From the Los Angeles Times, September 6, 1975:
“Squeaky” Has History of Trouble With Law
By Gene Blake
Times Legal Affairs Writer
Lynette Alice (Squeaky) Fromme, thwarted Friday in an assassination attempt on President Ford, was a familiar figure at the 1970 Los Angeles murder trial for her idol—Charles Manson.
She was one of several Manson “family” members who kept a vigil outside the Hall of Justice, vowing to wait until their “father” was released. Each carried a sheathed knife in plain view.
And their foreheads were scratched with an “X”, following the lead of Manson, who had appeared similarly branded in court. He explained he was “X-ing myself out of the world”.
It became a ritual for new disciples joining the group—even to tasting the blood as it ran down their faces.
Although unofficial family leader while the “father” was in jail, Fromme had not been charged in the seven Tate-LaBianca murders for which Manson and three of his other girls were convicted.
But she managed to get in plenty of other trouble with the law—a point raised Friday by Atty. Gen. Evelle J. Younger. Nevertheless, her name never came to the attention of the Secret Service.
“You and I know she has been a problem for law enforcement for a long time,” Younger said.
Asked how Friday’s incident could happen when law enforcement officers knew of Fromme’s proclivities and anti-Establishment behavior, Younger replied: “I don’t know—but I’m going to find out.”
Fromme, now 26, was among six Manson family members arrested during the 1970 murder trial on charges of loitering, endangering public safety and failing to identify themselves in connection with their sidewalk vigil.
After warnings or at most a few days in jail, they were back at their old stand at N. Broadway and Temple St. and police finally let them alone.
Later, Fromme was one of the five Manson followers indicted on charges of conspiring to prevent another family member from testifying against Manson. She pleaded “no contest” to reduced charges and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
The plot involved giving a witness, Barbara Hoyt, a hamburger laced with LSD in Honolulu.
Fromme also was arrested in connection with aiding the escape of a family member jailed for a robbery but that charge was dropped.
Still later, she was jailed for contempt of court for refusing to take the witness stand and answer questions without causing a disruption in another court proceeding.
She had been called as a defense witness in the penalty phase of Manson’s trial for the slayings of Gary Hinman and Donald (Shorty) Shea.
But her most serious trouble was yet to come. In 1972, Fromme was charged with murder, along with four companions, in the Stockton slaying of 19-year-old Lauren Chavelle Willett.
The victim’s body had been buried in a basement. The headless body of the victim’s husband, ex-Marine James Willett, 26, had been unearthed shortly before in Sonoma County.
But after spending nearly three months in jail as a suspect in the Stockton murder and a Granada Hills robbery, Fromme was cleared of both charges and freed.
While testifying in Manson’s behalf, Fromme said she was one of the first girls to join the family, only months after Manson was released from prison in 1967.
She had come from a well-to-do Santa Monica family. Her father was an aeronautical engineer. She attended El Camino College for a time but dropped out.
She testified that life with Manson was an existence without rules, a timeless game of make-believe and love.
“Charlie is in love with love and I’m in love with love and so we are in love with each other,” she explained.
Telling of life with the Manson family on the Spahn movie ranch in Chatsworth and in Death Valley, Fromme said: “When you don’t have any philosophy you don’t have any rules. You might call that an Alice in Wonderland world but it makes sense. You get what you put out.”
Red-haired and freckled, Fromme was plain looking with a tiny voice from which the “Squeaky” nickname derived. She indicated this played a part in her unhappy life at home.
But her new life began one day when she was sitting in the street crying and Manson offered to take her with him, she recalled.
“A man walked up and said, ‘Your father kicked you out today,’ and that was Charlie,” she said. “No one had ever treated me like that before, not pushed me around, so I just picked up all my things and went.”
But why, of all people, someone like Manson?
“A dog goes to somebody who loves it and takes care of it,” she explained.