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

Monday, November 12th, 2012

“Well, we knocked off five of them, just the other night”

Nov. 12 – On Wednesday, November 12, 1969 an officer from the Venice Police Department placed a phone call to the Parker Center and asked if homicide detectives wanted to talk to Al Springer. Springer, a member of the Straight Satans motorcycle club – and friend of Danny DeCarlo – had some interesting information about a guy named Charlie and the Tate / LaBianca murder.

Sergeants Frank Patchett and Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez brought Springer to the Parker Center, sat him down in an interrogation cubicle and hit the record button.

In this portion of the interview, made at Parker Center in downtown Los Angeles, Springer tells Patchett and Gutierrez about the 1 percenters, his visits to Spahn Ranch and Devil’s Canyon, and how Manson bragged to him about killing rich people.

For the purpose of voice identification, the first detective to speak is Sergeant Frank Patchett. The detective who leaves to “go see the skipper” 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 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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25 Responses to Audio Archives: Al Springer LAPD Parker Center Interviews, November, 1969 – Tape One

  1. Silentseason says:

    Glad to hear that more rare and unique audio will be available. Much looking forward to hearing it.

  2. johnnyseattle says:

    i have been waiting for this particular interview for a long time.
    this is exactly why this website is unique in bringing forth and sharing these audio interviews.
    thank you again Cielo Drive.

  3. johnnyseattle says:

    Hey CD,
    This is going to be a wonderful opportunity to hear what the police were hearing at the time without any Vincent Bugliosi interpretation. Again, thank you very much for putting forth this material.

    To properly set the stage, do you have the names/pic/bios of the interviewing police officers or Al Springer?

  4. johnnyseattle says:

    perfect. thanks.

  5. Poirot says:

    The girls, the clap and the crabs and Decarlo drunk as a sonuvabitch with his colors hanging over his head to keep the flies off. Charlie the homicidal maniac bragging about five murders. Things had gotten out of hand at the ranch. At Devils Canyon the girls were all naked around the fire eating raw corn off the cobb and eating cheese out the wrappers. They didn;t eat meat.

    Springer was flipped out!

  6. Silentseason says:

    Just listened to part I. Fascinating to actually hear the beginnings of peices of the net of evidence that would eventually ensnare the murderers. Reading about them in books is much different than actually hearing them. Springer seemed to be on the mark about Manson and his acolytes, right down to interpreting them as complete idiots. Also I note that Manson was a braggart and talker well before Atkins and her jailhouse confessions. He helped to trap himself as much as Sadie did by running his mouth.

    Thanks for posting Cielo. Again the sound quality is quite good.

    • Rob says:

      I agree there. This is one reason because the information Al Springer gives away some information that somewhat helps their case at the time and it is somewhat unraveling the puzzle which interests me.

  7. johnnyseattle says:

    it’s early on, but it will be interesting to see what the motive for Al Springer was given that he never collected his share of the reward money. he was a ‘one percenter’ so it isn’t like he was ‘johnny law’ or a ‘boyscout.’ yet, by his voice and tone he seems offended at what charlie manson and his crew were doing. of course, he could be posturing for the police at this point but if that is true what was his endgame?

    is their any chance that al springer was working for another law enforcement agency?

    again, fascinating material. can’t wait to hear more. thank you again Cielo Drive.

    • Julie says:

      Al Springer was motivated by the fact that it was the right thing to do. he left before collecting the reward $$ because he did not feel like he should collect on other peoples pain. He was a good man, who ended up in a bad situation. I may be a bit biased, as he was my Uncle. I am his youngest sisters daughter.

  8. cielodrive.com says:

    I’m right there with you Silent, it’s amazing to hear these recordings. Especially this particular interview since it was covered in Helter Skelter and we are all pretty familiar with it. Johnny, I believe Springer didn’t collect the reward because LAPD couldn’t locate him. But who knows.

