-term victims of this mess was young Frank, who possibly never really recovered from this blow so early in his life. I find myself thinking of him sometimes when considering the never-ending crusade for freedom these murderers have been on.

David Lane said...

Speculator, if you read one of my previous comments it opens with and states quite clearly ‘ They should have all fried’.

‘Poor LVH was a victim after all eh.’ is a view I neither hold nor am I attempting to make. However that is significantly different to her meeting up with Charlie and being sucked into his twisted agenda.

‘Maybe she should sue the LaBianca relatives…..’ could be applied to any victim / perpetrator and is not a view I hold.

I agree entirely with your point that paying taxes to house criminals is a good use of that money. That’s indisputable, however does that mean that every ‘proven killer’ must be incarcerated until they die? Doesn’t appear to be the case and in some instances (that are not too difficult to research) horrific murders have been committed by repeat offenders and have been deemed to be suitable for parole and have gone on to re-join society.

‘Some of the stuff the govt waste money on!’ Does that include the funding of the parole system that in this instance (and I suspect a few others) is a sham and a futile use of resources.

I believe our contrasting opinions on this matter are based on your belief that I am an LVH apologist and white knight willing to fight for her deserved release. Nothing could be further from the truth. Her incarceration or future is of no concern to me.
Neither does your system concern me as I can say with almost certainty that I will never have to face it. If I was to have murdered someone 52 years ago in the UK the process would be completely different The parole board (automatic after 12 years) would represent the UK government and would not be influenced by politics so greatly, or even worse as in the LVH parole outcome 1 individual on personal political grounds.

I have no political affiliation in the US (nor in the UK because I live in Thailand where foreigners are also unable to vote) and the point I am making is that your system has a flaw from my perspective and as I mentioned in my earlier post that is transparently obvious from the William Calley case amongst many others.

grimtraveller said...

Speculator said:

are you seriously saying that you don’t think the girls knew that murder was the plan when they were heading up to Cielo?

Yes.

They had knives, a gun, rope, bolt cutters??? What do you think they thought all that was for??

That's just it. They didn't think. They knew to go with Tex and do whatever he told them.
The 2nd night has always been on a different footing. That night, everyone knew.

Krenwinkel stated at one of her parole hearings that she knew the plan was to kill two women at Cielo??

I think you really need to learn to read Pat, put Pat into context. I can remember at least a couple of threads {here and here} where that statement of Pat's has been gone into in some detail. What you are saying she said and in the way she said it is simply not the case.

Watson at his latest hearing says that they argued on the way up in the car about what they had to do???

He said that for the first time in his 2016 hearing, with other 1st time appearences. He said nothing about that in his 1978 book. He said nothing about it in his 2005 book. In fact, in 2005's "Right Hand Man Speaks out" he expressly states that "as I drove to the crime scene, the girls and I were silent and almost frozen." He also states that he had 2nd thoughts about committing murder, "How would I carry this out ?"
Make of that what you will.
Pat on the other hand has always been consistent on this ¬> from 1978 to now, she did not know what was on the agenda that first night. In '78 she takes Stephen Kay to task for stating something to the effect that they all sat around discussing murders.
Linda always stated she didn't know what was to happen that first night. The only person that states that they knew, just happens to be the singularly most unreliable, choppy~changey character in all of TLB, Susan Atkins. And even she says they only found out in the car ~ but not when.

And you’re saying they were oblivious to all of this?

In another thread, you are of the opinion Mrs Chapman was coached in her testimony, even though by actually examining what she said, robustly, things you feel she should have been aware of, it is more than plausible that she wasn't.

grimtraveller said...

Speculator said:

I guess it’s back to the case of believe which snippets of statements you want to

Which is precisely what you've just done in the quotes you've selected.

I find the general sentiment of sympathy to these killers quite distasteful. I don’t just mean from you

Well, that's a relief !🥴

Let’s blame it all on Watson and keep the “girls” on first name terms, Pat, Lesley, like we know them and it’s all a bit more cosey

In any one post, one is allowed a limit of 4096 characters. Pat is 3 characters. Krenwinkel is 10. Leslie is 6, Van Houten is 9. That's part of my thinking and long has been. But also, I generally call people by their 1st name. It's the way I roll. There are exceptions, like "Bugliosi." There are also times when I use both names like Stephanie Schram or Paul Watkins or Brooks Poston or Mike McGann. Bottom line, people are human beings, whatever they've done.

they were happy to hang around and have a shower and laugh and joke over chocolate milk at the LaBiancas whilst two butchered bodies lay nearby

You know, I've never once heard from anyone involved in the murders that there was laughing and joking at the LaBiancas.
My general take is that there is no need to try and make murderers look worse than they actually are or have been. And that's partly why I quibble over wrong details & misinformation.

excuses

If you can find one excuse I have ever made that mitigates or justifies any of the actions of any of the perps, I'm all ears.

grimtraveller said...

