Manson is guilty of all seven counts of murder under
the vicarious liability rule of conspiracy. It is also called the joint responsibility
rule of conspiracy.
And likewise, Susan Atkins is guilty of the two LaBianca
murders because of the vicarious liability rule, the joint liability rule of conspiracy.
The law is clear then that once a conspiracy is formed, each member of
the conspiracy is criminally responsible for and equally guilty of crimes committed
by his coconspirators which were in furtherance of the object of the conspiracy.
As I stated in my opening argument, if A and B conspired to murder X, and
pursuant to that agreement B murders X, A, even though he was not the actual killer,
is equally guilty of that murder. I don't care where he was; he could have been
playing tennis, badminton, anywhere; he was [a] member of that conspiracy. He
was guilty of that murder. That is the law of conspiracy, and there just are no
ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Even if Charles Manson was merely a member,
just a member of this conspiracy to commit these murders, and never killed anyone,
he would still be guilty of all seven murders, but here he is not only a member,
he is a leader, the leading force behind all of these conspiracies.
Manson is a clever fellow all right. He is clever all right.
world, he probably felt ifhe never himself killed anyone but had someone else
murder for him, he was thereby immunized or insulated, as it were, from all criminal
responsibility. Well, it is not quite that easy, and when you folks come back
into this courtroom with your verdict of first-degree murder against Charles Manson,
you are going to tell him it's not quite that easy. In the offbeat world of Charles
Manson he probably never heard of this rule of law. Well, he is learning about
it right now.
The law of this state, ladies and gentlemen, has trapped
and subdued these defendants just as they trapped and subdued these seven helpless,
defenseless victims whom they so mercilessly murdered.
His Honor will instruct
you that Linda Kasabian is an accomplice to these seven murders. This simply means
that in the court's judgment, Linda Kasabian's testimony concerning her involvement
with these defendants on these nights of murder makes her an accomplice as a matter
His Honor will go on to instruct you that you cannot convict any
defendant on the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice. If Linda's testimony
has been corroborated as to each defendant, then of course you can convict each
If, on the other hand, her testimony has only been corroborated
as to certain defendants and not as to others, you can only convict those defendants
against whom Linda Kasabian's testimony has been corroborated.
on the closing argument