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

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

“Did you come here with an empty gun on me?”

Nov. 14 – In part three of the November 12, 1969 Al Springer interview, Springer tells Sergeants Frank Patchett and Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez about guns he saw, and heard about, up at Spahn Ranch. This included a Buntline styled revolver that Charlie used in, what he thought was the murder of Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe.

Springer tells the detectives that Danny DeCarlo is afraid for his life, and how thinks Bruce Davis and another guy, attempted to come “off” him down in Venice.

Perhaps satisfied they were onto something, Chick Gutierrez leaves the room and comes back with one of the Tate detectives, Sergeant Mike McGann.

For the purpose of voice identification, the first detective to speak is Sergeant Frank Patchett. The detective who says “is that a long barrel job?” is Sergeant Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez. Aside from his initial introduction, Sergeant Michael McGann does not speak in this portion of the interview.

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

  1. johnnyseattle says:

    Thank you again for this installment. The clarity of the sound is amazing.

    What is telling is that for all the talk about being a ‘one percenter’ that -at least as it is in regards to Al Springer those Manson ‘freaks’ were beyond the pale. Al cites his father’s role in law enforcement as ‘rubbing off’ on him so this may explain why he is talking so freely to these cops. He sure likes to distinguish himself from his fellow bikers with constant references to how clean he keeps himself, etc. He is like a ready made CI (confidential informant.)
    I do like how he is breaking it down but not sure how his fellow ‘one percenters’ would feel about it.

  2. Silentseason says:

    Johnny, Based on part III I think Springer’s endgame was to clear DeCarlo of any connection with the murders. Springer is a real character, and something of a true rebel against any conventions. He was a biker, but he had neat personal habits and considered the Straight Satans “phonies”. I think the desire to clear Danny and his hatred for the Family and their flippant attitude towards violence was what brought him in to the authorities. Also when he let out that his father was an officer and I can see why he felt the need to clue the police in on this group. Springer is something of an unsung hero of all the witnesses, certainly he had more guts than either DeCarlo or Melcher.

    • Rob says:

      It is a good thing too . He knew they were no good and that Manson was spewing false prophecies that never were going to happen. Danny eventually became disillusioned due in part of members engaging in bragging rights in the murder of Donald Shea but also due to them giving him the cold shoulder and it was smart he bailed on them.

  3. Laurel says:

    WOW! The Manson Family were really creeps! This tape is in such good condition, it sounds like it was a conversation that just happened yesterday. It is so clear. Some of what the detective says is funny, like when he asks Al (I think in tape 1) if Charlie runs around in his birthday suit too. That is repulsive to think about how dirty those women & men were up there. I think these people that worship Manson nowadays (that girl named Star, for example) fantasize about going back in time, and living with these people out at Spahn’s. I don’t think these idiots understand how uncomfortable it was. It was dirty, hot, there were insects all over the place, horse manure, junk cars everywhere, rusty nails to step on, plus a variety of veneral diseases. There was no clean bed to sleep in, no crisp sheets, nor tampons, or even basic hygiene products. You want to shave your legs & muff? Forget about it. He didn’t allow the women to shave, or pluck their eyebrows. Manson wouldn’t even let the girls where their glasses if they needed to. Eating corn & cheese? The diet was garbage, literally. Plus, if you missed your family, they wouldn’t let you leave. If you had a kid, tough luck. They would hold the kid hostage, and never let you even pick your kid up. How romantic!

  4. Laurel says:

    I meant “wear their glasses” not “where their glasses.” 🙂

  5. Johnnyseattle says:

    SilentSeason
    I concur.

    I also really think it is not beyond the pale that Al Springer was also a confidential informant for some agency.

    One question that I raised and bothers me is that given the public nature of the horse riding operations at Spahn and if even a third of what Al Springer says is true -and I do believe him- how is it that none of the general population that was out to ride the horses didn’t at least make a call into the local cops to complain/inquire/drop a dime?

  6. cielodrive.com says:

    My understanding is that a lot of actual ranch work was done during the daytime. If Tex wasn’t working on a car, he was working on a car. A number of the guys seemed to work on the ranch. The girls seemed to do a lot of work as well. I know Ruby Pearl had a lot of nice things to say about them.

    Its my understanding the most of the craziness didn’t start until after sundown, or was away from main ranch and road.

  7. Johnnyseattle says:

    CD, how in the heck are you able to get such great sound off these 43 year old interviews?

    Ruby Pearl seemed like a stand up lady. Just hearing her name you can picture what she looked like without ever seeing a photograph.

    In regards to the ‘going ons’ being away from the main ranch/road that would help keep the weird activities on the downlow. However, you got people riding around the property on rental horses and it’s hard to fathom that if any of that stuff was going on -even if it was away from the main ranch- how regular folks didn’t see some of the weirdness. In the Alissa Statman book -and I am going off of memory- doesn’t she detail a story of the father PJ trailing some bikers back to Spahn Ranch one morning and from his vantage point being able to see some of the same activities that Al Springer outlines in his interview?

  8. pvm777 says:

    Is there a tape of DeCarlo also? If so, are you going to post it up here?

  9. cielodrive.com says:

    DeCarlo was interviewed on tape. I don’t have it though. As far as the sound quality on these, I deserve no credit. Although I’ve done a little bit of sound editing to them, the recordings were very good to start with. I was just reviewing some of my other tapes and some are borderline unlistenable. But don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of great stuff left.

  10. LENNON says:

    cielo…this is a treat getting to hear these tapes……Thx

    Surprised by how he describes Shorty , comparing him to Clem , lots of new information here.

    This guy’s got looser lips than Sadie…… definitely not a 1%er

  11. pvm777 says:

    I also noticed this alot: “He sure likes to distinguish himself from his fellow bikers with constant references to how clean he keeps himself, etc.” He seemed to be acting all elitist through out the whole session is what it sounded like. Also, I find it odd when he refers to someone like Shorty as to one of the actual “family” members. Quite a bit of of “grasping at straws” trying to help the officers if you notice…..

    • Fred Bloggs says:

      “Also, I find it odd when he refers to someone like Shorty as to one of the actual “family” members. Quite a bit of of “grasping at straws” trying to help the officers if you notice….. ”

      On the contrary, the fact that he didn’t know the ins , outs and certain details only goes to more powerfully corroborate his words & findings. Because we have all the hindsight, we can say all kinds of things but you have to put your mind at what was known in early November’69 to see the significance of Al Springer.
      This is one of the most remarkable nuggets of the entire case.

  12. Gina says:

    He ended up getting busted in 1982 at an airport motel after he tried to sale cocaine to an undercover. Guess he didn’t give up his old ways.

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