Sketches of Crime

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Sketch artists were and are often used in court cases, especially in those were no media is allowed.

Below are some examples of court sketches from some very famous cases.

All White Jury Frees Klan Members,By Howard Brodie

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Civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo was shot and killed on March 25, 1965, as she drove African American civil rights marcher Leroy Moton in her car from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama. Four Ku Klux Klan members, Eugene Thomas, William Eaton, Collie Leroy Wilkins, Jr., and Thomas Rowe, Jr., were arrested and tried. Artist Howard Brodie drew the all-white, all-male jury that served at one of the multiple trials. While Rowe, an FBI informant, received immunity for his testimony, Thomas, Eaton and Wilkins, were acquitted in state trials. On December 3, 1965, the three men received ten-year sentences on a federal charge of conspiracy to deprive Liuzzo of her civil rights. As a result of Liuzzo’s death, President Johnson petitioned Congress to increase the scope of the Federal Conspiracy Act of 1870 to include the death of civil rights workers. Her death also helped raise support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act, Pub. L. 89-110.

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 Law Suits against Cigarette Manufacturers,By Marilyn Church

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Donald J. Cohn of Webster & Sheffield, a cigarette manufacturer’s counsel, is shown speaking to the jury in Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc., 683 F.Supp. 1487 (1988), in U.S. District Court D in New Jersey. Presiding Judge H. Lee Sarokin agreed with the defendants that affixing to their product the Surgeon General’s warning that cigarette smoking is dangerous to one’s health fulfilled the minimum requirement for cigarette manufacturers and that the plaintiff’s lawyers could not argue based on the advertiser’s implications that lower nicotine content is safer. Rose Cipollone had died but her family argued it up to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Cipollones lost their case, but the justices ruled during litigation that smokers might have other grounds to pursue claims against cigarette manufacturers under state laws.

O. J. Simpson  Civil Trial,by Bill Robles

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Unlike his well-publicized criminal trial, which was broadcast on television, O.J. Simpson’s civil trial was a quieter affair. Bill Robles drew the former football star during the civil court case on a day in which several witnesses elaborated on his late ex-wife’s attempts to end his stalking. When Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million to the families of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, he claimed to be broke and so they received comparatively little.

Larry Flynt vs Jerry Falwell,By Aggie Kenny

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Publisher Larry Flynt provoked a lawsuit for damages for satirizing televangelist Jerry Falwell in a fake Campari ad in Hustler magazine. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed in Hustler v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988), that a parody, which no reasonable person expected to be true, was protected free speech. The justices also stated that upholding the lower courts’ decisions would put all political satire at risk. Alan Isaacman defended Flynt before eight justices, as Justice Anthony Kennedy recused himself. Flynt (in a wheelchair) is isolated due to an outburst during a previous Supreme Court appearance in another libel case.

Helter Skelter,By Bill Robles

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In the more than nine months that Charles Manson was on trial for the murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, he grew increasingly agitated. On October 5, 1970, he quickly leaped from the defense table, pencil in hand, preparing to stab Justice Charles H. Older. Bill Robles captured Manson’s frenzied energy, which seemingly required all the might of the burly bailiff to restrain him. The pencil, still in motion, flies through the air toward the judge. By all accounts, Older did not even flinch. Walter Cronkite led off CBS Evening News that night with Robles’s drawing.

Trial of Michael Jackson,By Bill Robles

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In 2005, Michael Jackson faced trial in Santa Monica, California, on charges of molesting a teenager. He was found not guilty. After the trial Jackson said, “I haven’t been betrayed or deceived by children. Adults have let me down.” Artist Bill Robles found drawing at the trial a challenge—he endured the “Melville diet” named after Judge Rodney Melville who scheduled only three ten-minute breaks and no lunch. Robles had barely enough time to meet the network news truck to film his drawings before returning inside to draw again.

Son of Sam,By Joseph Papin

Son of Sam

David Berkowitz had terrorized New York City for a year, killing and injuring young couples out late at night and sending letters from the “Son of Sam” to New York Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin before he was captured. Appearing in court on May 22, 1978, for sentencing, Berkowitz exploded in the courtroom, shouting, “I’ll kill them all,” as guards escorted him out. The judge delayed his sentencing until June 12, when he was much calmer. Rather than face a jury trial, Berkowitz pled guilty. Joseph Papin’s drawing, which captured the criminal’s anguished mental breakdown so vividly, appeared on the cover of the New York Daily News.

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The Tate-LaBianca murders

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On the night of August 8, 1969, Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian were sent by Charlie to the old home of Terry Melcher at 10050 Cielo Drive. Their instructions were to kill everyone at the house and make it appear like Hinman’s murder, with words and symbols written in blood on the walls.