    Also, I just want to mention that when asked what the group was called, Springer answers, “The Family.” So often we’ve heard Charlie credit the media with inventing the title, “The Family.” Yet, here we have an example of it weeks before anyone in the media even knew who these people were. I have another tape with one of the girls and she also calls the group “The Family.”

    • Julie says:

      thank you for posting this interview, I have not hear my Uncle Al’s voice in 30 years. I thought I’d never hear it again.

      • Britishrider says:

        Julie,
        Do you know what happened to your Uncle’s motorcycle that was seized in the August 16, 1969 Spahn Ranch raid?

  9. johnnyseattles says:

    That is a good point on ‘the family.’

    That’s could be true CD about the LAPD being unable to locate Springer, but I recall in the Helter Skelter book Al Springer is asked if he knew of the reward and doesn’t he reply that he could sure use the money? Or maybe that is Danny DeCarlo.

    In terms of splitting the $25k, wasn’t it made public who could make a claim for it? And Springer seems like a bright enough fellow to have been able to follow the story and understand how he needed to go about making a claim.

    Maybe he just had second thoughts for a ‘one percenter’ to be seen working to get reward money from the law wouldn’t look good with his peers.

    I sure am glad he was willing to step forward and tell what he knew. You can hear some disgust in his voice as he describes the whole Manson scene and how they underage kids were kept hidden up in the bushes. He mentions a young man who was hanging around with Charlie. Any word on who that was?

    Again, great great stuff.

  10. johnnyseattles says:

    Damn, my grammar is poor. “That’s” and “they” …. lmao
    Must be the excitement of the next installment of:

    Cielo Drive Theater -Starring Al Springer as the Clean Biker offended by the goings on at Spahn Ranch; Sargent ‘Frank’ as the Lead Interrogator; and ‘Chick’ Guiterez as the cop who needs to talk to the Skipper.

  11. Gina says:

    It should also be noted that Alan Springer was arrested by feds when he tried to sale cocaine to undercover federal agent in the 1980’s.

  12. Gina says:

    Funny, Johnny.

  13. Gina says:

    As to the term “the Family”, by this time, Charlie was in jail and the media was already reporting on it. Just because Springer referred to them as “the family” during this interview, doesn’t mean that’s what he would have referred to them as at the time of the murders.

  14. Gena says:

    Listening to this I wonder why tape 1 begins with the interview already going? I don’t trust that.

    I have to say this person has ruined my image of bikers.

  15. ROGER HOSHIN says:

    I MET AL WHILE WORKING AS AN APPRENTICE MILLWRIGHT FOR DETROIT LOCAL 1102 IN 1979 IN PONTIAC MICH.
    HE WAS MY JOURNEYMAN FOR ABOUT 3 WEEKS, AND UNTIL HE TOLD ME HIS LIFE STORY AFTER A WEEK OR SO, I WOULD HAVE NEVER HAVE GUESSED IT.
    HE ASKED ME IF I HAVE EVER READ THE BOOK ‘HELTER SKELTER’, AND BECAUSE I HAD THE PAPERBACK AT HOME, I WAS ABLE TO DISCOVER IT WAS NO B.S.
    I WAS A ‘GREEN’ KID FROM A SMALL TOWN TRYING TO LEARN A TRADE, AND HE WAS NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER JOURNEYMEN I MET. HE HAD A BUDDY MILLWRIGHT HE ‘CARPOOLED’ WITH ON SOME KIND OF 3 WHEEL CHOPPER WHICH HE WOULD PULL A 1/4 MILE WHEELIE ON IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC.
    —-ANYHOW, HE HAD TOLD ME THAT HIS TESTIMONY WASN’T USED BECAUSE HE WAS IN SOME KIND OF TROUBLE IN CALIFORNIA FOR KICKING SOMEBODY’S ***, AND IN MY OPINION IS MAYBE WHY IS DIDN’T COLLECT $$$.

  16. CAW says:

    No criticism intended, but why was Al at the police department in the first place? Did he go there voluntarily to report his suspicions, or was he being questioned about a minor crime, thus enabling the police to make the “Straight Satans” connection and summon the homicide investigation team?

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