Monthly Archives: March 2013
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
Mar 26 – Judge Richard Schell Sunday 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, according to a report by the Associated Press.
“The LAPD is pleased that the judge ruled in our favor,” said LAPD public information officer Andrew Smith. “We are looking forward to getting these tapes and thoroughly analyzing their content”
Smith indicated that there’s still is a 30 day window for Watson to appeal, and that detectives will wait for that time to transpire before they depart for Texas to take custody of the tapes.
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 of 2012, Chief of Police Charlie Beck sent a letter to Department of Justice Trustee Timothy O’Neal asking for the tapes
Last May, Judge Brenda Rhoades ruled that the tapes were no longer protected by privilege because Watson had allowed Boyd to sell copies in 1976 to assist Chaplin Ray Hoekstra with Watson’s autobiography Will You Die For Me? Rhodes’ ruling prompted a series of appeals from Watson and his attorneys.
In October, the Los Angeles Police Department disclosed that Judge Schell had blocked their attempt to take possession of the tapes via a search warrant issued by the Fort Worth Police Department.
“The Manson crime spree is one of the most notorious cases in Southern California’s history,” said Smith. “We owe it to the victims and their families to ensure every facet of the case is thoroughly and completely investigated, and we plan to do exactly that.”
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Mar. 19 – On Wednesday, August 30, 2007, a California parole board found Leslie Van Houten unsuitable for parole at a hearing held at the California Institution for Women in Corona.
Deputy District Attorney Patrick Sequeira, representing Los Angeles County, argued that for decades, Leslie Van Houten had minimized her role in the murder of Rosemary LaBianca.
“Whether it’s the LSD defense, whether it’s Charlie made me do it, whether it’s Tex made me do it, whether it’s Patricia Krenwinkel made me do it, these are all consistent games with her,” said Sequeria. “She dodges every issue every time. And I think this Panel will see, in looking at the entire scope of the evidence in this case, that the factors of unsuitability far, far outweigh any factors of suitability for this inmate, and I’d ask the Panel to find this inmate unsuitable for parole at this time and to make it a multiple denial.”
Christie Webb, attorney for Leslie Van Houten, told the board her client was temporarily ill at the time of the crime and that decades of psychiatric evaluations revealed Van Houten had no personality disorders and was unlikely to commit another violent crime.
“Please give her that second chance,” pleaded Webb. “She’s already served double the maximum time in your regulations for these offenses. There’s nothing more she can do to make herself more suitable. She can’t change the offenses.”
Louis Smaldino, nephew of Leno LaBianca, thanked the board for the opportunity to voice his family’s objections, but expressed frustration at the frequency of such hearings.
“We as a family are never able to share a holiday in the family’s home where these murders took place, or see the bright eyes of Leno and Rosemary again,” Smaldino told the board. “Never again for us. What Miss Van Houten did was permanent.”
The board praised Van Houten for her positive post conviction achievements, but said they did not outweigh the factors for unsuitability. Van Houten’s parole was denied for two years.
Leslie Van Houten
Leslie Louise Van Houten was born on August 23, 1949 in Los Angeles, California. She and her older brother grew up in a typical middle class household. Leslie’s father Paul was an automotive auctioneer, and her mother Jane was a schoolteacher. After Leslie, there were two more additions; the Van Houtens adopted a young boy and girl that had been orphaned in Korea. In 1963 Leslie’s parents divorced, Paul moved out and the children stayed with Jane. Meanwhile, Leslie began attending Monrovia High School, where she was twice elected homecoming queen. Like many at the time, she discovered hallucinogenic drugs, and her grades soon started to slip. She drifted away from her extracurricular activities, and shortly after, got pregnant and had an abortion.
Sunday, March 10th, 2013
Mar. 10 – For this installment of the Audio Archives, we travel back to Monday, December 29, 1969 and listen to Sgt. Robert Calkins interview Rudolf Weber.
Rudolf Weber was awoken by the sound of running water around 1 a.m. on Saturday, August 9, 1969. Expecting to find a burst pipe, Weber instead found Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Linda Kasabian, and Charles “Tex” Watson using his water hose just minutes after the group had committed the Tate murders less than two miles down the canyon.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Mr. Weber, we now have a tape recorder running and uh, we’re on tape and, we’re here with Jim Rabe, the uh – our reporter. My name is Sergant Calkins, to identify myself. You’re name is Rudy Weber –
RUDOLF WEBER: Rudolf Weber, yes.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: – is that correct? And uh, could you tell me Mr. Weber your home address and your business address?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I live at 9870 Portola Drive, Beverly Hills – that’s post office Beverly Hills.
