Bruce Davis Wins Stay in Shea-Hinman Death Trial
Thursday, June 17th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Jun. 17 — The State Supreme Court yesterday stayed the prosecution of Bruce Davis for the Shea-Hinman murders.
The stay does not affect proceedings against Davis’ co-defendants, Charles Manson 36, and Stephen Grogan, 20.
However, Superior Court Judge Raymond Choate continued all proceedings in the Shea-Hinman murder trial until Tuesday for all defendants. The trial is still in the jury selection stage.
Judge Choate learned of the higher court’s ruling in San Francisco after a clerk there telephoned Davis’ defense attorney, George V. Denny III.
Judge Choate granted the continuance so all parties can learn the basis for the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The stay was granted, Denny told newsmen, on the basis of writs he filed last month seeking dismissal of murder charges against Davis on grounds of insufficient evidence and also seeking Davis have a separate trial from Manson.
According to Denny, the high court gave no specific reason for granting the stay.
The Supreme Court we the prosecution until July 9 to challenge Denny’s contention, but has not yet scheduled any hearing on the matter.
Manson and Davis are jointly charged with the 1969 slayings of Spahn Ranch hand Donald “Shorty” Shea and Malibu musician Gary Hinman. The third defendant, Grogan, is accused of Shea’s murder only.
Grogan’s attorney, Charles Weedman, “most strenuously” objected to the continuance until Tuesday, claiming it was a denial of his client’s right to a speedy trial.
Judge Choate ruled Grogan’s rights were not prejudiced by the continuance.
The judge excused all prospective jurors until Tuesday, telling them only that the case had to be delayed.
Since jury selection began last May 21, more than 60 prospective jurors have been excused because they were influenced by publicity, because they are unalterably opposed to the death penalty or because it would be hard for them to serve on the trial, that could last as long as-one year.