Former AP reporter recalls surreal spectacle of Manson trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The first time I saw Charles Manson being led into a courtroom in 1969 at the old Los Angeles Hall of Justice, I was shocked — not because of the mythology that preceded him, but because of just how small he was.

The cult leader, accused of the most notorious murders in decades, arrived amid stories of mystical powers and hypnotic eyes. Now, he was shuffling down a hallway in handcuffs, wearing fringed buckskins, surrounded by deputies.

At just over 5-foot-3, Manson...

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