• Last of Manson ‘Family’ Given Life in Prison

Last of Manson ‘Family’ Given Life in Prison

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 18 — Bruce McGregor Davis, 28-year-old member of the Charles Manson “family,” Monday was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Malibu musician Gary Hinman and Chatsworth ranch hand Donald (Shorty) Shea.

The formal sentencing by Superior Judge Raymond Choate marked the climax of the final murder prosecution involving Manson followers.

Manson, 37, and seven of his followers, including three young women, have now been found guilty of first degree murder.

Davis was convicted March 14 by an eight-man, four-woman jury after 12 days of deliberation.

Prior to imposing sentence Monday, Choate denied a motion for a new trial made by Davis’ attorney, George Denny.

A major basis for Denny’s motion was that Choate had “coerced” one woman juror, who was a long-time holdout in the deliberations.

Commenting on Davis’ part in the killings, the Judge stated:

“These were vicious murders indicating a depraved state of mind on the part of the defendant…I don’t want to give the impression that he was at all a dupe or the foil of Charles Manson. Davis is older than most of the youngsters who were led by Manson. He is more intelligent and educated and capable of independent reasoning. For reasons known only to him, he did not exercise this capability.”

Coprosecutors Stephen Kay and Anthony Manzella presented evidence during the four-month trial linking Davis to the two-day torture slaying of the 34-year-old Hinman in July, 1969, in his Topanga Canyon home.

They also convinced jurors that Davis participated in the killing of Shea, 35, sometime between Aug. 16 and Sept. 1, 1969, on the Spahn movie ranch near Chatsworth. Shea’s body has never been found.

Manson has been convicted for. both the Hinman and Shea murders.

Steve Grogan, 20, another member of the Manson clan, was found guilty of the Shea murder. Evidence presented during Grogan’s trial indicated he beheaded Shea with a machete.

A guilty verdict for Hinman’s murder was returned against 24 year-old Robert Beausoleil. He was the first ‘family” member to be convicted of homicide when the verdict was returned April 21, 1970.

Manson and the three women — Patricia Krenwinkel, 24; Susan Atkins, 23, and Leslie Van Houten, 21 —originally were given the death penalty March 29, 1971, for the Sharon Tate – Leno LaBianca murders but the state Supreme Court’s abolition of the death penalty apparently, nullified these sentences. Like Beausoleil, who had been sent to San Quentin’s Death Row, they are now expected to serve life terms.

The same is true of Charles (Tex) Watson, 25, who was sentenced to death Oct. 21, 1971, after a separate trial for the Tate-LaBianca murder committed in August, 1969.


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