Trial By Your Peers is out of print. It is long. It is one of the first, if not THE first, books written on the case. It has more typos and sloppy layout than a professional book should have, but fewer in total than a single page of a Bill Nelson book. It is published by Girodias Associates. A quick Google lends one to think the company published this book and a few others and then went under. The cover could not be less imaginatively designed or less attention grabbing if two three year olds had made it out of construction paper. It’s also the most fun I had this week.
I had read the book maybe twice before but never this closely. It is really TWO books in one. In the main throughline, Juror-Author (as he refers to himself many times) William Zamora, a six foot two, good-looking (he describes his looks about 20 times in the book) Nicaraguan immigrant decides to do his duty and sit as a juror in the Charles Manson Murder Trial. We learn about all the hardships (only one free cocktail a night!) the jurors suffered during sequestration. We go behind the scenes during deliberations.
The other book is trial transcripts, restructured for easy reading. MUCH trial transcript- like literally three or four times what we have in the Bug’s book. If you pay close attention you can learn that according to Judas Kasabian they called the kids “elks”; that they hung string things near their waterfall encampment that they called “witchy things”; that Linda actually thought she was a witch while at Spahn and called herself “Yana”… and so on.
In the main book, we learn about
The biggest discovery in this section is that
In the trial transcript section (and follow me, it is not a book in two sections- they are mixed up in a jumble which makes it very hard to follow) if one pays close attention one can pick up some MAJOR shit. At the end of one day Kasabian testifies that Charlie told her to HIDE Rosemary LaBianca’s wallet inside a toilet; early the next day, I am sure after Bug prep, she states that Charlie told her simply to leave it in the bathroom. Also later in the book one gets the sense that Fitzgerald (one of the attorneys) is making a great case but is being undermined by Kanarek. Finally, one gets the sense that STOVITZ was actually the brilliant prosecutor, eventually replaced by Bug, and that Stovitz doesn’t support some of the Bug’s crazy theories.
Oh yeah, back to the review- the book is interesting as a relic, superseded by the fact strewn lunacy of Sanders’ THE FAMILY and the novel fairy tale of the Bug’s own HELTER SKELTER. I find it AMAZING and HIPOCRITICAL that
Since I have been transferring all my Aes-Nihil tapes to DVD I have gotten to see
In 1976, riding on the coattails of the Bug’s book, TRIAL BY YOUR PEERS was re-issued as a paperback with a lurid, derivative cover and the title BLOOD FAMILY. It seems to be the same book. It doesn’t seem like it sold that well, because copies are hard to find. Good.
Mr. Zamora, you sent people to the gas chamber because you didn’t like their lawyer. Wherever you are, know that we laugh at your ploy for the spotlight and know that your rubbish book is all but forgotten.
BOOK ABOUT THE JURORS * (OUT OF *****)
BOOK OF TRIAL TRANSCRIPTS ** (OUT OF *****)