And I work as Stewart at Brentwood Country Club, 590 South Burlingame, West L.A., 49
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, now your house I believe you say has a mailing address of Beverly Hills, it’s actually in the city of Los Angeles.
RUDOLF WEBER: It’s actually West L.A.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: West L.A., right, ok.
Now…Your residence on Portola Drive, I believe that street’s a dead end street; is that correct?
RUDOLF WEBER: It’s just a dead end street.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Your house is uh, on the south side of the street, about, what about two or three hundred yards from Benedict Canyon?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I would say that —
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: approximately.
RUDOLF WEBER: – about three hundred feet.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Your house is uh, somewhat of a hillside house –
RUDOLF WEBER: It is, yes.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: – where the lot runs up behind the house —
RUDOLF WEBER: It is.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: – very steeply to the south.
RUDOLF WEBER: It is.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Now, on – in the early morning hours of August, the ninth, 1969…uh, an incident occurred at your house that, we’re interested in.
Would you go back to the time, that you went to bed – or approximately the time you went to bed, and relate to us, as best you can, everything that happened as far as you know?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, to the best of my recollection…we went to bed around 9 o’clock which is our usual bed time –
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Who…Who is we? excuse me.
RUDOLF WEBER: My wife and I.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Would you identify your wife, please?
RUDOLF WEBER: Her name in Mila(?)
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, thank you.
RUDOLF WEBER: We, uh – ‘cause I have to be at work at 6 o’clock in the morning. So, about – it must’ve been about 1 o’clock, I heard the uh, the sound of, running water. So uh, I jumped out of bed, and grabbed the flashlight, and I went downstairs, under the basement, opened the garage door; thinking that something had gone wrong with the plumbing.
Uh, there was nothing wrong with it. I couldn’t see any water of any kind. And then I heard voices…on the street, outside.
So I went over, and here were four people standing. And of course you know the exact place.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Yes.
RUDOLF WEBER: Around the corner there.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: That’s actually in the street.
RUDOLF WEBER: In the street, uh. And uh, I put the flashlight on them. And I said, ‘Just what do you think you’re doing?’
And the man says – he looked to me like – they all looked to me like teenagers. And this one man, the only man, of course – a rather tall fellow, just looked at me and says, “Hi”.
He says, “We’re just getting a drink of water…and we’re sorry we disturbed you.”
And looking over, the people, I figured well, they’re just teenagers out on a Friday night.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Would you describe the people, each one if you can?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I cannot describe the people except the man – the boy – was rather tall, the girls I hardly saw, except I knew one of them was rather, short stature.
So, uh —
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Were they all caucasian? Or were they negro? Or did you make that determination?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, that I couldn’t say, but from what I would guess, they were all caucasian.
So, uh, I went back and turned the water hose off – turned the water off. And in the meanwhile, the girls did not say anything, he’s the only one who spoke.
The girls started walking down, and then I – then I look down the street and see a car parked, facing west; towards the main canyon, Benedict Canyon. Uh, which looked to me unusual because all around, residences on the street, nobody parks on the street. We all have a parking space.
So I said, “Is that your car?”
“No it’s not, we’re walking.”
Uh, so they started to precede to go down the street toward the car…in front of me, and I followed them. And when they got to the car…he I believe opened the back door, to the, to the back seat. And the girls got in. And the dome light was on and I happened to look inside the car and it was all messed up and dirty and so on and so forth, and uh, things on the floor.
He closed the door and he got into the driver’s seat. So, in order to uh, scare ‘em, I acted as if I was going to reach for the keys. And that minute he stepped on the starter and took off before he closed the door – down the street.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Did you notice which way they turned, uh, when —
RUDOLF WEBER: That, I couldn’t say —
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: — they got to the canyon.
RUDOLF WEBER: — after they – they took off like that, I walked back up again and we went back to bed again.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Ok now, just a couple of things – you said it was 1 o’clock, or approximately 1 o’clock when you uh, heard water running. Was that A.M. or P.M.?
