28 November 2017

Helter Skelter Book Club: Week 9

These trial sections have been the most interesting for me. I was just in Mexico for the week and kept yelling at everyone encouraging me to hangout because I was READING ABOUT THE MANSON TRIAL OVER HERE. I am fascinated with how long this trial ran, how long just Bugliosi's case ran, and how long the jury was sequestered with NO CONTACT WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD. The court system is thrilling to me. I wish I had the drive to become a lawyer. 

Something that's becoming more and more clear is how stupid this family is. They try to poison Barbara in Hawaii, leaving like the biggest trail ever, and don't even succeed, pissing her off and making her want to testify even more. It's like they act on immediate impulse and don't think 30 seconds into the future about how easy they're making things for the cops. 

I also found it weird how Bugliosi tries to almost play therapist for some of the family members. Him telling Sandy he was "very disappointed in her" because he thought she understood that killing is weird is so bizarre. It's almost like he's treating her like a child with special needs rather than just the killer she is and has proven to be... if he thought a good talking to would remediate her it seems weird he pushed so hard for the death penalty for the girls too...

I feel extremely poorly for the defense attorneys. I love Bugliosi saying one of them came out of a meeting with the family members CRYING. They're being shuffled around like pawns, they can't do their jobs properly, none of their defendants actually seem to care if they're found guilty (except maybe Manson), and none of them show any remorse for their actions. It seems insane to me that they would rest their case without a single witness but then it also makes sense... it would be too hard with what they're working with to try and prove any points themselves. Better to just try and hold down the fort. 


  1. I agree with everything you've said here! I think the whole situation with the Family acting on impulse almost seems to solidify the prosecution's case against Manson. Their attempt to poison Barbara was so poorly organized, and so impulsive that it seems to underscore just how novice they are as murderers. However, if you look at the Tate and LaBianca murders (while messy), the aftermath was very calculated. For example, how they sought to implicate the Black Panthers at the LaBianca house. All of that was Manson and his forethought for how to accomplish exactly what he wanted to accomplish. Without Manson, this Family are a bunch of asinine fools who have no idea how to achieve what they want to achieve. It's like trying to throw together a movie without a director to narrow it into a conceivable and sensible vision. Manson was their director - their puppt master - and without him, they're just actors.

    Suffice to say, you can really see how this starts to turn around in Bugliosi's favour. It's like the Family is imploding. From the Family implicating themselves (and Manson through the way their criminal attempts differ when he was in the picture and when he isn't), to the way the defence lawyers are finding it so fucking hard to cope with the fuckery that is the Family and their lack of moral compass/conscience. It's incredible. You think the O.J. trial was a cluster fuck in American criminal justice, and then you look at this trial, and it's just a completely different level! Absolutely wild.

    1. My thoughts EXACTLY "absolutely wild". I also am so impressed with lawyers and all the case law they remember when they had no database to just search for what they wanted.