Charles Manson’s one-time defense attorney was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation Monday after he burst through a security door into a deputy district attorney’s office in Torrance and resisted police officers who tried to remove him, authorities said.
Irving A. Kanarek was taken to Los Angeles County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after the unexplained outburst at about 8 a.m., Torrance police said. Hospital officials declined to describe Kanarek’s condition or to confirm that he had been admitted.
The 69-year-old lawyer gained acclaim when he represented Manson at his trial in 1970 and 1971 for the murder of actress Sharon Tate and six others. Kanarek also defended Jimmy Lee Smith, one of two men convicted in the celebrated killing of a Los Angeles police officer in an onion field near Bakersfield.
After rushing through a security door that had been opened for an employee, Kanarek burst into the office of Deputy Dist. Atty. Jim Pregerson, authorities said. “He just said, ‘Pregerson, Pregerson! Help me!’ There was some urgency in his voice,” said Pregerson, who had tried a case against Kanarek more than 20 years ago.
Kanarek was arrested after he refused demands by police and sheriff’s deputies to leave the building.
The incident occurred as the State Bar of California prepared to take control of Kanarek’s practice in Orange County, after the veteran criminal defense lawyer said that personal problems made it impossible for him to practice law, a state bar spokesman said.
“He is terribly upset by a devastating divorce,” said George Denny, Kanarek’s attorney. “He has two small children and is terribly distressed over what has occurred in his life at this point.”