Friday, June 17, 2022

The Defense Team - Ronald Hughes, Irving Kanarek, Daye Shinn, Paul Fitzgerald

Los Angeles Public Library

Ronald Hughes - Born March 1935 - Died November 1970 (aged 35)

Ronald Hughes was the first attorney Manson chose, but he was replaced by Irving Kanarek two weeks before the start of the trial. From there, he eventually represented Leslie Van Houten.

He failed the bar exam three times before passing and had never tried a case. Hughes was called "the hippie lawyer".

As attorney for Van Houten, Hughes tried to separate the interests of his client from those of Manson. He hoped to show that Van Houten was not acting independently, but instead, was completely controlled in her actions by Manson.

In November 1970, Hughes went missing following a camping trip in a remote area of Ventura County, California. When court reconvened on November 30, Hughes failed to appear. On December 2, Judge Older ordered the trial to proceed and appointed a new attorney, Maxwell Keith, for Van Houten. 

On March 29, 1971, Hughes' decomposed body was discovered by two fishermen. His body was found wedged between two boulders in a gorge. Hughes was later positively identified by dental X-rays. The cause of his death was 'undetermined'.


Irving Kanarek - May 12, 1920 - September 2, 2020 (aged 100)

Kanarek had a reputation as an obstructionist. In the TLB trial, Kanarek objected nine times during opening statements. (Reminds me of the Depp/Heard trial).

Kanarek believed that everyone was entitled to their day in court. He once said, "I would defend a client that I knew was guilty of horrific crimes. They have to be proven guilty. I’ve had cases where people were guilty as hell but they couldn’t prove it. And if they can’t prove it, he’s not guilty. In that case, the person walks free. That’s American justice.”

Manson called Kanarek "the worst man in town I could pick".

Kanarek was ordered to be inactive by the California State Bar in 1990.


Daye Shinn - Died 2006

Daye Shinn was 53 at the time of the trial. He was a former used-car salesman of Korean descent. He represented Susan Atkins.

Shinn was disbarred in 1992 for botching a trial. He represented a man (tried for the murder of a police officer) so poorly, that the conviction had to be vacated. Story below:


Paul Fitzgerald - Died at 64 

Fitzgerald was 33 at the time of the trial. Technically, Fitzgerald's client was Patricia Krenwinkel, but his fellow lawyers were novices, and it fell to Mr. Fitzgerald to become the strategist for all three female defendants. He is widely considered the most polished and capable of the team.

Fitzgerald was often undercut by his colleagues. He usually cross-examined prosecution witnesses first, then had to watch in agony while Hughes and Kanarek clumsily plowed his points under.

Paul Fitzgerald died of a heart ailment at 64.


Charles Hollopeter - Honorable Mention

Judge Keene assigned Hollopeter to Manson in the early days of the trial, and like a fool, Manson wouldn't have him. Hollopeter was considered an outstanding lawyer. Instead, Manson hand-picked Ronald Hughes (the attorney with the least experience in Los Angeles County).

Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection


The Aftermath:

Manson devised a ploy that the girls would take the stand, confess all, and absolve him of all responsibility. In short, the girls would take the fall, and say they acted independently.

Fitzgerald realized the girls would be convicted, and Manson would damn himself by demonstrating the prosecution’s contention that he has mesmerizing power.

Hughes, Kanarek and Shinn agreed with Fitzgerald, that it was their duty to keep their clients off the stand. The Defense rested.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Mark Ross has Died

I've been told by a reliable source that Mark Ross aka "Aesop Aquarian" has died.

I don’t have any further information or details at this time, sorry…

Photo from

As you probably recall, the above photograph (of Ross) was taken the day Judge Keene appointed a lawyer for Charles Manson. The judge described Manson as being "hopelessly inadequate" to defend himself. Keene appointed Charles Hollopeter for the task.

Manson protested, exclaiming that he wouldn't take an attorney. And of course, his minions followed suit by causing a commotion. In the end, Mark Ross, Catherine Share & Sandra Good were sentenced to 5 days in jail for contempt of court for their disruption.

My condolences to his family and friends.


Ross' significance to the Manson story (written by Starviego):

-- The Family was staying at his Venice house where Zero allegedly shot himself, and was the owner of the revolver used.

-- It was his truck Watkins was sleeping in when someone decided to torch it.

-- Ross' house was fairly close to both the Straight Satans' Venice clubhouse and to the apartment of intended victim Saladin Nader.

-- Ross reportedly attended the acting school set up by Laurence Merrick, producer of the Hendrickson documentary. Sharon was also allegedly a student at this school.

-- Ross had a role as a biker in Merrick's "The Black Angels". Filmed in Agoura before TLB, the set was visited by members of the Family.

-- Ross helped Hendrickson film the Manson documentary, and probably introduced him to the Family.

-- Mark Ross had a guest appearance on the "Starsky & Hutch" tv show, playing a very Manson-like cult leader.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Patricia Krenwinkel Recommended for Parole

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP
Krenwinkel has been recommended for parole for the first time (Thursday, May 26, 2022). She has been denied parole 14 times in the past. Pat is now California's longest-serving female inmate.

New laws of significance:

1) The parole panel must now consider that she committed the murders at a young age and is now an elderly prisoner

2) Los Angeles County prosecutors weren’t allowed at the parole hearing to object, under District Attorney George Gasc√≥n’s new policy that prosecutors should not be involved in deciding whether prisoners are ready for release.

I have mixed emotions on this parole decision. In my opinion, Tex has the most blood on his hands, but Pat ranks a close second. In terms of culpability, Pat is #2 on my list.

On the other hand... I've always found Pat to be the most sincere in terms of remorse and rehabilitation. She seems well-grounded, and I believe she has genuinely "learned her lesson". She certainly seems more sincere and rehabilitated than Tex, Bruce, Bobby, and Leslie. Of course, such opinions of character are (to a large extent) subjective.