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Thursday, May 28th, 2015
MR. PART: This is 3 p.m. in the afternoon, and Leslie Van Houten and myself, Marvin L. Part, her court-appointed attorney, are sitting in a private room at the Sybil Brand Institute. And I’m going to ask Leslie some questions, and she’s going to give me some answers.
Leslie, we’ve had previous interviews that have not been recorded, and I want —
(A hiatus occurs in tape.)
MISS VAN HOUTEN: “You were only waiting for this moment to arrive.”
And then, “Have you seen the little piggies.”
And at the end of the song it had like tat tat tat tat tat tat tat, like the sound of a machine gun.
And then further on in the album it had Helter Skelter. And it’s, “When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide; then I turn around and I go for a ride,” and it’s coming down fast, “Helter Skelter.”
And also then the revelations — Revolutions 9.
And then when we read in the Bible, it said about the four-headed locusts. And it just described the Beatles so perfectly.
MR. PART: You say Revolutions 9.
Did you read anything — any title in the Bible that you thought might have been the Beatles’ song Revolutions 9?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah.
We looked up Revelation in — in the New Testament, and in the Bible we read Revelations, and it talked about a four-headed locust that would have hair of woman and mouths of lions and faces of man and a shield of protective armor.
And we thought it was like the guitars, because their album, when we would listen to it on acid, would say so much more.
And someone even told me one time about how it was made to erase certain parts of your mind, the way they got their different electric currents going together in their music.
And revelation — Revolutions 9 is just mostly a song of sounds. And it has “Rise,” and it would — it says stuff like they are standing still, and as time goes on they get a little bit older and a little bit slower.
And we believed that once you were perfect in your mind you didn’t age any more. There was no getting old.
MR. PART: Then, did you believe that the Beatles were the four-headed locust and a prophet?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Uh-huh, I believed it.
And also they sing a song, “You Know that What You Eat You Are, What is sweet Now Turns So Sour.”
And Revelations 10 is when an angel comes out with one foot on the sea and one foot on the land, and he said to some guy, “Eat this book that — and it will taste sweet in your mouth, but when it gets in your stomach it will be so sour.”
Like in and out of the album, they’ve got parts of the Revelations in the Bible throughout it. All right?
I believed that they were.
MR. PART: Now, I believe you told me that during the time that you were at the Gresham Street address everybody was on acid trips. Is that correct?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Uh-huh. We were taking acid a lot, and just listening to the album to more or less —
Well, see, when we came back to the city it was only to start, only to start —
MR. PART: Excuse me; let me interrupt. Don’t, don’t put your finger over the microphone.
Go back to what you were saying. But I want you to — I think you told me in the past that you thought you heard the Beatles sing Charlie’s name.
Could you elaborate on that.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yes.
In the Revolutions 9 there is a part where the women are singing, “Your home is where you’re happy.”
And in the one part, if you listen on another track, it sounds like they are saying “Charlie.”
You know, just — I don’t know how many times they do it; just once, I think.
And then that’s when the songs he’d written many years ago was — “Your Home is Where You’re Happy.”
And there were just little things in and out.
Like they were calling for their monkey. And a long time ago we used to call Charlie the monkey.
You know, just all kinds of little things that made it seem real to us to connect the Beatles with us.
And so — because Charles is the type of person he is, like he’s out front with people. And a lot of people had a hard time seeing him or looking at him. And that’s another line that the Beatles said, “He’s got to be good looking ’cause he’s so hard to see.” Because so many people couldn’t even look at him.
But we — after that, we started decide — seeing where we were in this position, because we knew that we were part of this Revolutions — of the Revelations in the Bible. We knew that we had a part in it.
And so we read, and it talked about a hole in the desert or going to the Kingdom.
We found out — we started looking into the Death Valley, what’s underneath Death Valley, and we found out there was the Armagosa River and blind fish and all kinds of things that just made us believe that there was a whole world underneath. And that some of the Montezuma’s people are already under there waiting for us.
And that what would happen is that about a couple thousand of the chosen people — white people — would go down into the center of the earth and stay there for about fifty years. And then there would Athens or — I can’t remember all the names, but something was going to happen. And then we were going to come back up.
And this was when we — the earth would be all black.
MR. PART: First thing is wouldn’t you be pretty old by that time; and second thing is why was the earth going to be all black?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: No, we wouldn’t. We wouldn’t be old, because we wouldn’t age.
Because to go into the hole, you would have to be perfect in your mind and in your body.
And so it would be black just meaning that there would be no more white people,up on the earth. They would all be wiped out completely.
And, let’s see. And I was going to say something else, but I can’t remember what it was.
Oh, yeah. And the Beatles saying that after the Revolutions song they say, “Now the moon begins to shine,’ you know, “Good night, sleep tight.”
It’s almost like a lullaby for everyone — for all the right people having their karma to be completed.
MR. PART: What do you mean by the word “karma”? I think you used it twice.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: It’s used in India, and it’s just so — it’s like, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
Like, “What you put out you get back.”
Like, we, — we being the white man — have put out a lot of pressures on other groups, like the Indians when we first came over, and the slavery on the black man.
And we’re going to get it back, and the time has come to get it back because the cities and everything is moving at such a high speed that it’s going to break.
That’s what I mean by “the karma.”
MR. PART: Now, how were you supposed to get down to the center of the earth?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, we hadn’t quite figured it out yet. We were looking for the hole.
That’s what we were doing in the desert with the dune buggies. And that’s why we needed more dune buggies.
And we were — we had a good idea that it was in the Death Valley area, but we weren’t sure just where.
And we weren’t quite — we weren’t quite sure of how it was going to work, where we’re going to get in there.
But maybe it was going to be rigged up from someone who’d gone down before, that it would have water on the top and then like the water would like move away — go away somehow by some kind of mechanism.
And if we played around the hole enough that went down there, we’d find it out.
And then we could just walk down it and then we’d have to float down a river, one of the rivers, and then it would take us down and take about — I think about two weeks, we figured it out, to get down to the center.
And then once we got to the center we’d be tiny, and everything would be great big, magnified, like the pearls.
It talks about the pearls. There’d be giant pearls, and we’d be just little tiny, about maybe five inches compared to everything else.
MR. PART: You say it talks about the pearls.
Who talks about the pearls?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: At the end of Revelations, in the very last book, almost to the last page, it says that the kingdom will have giant pearls.
I don’t know who said it — I don’t know who wrote it — but it talks about that, and gold everywhere.