RUDOLF WEBER: A.M.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, now —
RUDOLF WEBER: It would be Saturday morning A.M.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: The plumbing underneath your house is exposed from the garage is that correct, most of it?
RUDOLF WEBER: Ah —
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Is that the reason you ran into the garage?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, the plumbing is all underneath the house —
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Right.
RUDOLF WEBER: — but you can see every single pipe, and uh, connect with everything else.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see.
Now, just – let me describe the front of your house and see if you agree with me. Uh, you come down a rather steep few steps, from the east side of the house. And uh, at the base of the steps, uh, against the house is where the hose is connected.
RUDOLF WEBER: Right.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And you keep your hose in that general area, and so it runs out into the street and to the right, and up into uh, a sort of a planter area, that you water.
RUDOLF WEBER: Right.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And so it would be visible, very readily from the street, is that correct?
RUDOLF WEBER: That’s right. Anybody that would go down the street would see it.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And it’s there most of the time, and it was there that night?
RUDOLF WEBER: It’s there most of the time because the hose connection is so hard, to connect, for some reason. That’s – we just leave it on, and uh, the hose (inaudible) stay in that area. Water there and then take the hose and water the other part of it.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: At the night – the night we’re talking about – about – or the very early morning hours, the hose was out there so it could be seen from the street?
RUDOLF WEBER: Could be seen from the street.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Now there’s no curbs, and there’s no sidewalks in front of your house, is that correct?
RUDOLF WEBER: No curbs, no sidewalks and no street lights.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: So, it’s quite a dark area, is that correct?
RUDOLF WEBER: Yes, it is.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, now, there – where the car that was parked there, that these people got into and left, that’s an illegal parking area, is that correct?
RUDOLF WEBER: That’s right, it’s right next to the sign that says no parking at anytime.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright. You had a flashlight with you, correct?
RUDOLF WEBER: I had, yes.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Was it in pretty good working there?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I’ll say yeah.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright. Now, at the time you followed these people down to the car, did any of them make any statements at all except the man?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, after they started towards the car, nobody said anything.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see. Then what was the only statement the man made?
RUDOLF WEBER: Uh, he only said “Hi” and uh, “We’re just getting a drink of water, sorry to disturb you” and when I asked him, “Is that your car down the street?” he said, “No, we’re walking.”
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And that’s all that was said.
RUDOLF WEBER: That was all – all that was said that I can remember.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Now, at the time you walked down towards the car, your wife was with you, is that correct?
RUDOLF WEBER: No, she was staying behind. I was actually behind (inaudible)
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see.
RUDOLF WEBER: — (inaudible) about three or four feet.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: As you approach the car, did you take notice of the license plate?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well I (inaudible) I pointed the flashlight on the license plate.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: On the rear license plate?
RUDOLF WEBER: On the rear license plate, yes.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And did you memorize that number?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I memorized it at the time, but later on I wrote it on – when I got back home again I put it on a piece of paper. And, uh, kept it there for awhile. But then I remembered the number so I through the paper away.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see. So what is the number that you memorized?
RUDOLF WEBER: G-Y-Y 4-3-5.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And that was a California license?
RUDOLF WEBER: A black background with yellow letters.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Ok. Do you know what kind of car, uh?
RUDOLF WEBER: No, it was an old car, and the paint on it wasn’t – it wasn’t shiny anymore; it was all – what do you call it?
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Oxidized?
RUDOLF WEBER: Oxidized and to me it seemed to be a Beige, color or that type – Tan or Beige.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: It was a fairly light car, anyway.
RUDOLF WEBER: It was a light car and to it was – I couldn’t tell you, it might’ve been a Ford or Chevrolet, I just didn’t know.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: It was a rather older model, anyway.
RUDOLF WEBER: It was an old car, yes.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Is there anything else about the car that you remember? Was there any fenders dented?
RUDOLF WEBER: That I couldn’t say, because once the girls get in and he got in the car and then he took off.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Did they turn their lights on as they took off or do you remember?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, that I don’t remember.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Do you remember seeing any tail lights as they drove off?
