Charles Manson - The True Story
Cast of Characters: Abigail Folger   Bobby Beausoleil   Bruce Davis   Charles Manson   Danny Decarlo   Dennis Wilson   Gary Hinman   Jay Sebring   Judge Older   The Labianca's   Leslie VanHouten   Linda Kasabian   Mary Brunner   Patricia Krenwinkel   Paul Watkins   Roman Polanski   Sandra Good   Sharon Tate   Shorty Shea   Steve Grogan   Steven Parent   Susan Atkins   Terry Melcher   Tex Watson   Virginia Graham   Vincent Bugliosi   William Garretson   Wojciech Frykowski  
Charles Manson Murders; Helter Skelter
 
 

Grand Jury Testimony...

Transcript of the Grand Jury Testimony by Terrence (Terry) Melcher on December 5, 1969.

Terry Melcher... (Record Producer) Transcript of the Grand Jury Testimony by Terrence (Terry) Melcher on December 5, 1969.

TERRANCE PAUL MELCHER, called as a witness before the Grand Jury, was sworn and testified as follows:

THE FOREMAN: Will you state your full name, please.

THE WITNESS: Terrance Paul Melcher.

THE FOREMAN: Will you raise your right hand and take the following oath:

You do solemnly swear that the evidence you shall give in this matter now pending before the Grand Jury of the County of Los Angeles shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

THE WITNESS: I do.

THE FOREMAN: Will you please be seated.

EXAMINATION BY MR. STOVITZ:

QUESTION: Will you kindly state your full name for the record?

ANSWER: Terrance Paul Melcher.

QUESTION: Do you know a person by the name of Doris Day?

ANSWER: Yes, sir.

QUESTION: And is she some relation to you?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: What is that relationship?

ANSWER: She is my mother.

QUESTION: And did you ever live at a residence depicted on this photograph, Exhibit 6, that has been described as 10050 Cielo Drive, Los Angeles?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: How do you pronounce that name?

ANSWER: Cielo.

QUESTION: Just like the sky?

ANSWER: That's right, it's Spanish for sky.

ANSWER: And what was the date that you first moved into that residence and the date that you moved out of that residence, approximate?

ANSWER: I believe I moved in, in April of 1966.

QUESTION: And when did you move out?

ANSWER: I moved out approximately the first week of January, 1969.

QUESTION: And did you know of, with your own knowledge, who the next tenants were of that residence?

ANSWER: Did I know the next tenants or did I know who they were?

QUESTION: Did you know who they were, of your own knowledge?

ANSWER: Yes, when I moved, I moved to a house in Malibu, it was owned by my family, and Sharon Tate wished to sublet the house from me since I had about four months to go on the lease that I had originally taken and she called me several times to see if we could work out a sublet.

QUESTION: And to your knowledge, is this the house depicted on the diagram, Exhibit 7?

ANSWER: That is correct.

QUESTION: Now, do you know of your own knowledge when Sharon Tate did move into that residence, if she ever did move in?

ANSWER: I think--I think it was in March of 1969.

QUESTION: And at that time did she move in with her husband, Mr. Polanski?

ANSWER: I assume so, I don't know.

QUESTION: Did you ever return to that residence on Cielo Drive after that?

ANSWER: No, I didn't. After--

QUESTION: After Miss Tate and her husband Mr. Polanski, moved in?

ANSWER: I returned there sometime in, I suppose it was September or October of 1969, because the owner was a friend of mine.

QUESTION: Who is the owner?

ANSWER: His name is Rudi Altobelli, the man who owns the property. He has been leasing it for a number of years to different people.

QUESTION: Now, I'd like to direct your attention to this board where we have various exhibits, 1 through 16, depicting various men and women.

ANSWER: Shall I rise to look at that?

QUESTION: Yes please step around here. Do you recognize the individuals depicted on any of those photographs as persons that you knew prior to August the 8th, 1969.

ANSWER: Manson, yes of course, the third from the left on the top.

QUESTION: That would be Exhibit 2 that you have indicated, this exhibit right here?

ANSWER: That is correct.

QUESTION: You indicated that he is Charles Manson, did you say?

