Defence attorneys in the 23-week old Sharon Tate murder trial caused a courtroom sensation on Thursday (November 19) by announcing they did not intend to put forward any defence.
CU Charles Manson
MV Three girl defendants
CU Artists sketch, Four defence attorneys standing.
CU Artists sketch Patricia Krenwrinkel.
CU Artists sketch Attorneys conferring with Judge.
CU Paul Fitzgerald, defence attorney
CU Artists sketch: Susan Atkins
CU Artists sketch: Daye Shinn
CU Artists sketch: Charles Older.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 6: FITZGERALD: "The attorney has to do what he feels is right for his client. You certainly can take into consideration what your client feels, what his desires are, but ultimately you have to follow the dictates of your conscience, and I honestly and sincerely feel, the attorneys in this case followed the dictates of their conscience. They Felt it was not -- definitely and distinctly -- in the best interests of these defendants to take the stand on their own behalf.
Initials PAF/DW/VC/1319 PAF/DW/VC/1335
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Defence attorneys in the 23-week old Sharon Tate murder trial caused a courtroom sensation on Thursday (November 19) by announcing they did not intend to put forward any defence. But the three girl defendants stood up and told the Judge, Charles Older, that they wished to take the stand and testify.
When the Judge asked whether the Defence was ready to present its case, Paul Fitzgerald, Lawyer for Patricia Krenwinkel, stood up with the other three attorneys and announced: " the Defence rests." Judge Older then called the attorneys to his bench and as they conferred Miss Krenwinkel rose and said she waned to testify.
Judge Older said he would allow all three girls to testify and after further conferring with the lawyers ordered a recess. Speaking to reporters during the recess, Defence Attorney Paulo Fitzgerald said:
Following the recess, the defendants agreed that Susan Atkins would be the first on the stand but her attorney, Daye Shinn, refused to cross-examine her. He said he felt anything he asked might incriminate his client and he would not do that. The Judge then called a further recess to discuss the new legal complication.
The three girls, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten, are on trial with Charles Manson, charged in connection with the murder of Actress Sharon Tate and six others at her Hollywood home in August, 1969.