Coming Soon: The Photo Archives

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Dallas, Tex., Jul. 26 – In the very near future, cielodrive.com will launch our photography archive. We have worked painstakingly, restoring several hundred photographs, one-by-one. And after thousands of hours of work, the restoration project is close to being finished. 

From the widely circulated, to the rare and never published or seen. Photographs from the Tate and LaBianca investigations, the August 16th Spahn Ranch raid, mugshots and trial evidence. All restored, in both color and black & white.

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Waiting For Texas

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Attorney Bill Boyd in 1970, fought Charles “Tex” Watson’s extradition for nine months to ensure a separate trial.

LAPD officers find themselves once again waiting on Texas to rule on Watson.

Dallas, Tex., Jun. 25 – In September of 1970, LAPD Sergeants Philip Sartuchi and Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez flew to Dallas to accompany Charles “Tex” Watson back to California so he could face trial for the Tate/LaBianca murders. They had waited for nine frustrating months, as Watson’s Texas attorney Bill Boyd appealed his client’s inevitable extradition all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Boyd’s sole purpose for stalling was to ensure Watson would be tried separately from Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten.

“The condition of the judicial system in Texas is nothing short of shameful,” said Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi in May of 1970. “It’s calculated to frustrate the due administration of justice…shameful isn’t strong enough — it’s disgraceful.”

The delays had infuriated officials in Los Angeles to the point, that in July, County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn threatened to sue the state of Texas for $100,000 in damages.

Bill Boyd died suddenly in August of 2009, having a heart attack while running on his treadmill. Four months later Boyd’s law firm, Boyd/Veigel went into bankruptcy. Several items related to the Watson case were discovered when the firm’s assets were liquidated. Among them were audio recordings made between Watson and Boyd in 1970. Both Watson and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office were contacted.

In September of 1976, Watson had signed a document that waived his attorney-client privilege so copies of the tapes could be sold to Chaplin Ray Hoekstra for $49,000. The recordings became the basis for Watson’s book with Chaplin Ray, Will You Die For Me?

This past March, LAPD sent a letter requesting the tapes to the Department of Justice. Detectives reasoned the recordings could provide information on possible unsolved crimes committed by the Manson family.

Last month a Texas bankruptcy court ordered the tapes be turned over to LAPD. The decision prompted a motion from both Charles “Tex” Watson and his local attorney. Both were denied.

According to Watson’s motion, “the LAPD’s letter to the Trustee…the Chief states: ‘THE LAPD has information that Mr. Watson discussed additional unsolved murders committed by the followers of Charles Manson.’ If this be so, and it is not. the request of the LAPD can be satisfied by listening the Tapes without taking possession of them LAPD.” Watson went on to write that he feared the tapes could end up in the media if LAPD were to take possession of them. And that could lead to further suffering for his victim’s families.

Watson was convicted and sentenced to death in 1971 for the seven Tate/LaBianca murders. His sentence was commuted to life on March 20, 1973 after the Supreme Court briefly outlawed the death penalty.

Watson was never charged or tried for the murder of Spahn Ranch hand Donald “Shorty” Shea.

In 1969, Shea was hired by Frank Retz to run the Manson family off of the Spahn Ranch property. Retz owned the neighboring property and was in negotiations to purchase a portion of Spahn. Retz didn’t like the family on either of the properties and called the police on them on several occasions. Manson placed blame on Donald Shea and was convinced he had been working with the police.

Sometime around August 28, 1969, Watson, along with Manson family members Bruce Davis and Steve Grogan, took a ride with Donald Shea. Shea was driving, with Watson sitting beside him. Watson instructed him to pull over, but Shea refused. Watson stabbed Shea and he finally pulled over. From the backseat, Grogan struck Shea with a pipe wrench. Another car containing Bill Vance, Larry Bailey, and Charles Manson pulled up behind them. The group took Shorty out of the car, brought him down a hill behind Spahn’s Movie Ranch and stabbed him to death.

Watson doesn’t discuss this murder in Will You Die For Me? So it’s likely he didn’t talk about it with Boyd. If that is the case, it’s doubtful these tapes contain any discussions about crimes other than the ones Watson was charged with.

LAPD had planned to fly to Dallas to take possession of the tapes on June 15. However, they canceled their plans when they learned Watson’s attorney William Kelly Puls planned to appeal to another court.

If and when the LAPD do take possession of the recordings, the tapes will be turned over the Scientific Investigation Division who will make digital copies for the Robbery Homicide Detectives to review.