MR. PART: Now, you say that you all used to sit around Gresham and the desert and talk about this philosophy of going down to the center of the earth.
Could you name some of the people that used to talk about it?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Gypsy and Brenda and myself and Katie and Charles and Tex and Clem and Snake and Rachel.
There was — we’re the ones that usually talked about it the most. Sadie did sometimes; but I don’t know if she actually believed it or not.
But all the rest of us, we really believed it.
MR. PART: Now, to go out to the desert in Death Valley and find this hole that was going to lead you to the center of the earth you needed dune buggies; is that right?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Uh-huh.
MR. PART: Now, where were you going to get the dune buggies?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, we’d boughten four of them, and then they got taken away. So we started just taking them.
MR. PART: Now, I remember in one of our conversations we were talking about the Hinman murder.
There was something that you said about Hinman and dune buggies.
Could you tell me what that was?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: We had — I — just from talk — I didn’t know too much about what was going on; but from talk, he was wealthy. And with the money he gave us, we were going to get dune buggies.
But he never gave us any money.
MR. PART: Okay.
Now, is that all that you can think of, or all that you remember, about this philosophy about going to the center of the earth?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I think so right at the time.
MR. PART: Now, you said something about thinking that Charlie is or was Jesus.
Do you still believe that; and, if you do, was there anything that he ever said or did that made you believe it?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah, I still believe he is. And, you know, I can’t say it in words. Only that he’s almost not even human.
I mean, you know, he’s got his body and all, but he’s gentle. I mean he’s everything. He’s just everything at once.
It’s hard, you know, I can’t even almost explain him. You know? And like —
And it’s like he has no ego, meaning — you know.
Do you know what ego is?
it’s faces that we put on for each other.
And he has none of that. He’s just a person.
And, well, it’s so hard to explain why I believe he is, but I know he is.
MR. PART: Now, did he ever say anything about being Jesus except for what you just told me?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: He used to — he used to say, “I see too much; I see what’s happening, and I don’t want it; I don’t want to be in this position.”
He’d say,”I wish someone else would.”
He’d say, “I — I know that I died on the cross before.”
He told us about a suicide — dream sort of, like acid trip he had one time. This was when he first got out after his seven years.
And he — he said that all of a sudden he was being he was carrying the cross again, and he was being nailed on it.
And Mary, the first girl that was ever with him, was crying at his feet.
And he said he felt it all over again, and he knew, you know, that he had died. See.
And if you, if you could give up your personality and your ego and be willing to die, then you were already dead; that the body didn’t mean anything.
MR. PART: Now, you say “Mary.” Are you talking about the Mary Brunner, the girl that was with him?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yes, I’m talking about Mary.
MR. PART: So when you say that he had the dream, or the whatever it was, after an acid trip, that he was again nailed to the cross, the Mary that was with him is the Mary that we all know now as Mary Brunner; is that right?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Um-hmm, yes, uh-huh.
And so one time I had an acid trip like that. He said that, he said that he died and everybody wrote about it, and that they are using him as they do, you know, Jesus, so holy and so great, because they didn’t, they didn’t go when he went.
But he said all his true followers went with him. In other words, they said, “If you, if you crucified him you’re going to crucify us, too.”
And so I was in Hollywood one time and I had an acid trip and I, and I was up on the cross.
It sounds far out, but I was, for real. I was feeling them do it. And I could feel the knife or the sword when it went in, too.
I know that he is. You know, I believe that he’s Christ. I never would deny it.
MR. PART: Now, as you know, Charles Manson, along with yourself and a lot of others, are in great jeopardy in this trial.
And there are many indications that if Manson is convicted of these first degree murders, that he may die in the gas chamber.
Have you ever had any thoughts that perhaps this would be like a second crucification?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah, many times.
MR. PART: Tell me about it.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, it seems strange that it would happen again, seeing as he already died once; but if it did it would be all right; because what we did was because of this part of the plan that we have no control of.
MR. PART: Now that you mentioned “the plan that we have no control of,” tell me what you mean.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, it seemed like after we knew what was going to come down we tried talking to leaders, you know, black leaders, and we saw that they were stalling.
And it was almost as though we had to make the first move for it to continue to develop, to get bigger so that it would happen because the black man loves us so much that he would be our slave and do everything we said, let us beat him and mistreat him for so many years that he almost doesn’t want to do what he has to do, but he sees that he has to do it.
And so it was up to us to start it.
MR. PART: Now, you say that you talked to some black leaders.
Who were these black leaders?
And you say it was up to us to start it.
Now, what do you mean by starting it?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I don’t know. All I know is his name is John and he — he’s pretty big in government.
And I don’t know. He may not be, you know. But we thought he was.
And starting — starting it was that — to just start killing people. Because it’s going to be blood for blood.
MR. PART: Now, did you believe that the — that the black people would to have to start killing the white people?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: No, it wouldn’t be that way.
White man would kill white man. The black man would sort of be there, too, helping him along.
Because we — it was — it’s like white man is divided, you know. We aren’t united in our thoughts. And the black man is more together. They are more one in their thoughts, you know.
They’re — they’d — in here I’ve gotten a lot of talk about how they call each other sister and each other brother. But very seldom do two white girls say, “Hey, sister,’ you know.
They greet you when you come in, you know. Say, “Say, sister, come on in. Want a cigarette?” You know.
They don’t do that.
And so white man would kill white man for their beliefs. If they didn’t believe the same, they’re going to knock each other off.
And then black man would be there to sort of help them.
Crawling in the night.
MR. PART: Well, how were you going to start the this revolution?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: By killing.
MR. PART: Could you explain that?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: By doing a murder that had no sense behind it, and by putting words that would make people scared.
Because the more fearful the people get, the more frantic it will get, and the faster it will happen.
MR. PART: Now, I’m going to get — now that we’ve learned the theory I’m going to start talking about specific events.
Will you tell us starting what you know about the Hinman murder, then switch to what you know about the Tates and after that to what you know about the LaBiancas.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Okay.
I knew that three of us — Do you want me to give the names? — Bobby and Mary and Sadie went to Gary Hinman’s to get some money. And anything else he had. And him.
And if he wouldn’t — and if he wouldn’t come, they were going to kill him.
And he didn’t come.
But they were there for a lot of days. And they would call up, and they were real scared and everything.
And Charles went over there one night to tell them to, you know, relax, because he could — he could keep his cool.
But I would never call him villainous, even though all this has happened.
And then he came back, and about the next day I think the rest came back, and they said that they had killed him.
MR. PART: Who said that?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Sadie. Sadie came in grinning saying, “We killed him.”
