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TitleHelter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders
TagsDeath An Inside Story
File Size2.5 MB
Total Pages731
Table of Contents
Cast of Characters
PART 1: THE MURDERS August 9–October 14, 1969
PART 2: THE KILLERS October 15–November 17, 1969
PART 3: THE INVESTIGATION—PHASE TWO November 18–December 31, 1969
PART 4: THE SEARCH FOR THE MOTIVE: The Bible, the Beatles, and Helter Skelter January–February 1970
PART 6: THE TRIAL June 15–November 19, 1970
PART 7: MURDER IN THE WIND November 19, 1970–January 25, 1971
PART 8: FIRES IN YOUR CITIES January 26–April 19, 1971
	Epilogue: A Shared Madness
Document Text Contents
Page 365

time—but beyond that we drew a blank.
According to the rental manager of 3921 Topanga Canyon Boulevard—the

house next to the Malibu Feedbin where Linda said she, Sadie, and Clem had
stopped just before dawn—a group of hippies had moved into the unrented
building about nine months ago. There had been, he said, as many as fifty
different persons living there, but he didn’t know any of them. Sartuchi and
Nielsen, however, did manage to locate two young girls who had lived there
from about February to October 1969. Both were friends of Susan Atkins, and
both recalled meeting Linda Kasabian. One recalled that once Susan, another
girl, and a male had visited them. She remembered the incident—though not the
date, the time, or the other persons present—because she was “on acid” and the
trio “appeared evil.” Both girls admitted that during this period they were
“stoned” so much of the time their recollections were hazy. As witnesses, they
would be next to useless.

Nor was LAPD able to locate any of the drivers who had picked up the
hitchhikers that night.

The LaBianca detectives handled all these investigations. Going over their
reports, I was convinced they had done everything possible to run down the
leads. But we were left with the fact that of the six to eight persons who could
have corroborated Linda Kasabian’s story of the events of that second night, we
hadn’t found even one. I anticipated that the defense would lean heavily on this.

ny defendant may file at least one affidavit of prejudice against a judge and
have him removed from the case. It isn’t even necessary to give a reason for
such a challenge. On April 13, Manson filed such an affidavit against Judge
William Keene. Judge Keene accepted Manson’s challenge, and the case was
reassigned to Judge Charles H. Older. Though more affidavits were expected—
each defendant was allowed one—the defense attorneys, after a brief huddle,
decided to accept Older.

I’d never tried a case before him. By reputation, the fifty-two-year-old jurist
was a “no nonsense” judge. A World War II fighter pilot who had served with the
Flying Tigers, he had been appointed to the bench by Governor Ronald Reagan
in 1967. This would be his biggest case to date.

The trial date was set for June 15. Because of the delay, we were again
hopeful that Watson might be tried with the others, but that hope was quickly
dashed when Watson’s attorney requested, and received, still another

Page 366

postponement in the extradition proceedings.

he retrial of Beausoleil for the Hinman murder had begun in late March.
Chief witness for the prosecution was Mary Brunner, first member of the
Manson Family, who testified that she had witnessed Beausoleil stab Hinman to
death. Brunner was given complete immunity in exchange for her testimony.
Claiming that he had only been a reluctant witness, Beausoleil himself took the
stand and fingered Manson as Hinman’s murderer. The jury believed Brunner. In
Beausoleil’s first trial the case against him had been so weak that our office
hadn’t asked for the death penalty. This time prosecutor Burton Katz did, and got

Two things concerned me about the trial. One was that Mary Brunner did
everything she could to absolve Manson—making me wonder just how far
Sadie, Katie, and Leslie would be willing to go to save Charlie—and the other
that Danny DeCarlo hedged on many of his previous statements to LAPD. I was
worried that Danny might be getting ready to split, all too aware that he had little
reason to stick around. Though the motorcycle engine theft charge had been
dropped in return for his testimony in the Hinman case, we had made no deal
with him on Tate-LaBianca. Moreover, although he had a good chance of sharing
the $25,000 reward, it was not necessary that he testify to obtain it.

DeCarlo and Brunner did testify that same month before the grand jury,
which brought additional indictments against Charles Manson, Susan Atkins,
and Bruce Davis on the Hinman murder. But testifying before a grand jury in
secret and having to face Manson himself in court were two different things.

Nor could I blame Danny for being apprehensive. As soon as the grand jury
indictments were made public, Davis, who had been living with the Family at
Spahn, vanished.

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* Guns N’ Roses wasn’t the first rock group to record a Manson song. With minor changes in the lyrics
(e.g., “exist” was changed to “resist,” “brother” to “lover”), Manson’s composition “Cease to Exist” was
recorded by the Beach Boys and released on the B side of on December 8,
1968, under the new title “Never Learn Not to Love.” The single never got past number 61 on the charts,
but both sides of the 45 rpm were included in the Beach Boys’ last album with Capitol Records the
following year. Although the Beach Boys never credited Manson as being the composer, Paul Watkins,
Brooks Poston, and Gregg Jakobson each confirmed to me it was Manson’s song, and in the 1986
biography of the Beach Boys, , author Steven Gaines
acknowledges this.
Mike Rubin, a New York City writer who has been tracking the rock music scene in America for years, says
that in addition to Guns N’ Roses, he knows of at least five other rock groups who have either recorded a
song of Manson’s or a Manson tribute song within the past decade.
In early January of 1994, the industrial hard rock group Nine Inch Nails recorded their most recent album,

, at the former Tate residence. Trent Reznor, lead singer and songwriter for the band, says
that although he called the jerry-built studio constructed for the recording of the album “Le Pig,” and
although there are songs on the album like “Piggy” and “March of the Pigs” with confrontational lyrics (the
word “pig” was printed in blood by the killers on the front door of the Tate residence and the words “death
to pigs” on the living room wall of the LaBianca residence), this was all a coincidence—that the realtor
through whom he leased the home failed to tell him it had been the scene of the Tate murders. The “Le Pig”
studio was also used by a hard rock group called Marilyn Manson in which lead singer Mr. Manson
recorded the vocals for its soon-to-be-released album .

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