Monday, March 11, 2024

The Grogan File: Something is Missing.

 When I was a little kid my brother and I and our cousins used to walk about five blocks from my grandparent’s house to a little store on a main avenue in Detroit. We were not allowed to walk on the avenue, so we had to cut through a narrow alleyway to get there. 

In the back of the store the owner had some toys. More importantly he had this bin of boxes containing individual toy soldiers. These guys. 


The owner let us dig through the bin to our heart’s content as long as we bought something before, we left. If we didn’t find anything in the bin we would buy baseball cards. I always got crappy ones; you know, some unknown rookie or one of the Mets. But sometimes I found a pirate in the bin. 


The anticipation I had walking to that store back then returns every time I receive a notification from Cielodrive of a new document post. Sometimes it’s one of the Mets but sometimes it is a pirate. Thank you, Cielodrive. 


This one, I think, is a pirate. This is the file related to Grogan exposing himself to children. 


The_Grogan_FilePDF Document · 10.3 MB


What does the official narrative say about this incident? Well, that narrative would be the book, Helter Skelter and here is what Vincent Bugliosi had to say. 



Grogan had been observed exposing himself to several children, ages four to five years. “The kids wanted me to,” he explained to arresting officers, who had caught him in the act. “I violated the law, the thing fell out of my pants and the parents got excited,” he later told a court-appointed psychiatrist. After interviewing Grogan, the psychiatrist ruled against committing him to Camarillo State Hospital, because “the minor is much too aggressive to remain in a setting which does not provide containment facilities.”


The court decided otherwise, sending him to Camarillo for a ninety-day observation period. He remained a grand total of two days, then walked away, aided, I would later learn, by one of the girls from the Family. 


His escape had occurred on July 19, 1969. He was back at Spahn in time for the Hinman, Tate, and LaBianca murders. He was arrested in the August 16 Spahn raid, but was released two days later, in time to behead Shorty Shea.



So we had virtually nothing on Clem. 


In going through Grogan’s file, I noticed that one of his brothers had made application for the California Highway Patrol; I made note of this, thinking maybe his brother could influence Clem to cooperate with us. DeCarlo had described Grogan in two words: “He’s nuts.” In his police photograph—big, wide grin, chipped front tooth, moronic stare—he did look idiotic. I asked Fowles for copies of the recent psychiatric reports. 


Asked, “Why do you hate your father?” Grogan replied, “I’m my father and I don’t hate myself.” He denied the use of drugs. “I have my own bennies, adrenalin. It’s called fear.” He claimed that “love is everything,” but, according to one psychiatrist, “he also revealed that he could not accept the philosophy of interracial brotherhood. Quotes supposedly from the Bible with sexual correlation were given in defense of his attitude.” 


Other quotes from Clem: “I’m dying a little every day. My ego is dying and knows he’s dying and struggles hard. When you’re free of ego you’re free of everything…Whatever you say is right for yourself…Whoever you think I am, that’s who I am.” 


The philosophy of Clem? Or Charles Manson? I’d heard the same thoughts, in several instances even identical words, from the girls. If the psychiatrists had examined one of Manson’s followers and, on the basis of such responses, found him insane, what of his leader?


Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders (p. 173-175). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.




The records confirm Helter Skelter. Grogan’s brother was indeed trying to get into the California Highway Patrol. The psychiatrists even confirm DeCarlo’s comment. Grogan was considered to be mentally unstable, receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia. 


Grogan, as you know, was never charged with the LaBianca murders even though he was as guilty as Susan Atkins and the exact evidence that convicted Atkins of conspiracy to commit murder and thus murder would have also convicted Grogan. Certainly, this diagnosis could have influenced any DA to hesitate to charge Grogan on LaBianca. Grogan had a defense of insanity or diminished capacity confirmed by state psychiatrists and that just might influence the jury as to all of the defendants and especially Charles Manson, as Bugliosi noted. 

There is also something missing in the records that also caught Bugliosi's eye. He noted it: "The philosophy of Clem? Or Charles Manson?". Where is the Charlie Says (to borrow a movie title)? No mention of Manson appears in these records or in Grogan's comments. That's not what Bugliosi wants, or needs.


But something else is missing. Its not that something is missing from he file. The file is complete. But there is definitely something missing from Bugliosi’s narrative.