Today, the eight cassette tapes sit waiting within a safe in a Dallas office building near the intersection of highways 635 and 75, locally known as the high five interchange.

Fifteen hundred miles away, at the Parker Center in downtown Los Angeles, officers wait for the tapes, just like the officers 4 decades ago waited for Watson himself.

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Bruce Davis’ 27th Parole Hearing

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Manson Family member Bruce Davis goes before the Board of Parole Hearings for the 27th time Wednesday

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif., Jun. 8 – On Thursday, Homicide detectives from the LAPD will travel to Texas to take custody of 4o-year-old audio recordings in which Manson family member Charles “Tex” Watson discusses his crimes with his former attorney Bill Boyd.

Another member of Charles Manson’s family will make headlines on Wednesday, when Bruce Davis goes before the California Board of Parole Hearings in San Luis Obispo for the 27th time.

Davis was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea. In prison he became a born-again Christian and helped other imprisoned family members do the same.

At his last hearing in January of 2010 the Board of Parole Hearings recommended Davis for parole. However, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected the recommendation saying, “I believe his release would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society at this time.”

Prior to Davis’ 2010 hearing, he had been given 23 consecutive one year denials. In 2006, he received a split decision and was later denied after an En Banc hearing in November of that year.

Davis, now 69, has been in prison for the Hinman/Shea murders since April 21, 1972. He has only had 2 115s1 and 5 128s2 in his 40 years in prison.

He received 128s for cross visiting in 1981; excessive noise in 1987; leaving a classroom prior to the closing of the class in 1988; receiving unauthorized prescription glasses in 1988; and lying to staff in 1992.

Davis’ last 115 was received over 3 decades ago. He received a 115 in 1975 for sharpening a spoon and one for conduct in 1980.

Since his incarceration, Bruce has been active in many self-help and spiritual groups within the prison. He has continued his education, receiving a Master’s degree from Borean School of the Bible. In 1998, he received a Doctorate degree in philosophy and religion from Bethany Seminary, graduating summa cum laude.

Although Davis’ prison record is almost spotless, there is opposition to his release, and not just from LASO and the District Attorney’s office. There are a few former Manson family members that have made their opposition known to the board.

Former family member Barbara Hoyt has not only written the board opposing Davis’ release, she testified in person at the November 20, 2006 En Banc hearing. The board has previously received an opposition letter from former family member Ella Jo Bailey. Bailey expressed that Davis had downplayed his role in the family and that he actually held a position of power within the group.

Despite this, Davis’ has plenty of supporters, both in and out of prison. And unlike hearings for the Tate-Labianca killers, there aren’t anyone from the Shea or Hinman families making victim impact speeches to the board.

There is little reason to believe the California Board of Prison Hearings will deny Davis’ parole bid this Wednesday. Which would mean the only thing keeping Davis in prison would be the Governor’s office.

According to an AP report in February, current California Governor Jerry Brown has allowed about 80 percent of decisions by the parole board to free convicted killers. Former Governor Schwarzenegger had allowed only 25 percent while former Governor Gray Davis allowed just 2 percent to walk free.

1,2 Inmate misconduct shall be handled by:

(a) Verbal Counseling. Staff may respond to minor misconduct by verbal counseling. When verbal counseling achieves corrective action, a written report of the misconduct or counseling is unnecessary.

(b) Custodial Counseling Chrono. When similar minor misconduct recurs after verbal counseling or if documentation of minor misconduct is needed, a description of the misconduct and counseling provided shall be documented on a CDC Form 128-A, Custodial Counseling Chrono. A copy of the completed form shall be provided to the inmate and the original placed in the inmate’s central file. Disposition of any contraband involved shall be documented in the CDC Form 128-A.

(c) Rules Violation Report. When misconduct is believed to be a violation of law or is not minor in nature, it shall be reported on a CDC Form 115 (Rev. 7/88), Rules Violation Report.

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LAPD To Get Watson Audio Recordings

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

A Texas Judge rules that recordings of Charles “Tex” Watson are no longer protected by the attorney-client privilege.

Plano, Tex., May 29 – A Texas judge Tuesday ruled that recorded conversations between Manson family member Charles “Tex” Watson and his attorney Bill Boyd are no longer protected by the attorney-client privilege.

The ruling came after a 45 minute hearing in a Plano, Texas bankruptcy courtroom just 25 miles west of Watson’s childhood hometown of Copeville.

Bill Boyd represented Charles “Tex” Watson in Texas after his arrest for the Tate-LaBianca murders in late 1969. Boyd fought Watson’s extradition to California long enough so that Watson wouldn’t be tried with Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten.