And then I asked her what it was like, you know; and she just said that it was real weird and he made funny noises.
MR. PART: All right.
There’s been some talk that at one time Charlie Manson had gone over there and cut off Hinman’s ear.
Would you comment on that if you know anything about it; and also would you comment on anything that Sadie or Bobby Beausoleil said about the actual killing.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah. Charlie went over there —
I heard from someone — I don’t remember who — that Charlie had gone over there and cut off Gary’s ear, and that he had come back.
That’s when I said, in just a little bit before, when Charlie went over there that’s what happened.
And I guess that all I ever really heard about it was they had a hard time killing him; that he wouldn’t die, and that —
I don’t even remember who actually did the killing or not. I never got that straight.
MR. PART: You told me once that Sadie was always around sharpening knives, and that after Hinman had died she could hardly wait till the next time.
Could you elaborate on that.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, Sadie was always more or less the rougher of us girls.
You know, she was always up front. In fact, she Beatles had a song about her called “Sexy Sadie.”
And that song just fit her so perfect, you know.
And after that — Well, we were all almost fascinated by the thought of killing people just because we’d been, you know, taught to stay away from it and nobody knows about death, really, you know.
And when she came back she was almost infatuated by it. She kept sharpening the knives, getting them real sharp.
And she was always wanting to go creepy crawl and, you know, get credit cards or do this and that.
She always wanted to be in on the murders. She liked to be in on the rough stuff that Charlie would have us do.
MR. PART: Okay. Now, tell us about, about the Tates, and then go to the LaBiancas.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, I don’t, I don’t really remember how I learned exactly that the Tates had been done.
I can’t remember knowing before they left that they were going to go do that.
I know that Charlie came in to Katie and I –we were sitting in taking care of the babies — and this was that night; and he said something about, “Do you see why I believe that we have to kill?”
And we both said, “Yes,” you know, “we see.”
He said, “Do you want to do it?”
And we said, we said, “No, but we know that it has to be done; so,yes.”
You know, in other words, we didn’t want to go out and actually like do somebody in, but it had, it had to be done; and we were the only ones that saw that it had to be done.
So I went on to sleep, and Katie did, too.
And then Charlie came in and woke her up, and I didn’t know why, but I sort of had an idea it was to go do some, you know, knock somebody off.
And then the next morning Sadie was watching the news, I think. Somehow I found out that they had done it.
Oh, no. I asked Katie, and she told me.
MR. PART: What did she say?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: She said that — that they had murdered five people; that they didn’t know there were going to be that many at the house; and they didn’t know who the people were; and there were a whole lot of them.
And it happened so quick, and it was a horrible thing. You know, she was shaken up by it.
And then — see? — and then somehow we heard the news, and they said, “Oh, my God, they were rich,” you know, “they were famous people,” you know.
That’s really all that was said about it.
And then the next night —
Oh, but Sadie said she’d left her knife there. They said it was done real messy; and it happened in about twenty minutes, you know.
I didn’t really get the details too good.
And then the next night — Well, I was feeling bad, to tell you the truth. Because Sadie — because Katie was my best friend. And to think that she was strong enough in her believing not — you know, to be able to go kill, I wanted to, too.
Because I wanted to be just like Katie.
MR. PART: Is that Katie or Sadie?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Katie. That’s Patty. I wanted to be just like her.
And almost it was like it would make myself stronger to know that I could kill somebody, because at the moment I’m killing them I have to be that willing to die.
MR. PART: Well, was Katie — this Patricia Krenwinkel was she out on — in the Tate murders?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Um-hmm, yes.
MR. PART: The so-called — the Tate murders?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Tex and Sadie and Katie were on the inside, and Linda was supposed to be on the outside.
That’s the way the story
And then —
So I was feeling kind of bad, because I didn’t get to go.
I was sure hoping that if we did it again I could go.
MR. PART: Why in the world would you want to go out and kill somebody?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Because it had to be done. It had to be done just in order for the whole thing to be completed, for the whole world’s karma to be completed we had to do this.
And I wanted to do it, because I thought that if I could go out and kill someone that I would — you know — it’s not an easy thing to do it — and that I — in a sense I would be giving up totally to what I believed in because I would have to pay the consequences if they were to come back.
MR. PART: You said, “if they were to come back.”
What do you mean by that?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, I didn’t — you know, like even after it happened I wasn’t really scared about being arrested for it, you know. I was never hiding.
We were in the desert hiding, but not — you know, it was almost like a game to get ready for when it really came down we’d know how to hide.
You know, we weren’t like doing a real good job of hiding out there like we could have been doing.
MR. PART: You say, “They were going to come after me.”
Do you mean the people, or you meant the people that were killed would come back, or what do you mean?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: No. That the man would come and try to get me for doing what I did.
MR. PART: What man was that?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Oh, the police.
MR. PART: Oh.
So the night after the Tate killing, what happened then?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, we were all sitting in the kitchen, and Charlie pulled me out to the side, and he said, “Are you crazy?”
And I said, “Well, yeah.”
MR. PART: He said, “Are you crazy?” and you said, “Yeah.
Now, what does “crazy” mean to you?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: In other words, it meant, “Are you almost, to the regular person’s thinking mind, are you crazy enough to believe the way I believe, to see the way I see, that we are, you know — that we had been sent down to start this in motion?”
And I said, “Yes.” Because I — I do. I’m crazy enough to believe it.
And he said, “Are you crazy enough to be able to go out and kill someone for this?”
And I said, “Yeah,” that I was.
So he said, “Okay. Go get two changes of clothes and get in the car.”
So I did.
Do you want me to continue?
So there was Linda and Charlie and Tex and me and Katie and Sadie and Clem. We all went out that night.
We went driving around. We were driving and —
MR. PART: Now, did everybody have a change of clothes; what kind of a car was it; and were there any weapons in the car?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah. Everybody had two changes of clothes.
And I think we only had two weapons that I knew of in the car, and those were big knives. And they were underneath the floor mat — one of them was, anyway — that I was sitting on in the back seat.
And it was Johnny Swartz’s car, an old, probably in the fifties, a Chevy or something like that.
And so we drove and we drove and we drove, and they couldn’t find any place.
And I was tired and most everybody was tired, so we went to sleep.
And then when I woke up I heard Charlie talking to Sadie — or, no, Tex; that’s who he was talking to, Tex.
