Charles Herman Older, 88, the Los Angeles Superior Court judge who presided over the murder trial of Charles Manson, died Saturday of complications from a fall, said his longtime friend and former law partner, Edward Cazier.
Judge Older had been on the bench only a few years when he was handed the highly publicized case. Manson and three of his followers - Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten - were tried for the 1969 cult killings of actress Sharon Tate, Leno and Rosemary La Bianca and four others.
One day, Manson tried to attack Judge Older.
"He presided over the trial in a very firm, dignified way, and he tried to be fair to both sides, with no preexisting bias," said Vincent Bugliosi, the Manson trial prosecutor who wrote a book about the case.
After the trial, Judge Older sent a Los Angeles Times reporter to jail for refusing to reveal the source for a story he wrote on the case.
That move ultimately resulted in the strengthening of the state's shield law for reporters.