Bill Boyd died in 2009, and his law firm, Boyd Veigel has since gone into bankruptcy. Department of Justice Trustee Linda Payne was put in charge of liquidating the firm’s assets. Among the thousands of legal files were audio recordings made between Charles Watson and Bill Boyd in 1970.

Upon learning about the recordings, detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department, Robbery-Homicide division became interested in them because of the possibility that they might discuss other unsolved murders the family may have committed. In March, Chief of Police Charlie Beck sent a letter to Department of Justice Trustee Timothy O’Neal asking for the tapes.

After speaking with LAPD and the District Attorney’s office, O’Neal forwarded the request to Department of Justice officials in Chicago, where it was approved.

Linda Payne wrote to Charles Watson in prison, and he asked that his case files be turned over to this nephew, Brian Patton. Watson did not indicate to Payne that he had an issue with the audio tapes going to the LAPD.

The initial purpose of Tuesday’s hearing was to create an official paper trail of the transfers. However, Payne and O’Neal both received an email late Monday afternoon from Charles Watson’s San Diego attorney Kendrick Jan. The email requested that both the case files and recordings be turned over to him and not LAPD and Watson’s nephew.

A Texas bankruptcy attorney representing Watson was not present at the hearing, but argued via a speakerphone. He indicated he had only been on the case for about 2 hours and was doing a favor for Kendrick Jan because he wasn’t licensed in Texas.

Chapter 7 trustee Linda Payne took the stand and testified that she had in her possession 8 audio cassettes and 2 boxes of legal files related to Charles “Tex” Watson. When questioned on whether she had listened to the recordings, Payne answered no, and that no one else had since they came into her possession.

At the hearing, Department of Justice Trustee Timothy O’Neal introduced into evidence a document signed by Charles “Tex” Watson in September of 1976 that waived his attorney-client privilege. The agreement signed by Watson, allowed for Boyd to sell certain things in order to raise money for his legal defense bill.

Copies of the recordings were sold in 1976 to Chaplin Ray Hoekstra for $49,000. The recordings became the basis for Watson’s book with Chaplin Ray, Will You Die For Me?

Watson’s attorney tried to argue that the waiver signed by him was for Ray Hoekstra only, and that the recordings were still protected by the attorney-client privilege.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Brenda Rhoades ruled that Charles Watson failed to prove that the attorney-client privilege still existed. The order will be final in 14 days and the tapes will be turned over to the LAPD.

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Manson Denied Parole for 15 Years

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

For the first time in 30 years, Charles Manson is represented by an attorney at a parole hearing. Manson will not be eligible for parole until he is 92.

Corcoran, Calif. – Charles Manson was denied parole today for the 12th time at a hearing in Corcoran State Prison. Manson, 77, refused to attend the hearing but sent an attorney to represent him. It was the first time Manson had an attorney represent him at a hearing since 1981.

At the 1981 hearing, state-appointed attorney Glen DeRonde argued from Manson’s release from solitary confinement, not for his parole.

“Perhaps he would be more rational in this world if he had not been locked up for 12 years in the nut ward,” said DeRonde.

Today Manson’s state-appointed attorney DeJon R. Lewis argued that Charlie be moved to medical facility.

Manson, has now skipped three consecutive hearings, with his last appearance to one 15 years ago in 1997.

Manson was convicted and sentenced to death in 1971 for orchestrating the murder spree that claimed 9 lives, including the 8 1/2 months pregnant actress Sharon Tate.

The following year, the California supreme court outlawed the death penalty, claiming it unconstitutional. Charlie’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, making him eligible for parole in 1978. He is currently serving 9 concurrent life terms.

The Board of Prison Terms unanimously denied Manson’s parole for 15 years.

The next parole hearing for a Manson family member will be in mid June when Bruce Davis will go before the board for the 27th time. Unlike Manson, Davis has a good chance at getting paroled. At his last hearing in January of 2010 the Board of Prison Terms recommended Davis for parole. However, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected the recommendation saying, “I believe his release would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society at this time.”

Bruce Davis was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea. In prison he became a born-again Christian and helped other imprisoned family members do the same.

What will stand in Davis’ way if the Board of Prison Terms again recommends him for parole? According to an AP report in February, current California Governor Jerry Brown has allowed about 80 percent of decisions by the parole board to free convicted killers. Former Governor Schwarzenegger had allowed only 25 percent while former Governor Gray Davis allowed just 2 percent to walk free.

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