And he said, “Everything’s — I got everything okay. And they think it’s a robbery. And just to tie it up, just go on in. I got their wallet. They’re sure it’s a robbery. And just tell them everything is okay so that when they go don’t make it so that they got to be tortured. Make it quick and easy,” you know, “for them, because just as –”
MR. PART: Did he say anything about what had happened the night before, something about Tex getting everybody all heated up?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I remember talk about it, but I can’t really say for sure if I actually heard him saying it. But it was mentioned, that he’d blown it.
Because then these people we afraid, and the idea was to do it —
(End of first side of tape.)
They were going to go anyway sooner or later because when it came down they were going to get it.
So we tried to make it as easy — like
Oh, so Katie and Tex and I were in the house. I didn’t tell you that part.
So we went in —
No, Tex went in. Yeah, that’s right. Then Tex went in.
And Katie and I walked in.
And this alarmed the people. You know, that two girls would be walking in if it was only a robbery, you know.
And the woman, she turned around and said, you know, ‘What do you want? What are you guys doing here?’
And we told her, “We only want to take what you got that’s worth anything.”
She said, “Well, we don’t have much money, but I’ll get” — you know, she got this little box that had some change in it.
And Tex was real calm and cool, and he was just saying, “Everything is going to be all right. We are just going to take your money.”
MR. PART: Now, what was Tex armed with and what were you armed with?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Oh, when we entered the house we hadn’t gotten anything, and we hadn’t brought in anything, but Tex had this long knife.
MR. PART: Was this a bayonet?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah, that’s what it was. It was –because it was heavy. It was almost like an iron.
And we went in the kitchen and we got the knives, some kitchen knives.
And then we were supposed to go — we were supposed to go take the woman into the bedroom and put a hood on her and then wait for him to do the same thing, and at the same time we’d, you know, knock them both off so that they wouldn’t hear each other dying.
And so the woman — I was going to hold the woman down, and because Katie had done it before it would have been easier for her to actually stab the woman because I was getting kind of freaky about the whole thing.
And then I was watching, you know, I was looking more than I was paying attention to what I should have been doing.
And the woman, I guess she heard her husband —
MR. PART: Now, I understand Tex was in the other room with the man, and you and Katie were with the woman.
When you talk about a hood, was that a pillowcase that you somehow fastened around her head? And if you did, what did you fasten it with?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah, it was a pillowcase, and we fastened it with the lamp cord.
And, let’s see; for some reason I’m fogging out,but —
MR. PART: Well, did the woman hear her husband die?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Oh, yeah. So her husband — so the woman heard her husband — the woman heard her husband —
She must have because all of a sudden she jumped up, and it surprised me.
And she got the lamp shade, and she was about to knock me on the head with it, and I put it back, and she kept going, “What’s happening to Leo? What’s happening to Leo?’
And we kept telling her, “He’s all right, he’s all right.”
And then Katie tried to stab her, and the knife wasn’t strong enough. It kept bending.
So we called Tex in. And I can’t remember which one of us did it; could have been me.
And we said, you know — “Tex come in,” that, “we can’t kill her; the knives won’t bend.”
And — but only — she was dead within a minute, it seemed. She didn’t make any of those breathing noises.
MR. PART: Well, who stabbed her?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Katie did, and then Tex did, although I didn’t see Tex do it.
So I couldn’t say for sure, but he had the good knife.
MR. PART: If you were in the same room, how was it that you could not see Tex do it?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, I had run out of the room.
Yeah; I ran out of the room to tell — you know, I’m it’s sort of foggy, that part, but this is the way I can recall it:
That I had run out of the room to get Tex, and I had seen the man; and Tex ran by me in the doorway because I remember —
You know, like it comes in pictures, and the picture I see is Katie trying to get the knife in her throat and it wouldn’t go.
And then I remember seeing her laying flat in front of her closet, all bloody on her stomach.
And then I remember the man laying on the sofa gurgling that deep bloody gurgle.
And so then we were going to make the house look freaky.
MR. PART: Now, had anybody given you any instructions about what you call “making the house look freaky”?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, in order to create fear it had to be — look like an obvious, just an obvious murder; that there was no robbery , nothing behind it; just flat out to do it, to start this paranoia going.
And so we had been told that this was the best time to use our witchcraft.
MR. PART: Who told you that? When was it told to you? And what is witchcraft?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, Charles told it to us; and I can’t remember just when.
It might have been before we went in the house or before we even left.
MR. PART: When you say “Charles” in all these conversations, dear, you mean Charles Manson; is that correct?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Um-hum, yes.
So — and, oh, what witchcraft was or is to the group was just that women are more aware of than men, and that — because they know how to take care of the man.
So witchcraft is just all the little things a woman does.
Like sewing would be a form of it.
And so he said, “This is when you can use your greatest amount of witchcraft,” meaning you can use your imagination and do, you know, a whole number, meaning making it look ugly.
But I couldn’t get behind that, and I don’t think any of the others could, and I really don’t think that Charles could.
So I went back in the bedroom and I saw the woman laying down; and Tex handed me the knife and, you know,said, “Okay,” you know, “get to it.”
MR. PART: Now, was the woman dead at that time? If you think she was dead, what made you think she was dead?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I’m positive she was dead. She was just laying there, like the man was, like I say, he was gurgling; and she was just laying there.
She didn’t even make a moan or a groan. I didn’t feel her, you know, her pulse, or anything. And her head was covered, so I didn’t see her face. I kind of wished I had of.
MR. PART: Why?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Because I could have seen what I had done more, you know.
A face shows so much more; that maybe it would have stirred something more up in me.
MR. PART: Was the actual stabbing of the woman — did that — was that unusual to you; did it feel different than you thought it might have felt?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: It felt so weird that I blew my mind behind it; if you understand what I mean by blow my mind.
I mean, I lost control. I went completely nuts that moment. It was —
Do you want me to explain?
It was hard to get it through. Like when I thought of stabbing, I didn’t really have any idea in my mind, but it’s a real feeling. It’s — it’s not even like cutting a piece of meat. It’s much tougher. And it was — I had to use both hands and all my pressure, all my strength behind it to get it in.
And so once I started, the feeling was so weird that I just kept doing it.
Like I say, I did it about ten times, I think.
And then — Well, do you want me to continue?
And then I went into the other room, and I noticed that there had been things written on the wall. There was “Pig” and “Rise,” and “Helter Skelter,” and — and that might be all. There might have been something else.
MR. PART: Now, what do those words mean to you, and what were they written in, and where were they written?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: “Helter Skelter” was written on the refrigerator. And that was used to let people know that the Beatles were the prophets, and they were telling it like it was, and that it’s coming down fast, and you just be ready, you know.