ANSWER: That is correct, and the fellow on Manson's left, I don't know him but I think I have seen him at Dennis Wilson's house.

QUESTION: This is Exhibit 4 you have identified, is that right?

ANSWER: That is correct.

QUESTION: So you believe that prior to August the 8th, 1969, you knew the man depicted in Exhibit 4--Grand Jury Exhibit 4 and in Grand Jury Exhibit NO. 2 which you say is Mr. Manson?

ANSWER: That is correct.

QUESTION: All right, you may return to the stand, sir. You mentioned knowing Dennis Wilson. Who is Dennis Wilson?

ANSWER: He is a man who is a member of a well-known singing group, the Beach Boys. I have known him for a number of years, it must be the last six or seven, now. I have known him off and on for that period of time.

QUESTION: Where were you living in Malibu in August of 1969?

ANSWER: I lived on Pacific Coast Highway, 22126, in Malibu.

QUESTION: Where with relation to some restaurants for instance?

ANSWER: I lived approximately, oh, two miles south of Malibu Pier.

QUESTION: And is the Sea Lion Restaurant still in existence?

ANSWER: Yes, the Sea Lion was maybe two and a half miles south of my house, or you might say it was in between Malibu pier and the Sea Lion Restaurant. I'm not sure if my---

QUESTION: It just seems long when the traffic is bad, is that right?

ANSWER: That's right.

QUESTION: Now, Mr. Melcher, is that the way you pronounce your name, sir?

ANSWER: That is correct.

QUESTION: Did you ever see either the man depicted in Exhibit 4 or Mr. Manson in your home in Malibu during the year of 1969?

ANSWER: No. I didn't.

QUESTION: You did read about it in the newspapers, about the tragedy that beset that home on Cielo Drive August 9th of 1969, is that right?

ANSWER: I did.

QUESTION: And from these newspapers we fix the date as August the 9th, 1969. Now, when prior to that had you last seen Mr. Manson or the man depicted in Exhibit 4?

ANSWER: Exhibit 4 is Watson, I believe. I have seen him--

QUESTION: You are talking of Watson, now, on Exhibit 4?

ANSWER: Yes. I had seen him -- I don't recall whether or not I met him -- I have seen a large number of photographs to identify. He was the only one who looked in any way familiar to me. I had seen him at Wilson's house in the summer of 1968, I'm not sure, Jun, July, August, and Manson, I had seen in May of 1969.

QUESTION: All right, now, without trying to give us verbatim conversation, did you have a conversation with Manson in May of 1969?

ANSWER: I was asked to drive to what was described to me as Charlie's ranch so that I might audition them. One of my occupations is that of recorder-producer, and I was asked to drive and meet Manson and his group in that Capacity, to see whether of not I'd be interested in recording them.

QUESTION: Did you go to this Charlie's ranch?

ANSWER: I did.

QUESTION: Have you seen photographs in the newspapers of a thing called Spahn Ranch?

ANSWER: I did.

QUESTION: Is that what you call Charlie's ranch?

ANSWER: It is.

QUESTION: And when you went to Charlie's ranch did you see young people, old people, did you see just the musicians, what did you see?

ANSWER: There were forty or fifty, it's hard to say exactly,they were everywhere, mostly young women, and they all seemed to be part of the same group and they all sang together with Charlie Manson.

QUESTION: What instrument, if any, did Charlie play?

ANSWER: He played a guitar.

QUESTION: Were there any other persons playing instruments, to your knowledge?

ANSWER: It seems to me some girls were playing a tambourine. Perhaps that was the only--

QUESTION: And the music, if any, that you heard, was this music that was known to you or did it appear to be original works?

ANSWER: It seemed to be and I was later told that they were all songs that Charlie Manson had composed.

QUESTION: You fix this time as being May of 1969. Did you have any conversation with Mr. Manson or anyone there at the ranch concerning any future dates or future appointments, or was it left that you would get in touch with them, or anything of that nature?