When I was in law school long ago, I had a first-year law professor who had been in the real world as a litigator for many years before some health issue forced his retirement. Even though his class had nothing to do with litigation (it was Contract Law), practically every class he would give us a tidbit about being a trial lawyer. He once pointed out that someday many of us would ‘troop into court’ with our witness outlines eager to begin our ‘scintillating cross examination’ of a witness. He then said “Stop! Listen first. What a witness does not say is more important than what they do say. Once you find that ask them ‘why’. Any jackass can answer who, what, when or where but ‘why’ is the tough one to answer and sometimes the answer reveals motivation.”


So, what is missing? Bugliosi knew precisely who the family member was who helped Grogan escape. We know that because he quotes the same documents we now have more than once. That family member was revealed, right here.


It was Linda Kasabian. She signed as Linda Drouin (her family name). She used Dennis Wilson’s address and listed herself as Grogan’s girlfriend when she visited him on July 19, 1969 about two weeks after she joined the Family. 

This too may also have something to do with why Grogan wasn’t charged. In the hands of a competent defense attorney this page pokes a hole in one of Bugliosi’s main themes: that Kasabian only went along on two nights of murder because she had a valid driver’s license. You know, the innocent hippy chick theme.


This document suggests, instead, that Kasabian was much closer to the inner circle of the Family pretty quickly after she got to Spahn Ranch and was at least involved in planning and executing Grogan's escape.  This made me rethink that courtroom comment "when are you going to tell your part" just a little.


Now, one could try to argue that the only reason she went to see Grogan is, again, because she was the only one who had a valid driver’s license. I hope Cielodrive will put this issue to rest for me but until he does, I don't think she had one. 


This is from a New Hampshire newspaper from May 1969. I used it in a post a half dozen years ago. The cite is there. I don't have it anymore. She wasn’t charged with driving without a license: ‘Oh, I must have left it at home’. She was charged with driving without a valid license. She pled guilty. She didn’t say ‘wait, here it is” when she got to court. She paid the fine. 

Now maybe she fixed that before she cut out to California a few weeks later. But I don't think she did.  


Deb reminded me of this. Thanks Deb. Remember that detective named Deemers? Remember his list? 

Deb: "Regarding Kasabian's driver's license, look at Deemer's list. While it is true that not a lot of Family members have driver's licenses there were members with licenses. Kitty Lutesinger, Dianne Lake, Tex, Nancy Pitman, Mark Ross, Claudia Smith aka Linda Baldwin, Leslie Van Houten to name a few of the inter-circle members. 

But if you look at Linda Kasabian's entry on Deemer's list, no DL#. 
I figure Deemer's list was compiled in November or early December 1969. You will notice that Tex is listed under the name Charles Montgomery. They still hadn't quite gotten the names straight. There're a couple other people who are listed by their alias and not their true name."

Kitty Lutesinger from the list: 


Deemers listed her Missouri address and noted the Missouri driver's license. 

And Kasabian: 

Deemers got her New Hampshire address right but something else is missing. Where is the "DL#"? 

Even in the unlikely event that her license was valid, that fact might explain her driving or riding along to visit Grogan, while Manson drove and a member of the inner circle like Brunner went inside to talk to Grogan but it does not explain why she was the messenger. Someone told her the escape plan or she already knew it and she was the one to pass it on to Grogan and probably even waited for him to make his break. 

Her visit is the same day he skipped out: July 19th. The hospital noted their belief someone left Grogan a car. Tracing Linda Drouin would lead to Wilson's house and, of course she would not be there. But maybe they/she waited for him. How many cars did they have at the ranch? 

This page shows Kasabian as an active participant in the organization, planning and execution of Grogan’s escape (a crime by the way). I do not think Bugliosi wanted that to be part of the record, any record, including his own version when he did everything in his power to distance Kasabian from any such role including, specifically, disarming her at Cielo Drive.


I think Ms. Kasabian was a little more involved, a little closer to the throne so to speak, than we were led to believe by Mr. Bugliosi. I also think Bugliosi knew that and that is why he didn’t name the "one of the girls from the Family" who helped Grogan escape. “One of the girls from the Family” makes you think of someone other than Kasabian, doesn’t it? 


I tried to find where Bugliosi eventually identified this ‘girl’ in Helter Skelter. I searched the terms Grogan, Clem, escape, Camarillo, hospital and even Kasabian and Drouin and found nothing. If it is there somewhere I couldn’t find it. 


But even if I missed it and it is there, one could still ask ‘why didn’t you name her right there on page 173? I think the answer is obvious. 


Pax vobiscum