You know, get it on. Do whatever you have to do for this whole thing to be over.
And “Pig” was the white — the white businessman who hated his neighbor, couldn’t look at his neighbor with love, who was going to get it in the end.
And then “Rise” was for the black man saying that it was his turn to, you know, be leader after all that time.
And I don’t remember where — “Rise” I think was written on a wall, and I’m not sure where “Pig” was written, but I know that they were written in blood.
MR. PART: Whose blood?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Mr. LaBianca’s.
MR. PART: Now, all these things that we’ve talked about, “Helter Skelter” and “Pig” and so on and so forth, that they are all things that came out of this Beatle album that we have been talking about; is that right?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah, um-hmm.
MR. PART: Who wrote them?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: The Beatles.
MR. PART: Who wrote the words in Mr. LaBianca’s blood?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I think Katie did.
MR. PART: Tell us about what property, if any, was taken from the LaBiancas, what property, if any, was left, and what you did after the killings.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Umm, we took some change, and thenI was busy with the fingerprints, ’cause I didn’t want any to be left. And the others —
MR. PART: What did you do with the fingerprints, and who told you to do something, if someone did?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Umm, Katie handed me a towel and
No, I said, “What about the fingerprints? I left some on the lamp shade.”
And Katie handed me a towel and said, “Go wipe them off with this
So I went, and I just about did the whole bedroom all over and everything I had touched.
And we did the kitchen and just sort of all over, just a whole fingerprint thing, ’cause we hadn’t worn any gloves.
And then Katie and Tex, when I came out of the bedroom, they were taking a shower.
I don’t know if Katie actually took one, but I know Tex did.
And then after that we were hungry. And so we went and we took some cheese and milk out of the refrigerator. And we took it with us. And we left out the back door and went down the fence and down the sidewalk.
Oh, we changed our clothes inside the house from our black clothes into regular clothes.
And Tex’s zipper broke, so I had to give him my pair of pants, and I took a pair of Mrs. LaBianca’s shorts and put them on.
MR. PART: Tell us if Tex’s clothes or anybody’s clothes had blood on it, and tell us what you did with the bloody clothes.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Uh-uh, I didn’t see blood on any of our clothes.
And we really didn’t need to even change them other than they were all black and dark colors.
And we took the clothes, and we walked and walked for a couple of blocks, and then we threw them in a trash can and then went and we hid in the bushes. And we waited for daylight to hitchhike home.
MR. PART: Tell us about the ride home.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: First ride we got was from a black man. And he took us to Griffith Park where the freeway starts. And then this man in this funky old blue and white car picked us up. And he drove us almost all — he drove us to Chatsworth Street.
And we even stopped and bought him breakfast at some place on Topanga Canyon Boulevard. I don’t remember the name of it. I think it starts with an N.
And then he dropped us off at Chatsworth Street, and we went around an orange grove and then over the highway real quick. And then down in a creek.
And we walked up, and then Katie went over to Devil’s Canyon, and Tex walked up around the dump, and I came up through the pony corral.
You know, we all just went, you know — let’s see, it was morning —
We all just started doing whatever we were going to do.
Oh, I went down to the farmhouse.
And the hitch — and the man who had picked us up hitchhiking came driving around. He came — but I covered up my head and played like I was sleeping so he never saw me.
But he wondered if we were from Spahn’s Ranch, and we told him no.
MR. PART: Now, did anybody see you coming back to the ranch — when I say “anybody,” I’m talking about girls at the ranch — see you coming back, and did anybody see you and everybody else leaving?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Uh-huh. Cathy saw us leaving, Cathy Myers.
And Squeaker saw me coming back. That’s LynnFromme.
And other than that, no, huh-uh.
I just went —
You mean when I walked up from through the pony corral? Lynn saw me.
But other than that, everyone else thought I’d just been sleeping all night.
MR. PART: Now, when you left with Charlie in the car, was there anybody else who saw you leaving?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Only Cathy. And she knew. ‘Cause she wanted to go.
MR. PART: Well, how did you know Cathy wanted to go, and why didn’t she go?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, Cathy — Cathy was more or less coming and going and coming and going.
She said she was with us, but she was — you know she’d leave every couple weeks for a few days.
In other words, her amount of loyalty to the Family wasn’t complete.
So for her to do it would almost be like a risk, like she would freak out and then run away, and who knows what she’d do.
And she was feeling bad ’cause she wanted to go ’cause she wanted to help out.
MR. PART: Now, after you got back — Strike that.
Were — were any — Was anybody else who went with you that night supposed to go into any other houses and commit any other murders?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Uh-huh. All the rest were going to. They were — I don’t know where they were going, they were just going to do what we had done. Same thing. Only it was going to be Linda and Clem and Sadie.
MR. PART: You say that Clem was also in the car, and he was about to go out and do the same thing that Charles Watson had did — done.
Is that correct?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yes.
MR. PART: And had there been some conversation or anything between Charles or anybody as to what was going to happen that night before everybody went out, and specially was Clem present during any of these conversations?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah. We were all present. We all knew what we were going to go out to do. Nobody didn’t know.
MR. PART: Well, how did you know?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: We all talked about it.
MR. PART: Tell us what you said and what other people said.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, not — really not that much was sa id other than the fact that we were going to do it because it had to be done and that we were going to do it the next night and that this was just the beginning, you know.
But this would be probably all we’d ever have to do.
MR. PART: Now, Kasabian, the Kasabian girl was onthe Tate murders but she never went inside the house, at least to my knowledge.
And what exactly did she do in regard to the LaBianca murders concerning the car, or anything like that?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: She drove it most of the time. But then she got too nervous and –’cause, you know, Charlie was directing the driving.
Like he’d say, “Turn right, turn left, go straight,” you know, “Turn around.”
So he got too nervous and she said, you know, “Well, then, you drive the car.”
So she got out and then he drove it.
MR. PART: Now, did the Kasabian girl — Her name is Linda; is that right?
Did Linda Kasabian have a change of clothes with her that night, too?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, the way —
All these, you know — like’I’m not positive that every person did like they were asked to do, you know.
In other words, I know that every single person there was asked to get two changes of clothes for their own well-being, you know.
But I can’t remember actually seeing everybody’s two changes, you know.
Like they were sort of like, “Get it for yourself and keep track of it.” But I pretty much remember everybody having it.
MR. PART: How, in some articles I have read in the newspapers and in some transcripts that I’ve also read Susan Atkins is also known to you as Sadie Glutz, says that after they let everybody off at the LaBianca house that they went home to — back to the ranch.