ANSWER: The type of music they were doing and the whole setting itself was rather particular to the pop music business, to say the least, and I went back there approximately within a week after I had been there first because a friend of mine in the interim, between the first visit and the second visit, had told me he had just completed a conversion of a trailer into a -- what they call a remote recording unit and that he was going to spend a summer traveling around the country trying to record various Indian tribes doing native songs and that sort thing and I mentioned to him that I had seen a group living in, I guess it's Chatsworth, that seemed to be something like an Indian tribe, they sat around and all sang together, and all participated, that perhaps that might be the type of thing he was interested in, and that was the reason for my second visit.

QUESTION: Did you speak to Mr. Manson on the second visit?

ANSWER: He spoke to me.

QUESTION: And was it left that you would get in touch with him or he would get in touch with you, or was there anything said about any future arrangements? In other words, whether or not you were going to use his services or try to get it arranged with other individuals?

ANSWER: No, the reason that I went back the second time, I felt sorry for those people. There were a lot of girls that were obviously young and I assumed that most of them were runaways, or whatever, and when I went back with my other friend who had a trailer that was, in fact, a recording studio and it was set up to record anywhere that you might find people making music, the purpose of that visit was to perhaps show it to someone who may be wanting to do something like that, but that wasn't exactly what I was looking for in music.

QUESTION: Did you ever give anyone at that ranch, either Mr. Manson or the man depicted in Exhibit 4, or anyone else your telephone number and address where they could get in touch with you?

ANSWER: I don't believe I did, no.

QUESTION: Now, did either Mr. manson or the man depicted in Exhibit 4, ever visit you when you lived on Cielo Drive?

ANSWER: No, Dennis Wilson drove me home from his house one day, he lived on Sunset Boulevard, and I supposed it's Pacific Palisades, across the street from Will Rogers Park, and he drove me one day from his house and Manson was in the back seat of his car strumming his guitar and they dropped me off in the driveway.

QUESTION: That driveway?

ANSWER: That driveway, the paved parking area.

QUESTION: You are indicating the driveway on Cielo Drive depicted on Exhibit 7, is that correct?

ANSWER: That is correct, and they turned around and left.

QUESTION: Do you recall the approximate month that that occurred, sometime before January 1969?

ANSWER: As I recall, before. It would have been either -- late summer of 1968.

QUESTION: And that home that is depicted in Exhibit 7 is in the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, is that right?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: Now, I show you this photograph here, sir. It is Exhibit 8 and the walkway here leads up to the front door, is that right?

ANSWER: Correct.

QUESTION: This photograph you recognize as a photograph of that residence depicted on Exhibit 7, is that right?

ANSWER: Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Immediately to the right of that photograph appears to be a window with small panes of glass and next to that an open window with a screen sitting next to it. Where do those windows lead, if you recall at this time?

ANSWER: That is the dining room.

QUESTION: In other words, that window that is open with the screen next to it is the window to the dining room?

ANSWER: It is.

QUESTION: Now, when you went back to this residence in September of 1969 did you go into the residence with Mr. --- who is it, Altobelli?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: Did you go into that residence?

ANSWER: I did. Mr. Altobelli was in Rome at the time of the murders and he flew back and he was very upset and I had a guest house in my home in Malibu and I invited him to stay there, and which he did for about six weeks until he felt up to going back to his house.

QUESTION: So when you did go back to this house shown in this photograph was there still a dining room behind this window that is seen open here?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: It was not being converted into anything like a nursery, or anything?

ANSWER: No.

QUESTION: Was there any room in the house that had been converted into a nursery at the time you went back in September of 1969?

ANSWER: Well, no. I'm not certain. I didn't see. I'm not really certain what constitutes a nursery. In addition to the dining room there is a kitchen, there is a maid's room, there is a living room, two bedrooms, and there is a guest house. I didn't see anything that looked like a nursery.

QUESTION: When you were there did you know of a person by the name of Garretson that lived there?

ANSWER: No, I didn't.

QUESTION: Now, after that last visit that you made to the Spahn Ranch in 1969, did you see Mr. Manson or that individual depicted in Exhibit 4 again?

ANSWER: No, I didn't.

QUESTION: Did you get any calls or messages that either one wanted to see you or have any contact with you indirectly through Dennis Wilson or anything like that?

ANSWER: No, I didn't.

