From the Los Angeles Times, September 10, 1975:
Fromme Called, Talked of Violence, L.A. Judge Says
By Robert Fairbanks and William Endicott
Times Staff Writers
SACRAMENTO—A Los Angeles judge said Tuesday that Lynette (Squeaky) Fromme, the would-be-assassin of President Ford, called him at home six or eight weeks ago, talked about killing and warned that she was about to do something desparate.
Superior Judge Raymond Choate, who presided over Charles Manson's second murder trial, said he thought she was threatening him and his family but could not be sure.
The Choate phone call was one of several new pieces of information that became public Tuesday as law enforcement officials continued their investigation of last Friday's assassination attempt outside the state Capitol.
A former Manson trial attorney, Daye Shinn, told the Associated Press Tuesday that Fromme told him that she never intended to shoot Mr. Ford when she pointed a gun at him.
Shinn quoted Fromme as saying, "I wasn't going to shoot him. I just wanted to get some attention for a new trial for Charlie and the girls.
Shinn, a Los Angeles attorney who represented Susan Atkins in the Manson trial, said he was in Sacramento on personal business and visited Fromme in county jail there Monday.
Also disclosed Tuesday was the identity of the man who owns the President [sic] and said he had loaned the gun to her because she said she needed it for protection.
He was said to be "nervous as a cat."
The Times, after obtaining a copy of a letter Fromme had written to Choate last June, learned of her threats in a telephone interview with the judge.
Choate said he reported Fromme's phone call and the letter to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and was interviewed later by officers from the Sheriff's Department.
A spokesman for the sheriff's Information Bureau said Fromme's letter to the judge and her conversation with him demonstrated the same "rambling" characteristics that were typical of the Manson family members.
He said the judge did not indicate his feelings that there had been any specific or general threat and that the Sheriff's Department took the information "to keep abreast of their (Manson clan) activities."
However, he said, after the assassination attempt last week, the Secret Service asked all law enforcement agencies for information on the Manson family and the Choate report was sent to it.
Choate spoke only in response to questions from The Times and made clear that he meant no criticism of any law enforcement officials.
"It's so unpredicatable," he said, speaking of the Manson clan's activity.
Also, Tuesday the FBI and state prison officials said there was no evidence indicating that Manson, who is in San Quentin Prison, or anyone else was linked directly with Fromme's attempt on the President's life.
An FBI spokesman said a search of Fromme's belongings, taken from the Sacramento apartment she shared with another of the Manson girls, indicated that she acted alone. He said the FBI expected no other arrests.
State prison officials said they kept no copies of Manson's correspondence with Fromme but persons who read the letters could recall nothing that would indicate his involvement with the crime.
Choate sentenced Manson to life in prison in December, 1971, for the 1969 murders of musician Gary Hinamn and rench hand Donald Shea. At the time, which was after the Tate-LaBianca trial, Choate called Manson a "whining, complaining delinquent and a small-time car thief with an aversion to work."
Choate confirmed that he had received a four-page, handwritten and sometimes incomprehensible letter from Fromme last June, in which she recalled meeting him and getting a donut during the Hinman-Shea trial.
According to Choate, she tried often during the trial to arrange a private meeting with him, but he refused. However, he said, he once talked with her briefly before his clerk and bailiff.
Choate said he could recall little of the conversation, except that she talked about the trial and that he offered her one of the donuts that his clerk had just brought in.
Also, he said, "someone, either the clerk or I, said she should stop following that man (Manson) and get herself straightend out.
However, the meeting apparently had considerable significance to Fromme. In her letter to Choate last June, she said that Manson had asked her to visit the judge.
"...he told me that I was you and you would see yourself. He has said before the judge is a 'deadhead' who reflects the opinions of others," the letter said.
Fromme said in the letter that she wanted to convince the judge that Manson should go free. But, she indicated, she failed and it was her own fault.
"I can't sleep much until they right my wrong. Five years ago I could have shown you why this poisoned world needs Manson, but I was a lie."
"Five years ago I could have spoken to you of what is new upon this world--but I was in fear. I could have shown you his spirit and begged for his life as it is my own."
"Instead, I played father-daughter game with you and took my rebellious child opinion and sent him to prison with it. My own judgement is heavy for this and I realize it more each day. I buried Manson in my own fear," the letter said.
Choate said he thought little about the letter until one evening about a month or so later when Fromme called him at home.
Choate said she asked about him and his children (he has four) and asked how he felt about "all this killing."
When he asked what killing she meant, she talked of the killing in Vietnam and the "killing of the ecology," he said.
At that point, Choate continued, she explained the call.
"She said she wanted to talk to me because she was going to do something desperate. At first, I thought she meant she was going to kill herself, but she specifically said she didn't mean suicide."
Choate said he quickly reported her call to the district attorney's office, which referred it to the Sheriff's Department.
Choate said he told an officer who interviewed him that he thought she was threatening him and his family but could not be sure.