But there’s also been a story that they stopped at another house to do the same thing that you did.
Now, did you know anything about that? Or did you hear anything about that?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: No, i hadn’t; but I knew that was the idea.
And so I said, I said to Sadie the next day, I said, well, you know, “What did you guys do,” you know. “What happened with you guys after you left us?”
And she said, “Nothing; we just came back.”
You know, I — I didn’t hear anything about that other.
She said they looked around for awhile but nothing came — nothing happened.
MR. PART: Now, when we sat down here before I actually turned on the tape recorder I asked you if you know what the word “remorse” meant; and you said “No.”
And I told you it meant feeling sorry.
Could you tell us how you feel now about what happened to the LaBiancas and all the other people that were killed.
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, I can’t really feel sorry, because I did it, and I did it with every intention of it being right.
Sometimes when I think about it —
See, I try not to think. That sounds pretty ridiculous, but I don’t. I try not — I try to keep my mind clear. When I think about it, it makes me feel bad, you know.
I can start to cry, specially ’cause the kids, ’cause they are my age. I didn’t really have any —
MR. PART: Now, you say you feel badly. What makes you feel badly?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, when I start thinking about the kids having to find their folks, the parents. You know, that seems ugly to me.
MR. PART: Are your talking about the LaBiancas?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah, the LaBiancas.
And I heard that Mr. Tate sort of blew his mind, he’d put on a hippie hairdo looking for the people that did it to his daughter.
I feel sorry for those people.
MR. PART: How about the people that are dead? Don’t you feel sorry for them?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I really — I — To be honest, no.
MR. PART: Why don’t you feel sorry for the dead people?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Well, all it is is a body.
You know, I mean, that’s the way I feel about my life. In other words, when I went out and I did them in, it’s like I’m that willing to have myself killed.
I only see all this around me as just a body and just part of what I come from.
And what I come from is much greater.
In other words, I believe that you come — I believe that you come from nothing and you are going back to nothing; and while you’re here you almost are nothing. You’re just an animal.
MR. PART: When you went out to — and were part of the group that killed the LaBiancas did you think that what you were doing was right? And if you did, why was it right?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I thought it was perfectly right, and I thought it was perfectly right because I see — 1 —
And I even today still see the way I did then. I see it coming up to the vibrations of everything is coming up.
It’s like a big tune coming up. It’s going daaaaa, and it’s going to get up to the highest point and then it’s going to break.
And this paranoia had to be started to get the vibration going even stronger; and it’s just part of the plan.
And I have no control over it.
MR. PART: So, then, do you think that the things that you and Charlie and Sadie and the rest did are kind of preordained?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Uh-huh; and I think what happens here is probably going to be preordained, too.
MR. PART: When you say “what happens here,”you mean you thj that the results of the trial are preordained no matter what anybody does; is that right?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah.
In other words, I think that everything that happens is perfect.
I know it sounds probably real far out, but it’s true.
Sometimes I doubt it, and then I get nervous and shakey and everything. But most of the time I’m pretty sure that everything that happens is perfect.
MR. PART: What do you think is going to happen at the trial?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I have no idea. I know that I’ve thought a lot about the worst, not that I think it’s going to happen, because I wasn’t wrong; but I’ve been trying to, in case it would happen, I’ve been trying to prepare myself for such a thing.
MR. PART: Do you really care if — if you are given the death penalty in this case and die? Do you really give a darn whether you get life imprisonment or something less than that?
Is that — do you really want to die?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I don’t — I don’t want to and I don’t not want to.
In other words, I’d love to get out of this, you know. I’d love to go back on the street and just mingle with people.
Because, see, I love — I love everything just as much as everybody else, but I just happen to see what’s going to — I just happen to see what’s going to be happening.
MR. PART: Leslie, if you could turn the clock back and go back that night that you asked Charlie to go along with him to kill the LaBiancas, although you didn’t know who was going to be killed, dear, would you do it again?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yes, I would. I can’t — I can’t feel sorry for what I’ve done.
And like — like I say, I have — I have no control And like I’m not trying to, you know, do like Sadie’s doing and put it on Charlie, ’cause I don’t think Charlie has any control.
In other words, when he talks, he talks with words that, like, come from another place. He doesn’t like even talk with words that regular people use.
And — and he used to — he used to even say, umm, “I’ve become an empty hole.” He’d say, “I can –” He says, “I have no control of what I’m saying.” He just says, “I have no control of my actions. I don’t even think about what I’m doing or saying.”
And — and it was like that for a lot of us, especially those of us who almost gave up more to the Family. In other words, gave up more of our own wants for the for the whole group.
So in other words, if the clock could be put back, if I saw that this is the way it was coming down, again, I’d do it again.
MR. PART: You’d do it again even if you thought you were going to get caught and be in the same position you are now?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah. Like, you know, I hope I can — I hope I can walk, you know, out, or that I can — in other words, I want to be free.
But I’m not afraid to die.
MR. PART: You’re a religious girl, I know. We’ve talked about that.
Do you think that maybe you’re kind of like, oh, one of God’s messengers carrying out his will, or something like that?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: You’re going to really think I’m nuts, but, yeah, I do. I think I’m an angel, so to speak.
Not with wings, you know. Naturally I know I don’t have wings.
But, I mean, in other words, I believe I’m one of the disciples. I’m one of the people spoken about in the Bible.
Maybe not mentioned, you know, like names, but I know I’m —
In other words, what I feel is so real. I can’t — I can’t talk the reality of it, but I feel it
It’s a fulfillment inside me.
MR. PART: Is — is there anybody else in the group that you think might be an angel, too?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Or, yeah.
Well, it’s all up to the person. I mean, if they believe it, then they are.
Like Brenda does. I’m pretty sure Brenda knows she’s she’s one.
And Gypsy would know she’s one.
And Katie would. And Diane and Rachel probably would.
MR. PART: Well, if Charlie’s Jesus and you girls are angels and you are doing God’s will and God’s will is that the revolution start so that the colored people can take over the earth, why do you think that everybody’s in jail?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: Oh, I don’t know.
You know, it would almost be for the publicity, assilly as that sounds. So that all —
See, there’s no — we were trying to find out ways of letting the youth know, because the people that are going to go into the hole are going to be the young people.
And we tried with our music, and nobody would put out our music.
And, you know, we tried lots of different ways, and nothing worked.