Speculator said:

And the fact that they subdued a terrified lady and prevented her from escaping before helping to kill her in what must have been absolute agony and terror is just one of those things that any misguided kid would do on a night out. All part of growing up eh!!

If you like.
I'm interested in what brought the perps to the point where they committed murder. I could do it the easy way, they just wanted to kill. Or I could do what I tend to do, which is to take on board all the angles and that means that I will not just dismiss what the perps have said over the years.
In doing so, I think I'm more than capable of sifting out what I think are the excuses and the bullshit that they might bring. I'm also capable of working out where I think they may have a point and I'm not going to dismiss these. I have worked with kids and young people in a variety of capacities since 1983 and I've seen so many of them fall or walk with eyes wide open, or drift into crime, some into murder. It's weird opening up old photo albums and seeing people as kids, that I knew really closely, who went on to commit murder.
It's not easy and straightforward most of the time {although, sometimes, it really is}. It's messy and imprecise with so much nuance, many caveats, but after a while, it gets clearer. Or at least, it does for me. I think I can understand why all of the Family members murdered. And I also think, and have long thought, that they all got pretty much what they deserved and some got a little better than they deserved.
But I won't dismiss the internal workings of the perps. If someone says "this is how I went on to murder", I'm neither going to say "no it's not !" or refuse to understand. Because I genuinely, with all my being, believe, that given a certain combination of circumstances, most, if not all of us, could murder. Pointing out the combination of factors is in no way absolving the perp of responsibility. In fact, their decision is part of those factors and why they can never walk away from any responsibility. Saying the perps may never have killed were it not for Charlie isn't a way of saying they should all be paroled and oh, they didn't mean it, they were nice bods, really. It's taking all the angles into account.

tobiasragg said...

"He said that for the first time in his 2016 hearing, with other 1st time appearences. He said nothing about that in his 1978 book. He said nothing about it in his 2005 book"

This is untrue. Watson has always been quite consistent on this point, starting with his first book, "Will You Die For Me?" in which he states:

"We drove in silence for some time, as if we were frozen. Finally I told the girls we were going to the house where Terry Melcher used to live because I knew the place, the layout, and that when we got there we were going to kill everyone we found and get their money."

The "Speaks Out" quote you reference was a direct answer to the question "Did you have any second thoughts about killing people?" and Watson describes his inner thoughts as they drove around silently. In other words, he was not recounting the sequential events of that night in this interview/book, but rather responding to different things that were asked.

I believe we also have to consider the "leave something witchy" directive Manson uttered before they departed. What on earth might he have been talking about if this were to be an ordinary creepy-crawl mission. Earlier that evening, he first offered this directive privately to Watson, adding "the girls will know what to do." This refers, of course, to what had been left on Hinman's wall, which Atkins had first-hand knowledge of.

The logical inference here is that Watson & Atkins knew what was about to happen as they left Spahn that night (or at least Atkins had a pretty good idea) and that Watson filled them in after driving around in silence for a good lone while, as they were entering the Benedict Canyon area. We have Watson, Atkins and Krenwinkel all relating this very same thing independently of each other at various points in their lives, I don't know there is much reason to doubt that this was indeed what had happened.

Speculator said...

Tobias - very good point about the leave something witchy instruction that Manson allegedly gave the girls (as conveyed by Watson). To me it’s naive to think that they didn’t know what was going to go down at Cielo. I mean was Atkins originally just planning to write PiG with ketchup sauce up there until she realised blood was being spilt??! And if anyone really does believe that they had no prior knowledge then they certainly reacted pretty positively to the plan after Parent was shot.

Speculator said...

Grim - I think there’s a whole world of difference between Chapman running as fast as she could from the house in terrified hysterics and not stopping to notice Parent in the car and the girls picking their knives and change of clothes, rope and bolt cutters in the car and Watson with gun in hand - and them missing the expected punch line!!!!

