Audio Archives: Al Springer LAPD Parker Center Interviews, November, 1969 – Tape Four

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

“I don’t claim to be no angel”

Nov. 15 – In part four of the November 12, 1969 Al Springer interview, Tate detective Mike McGann begins questioning Springer about the supposed murder of Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe.

McGann asks Springer if he connected Manson’s claim of knocking off five people with any particular crime. Springer answers yes, the Sharon Tate murders.

The rest of conversation covers a man in a blue Camaro, the Tate reward money, Danny DeCarlo coming in to talk, and how Tex almost drove Springer off a cliff in a dune buggy.

For the purpose of voice identification, the detective that says “Anything you want to get in on this..?” is Sergeant Frank Patchett. The detective who says “yeah, I want to ask about this – when he kills this colored – the Panther…” is Sergeant Mike McGann. The detective who says “when can you get Danny down?” is Sergeant Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez.

Al Springer

Al Springer, 26 years-old at the time of this interview, was a member of the Straight Satans motorcycle club. Springer, who was originally from Alam, Michigan, lived in Torrance, California with his wife and kids.

Springer had first met Charles Manson a few days after the Tate-LaBianca murders, when he went to Spahn Ranch to talk his fellow club brother, Danny DeCarlo, into leaving. According to Springer, Manson attempted to impress him by bragging about the murders, saying, “we knocked off five of them, just the other night”

Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi didn’t end up using Springer as a trial witness. However, Springer did testify before the Los Angeles County Grand Jury that eventually indicted Charles Manson for the murder of Gary Hinman.

Although he was entitled to a share, Springer never collected his portion of the $25,000 reward put up by actors Peter Sellers, Warren Beatty and Yul Brynner.

Al Springer worked as a millwright for Lease Finance Corp. Co-Generation Plant in Yuba City, California. He passed away at the age of 56, at Rideout Memorial Hospital on Sunday, May 21, 2000.

He was survived by his wife, 6 sons, and 9 grandchildren.

Sergeant Michael McGann

Sergeant Michael J. McGann, 33 years-old at the time of this interview, had been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 10 years. He had spent 2 years in college studying Police Administration, and was a 1st Lieutenant in the 185th Armored Squadron.

McGann became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department in May of 1959. In August of 1969, McGann was assigned to case number 69-059-593, the Tate murders.

McGann had previously been assigned to the Robert Kennedy assassination case, personally investigating the activities of Sirhan Sirhan at the Pasadena and San Gabriel gun clubs. As well as Sirhan’s alleged attendance at Peace and Freedom Party meetings.

Sergeant Frank Patchett

Sergeant Frank J. Patchett, 38 years-old at the time of this interview, had been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 12 years. He had studied Psychology and Sociology at L.A. State College.

Patchett spent 4 years as a communications officer in the Navy, specializing in Cryptography.

Patchett became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department in August of 1957, where he attended Polygraph school. Before working on the LaBianca murders, Frank had previously been assigned to the Robert Kennedy assassination case.

Sergeant Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez

Sergeant Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez, 43 years-old at the time of this interview, had been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 16 years. He had previously spent 3 years studying Police Science at Cal State.

Chick became a weapons expert in the USMC, serving in Iwo Jima and Korea. His military career earned him a Silver Star, 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Presidential Citations and 6 Battle Stars.

Gutierrez became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department in May of 1953. Before working on the LaBianca murders, Chick had previously been assigned to the Robert Kennedy assassination case.

Chick suffered a heart attack and passed away in his home on the morning of Saturday, December 9, 1972. The 46-year-old officer was survived by his wife, 3 sons and 3 daughters.

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5 Responses to Audio Archives: Al Springer LAPD Parker Center Interviews, November, 1969 – Tape Four

  1. Silentseason says:

    For part IV it becomes more evident that outside issues were also in play. With the death of his child and the revelation that his officer father was incarcerated recently Springer was probably still in some sort of grieving process, and maybe coming down to Parker was a way to relieve some of the angst. I still think getting DeCarlo off the hook was the primary motivation, but not the only. He still seems a little ambiguous about collecting any of the reward money even though. After listening to this segment twice, I am still confused about the man in the blue Camaro and his importance. Will this be better expounded on in part V?

  2. johnnyseattle says:

    Silent,
    I’ll be honest, for someone who just lost a kid he is holding up amazingly well and one can imagine that this may be a way to ‘escape’ what he was going through. And to have your father incarcerated would just compound the angst.

    If anyone can explain the significance of the Blue Camaro, I am all ears. I guess it means something I just haven’t puzzled it out yet.

    I know that DeCarlo doesn’t want to talk about things circa 2012, but I wonder what he would think if he listened to Al Springer.

    The quality of these tapes really does place you in the interview room. Kudos to Cielo Drive.

  3. cielodrive.com says:

    I think Al believes there’s some significance to the blue Camaro. When in actuality, it likely has nothing to do with any of the crimes. By crimes, I mean the murders. It’s hard to follow, and I’ve had these recordings for awhile and listened many times. I think this guy may have something to do with stolen dune buggy parts. I think Al is just reaching for information to give them. His problem is he hardly knows these people. That and the majority of things he knows about them, is all hearsay.

    • Rob says:

      Yes true because what Al heard was from Danny and Danny heard things from Steven Grogan and other members who were engaging in bragging rights and what information Danny revealed to Al was pretty scrambled and I wouldn’t be surprised if what Steven Grogan said was scrambled since he was mentally ill and was spewing information out of his mouth in a scrambled way.

  4. Daibhidh says:

    Ed Saunders, of the Rock Group ‘The Fugs’ , wrote in his book- “The Family” that a group of Mansons friends came by, before the raid in a blue Camaro to warn Charlie. Charlie blew them off ( which he shouldn’t have, because according to Saunders ( or Sanders ) one of the occupants of the car was the daughter of a cop who knew the score.

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