QUESTION: Did you in any way tell Mr. Manson that you were not interested in his singing or that you were not interested in that type of music?

ANSWER: No, I didn't. I was told that he didn't have a telephone anyway. There wasn't any way to get in touch with the man if I had even wanted to.

QUESTION: So, then, you had no further contact with him, to your knowledge, and he did not ever, to your knowledge, try to get in touch with you?

ANSWER: That is correct.

MR. BUGLIOSI: How many times did you meet Manson through Wilson?

ANSWER: Only once that I recall.

QUESTION: Well, you went to the ranch once?

ANSWER: Through Wilson, you said.

QUESTION: I'm sorry. At the time you went to the ranch, you did not go with Wilson?

ANSWER: No.

QUESTION: How many times did you speak to Manson through Wilson, just once?

ANSWER: Just once.

QUESTION: This was at Wilson's residence?

ANSWER: That's right. Actually, I don't believe -- I suppose I did meet him; he was in the car when we drove back.

QUESTION: Did Wilson arrange for you to meet Manson?

ANSWER: No, he didn't arrange -- Dennis is someone I have known for a long time. As I say, we have been in the same business, in the same community for a while.

QUESTION: Did Dennis indicate that Manson wanted to see you?

ANSWER: No, he didn't.

QUESTION: Did Dennis indicate to you that he, Dennis, wanted you to see Manson?

ANSWER: No, not that I recall.

QUESTION: It was kind of a fortuitous meeting the first time?

ANSWER: I simply dropped by a friend's house and he was there.

QUESTION: Why did you go up to the ranch that day?

ANSWER: A friend of mine named Gregg Jakobson, who at one time had worked for me when I had, and I have a record production company; Jakobson had worked for me in the capacity as a talent scout and he used to cover the Los Angeles area and nightclubs, and whatever, and Jakobson had been calling me for a number of weeks saying that there was a musical act quite out of the ordinary that I may be interested in seeing and hearing and he asked if I might come to their ranch because there were too many of them to come to my office.

QUESTION: So you understood that Jakobson knew Manson?

ANSWER: I'm sure he did, yes.

QUESTION: After you heard Manson's performance out at the ranch did you indicate to Jakobson that you were not interested in Manson?

ANSWER: I'm not certain whether or not I made any statement like that, I may have. It wasn't -- it wasn't the ordinary talent audition.

QUESTION: Well, the purpose why you went to the ranch was to see Manson perform, is that correct?

ANSWER: Right.

QUESTION: And if he performed to your satisfaction perhaps some type of a business relationship could have been entered into, is that correct?

ANSWER: That is correct.

QUESTION: Now, a business relationship between you and Manson did not come into existence, is that correct?

ANSWER: That is correct.

QUESTION: And that is because you were not particularly impressed with Manson, is that correct?

ANSWER: I wasn't impressed enough to allot the time necessary.

QUESTION: Did you communicate this to any third party that you were not impressed with Charlie Manson?

ANSWER: I suppose sometime after that I did communicate that to Gregg Jakobson.

QUESTION: Did Manson ever ask you what you thought of his performance?

ANSWER: I don't recall. I think after hearing them sing a dozen or so songs I may have singled one out and said "That's a nice song," just to be polite. When someone performs for you, you don't wan't to simply not respond to their whole presentation, and to be polite I probably said something. Usually that is what I say.

QUESTION: Did Manson seem to be irritated with you in any respect at any time?

ANSWER: No, he didn't and there were all those people wandering around and I gave them $50.00, which is all I had with me, so that they could buy some food.

MR. BUGLIOSI: No further questions.

MR. STOVITZ: That is all. Thank you very much.

THE FOREMAN: Any questions that any members of the Jury would like to ask the witness? You are admonished not to discuss or impart at any time outside of this Jury Room the questions that have been asked of you in regard to this matter, or your answers, until authorized by this Grand Jury or the Court to discuss or impart such matters. You may be excused.

THE WITNESS: Yes.

MR. STOVITZ: He may discuss it with counsel if he wants to.

THE FOREMAN: If you have a counsel you can discuss it with your counsel.

THE WITNESS: Yes. Thank you.

 

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