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

This is untrue. Watson has always been quite consistent on this point, starting with his first book

The parts that you quote do not address the specific point I was making, which was a direct response to Spec's quote: "Watson at his latest hearing says that they argued on the way up in the car about what they had to do???"
As far as I'm aware, the first time this came out was in 2016. Neither of his books say anything about arguing about what they had to do or whether to do it.
On the other hand you have these three quotes from the other Cielo night perps:
In December '69, Susan Atkins told Richard Caballero, her lawyer and Paul Caruso, his associate, "We were instructed to go to this particular house. It was at night and I had no knowledge of what was happening until we actually got there." I think that might be the earliest instance of one of the killers claiming they were not aware that murder was on the agenda prior to leaving Spahn. And a bit later on we have:
RICHARD CABALLERO: How was it that he [Charlie] directed you to go to the Tate residence?

SUSAN ATKINS: Through Tex

RC: What, was he present?

SA: He just told me to do everything Tex said to do.

RC: Did he tell you where you were going?

SA: No.

On the stand in 1970, Linda, many times, says she didn't know that murder was on the agenda, such as:

Q. The question, Linda, is: Did Tex, Sadie, or Katie tell you what they were going to do that night?

A. No, they didn't. or:

Q. You testified you did not know what was going to happen that night. Did you have any idea what was going to happen?

MR.KANAREK: Objection. Conjecture. It is calling for a conclusion, hearsay.

THE COURT: Overruled.

A. Yes. I thought we were going to go on a creepy crawl mission. Or even:

Q. Okay. Did you have any idea whatsoever that the knives and the gun might be used to kill people with?

A. No.

And in her 1st parole hearing in 1978, Pat stated:
"I did not know that night where I was going. We had never discussed in that family killing anyone really, as far as like anyone going out to kill someone...I did not know that night until I was in the car. I was in taking care of the children at the time at...when I was awakened in the night and I was told to go with Tex by Charlie. I got into the car with Tex and it wasn’t but way late down the road somewhere that I asked Tex what we were going to do..and for a long time he said nothing. And then eventually, and so we just gabbed and whatever and we drove. Eventually, when we went up Cielo Drive, Tex said that we were going to go in the house and kill everyone there. I had no idea where I was going. Yes, I followed directions from Tex from then on. But I did not know where I was going". And she's said this consistently for over 40 years.
The weight of evidence from the earliest times suggests that the women didn't know what was on the agenda until very late in the day and from where I stand, I don't think not knowing they were setting out to actively kill, on Cielo night, somehow makes things better for any of them. Indeed, not knowing, but still going through with murder at such short notice, with barely any time to process the information, while not necessarily increasing culpability, certainly doesn't lessen it. For me, it's part of the nuance and paradox that lurks in so many aspects of the case.

tobiasragg said...

Well yes, your Pat quote correlates with what I have shared above. It wasn't suggested the girls knew where they were going as they pulled away, but after driving around in silence for a while Tex did fill them in and there was apparently some kind of discussion or debate over the matter.

grimtraveller said...

Speculator said:

To me it’s naive to think that they didn’t know what was going to go down at Cielo

Then call me naive.🤪

And if anyone really does believe that they had no prior knowledge then they certainly reacted pretty positively to the plan after Parent was shot

100%. Totally agreed on that. That has long been one of the creepiest aspects. It's part of what caused so many to think of them as crazily dangerous or dangerously crazy. It's partly why Susan never got out, certainly partly why Pat doesn't convincingly or satisfactorily explain herself. The irony is that it makes no difference either way ~ Leslie knew precisely what was going to go down before she left Spahn the following night and her fate has been the same.

I think there’s a whole world of difference between Chapman running as fast as she could from the house in terrified hysterics and not stopping to notice Parent in the car and the girls picking their knives and change of clothes, rope and bolt cutters in the car and Watson with gun in hand - and them missing the expected punch line

I recognize that. What I was trying to demonstrate is that we don't have the last word or even the first one, on what is plausible in the actions of someone else. Is it plausible that the women could see a gun, bolt cutters, rope and have changes of clothing and knives and not think they were going out to murder ? Yes, it is. It doesn't mean that it happened that way, just that in their particular situation, it could have happened that way.

tobiasragg said:

There have been multiple accounts of the conversation in the auto prior to arriving at Cielo. According to all who have spoken on this point, the quartet rode largely in silence for a good long while, and it was not until they were approaching the neighborhood that Watson related what it was that they were to do

I'm with you on this one and I've commented on it many times. The precise point at which there was certainty about the night's events has always been unspecified. Even within the same conversation, Susan will say two different things. But my point has long been that the women didn't know, before they left Spahn, that they'd be killing that night. That's partly why it is stretching things somewhat, to say that for them, kicking off HS was what that first night was about. It may have been for Charlie and Tex, but not them. By the following night, that was the overarching idea for everyone in the car.