(He recalled that Fromme and Sandra Good, her roommate in Sacramento, had called his home often during the Hinman-Shea trial and that he had been furnished a bodyguard.)
Choate said he told the interviewing oficers:
"I felt she was capable of violent activity but she was so unpredictable that it's imposible to imagane what that activity might be.
Choate said he also tried to get some information from Fromme about her current activities. He said she told him that she was in Sacramento, that Manson was no longer at Folsom State Prison (about 15 miles from Sacramento) and that it was becoming more and more difficult to keep in touch with him.
Boro, described by sources as a "sugar daddy" to Fromme and other members of the Manson clan living in Sacramento, was staying with a son in Jackson, about 50 miles southeast of here. He refused to talk to reporters, saying that he had been instructed by the FBI to make no comment.
But former neighbors of Boro in Sacramento said Fromme visited him several times and he apparently loaned his Cadillac to her and bought her a 1973 Volkswagon after she wrecked the Cadilac.
Sandra Good, 31, a fellow Manson cultist who shared an apartment with Fromme in a residential neighborhood just a few blocks from the Capitol, turned aside questions by a Times reporter about the group's relationship with Boro.
"I am just blank on that," she said, "I'm just blank. I'm just saying nothing, absolutely nothing."
Boro, a grandfather, is a retired civilian engineering draftsman from McClellan Air Force Base, where he worked for 32 years. He moved to the Gold Rush town of Jackson a month ago after living for more than three years in a garage apartment on a tree-lined street in the north area of Sacramento.
Brandon Campbell, son of Boro's former landlady, Mrs. Kathryn Wilson, recalled that Boro once referred to an "antique gun" he had in his apartment. He described Boro as "a real nice guy." He said Boro had several pictures of Fromme in the apartment.
Campbell said: "It's goofy to me. I'm at a complete loss. I'm sure the old dude didn't have anything to do with it (the attempt on the President's life)."
Sarah Bjornson, a former neighbor, said Boro was "an old crab." She said, "I saw a young girl over there once--maybe a couple of times. I really don't know what she looked like. The only time he ever came over here was to complain about my dog barking."
An aunt, Mildred Boro, told an Associated Press reporter in Jackson that Boro was born in the samll, century-old Sierra foothill community. He was divorced.
"He's a very quiet man and never was interested in women or anything," she said. "We sure didn't expect to hear anything like this about him."
The relationship between Boro and Fromme appeared to bear a similarity to the Manson clan's onetime dependance on blind, 80-year-old George Spahn, who allowed them to live at his ranch in Chatsworth, near Los Angeles.
They were living at the Chatsworth ranch when the Tate-LaBiance murders occured in 1969.
At Manson's trial, clan members testified that Fromme was delegated to take care of Spahn and make sure he did not become displeased with the group.
The report by Jack Anderson said authorities consider Boro harmless and doubt he knew Fromme was a member of the Manson clan. Anderson said she used "feminine wiles" to elicit favors from Boro.
Keyes would only say that Fromme and Boro were friends. He said no charges against Boro are contemplated.
Boro is expected to testify today before a federal grand jury which will hear the government's case against Fromme. She is expected to be indicted on a federal charge of attempting to kill the President.
The gun, according to sources in the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department, was manufactured for the military in 1914 and apparently was used in World War I and later sold as surplus.
Boro reportedly bought it from a friend and had described it to friends as a "World War II keepsake."
The weapon had four bullets in its clip but none in the firing chamber when it was pointed at the President last Friday as he shook hands with well-wishers along a sidewalk in Capitol Park.
Although Anderson quoted sources as saying Boro demonstrated to Fromme how the gun operated, the speculation is that she did not realize she had to cock the weapon before it would fire and that might have saved the President's life.
Federal officials are conducting a hand search of reacords in an effort to fill in the blanks on the gun's history after World War I. The state has no record of it being sold in California, according to officials.
FBI officials said Tuesday they had been aware of an interview by Fromme with the Associated Press in July in which she and other Manson followers were upset with the President because they believed he was continuing the same economic and social policies of his predecessor, Richard M. Nixon.
Paul Young, special agent in charge of the Sacramento FBI office, said the interview "was common knowledge" among intelligence personnel in Sacramento but the FBI "had no legal basis for coming in contact with these girls... Local authorities had them under surveillance... They were not in violation of any federal laws."
A Secret Service spokesman earlier said Fromme's name was not among those on a computer list of "people to watch for" in terms of a potential threat to the President.
Philip D. Guthrie, public information officer for the state Department of Corrections, said Manson and Fromme wrote each other frequently.
"We do not religiously read every word," he said. "We leaf through to see if anything jumps out at you. Nothing that has come to light in their correspondence suggests any kind of orders from Manson."
Guthrie said the letters ranged from "very conventional" to long, rambling and disjointed treatises on social protest and the environment.
Asked if the two might have been writing in code, he replied that it was "always possible" but prison officials have no reason to believe that was the case.