But now everyone is finding out. Like our music is finally coming out. And Charles will be able to speak for himself at the court and — to show —
I guess it just happened to let people know that that this is the way it was happening. ’cause some people will believe.
MR. PART: So in the way you think, perhaps this trial will be a good thing, and maybe some kind of a — a way to start the revolution; is that right?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: It will be one of the — one of the movements towards starting it, yeah.
Like it’s already happening. In jail here there’s a, – you can feel a lot of it. The tension, the Black Panthers and that type of thing. It’s already starting.
But by no means — by no means were we ever prejudiced or disliked the black, you know. It’s not that way at all. If anything, it’s we have love for them, and we’re giving them their turn, which they deserve.
MR. PART: Do you think the fact that all the publicity and things about the Black Panthers that started just about the same time as this trial is just a coincidence, or do you think that’s ordained, too?
MISS VAN HOUTEN: I don’t think there’s any coincidences. It’s —
It just all comes together, all these things. Like I don’t think that the Beatles’ “Blackbird Fly –” and
(End of side 2 of the tape.)
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
Bobby Beausoleil Parole Transcripts
HEARING RESCHEDULED FOR JULY DUE TO RULES INFRACTION INVESTIGATION
Feb. 19 – The subsequent parole consideration hearing scheduled last week for Manson family associate, Bobby Beausoleil, has been rescheduled for Thursday, July 16th, due to a pending rules infractions investigation, according to the California Department of Corrections.
According to CDCR spokesman, Luis Patino, Beausoleil was cited for a rules infraction on January 27. Pursuant to Title 15 the Board of Parole Hearings is obligated to postpone the hearing until the infraction has been fully adjudicated.
Beausoleil, 67, serving a life term for his role in the 1969 murder of musician Gary Hinman, has been denied parole 17 times, was given a 5 year denial at his last hearing, held in 2010.
Gary Hinman’s cousin, Kay Martley, along with Sharon Tate’s sister, Debra Tate, planned to make opposition statements at the hearing via telephone, according to an Associated Press report by Don Thompson. While the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office routinely attends Beausoleil’s hearings, Martley’s participation would mark the first time anyone made a victim impact statement at one.
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
STATEMENT MADE BY BOBBY BEAUSOLEIL AT HIS JUNE 2003 PAROLE HEARING.
I would like to make a statement and say a few things. Now this is the part where I get to tell you why I think you ought to let me out of prison. And you know, that’s not really what I understand about what is happening and that was really happening, because this really is not about me. I understand that now, whereas I didn’t when I was a kid, you know, when I was 20 or 21 years old. I thought it was all about me. But it’s not about me. This is about what is best for society. I hope that what is best for society and what I can bring to a successful parole will coincide at some point. I do want to be united with my family, but like I said, it’s not really about what I want.
But for what it’s worth, I’m going to tell you what I want. What I want is to be able to no longer be considered a liability. I want to be considered an asset. I am fully capable of doing that. I have abilities and talents that I worked very hard to develop, that I’ve learned how to use in a way that’s beneficial to a lot of people, both in this community on the inside and to the outside community. I’d like to be able to do this more effectively. So if it’s about what I want, that’s what I want to be able to do.
But again, it’s not really about what I want. It’s about what is best for society. And in that regard, I’ll say this. I am really extremely sorry for what I’ve done to bring harm to all the people that I’ve brought harm to over the years. And it begins, of course, with Gary. And I am fully cognizant of what I did there. I mean there’s discrepancies in the facts, and I really can’t speak to that anymore. I’ve told you what I know from my own experience, and I hope that you will use that to mitigate Danny DeCarlo’s self-serving statements early on. It’s my own fault that I didn’t own up early on and have this be part of the actual court records. So I have nobody to blame there. And so I can’t really tell you that you have to believe me. All I can do is represent to the best of my ability the facts as I know them.
I killed Gary Hinman. I am responsible for that. It was my decision to do it. Nobody forced me or ordered me to do it. I feel that I was, you know, as I’ve said, I was kind of forced into the position of being there in the first place, but that, again, was from the decisions that I had made earlier on. I had entered into a drug transaction that escalated and got out of control. But I made that decision initially, and it rests with me. I must hold myself accountable.
Insofar as how it has hurt Gary, in 1981, a man did exactly to me what I did to him. I was stabbed in the heart and both lungs, and for some reason, some miracle kept me alive. And so now I since then for the past 22 years, I’ve had an opportunity to remember what that felt like. So I know what I did. I also know how it affected Gary’s family because I know intimately how it affected mine. Excuse me. I hurt a lot of people, and I’m very sorry for having done that. I want to be able to give something back. It is my very clear intention to give something back, to do the best that I can to make amends, to honor Gary’s life by helping other people to understand how I took it, so that they won’t make the same mistakes that I’ve made.
I think that’s probably the best that I can give, although I know it’s never really enough. If all I have is a prison cell and a piece of paper and a pencil, I will continue that work. Thank you.
Friday, August 8th, 2014
Bruce Davis Parole Transcripts
- 03/12/14 Parole Hearing
- 10/04/12 Parole Hearing
- 01/28/10 Parole Hearing
- 09/15/08 Parole Hearing
- 09/06/07 Parole Hearing
Shea / Hinman Files
PRESS RELEASE FROM GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN, AGAIN DENYING PAROLE FOR FORMER MANSON FAMILY MEMBER BRUCE DAVIS
Aug. 8 – The Board of Parole Hearings found Davis suitable for parole based on his satisfactory conduct in prison, age, parole plans, positive psychological evaluation, acceptance of responsibility, participation in self-help programming, laudatory notes from correctional staff, work ratings, and educational accomplishments.
Davis is now 71 years old and has been in prison for over 43 years. I acknowledge Davis has made efforts to improve himself while incarcerated. He has not been disciplined for serious misconduct since 1980 and earned his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in religion from Bethany Bible College, graduating summa cum laude. He has been commended for his outstanding job performance, high personal standards, and excellent people skills. He has worked in the chapel for nearly three decades, teaches Bible study classes, and has moderated Yokefellows Peer Counseling since 1983. He has participated in self-help classes including Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, Alternatives to Violence, and others. I commend Davis for taking these positive steps. But they are outweighed by negative factors that demonstrate he remains unsuitable for parole.
The exceptional brutality of these crimes and the terror the Manson Family inflicted on the Los Angeles community 45 years ago still resonate. The sentencing judge aptly noted that “these were vicious murders. They indicate a very depraved state of mind on the part of the defendant.”