Krenwinkel in her last hearing. There she indicated that she had zero idea what they were about to do, including after Parent had been shot as they were walking up to the house. This claim beggared belief

It would beggar belief if it was just about anyone other than Pat. She epitomizes the word 'incoherent'. Little points of clarity pop through with her, now and again, but in the main, she has long seemed, even back in the investigation and trial period, like a person of little real memory about the events oat Cielo Drive. As has been noted before with Watson, where there's little real memory, facts have to be culled from various sources and that is just a recipe for incoherency and contradiction, resulting in what looks like simple dishonesty.
I've often thought it interesting that VB noted that she could never explain why she'd written "HEALTER SKELTER" on the LaBianca fridge.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

It wasn't suggested the girls knew where they were going as they pulled away, but after driving around in silence for a while Tex did fill them in and there was apparently some kind of discussion or debate over the matter

I just find it interesting that none of the women have attested to that. Even Susan, early on, in '69, relayed that Tex was the only one that did any talking on the drive. I've never disputed that he told them they were going to kill {whether they were listening and taking it in or not}, just a matter of when and whether there was some kind of soul searching debate.

grimtraveller said...

Speculator said:

Let’s blame it all on Watson and keep the “girls” on first name terms, Pat, Lesley, like we know them

tobiasragg said:

To not apply guilt for the crimes equally between the girls & Watson is rather silly

I don't recall blaming it all on Watson {I don't even recall blaming it on Charlie}. I do recall saying that Tex fortified their resolve. But, at least where Pat was concerned, she had tried to do away with Abigail and Rosemary. The other two women couldn't, when the chips were down. But there's no doubt in my mind that Rosemary was alive when Leslie set about stabbing her and going by her testimony and the autopsy, could have contributed one or more of the 8 fatal blows. And Susan may well have contributed at least one fatal blow to Wojiciech {David did a brilliant post on this about 3 or 4 years back} as well as stabbing Sharon {in Robert Hendrickson's "Death to pigs", a friend of Susan's called Nancy Jordon, says Susan told her she'd stabbed Sharon ~ this was before she'd told either Virginia Graham or Ronnie Howard}. So I'm not sure of the point being made.

Legally, their guilt is apportioned equally. But when we're discussing the events, there's a reason we zero in on the "who did what ?". Just as human beings generally, we focus on the specific roles that people played and on that level, it is quite clear that the roles are not equally apportioned. Susan didn't even enter the LaBianca house {the irony being that she said that Manson looked at her as if to say she was going in but her eyes said she didn't want to, so he selected someone else}, yet is guilty of the two murders, as part of the conspiracy. Yet Clem, whose role that night was identical to hers in almost every respect, and as the bearer of a gun, arguably more, didn't even get indicted. Now, I understand the legalities of all that, but we don't just discuss legalities, we also talk through actualities, and that's why some of us are of the opinion that Steve Grogan is, not just was, a very fortunate man.
And even Bugliosi recognized and stated that Linda was legally guilty. But in reality, in actuality, can she really be compared with the three women ?
It's not about making excuses, it's about sometimes trying, as it were, to un-bake the cake and look at the specific ingredients independently.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

I believe we also have to consider the "leave something witchy" directive Manson uttered before they departed. What on earth might he have been talking about if this were to be an ordinary creepy-crawl mission

The point about leaving a sign, and it being something witchy, is something that no human being outside the Family can fathom, unless they take the time to understand what 'witchy' meant in the Family thought process. And very little has actually been said about it over the years. Leslie told Marvin Part :
"And so we had been told that this was the best time to use our witchcraft"

MR. PART: Who told you that? When was it told to you? And what is witchcraft?

LVH: "Well, Charles told it to us; and I can’t remember just when. It might have been before we went in the house or before we even left.
So, and, oh, what witchcraft was or is to the group was just that women are more aware of than men, and that — because they know how to take care of the man.
So witchcraft is just all the little things a woman does.
Like sewing would be a form of it.
And so he said, 'This is when you can use your greatest amount of witchcraft,' meaning you can use your imagination and do, you know, a whole number, meaning making it look ugly.
But I couldn’t get behind that, and I don’t think any of the others could, and I really don’t think that Charles could."