RUDOLF WEBER: I’m not sure of that.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Ok. Now, you said you saw some of the material or something on the floor of the car when the dome light was on, when they opened the door. Did you determine if it was clothing or do you have any recollection of any of it?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I don’t think it was clothing. It looked to me like blankets or something like that.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Ok, Did you determine whether it was dark or light?
RUDOLF WEBER: It was not dark, it was uh, – well, uh – it was definitely not dark.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see.
RUDOLF WEBER: But I only saw a hint of it, because as soon as they got in he slammed the door.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Sure.
Now, uh – in the past, have you had trouble with uh, hippies, or uh, young individuals up in the canyon, or up at your house? Have you had cause for concern?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, yes we’ve had. Uh, because uh, quite a few houses are for rent. As a matter of fact there’s not too many people that actually own their house – most of them are rentals.
Well, a bunch of hippies would come in, perhaps one person would rent the house. And – any house were awful high rental, rent was high. And the first thing, three or four or five or more would move in. And then they stayed for awhile and then they move out again and others come in. Uh, I mean we’ve – other unsavory types of, like this. Like – I don’t know – you might say, marijuana smokers, stuff like this. And so the neighborhood has been plagued by these uh, (inaudible) . Uh, we have some vacant houses across the street that haven’t been lived in for a year. And somehow, it seems to have an attraction to all these hippie type people. They come along and they can sense that this house is not occupied. So they park and they snoop around, and go behind the house, and uh, in other words, they do something they’re not supposed to do.
So we’re all concerned with something happening on the street. And that was my only concern, that, uh, I took all that trouble with these people, to see what the car was, what the license number was. In case something might’ve happened in that particular street. So later on I could say that this particular car and these people had been in the street. But then, nothing had happened so uh, I didn’t pay much attention to any of it.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Right.
RUDOLF WEBER: (inaudible) I said well, they’re a bunch of teenagers out on a Friday night and they’re (inaudible) around. And I thought, if I do call the police, and tell them about that, I’m afraid possibly I wouldn’t get much response because they say uh, “well, it’s a bunch of teenagers using your water, so what?”
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: But this was part of the fact that you have an unoccupied house across the street and that it is a fairly lonesome area up there. This is, this is one of things that was in your mind when you went out and saw these people.
RUDOLF WEBER: It is, yeah. Just (inaudible) the street to see if anything had happened?
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Right.
RUDOLF WEBER: And as I pointed out before, when this story broke, uh, it never occurred to me to connect the two of them together.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: What’s the address of the unoccupied house across the street from you?
RUDOLF WEBER: 9863 Portola.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, thank you.
Now, we were out there today uh, yourself, and Mr. Bugliosi of the D.A.’s office, and myself and a photographer from the police department. And we photographed, the front of your house and the area in which this incident occurred. And, that this time, that area is substantially the same as it was the night of the incident, except of course for the darkness.
RUDOLF WEBER: Exactly the same.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And the hose is in the same position.
RUDOLF WEBER: The hose is stuck in the same position.
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Fine.
I can’t think of anything else. Do you have anything else that you can think of?
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, now, what about this girl that lives two houses up?
SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Well, we’ll take care of that later, we won’t put that on this now.
I think that’s about it.
JIM RABE: Mr. Weber give me that license number again to make sure I get it right.
RUDOLF WEBER: Well, G as in George, Y-Y 4-35.
JIM RABE: 435, and your address, how do you spell that? P-O-R?
RUDOLF WEBER: P-O-R T-O-L-A
JIM RABE: And the number again was?
RUDOLF WEBER: 9-8-7-0
JIM RABE: Just wanted to make sure I got those too.
Ok, thank you.
RUDOLF WEBER: I don’t see how you can make that stuff out again.
JIM RABE: (laughs) Sometimes you can’t, then you’re in trouble.
Thank you very much.
RUDOLF WEBER: No, thank you.
Friday, March 1st, 2013
Mar. 1 – Parole for former Manson family member Bruce Davis was denied today, after California Governor Jerry Brown reversed an October 2012 Board of Parole Hearings recommendation that would’ve set Davis free.
Davis, 70, is serving a life sentence for the 1969 murders of Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea. He has twice been recommended for parole and twice been denied by Governor review. In June of 2010, then governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed a Board of Parole Hearings decision that would’ve granted Davis parole, saying, “I believe his release would pose an unreasonable risk of danger of society at this time.”