Barbara Hoyt (Witness)

(aka Barbara Whyer, Barbara Jeanne Lipsett, Barbara Rosenberg)

Barbara Hoyt

Barbara Jeanne Hoyt

Barbara Hoyt was born on December 27, 1951 in Seattle Washington. Prior to finishing high school she ran away from home at 17 years old traveling to Los Angeles, California. There she met a man nick-named “Karate Dave” at a house she was staying at on Gresham Street in Canoga Park. From there she followed Karate Dave and some others to Spahn Ranch where they became members of the Manson Family.

Barbara Hoyt turned state’s evidence as a witness for the prosecution in numerous trials against Charles Manson and the others; the Tate/Labianca murders and the murder of Donald Jerome “Shorty” Shea (People v. Manson, People v. David, and People v. Grogan). However, she was almost killed to prevent her testimony.

During the Tate/LaBianca murder trial Ruth Ann Moorehouse, AKA Ouisch, convinced Hoyt to take a fully paid trip to Hawaii, which she accepted. The trip was intended to keep her away from prosecutors who wanted to call her as a witness. A few days after arriving, Ruth Moorehouse poisoned her by putting ten hits of LSD in a hamburger. Hoyt was hospitalized yet survived. Hoyt then returned to California eager to testify, which she did.

Over the decades she remained a witness and friend to the Tate Family, showing up and writing-in for parole hearings of those convicted. She has provided information supporting the character and accountability of Leslie Van Houten during parole hearings, which in the past contributed to her remand in state prison. However, Hoyt’s accounts of the crimes, timelines and specific knowledge certain events have been called into question. For instance, Bruce Davis’s defense attorney George Denny said, “Barbara Hoyt will testify to anything,” while Steve Grogan’s defense attorney Charles Weedman remarked, “I frankly don’t believe 99 percent of her testimony.”

Barbara Hoyt died of Kidney Failure on December 3, 2017 at age 63.

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