For all we know, leaving a witchy sign could easily apply to a creepy-crawl. It could apply to a garbage run. It could apply to measures to take while being arrested. It could apply to enticing the bikers. There really are times when we just have to bite the bullet and not apply our own style of thinking to a group that clearly tried to live outside of any conventional thinking.

Speculator said:

If you were Watson back at the ranch and Manson says I want you to go up there and kill everyone, wouldn’t the first thing you’d want to know be how many is everyone?

That's another one of those questions that contains its own reply. How in the world can you know what someone would have asked 53 years ago in a specific situation that you've never found yourself in when you are not that person ? Just as importantly, Charles Watson is not you.

They were the sum of all of their parts and on both nights one of them likely couldn’t have executed the killings without the contribution and support of the others

Although one could argue that point by just saying "Steve Parent", I don't think it's in any doubt whatsoever. Though Watson was "the chief Tate/LaBianca killer", he was part of a troupe. They were sent as a troupe and even with fast processing on the part of the women on Cielo night and with Pat & Leslie encountering difficulties at Waverly, they performed as a troupe. More of an improvising jazz troupe than a well rehearsed rock one, but a troupe nonetheless.

grimtraveller said...

Speculator said:

The argument about why do we waste our taxes on keeping elderly prisoners locked up always seems a nonsense to me. I’m happy to pay tax for protection from and retribution against proven killers

I agree. I've always found issue of parole morphing into a "release them because it's costly" argument to be insane, frankly. The cost of housing a prisoner should have absolutely no bearing on whether someone should, or shouldn't be paroled.
I also have no problem with the punishment and retribution angle of incarceration. Criminals should be punished. However, I think it is crucial to balance that with rehabilitation, even where someone has killed. It should be remembered that not everyone wants to be rehabilitated and to put it bluntly, not every perp {and I don't just mean murderer} can be. There's a lot to take into account.
I'd also add that I don't have a problem with there being checks and balances to the decisions of any parole board. That's eminently sensible. It's just that in this particular case, both the former, and the present guv'nor have, in my opinion, shown themselves to be of dubious shade, in the reasons that they themselves have given for nixing parole. And I don't even say that as a Leslie supporter. I've been pointing out since at least 2016, that the reasons mooted for countermanding the decision reached by the parole board have been demonstrably untrue. It is all the more bizarre, when they both could have been on rock steady, solid ground by just pointing to the heinousness of the crimes.

Speculator said...

Grim - I agree that if the girls didn’t know prior that murder was on the cards it is even more scary that they could immediately switch onto it in the way that they did. However I think that they’re all liars to a lesser or greater extent. I believe that they told part truths at different times but often different parts of the truth! As I’ve said before, when you know what the truth is but choose to fabricate a different version it’s much more difficult to keep remembering the made-up version consistently without subconsciously letting bits of the truth into it. Often on here the killers are portrayed as some kind of alien life form in that they are always to be excluded from normal human behaviour and reactions. I don’t go with that. There are some basic behaviours and reactions that we all exhibit whether we be “normal” or spaced out stone cold killers.

Speculator said...

Grim - the last point that I made above i particularly think of in terms of Watson prior to leaving Spahn for Cielo and in my view wanting to know how many would be up there. In my mind, to think that he wouldn’t want to know that would make him completely reckless. He didn’t demonstrate that at Cielo ie cutting the wires, moving the car, hiding from Parent’s car, stealth entry to the house, using the rope etc etc. if he had absolutely no idea who was up there why didn’t he just ram the gate with the car, smash through the front door and to hell with being caught!!! Well maybe even reckless wouldn’t be that stupid!!! But you get my point I hope.

Speculator said...

Grim - I struggle with your interpretation of the leave something witchy thing. Didn’t Manson also tell Watson “the girls will
Know what to do” or words to that effect. Let’s not forget that they (as a criminal group) we’re already responsible for at least one death prior to Cielo.

tobiasragg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tobiasragg said...

"Grim - I struggle with your interpretation of the leave something witchy thing. Didn’t Manson also tell Watson “the girls will Know what to do”

Yes, I think this a good point. Grim's thought on the matter would make sense if LVH's quote is considered in isolation, but I think one also has to recall Atkin's grand jury testimony on this point.