Davis’s crimes were intended to fund and protect the cult and to trigger an apocalyptic race war. The Family planned a violent robbery of Gary Hinman because they believed he had money to fund the cult’s endeavors. Davis armed himself with a gun and drove others to Mr. Hinman’s home. Two days later, Davis and Manson were summoned for help. Davis pointed a gun at Mr. Hinman while Manson slashed Mr. Hinman’s face from ear to chin. The two left the others to continue to hold Mr. Hinman hostage in his own home while he bled profusely, and Beausoleil finally stabbed him to death and smothered him with a pillow. The Family used Mr. Hinman’s blood to write messages on his walls and left his body to decompose and rot. Two weeks later, other members of the cult carried out seven more horrific murders. Seventeen days after the Tate-LaBianca massacre, Davis, Manson, and others killed Mr. Shea because they suspected he was a police informant. They surrounded Mr. Shea, relentlessly beat and stabbed him, chopped up his body, and hid his remains. Davis finally admitted in 2012 that he sliced Mr. Shea from his armpit to his collarbone while the others stabbed Mr. Shea. Davis and Manson later bragged about the gory details of the murder. These crimes represent that “rare circumstance” in which the aggravated nature of the crimes alone is sufficient to deny parole.
The crimes alone, however, are not the only evidence that Davis is unsuitable for parole. Davis continues to paint himself as a passive bystander who took part in these appalling events because he was afraid of the repercussions of breaking away. He told the psychologist who evaluated him in 2013, “I was a dependent person. I needed attention and approval. I wasn’t my own person. I wanted sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.” He later continued, “I wasn’t looking out for my best interests; I was led by fools, bigger fools than myself.” Davis told the Board that he was willing to do “whatever it took” because he wanted to be “Charlie’s favorite guy.” He still maintains that he did not participate in the planning of the murders of Mr. Hinman or Mr. Shea.
Davis explained that he “deceived himself” by telling himself that it was “okay” as long as he did not actually “pull the trigger” to kill Mr. Hinman. He claims that he refused to go out on August 9 and 10, 1969 to participate in the Tate-LaBianca murders because “I didn’t want to be involved in something that could be physically confrontive.” He claims that he reluctantly participated in the stabbing of Mr. Shea because he was threatened by Manson and said that immediately after he “cut” Mr. Shea, “I looked around as if I hope you’re happy, threw down the knife and left. And that was a shock. That was a shock.” He said, “I felt terrible about it. I didn’t feel, of course, too terrible not to do it, because I was – I had – there was other considerations like what will happen if I say no.”
Davis’s explanations show he is still dodging responsibility for his active role in these murders. Each of the members of the Manson Family, including Davis, knew full well what the purpose and intent of the cult was— to prepare for and instigate Helter Skelter. Davis’s actions show that he, too, signed on to the plan and didn’t merely tolerate the violence of the others. Davis did not just “cut” Mr. Shea, he sliced Mr. Shea “from armpit to collarbone.” As I noted in my reversal last year, Davis bragged about murdering and dismembering Mr. Shea, stating “Yeah, when we brought him to now, Clem cut his head off,” adding, “That was far out.” Davis also bragged to Springer about dismembering Mr. Shea as a way to “tak[e] care of snitchers.” Although Davis did not participate in the Tate-LaBianca murders, those grisly crimes neither caused him to question his involvement with the Family, nor deterred him from participating in the brutal murder of Donald Shea weeks later. Davis then evaded capture for over a year, hiding in the desert with the other cult members. These are not the actions of a distraught and reluctant participant.
Davis was not simply a follower. At his sentencing, the judge stated, “I don’t want to give…the impression that Mr. Davis was at all a dupe…in these cases or simply a foil of Charles Manson.” The judge, who reviewed the facts of this case first-hand, observed that Davis was older and more educated than most of the other members of the cult and capable of independent judgment, and said “he shouldn’t be treated as somebody who was just led along by the nose and at the whim and command of Charles Manson. He’s a man who is capable of going on his own path and he deliberately chose to engage in these murders.”
My reversal of Davis’s grant of parole last year was based on the gravity of his offenses as well as his minimization of his role in these events. I noted that Davis was still revealing new details about the murders over 40 years later. I asked Davis to explain why he has shielded other Family members from prosecution by withholding information about these crimes, and to finally reveal what he knows. I asked him to reconcile his version of being a follower with the evidence that he was a leader who actively championed the Family’s values. He did not address these concerns at his most recent parole hearing. For the same reasons I articulated last year, I find that Davis is not suitable for parole.
I have considered the evidence in the record that is relevant to whether Davis is currently dangerous. When considered as a whole, I find the evidence shows that he currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison. Therefore, I reverse the decision to parole Davis.
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor, State of California
Decision Date: August 8, 2014
Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Bruce Davis Parole Transcripts
- 03/12/14 Parole Hearing
- 10/04/12 Parole Hearing
- 01/28/10 Parole Hearing
- 09/15/08 Parole Hearing
- 09/06/07 Parole Hearing
Shea / Hinman Files
Jul. 10 – Governor Jerry Brown will have until August 9th, the 45th anniversary of the Tate murders, to decide whether or not to affirm, modify or reverse the Board of Parole Hearings’ decision to grant Bruce Davis parole.
The Board of Parole Hearings’ March 12th recommendation for parole has now been confirmed after the 120-day BPH review process and today becomes subject to Brown’s review.
Davis, 71, serving life terms for his role in the 1969 murders of Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea, has been recommended for parole in three consecutive hearings, but has seen two of those recommendations reversed during the executive review process.
After receiving 23 consecutive one-year denials, Bruce Davis was recommended for parole for the first time on January 28, 2010. The decision, however, was reversed in June of 2012 by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wrote, “I believe his release would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society at this time.”
Davis was again recommended for parole at his next hearing held on October 4, 2012. But that decision was reversed in March of 2013 by Governor Brown, who stated Davis was still unsuitable for release into society because of the heinous nature of the crimes. Brown’s reversal highlighted areas where, over the years, he felt Davis had minimized his role in both the Manson family and their crimes. The governor also questioned how truthful Davis had been, stating as an example, that Davis hadn’t mentioned Larry Jones being present during the Shea murder until his 2010 parole hearing.
“Davis’s choice to withhold information regarding the crimes and the identity of a potential crime partner indicates to me that his commitment to the Manson Family still exceeds his commitment to the community,” wrote Brown.
Brown now has 30 days to decide whether he will let the board’s March 12th recommendation stand. And as fate would have it, that review window will expire on the 45th anniversary of the most infamous of all Manson family crimes, the Tate murders.