As Charlie Manson had said earlier in the day after choosing the group, “Now is the time for Helter Skelter.”

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What the group did not know was that Terry Melcher was no longer residing in the home and that it was being rented by film director Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate. Tate was two weeks away from giving birth and Polanski was delayed in London while  working on his film, The Day of the Dolphin. Because Sharon was so close to giving birth, the couple arranged for friends to stay with her until Polanski could get home.

After dining together at the El Coyote restaurant, Sharon Tate,  celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring, Folger coffee heiress Abigail Folger and her lover Wojciech Frykowski, returned to the Polanski’s home on Cleo Drive at around 10:30 p.m. Wojciech fell asleep on the living room couch, Abigail Folger went to her bedroom to read, and Sharon Tate and Sebring were in Sharon’s bedroom talking.

Just after midnight, Watson, Atkins, Krenwinkel, and Kasabian arrived at the house. Watson climbed a telephone pole and cut the phone line going to the Polanski’s house. Just as the group entered the estate grounds, they saw a car approaching. Inside the car was 18-year-old Steve Parent who had been visiting the property’s caretaker, William Garreston.

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As Parent approached the driveway’s electronic gate, he rolled down the window to reach out and push the gate’s button, and Watson descended on him, yelling at him to halt. Seeing that Watson was armed with a revolver and knife, Parent began to plead for his life. Unfazed, Watson slashed at Parent, then shot him four times, killing him instantly.

After murdering Parent, the group headed for the house. Watson told Kasabian to be on the lookout by the front gate. The other three family members entered the Polanski home. Charles “Tex” Watson went to the living room and confronted Frykowski who was asleep. Not fully awake, Frykowski asked what time it was and Watson kicked him in the head. When Frykowski asked who he was, Watson answered, “I’m the devil and I’m here to do the devil’s business.”

Susan Atkins went to Sharon Tate’s bedroom with a buck knife and ordered Tate and Sebring to go into the living room. She then went and got Abigail Folger. The four victims were told to sit on the floor. Watson tied a rope around Sebring’s neck, flung it over a ceiling beam, then tied the other side around Sharon’s neck. Watson then ordered them to lie on their stomachs. When Sebring voiced his concerns that Sharon was too pregnant to lay on her stomach, Watson shot him and then kicked him while he died.

Knowing now that the intent of the intruders was murder, the three remaining victims began to struggle for survival. Patricia Krenwinkel attacked Abigail Folger and after being stabbed multiple times, Folger broke free and attempted to run from the house. Krenwinkel followed close behind and managed to tackle Folger out on the lawn and stabbed her repeatedly.

Inside, Frykowski struggled with Susan Atkins when she attempted to tie his hands. Atkins stabbed him four times in the leg, then Watson came over and beat Frykowski over the head with his revolver. Frykowski somehow managed to escape out onto the lawn and began screaming for help.

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While the microbe scene was going on inside the house, all Kasabian could hear was screaming. She ran to the house just as Frykowski was escaping out the front door.

According to Kasabian, she looked into the eyes of the mutilated man and horrified at what she saw, she told him that she was sorry. Minutes later, Frykowski was dead on the front lawn.Watson shot him twice, then stabbed him to death.

Seeing that Krenwinkel was struggling with Folger, Watson went over and the two continued to stab Abigail mercilessly. According to killer’s statements later given to the authorities, Abigail begged them to stop stabbing her saying, “I give up, you’ve got me”, and “I’m already dead”.

The final victim at 10050 Cielo Drive was Sharon Tate. Knowing that her friends were likely dead, Sharon begged for the life of her baby. Unmoved, Atkins held Sharon Tate down while Watson stabbed her multiple times, killing her. Atkins then used Sharon’s blood to write “Pig” on a wall. Atkins later said that Sharon Tate called out for her mother as she was being murdered and that she tasted her blood and found it “warm and sticky.”

According to the autopsy reports, 102 stab wounds were found on the four victims.

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The next day Manson, Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Steve Grogan, Leslie Van Houten, and Linda Kasabian went to the home of Leno and Rosemary Labianca. Manson and Watson tied up the couple and Manson left. He told Van Houten and Krenwinkel to go in and kill the LaBiancas. The three separated the couple and murdered them, then had dinner and a shower and hitchhiked back to Spahn Ranch. Manson, Atkins, Grogan and Kasabian drove around looking for other people to kill but failed.

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Manson targeted people with whom he was directly or indirectly associated. They were all attacked in their residences. The only victim Manson is known to have attacked personally is Bernard Crowe, who was shot, but survived. The other victims were attacked by his followers and were usually viciously stabbed several times. A few were also shot with a .22 Hi Standard “Buntline Special” revolver