Once all of the victims were dead, Tex recalled the "witchy" directive and directed Atkins to return to the house to see that this point was delivered on. Atkins reluctantly returns to the house and it is clear what she is meant to do. "I was previously involved in another matter which involved the word "piggies" and this was on my mind as I . . . " or words to that effect. So she locates the towel and does the door.

Though unspoken, it seems that both Watson & Atkins knew exactly what was meant by "leave something witchy" and it seems certain they weren't thinking of sewing or hanging little creations from trees.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

Once all of the victims were dead, Tex recalled the "witchy" directive and directed Atkins to return to the house to see that this point was delivered on

Hmmm.....
If we're going to take the Watson version as being the one, then according to his book, he knew exactly what should be written because, as he states, Charlie told him what should be written. But he also says Charlie said the women would know what to write. Then he also said he stopped the car as they were driving off to tell them to leave a sign ["Remember to leave a sign," he told the girls, "something witchy."].
But what Watson told Atkins wasn't that. "Write something that will shock the world." What's interesting here, is, it was what she remembered from the Hinman scene that pushed her to come up with 'PIG', from something that Bobby had come up with, hardly something witchy and not in keeping with what Charlie had directed Tex. Interestingly, at Waverly the following night, the things Watson says Charlie directed to be written at Cielo, they are the things that Pat wrote.
So which is it ? Write what Charlie wanted or leave it to the women to use their witchcraft to come up with something or link to what was written at Gary's ? It's the latter that would point to premeditation, yet, the way Susan relates it, it was very much a spur of the moment thing.

Speculator said:

Often on here the killers are portrayed as some kind of alien life form in that they are always to be excluded from normal human behaviour and reactions. I don’t go with that. There are some basic behaviours and reactions that we all exhibit whether we be “normal” or spaced out stone cold killers

Actually, I think that's a valuable point. Just as often, however, it becomes an either/or type of thing as opposed to being paradoxical. I absolutely agree with you for the most part on it though. I think, for example, that while Watson was definitely under Charlie's influence from afar, he was totally in control of his own faculties and thinking process and that can be seen in a number of the very 'human' things that he did, like moving Steve's car, sending the women out while he dealt with Sharon, trying to establish his dominance over Linda when they got to the car, his speech in talking to Rudy Weber, as well as wanting to hose the blood off, making sure weapons were gotten rid of, what to do if stopped and buying gas.
I just happen to find other parts of the women's thinking and actions, that many find hard to fathom {like murdering complete strangers with hardly any time to have processed it}, equally human. They weren't alien life forms. They did some things conventionally and other things unconventionally ~ but all very human.

Watson at his latest hearing says that they argued on the way up in the car about what they had to do
I said:
He said that for the first time in his 2016 hearing, with other 1st time appearances. He said nothing about that in his 1978 book. He said nothing about it in his 2005 book
Although he also said something akin to this in his 2016 hearing and it wasn't in either of his books, it did appear on his website at some point before that October 27 2016 hearing, I don't know exactly when, as a date isn't given.
But it was certainly a new reveal to a number of us on this blog in 2016, as can be seen in some of the comments here.

grimtraveller said...

Speculator said:

I struggle with your interpretation of the leave something witchy thing

So do I !
And according to Leslie, so did Charlie !

Didn’t Manson also tell Watson “the girls will Know what to do” or words to that effect

According to Watson. Everything about Watson's side of the story has them knowing everything that is supposed to take place before they've left Spahn. Strangely though, he has gone on to minimize their actions once at their various destinations. He told one of the boards {I think it was 2016, but it might not be, it might be on his website} that the women hardly did anything.

Let’s not forget that they (as a criminal group) we’re already responsible for at least one death prior to Cielo

True. But neither the Lotsapoppa incident or the Hinman murder were of the same ilk. The sign Bobby left after killing Gary was a Bobby thing, not something premeditated.

tobiasragg said...

"If we're going to take the Watson version as being the one, then according to his book, he knew exactly what should be written"

Watson's story was that Manson actually rattled off a bunch of things to write and Tex interrupted, saying "I'll never be able to remember all of those words." Charlie just smiled and said that the girls would know what to write.

