Manson Web Extra: FLYING KITES


GARY FLEISCHMAN, Linda Kasabian’s lawyer. Now 75, he practices in Northern California. Linda Kasabian had seen them committing mayhem at the Tate house. She had driven the killers to the LaBianca residence, but she hadn’t done anything. Still, she was technically guilty of first-degree murder. I said to her, “You’re broke. You’re pregnant, and you were there. You must become a prosecution witness.” The prosecution already had Sadie. I call her Sadie, but her name is Susan Atkins. She was an active participant in the murders and was going to testify against Manson. I told Linda, “Sadie is flaky, and they’re gonna sell her out before it’s done. They promised her no death penalty, but they will screw her over. She killed people. We have to help this process along.” I told Linda, “You start passing Sadie kites.” A “kite” is a letter that goes into the prison system. I said, “Hand her a kite and talk Charlie-talk to her.” Linda knew exactly what I meant. Charlie Manson always spoke in these sort of backward riddles. So I told Linda, hand Sadie some kites that say, “Your lawyer is the D.A., the D.A. is your lawyer, the D.A. is Charlie, Charlie is selling you out, and you’re being sold.” So Linda starts passing these kites to dumb Susan Atkins. This goes on for a couple of months, and Susan clams up. She ain’t gonna say anything else to help the prosecution. They have to find somebody else to testify.

One day Aaron Stovitz, the head of the trial division, called me. He said, “I want to talk to you.” I said, “I’m going to get my hair cut at the barbershop at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. Come on over.” So he drives out, and he makes me an offer. A very strange confluence of events had occurred. They needed Linda Kasabian, and she needed them. They gave her total immunity. They couldn’t make their case without this girl.

Linda Kasabian wasn’t scared of Charles Manson at all. She wasn’t built that way. She was a flower child. The Family started bugging me to get her not to testify, pestering me. Lynette Fromme, you know, Squeaky, was sent by Manson to see me. She would come and sit in my office. One day I threw her out physically. She only weighed about 90 pounds. She looked like a rat. Another woman, Catherine Share, who was even weirder, would also show up. She played the violin. I just saw her on television—she looks like a matron today, very pretty lady. Squeaky and Share kept showing up. So finally one night we went to the jail to see Linda, and they confronted her. They said, “You should be one with us.” And Linda answered, “I am one with myself, and that’s all.” That was the end of that.