Yearly Archives: 2012
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
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 LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, officers wait for the tapes, just like the officers 4 decades ago waited for Watson himself.
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.
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.
Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
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.
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.
Sunday, April 8th, 2012
With Charles Manson’s 12th and possibly his last parole hearing just days away, we take a look back at his 33 years of parole eligibility.
Corcoran, Calif. – The California board of prison terms will hold a parole hearing for Charles Manson in Corcoran State Prison Wednesday. The parole hearing will be Manson’s 12th, even though he’s only attended 6 of his prior 11.
Manson, who is now 77 years old, has skipped his last two hearings, with his last appearance to one 15 years ago.
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 cruel and unusual punishment. Charlie’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, making him eligible for parole in 1978.
HEARING No. 1 • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 1978
His first parole hearing was held on Thursday, November 16th, 1978 at the California Medical Facilty in Vacaville. During the three hour hearing, Manson continued to deny ordering the murders. “If I wanted anyone killed. I’d kill them myself. But I don’t want anyone killed because I love my own life,” Manson told the three member panel.
When asked about his plans if paroled, Manson said, “My plan would be to go to the wilderness and live off the land. I’d go to the desert and talk to the animals. I couldn’t make it running by the watch and making that car payment. My ways are simple.”
After the recess the board chairman returned the decision, telling Manson “You are not suitable for parole.”
“I agree,” said Manson, “I’m totally unsuitable for that world out there. I don’t fit in at all.”
HEARING No. 2 • TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 1979
Manson refused to attend his second hearing held on Tuesday, November 27th, 1979. Instead he had a prison guard deliver a 7 page handwritten letter, $200 in monopoly money and a CHANCE card that read, “Advance to Go, Collect $200.”
In the letter, Manson stated, “I break no law. I didn’t get my rights to start with. I talked to your board once and have been treated as a fool since then. The truth is you are a bunch of liars.”
According to his psychiatric report, Manson was described as a “schizophrenic in remission with sporadic psychotic episodes.”
Although his discipline record indicated he had been found with bits of razor blades and metal in his cell, a prison spokesman said Charlie had “been really pretty mellow,” and spent most of his time weaving, writing letters, watching television, reading the newspaper and playing the guitar.
HEARING No. 3 • TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1980
Manson did attend his third hearing on Tuesday, November 4th, 1980. When the board made suggestions on how he could improve himself for his next hearing, Manson responded: “I’m not going to do that…I’ll stay here forever…I’ve got that long.”
HEARING No. 4 • WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1981
For his fourth hearing in November of 1981, Charlie came dressed in a skull and crossed bones t-shirt. During the 4 hour hearing, Manson’s attorney, Glen DeRonde argued not for Charlie’s parole, but for his release from solitary confinement.
“I’m not ready for parole,” Manson told the board. “I could have saved you all this time.”
Manson, who played with 2 large marbles in his hand throughout the hearing, told the board he expected to spend the rest of his life in jail.
“By the time I get out, I’ll parole to space,” said Manson.
The three-member board, headed by Chairman Robert Roos, unanimously declared Manson unsuitable for parole.
HEARING No. 5 • WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1982
Manson refused to attend his fifth hearing, which was held on Wednesday, December 2nd, 1982. Deputy District Attorney Stephen Kay told the board, “Charles Manson believes he can do anything he wants whenever he wants.”
“I’ve no doubt that if he (Manson) were let out he’d be leading other people to commit murders again,” said Kay.
Manson’s psychiatric report recommended Charlie be removed from the psych ward because he was just a “psychiatric curiosity or oddity.”
Up until this hearing, California law required any inmate serving a life sentence have a parole hearing each year. Changes to the law now gave the board the ability to deny parole for up to 3 years.
The panel took only 55-minutes to conclude that Manson was unsuitable for parole for the maximum 3 years.
HEARING No. 6 • TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1986
Charlie’s sixth hearing was held at San Quentin on Tuesday, February 4th, 1986. Prosecutor Stephen Kay cited a list of psychiatric reports of various mental illnesses dating back to Manson’s youth.