In his first book, Watson relates: "As we started to leave I remembered Charlie's last order. “Write something,” I told Sadie. “Write something that will shock the world.” She grabbed the towel that had bound Frykowski's hands and disappeared behind the sofa. A moment later she stepped out to the porch and wrote the letters P-I-G on the front door in blood."

In her grand jury testimony, Atkins tells the exact same tale:

A: Then Tex told me to go back into the house and write something on the door in one of the victim's blood.

Q: Did he tell you what to write?

A: He said, "Write something that would shock the world."

Something to that effect. I don't even want to be quoted on that because what I just said came off the top of my head.

I had previously been involved in something similar to this where I saw political piggy written on the wall so that stuck very heavily in my mind.

***

Unless Pat spoke of this at a parole hearing or something, these are the only two accounts we have on the matter. Kasabian had already fled by this point.

I suppose there IS a chance that Watson modeled his telling after Atkins' account, but I am not at all certain that he'd have had awareness of her testimony at that point in time. He might have read a newspaper account at some point, or perhaps Watson walked into a local bookshop and purchased a copy of "Five to Die" - all of that is possible.

But it really doesn't matter if his was a first-hand memory or one that drew upon Atkin's statements. There are no other stories available to contradict any of this and there is no evidence that Atkins would have lied on this point - hell, she did her best to OVER state her involvement in these crimes back then - so this is what we have to go on.

tobiasragg said...

For what it's worth, Krenwinkel had this to say at her very first parole hearing:

"I got into the car with Tex and it wasn’t but way late down the road somewhere that I asked Tex what we were going to do. And it was when we were -- and for a long time he said nothing. And then eventually, and so we just gabbed and whatever and we drove. Eventually, when we went up Cielo Drive, Tex said that we were going to go in the house and kill everyone there. I had no idea where I was going. Yes, I followed directions from Tex from then on. But I did not know where I was going."

TabOrFresca said...

tobiasragg said:

I suppose there IS a chance that Watson modeled his telling after Atkins' account, but I am not at all certain that he'd have had awareness of her testimony at that point in time. He might have read a newspaper account at some point, or perhaps Watson walked into a local bookshop and purchased a copy of "Five to Die" - all of that is possible.


Watkins was arrested in late November 1969 and has either been in jail in Texas or California since that time.

“5 to Die” came out in April 1970. Watson DID NOT walk into a bookstore and buy this book.


On December 14, 1969 a newspaper article, “Susan Atkins’ Story of 2 Nights of Murder”, appeared in the “LA Times” and many other newspapers worldwide. The source of this article was a transcript of a December 1, 1969 interview between Atkins and her lawyers. Every book, article, documentary written about this subject - after that date - is highly likely to use that December 14 article as a source. It is also highly probable that testimony that occurred after this date was influenced by the December 14 article.

What is written in “Will You Die For Me”, by Hoekstra and Watkins, brings up an interesting problem. Shortly after Watson was arrested, his lawyer audio recorded 8 hours of tape of Watson being interviewed. While these tapes are one source used to write the memoir, there may have been others. Until LE releases these tapes to the public, we will not be sure what Watson said uninfluenced by others. Watson’s memoir was released in 1978.

If, however, we gain access to these tapes, funny haha, we would then have two no-doubt independent sources of TLB.

tobiasragg said...

Thanks, Tab. I wasn't thinking Watson would have had access to the Ivor Davis book, but I was too lazy to look up the release date on that volume so I mentioned it just to cover my bases.

I WAS thinking of the LA Times piece when I wrote what I did, however. Watson's incarceration situation in December '69 was pretty loosey-goosey, so it is conceivable that he could have read a local story based on the Times at that time. Or his TX lawyer could have filled him in, I suppose.

Personally, I suspect that the story told on the unreleased tape is more-or-less the same story told in the "As told to" late-70s book. That is really just an assumption on my part, but I'd be surprised if his retelling to the lawyer would be substantially different than what he has already said on the matter. There could be lots of little details to chew on in those tapes, though, but probably nothing too shockingly new.

Speculator said...

Tobias and Tab - I’ve always thought that Watson used the Atkins statement as the blueprint for his version of events. As you say if the tapes were released that would provide a truly independent account from him (assuming that is that the recording pre-dates Atkins account). Why so the authorities and Watson resist their release?

Speculator said...

Why do not why so!

David Lane said...

The tapes may be an absolute bombshell. I doubt it, however why on earth the authorities retain them under lock and key is intriguing.

