Irving Kanarek, Lawyer Who Defended Charles Manson, Dies at 100

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Irving Kanarek, Lawyer Who Defended Charles Manson, Dies at 100

A day later, the bodies of a food tycoon, Leno LaBianca, and his wife Rosemary were found in their Los Angeles home. They had been killed in violent attacks that left little doubt that they had been killed by the same people who killed Mrs. Tate and her companions.

Within a few months, Mr. Manson and four supporters were arrested and implicated by Linda Kasabian, an accomplice who admitted her role in the crimes. Ms. Kasabian was granted immunity and became the state's chief witness in a trial that began in July 1970 and lasted six months. (Charles Watson, a cult member who joined in the killings, was admitted to a mental hospital and not tried with the others.)

Mr. Kanarek's court tactics – a Niagara of objections, interruptions, screaming matches with the judge and witnesses, incidents with two prosecutors, and an argument with his client who repeatedly attempted to fire him – made him an outcast in some jurisdictions, but in another example of legal tenacity. He has been arrested twice for disobeying the court and has been defamed by much of the press and the public.

The state called 84 witnesses and alleged that in hopes of sparking an apocalyptic race war in America, Mr. Manson planned and ordered the murders carried out by his co-defendants Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, as well as Mr. Watson. The defense rested without calling a single witness because, according to Kanarek, the three women wanted to confess on the stand to "save" Mr. Manson.

In 1971, all four of the accused were convicted of murder and conspiracy and sentenced to death in the gas chamber. Mr. Kanarek scoffed at the decisions and the process.

"It was entertainment for the public," he said.

A year later, when the California death penalty was temporarily invalidated, the sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. Mr. Manson was never released. He died in 2017 at 83.

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