“You have recited a long list of misinformation, and I can’t respond to all of it,” Charlie said. “I’ve been playing doctors like pianos since 1950.”
Kay also spoke about Manson’s discipline record, listing off 42 infractions which included possession of hacksaw blades and spitting at guards.
Manson, with his long graying hair and beard arrived to the hearing with a 20 page document, which he read to the board. Abruptly leaving without waiting for the panel to return their decision. Parole denied for 3 years.
HEARING No. 7 • WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1989
Charlie’s seventh hearing held on Wednesday, February 8th, 1989, lasted about an hour. Manson refused to attend after the warden wouldn’t allow him to appear before the panel without his handcuffs and waist chain.
The parole board deliberated for 27 minutes before finding Charlie unsuitable for parole for another 3 years.
HEARING No. 8 • TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 1992
Manson was back in attendance for his eighth hearing held at Corcoran State Prison on Tuesday, April 21st, 1992. Manson indicated he was nervous and not used to people because of his long time in solitary confinement.
A review of his discipline record showed Manson had committed around 60 infractions dating back to his 1983 hearing.
When the panel asked Charlie if he had any remorse for the victims. Manson did not accept responsibility for the crimes, but stated:
“You say in your minds that I’m guilty of everything that you’ve got on paper. So therefore, it would run logic that I would need to have remorse for what you think is reality, and if that be true, then all the oceans’ contents, if it were my tears, there would not be enough to express the remorse that I have for the sadness of that world that you people live in.”
Deputy District Attorney Stephen Kay read from a board report that quoted Manson saying he had, “no plans for the future, that he was not interested in paroling and that he would be lost in our society.”
“Well, I can tell Mr. Manson that our society feels the same way about him,” responded Kay. “We don’t want him back.”
Two years earlier, California passed a law that increased the amount of years a parole board could deny an inmate. Changing the maximum denial from three to five years.
At the end of the two hour hearing, Manson was denied parole for five years.
HEARING No. 9 • THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 1997
Manson’s ninth parole hearing – the last one he’s attended to date – was held on Thursday, March 17th, 1997. The Gray haired, 62-year-old arrived wearing sunglasses.
When asked where he’d go if paroled, Manson replied he’d go “poof” with a grin on his face.
“I’ve killed a lot of people in my life,” said Manson. “I have. But I was convicted for things I didn’t do and I was let loose for things I did.”
The board denied him parole for 5 years, saying he was still too dangerous for society.
HEARING No. 10 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, 2002
Charlie’s tenth hearing was held on Wednesday, April 24th, 2002. It was the first hearing for Manson that anyone from the Tate family attended.
“I would like to give him a piece of my mind,” said Debra Tate, Sharon’s younger sister.
Tate would not get the chance. Once again Charlie refused to attend because he didn’t want to be handcuffed.
A review of his prison record showed Manson had 17 “serious” infractions since his last parole hearing five years earlier.
The infractions included threatening staff and possession of a weapon.
Once again, Manson was denied the maximum 5 years.
HEARING No. 11 • WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2007
Manson’s most recent parole hearing was held at Corcoran on Wednesday, May 23th, 2007. It was Charlie’s first hearing without District Attorney Stephen Kay representing Los Angeles County. Kay had stepped down in 2004 and in his place was prosecutor Patrick Sequeira
Although Manson wasn’t in attendance the board reviewed his file. Charlie had added twelve more infractions since the 2002 hearing. He didn’t participate in any rehab programs or take a psychiatric evaluation.
The board denied Manson for 5 more years.
HEARING No. 12 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2012
Prison officials have indicated that Manson has no intention of attending his upcoming parole hearing. He will instead send his lawyer to represent him.
Since becoming eligible for parole 33 years ago, Charles Manson has always been denied the maximum amount of years allowed by law.
Current law allows the board of prison terms to deny parole for up to 15 years.
Given his history of denials combined with his age, it is possible that Wednesday’s hearing will be Charlie’s last.