Now, back to the subject of the op, I accept that some of you are vehemently anti parole for any of the perpetrators and your reasons for your decision. However does anyone think that if any of them were released ( most likely LVH) that they (she) would reveal anything more interesting or even shocking about the events?

Obviously she would have to be careful she did not divulge anything that would cause her parole licence to be revoked , so maybe something new she reveals about Krenwinkel or Watson's actions.

TabOrFresca said...

Speculator said:

Tobias and Tab - I’ve always thought that Watson used the Atkins statement as the blueprint for his version of events. As you say if the tapes were released that would provide a truly independent account from him (assuming that is that the recording pre-dates Atkins account). Why do the authorities and Watson resist their release?

The tapes were turned over to LE authorities and they have not released the contents, because of investigation(s). Which is almost like just saying because (I don’t want you to see them). It is possible that they are (hardly) trying to obtain evidence or another witness to corroborate this investigation. They also could be waiting for someone to die first. Who knows why?

Those who study TLB, etc are interested in hearing the tapes, hoping that something new is learned. Such as does Tex describe: any drug burns other than Crowe; more murders; proof of conspiracy; more drug dealing; knowing any of the victims; anything which helps anyone’s proposed theories; Leslie being even less( or more) involved; Charlie being less (or more) involved; others involved.
It is anticipated that what is on the tapes will answer some mysteries, but it may be a disappointment.

Tex said something like “all it will do is cause more hurt”, which I guess he may tell of his Shea involvement (at the least).

I would like to hear another early account of TLB, that was not influenced by media (such as Susan Atkins 2 Night’s of Murder). Hopefully the tape starts off saying something like who is present, the date and the time. If the date is before December 14, 1969 then the LA Times article could not have influenced him.

If the date is before December 5, 1969 then the grand jury transcripts could not have influenced him. If he had access then the question would be how was it obtained?

grimtraveller said...

As much as I would like to hear the Tex tapes {I'm nosey}, I wouldn't be expecting this dazzling bright supremely honest "tell all." Not from him in 1969.
We assume that whatever is on the tapes would be the absolute truth, but it is worth remembering that at the time Watson was arrested, he knew the game was up, the gas chamber possibly loomed and self preservation was to be his regular diet. That's what we saw over the next 2 years, him fighting extradition. Him faking mental illness when his return to California was imminent and then going full tilt boogie in the 'head case' stakes when he was returned {no one ever comments on the miraculous 🥸 recovery after he was convicted}. Him lying his blaggers off during the trial.
If one looks hard at his trial testimony, it doesn't fill one with confidence that here resided an honest man in the '69~'71 period. So why would we imagine he would bare all to his lawyer ? Right from the kick off, he was evading responsibility and was prepared to throw Charlie, Susan, Pat and Linda under the bus.
Don't be at all surprised if what is on those tapes is an attempt to look as deranged as possible and while admitting that he did the deeds, minimizing and mitigating to the nth degree.

tobiasragg said...

I would expect the tapes to align pretty closely with what he said in that first book, possibly with some interesting extra details tossed in.

Tex wasn't evading the truth during that time in Texas, in fact at times he was revelling in it. He descibes torturing his mother, who was in the midst of a motherly denial over her boy's involvement in the crimes: "you should have heard Sharon Tate crying and calling for her mother as I stabbed her." The lawyer was a trusted adviser at the time and Watson says he spilled everything to the man, much as he appears to do in the interview that served as the source of that first book.

The extradition delays were the lawyer's doing. He was seeking to secure a separate trial for Watson, he said at the time, and delaying Watson's return to CA accomplished that goal.

As for the trial itself, Watson explained that there was so much stuff already established as fact during the first trial, he simply sought to lie or omit what he could, where he could: "no, I did not carry that rope into thst house ... no, I have no idea how it got there ... ". It was kind of ridiculous.

As for his mental health, I am not at all sure this was faked. His lawyer's final advice before he departed for LA was "talk to no one." And he didn't. For weeks. Just as with Manson, Tex was a very obedient simpleton, it seemed. Tex stopped eating, because he was upset, the jail food in LA was awful, and it made him "spit up" (throw up) he said. I've no doubt all of this is quite true. This reaction is very much in line with the kind of trama Tex was experiencing at the time - the desire to eat must have been quite low on the desire list at that point.

I've no real sympathy for Tex, but I am also seeing little reason to doubt him on these points. His behavior and explanations became more tangled in the years since then, but back then at least he seemed robotically earnest.