Dear Commissioners Julie Garland & Rachel Stern,
My name is Anthony DiMaria. I have been asked by Gary Hinman’s family to speak as a family representative.
To be clear, our families’ involvement in today’s hearing has nothing to do with anger, hatred, or vengeance toward Bruce Davis. Rather, we speak out of love for those silenced in their graves at the hands of the petitioner before you today.
Part of what continues to impact our families are these hearings and what is said in them, yet we appreciate the right to address the many realities related to these offenses.
This is the fifth parole hearing our families have attended in the past 9 months. I commend Mr. Davis for acknowledging his culpability in all “family” murders.
I mention this because one of the persistent tactical distortions are the inmate’s and their attorneys’ contention that the petitioner’s crimes occurred separately in a vacuum. Today Mr. Beckman references several times his client’s “2 murders” as if each crime is void of any connection and/or responsibility intrinsic throughout the Manson family rampage… on six nights of violence & killing. I include the shooting and attempted murder of Bernard Crowe and the attempted murder of Barbara Hoyt. I bring this up to provide accurate historical context of these crimes that is often overlooked in these hearings that reveals the extensive, severe nature of these murders.
Bruce Davis and his Manson family cohorts conspired, targeted, extorted, mutilated, and killed collectively—— like a pack of jackals. Those who slaughtered in the Manson family shared common racist, terrorist, and violent criminal motives with sustained, unified intents. It is no random coincidence that after Gary Hinman was slaughtered and a “family” member killer was arrested in the victim’s vehicle on August 6 – less than a day and a half before the murders of 5 people and an unborn child on Cielo Drive – the entire Manson family rampage was unleashed.
Mr. Davis was a powerful figure and an influential force in the Manson crime organization. For the record, the Manson family was not a hippie cult, it was a violent crime syndicate whose pervasive crimes extended over 7 years culminating in the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford on September 22, 1975 by Lynette Fromme who was very influential in the “family” as confirmed by Bruce Davis today.
It bears noting that this inmate’s crimes were the very first and last killings of the entire Manson family murder rampage. Had Bruce Davis contacted the authorities after Gary Hinman’s face was slashed and his ear severed in half, 10 people would have lived their lives naturally and completely. I include Sharon Tate’s unborn child as one of the 10.
But Mr. Davis chose to be a prime killer in one of the most notorious crime organizations in United States history. Mr. Davis perpetuated Manson murder mystique when he carved a swastika on his forehead and grotesquely taunted society during his trial.
Bruce Davis’ actions horrified the nation and caused permanent cultural wounds that impact society even today, as evidenced in morbid Manson murder fascination throughout mainstream media.
The Manson mystique that emanated from Mr. Davis crimes is tragically influential in the horrific murders of Vivian French and Jason Sweeney. Each of these cases exhibit the lingering threat and current dangerousness of Mr. Davis and his crimes which I will address later in this statement.
If ever murders could meet the criteria as established in LAWRENCE, Bruce Davis’ offenses embody the very definition—— with lethal repercussions even decades after his incarceration.
As we know, but here for the record, Lawrence states, “…in rare and particularly egregious cases, the fact that the inmate committed the offense can provide an indication of the inmate’s potential for future danger, despite strong evidence of rehabilitation in the record.” (Lawrence, supra, 44 Ca1.4th at pp. 1181, 1211, 1213-14.).
At the last hearing on June 28, 2019, Mr. Davis’ attorney Michael Beckman posits there is a “complete misunderstanding of Lawrence” in this case.
Let there be no misunderstanding of Lawrence in today’s hearing. Bruce Davis’s victims endured unbearable torture, mutilation, suffocation, stabbings, and blunt force trauma. Mr. Davis collectively acted in concert with his so-called family to frame the murder of Gary Hinman on African-Americans as a whole, and more specifically to frame the Black Panthers. The family’s racial motives were twofold: to deflect blame of Gary Hinman’s murder on Black Panthers and to incite societal upheaval via racial coercion.
These are the very definitions of “severe” “rare” and “egregious”. These are the facts.
In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown, in his definitive decision regarding Bruce Davis states, “These crimes rightfully remained seared into the nation’s conscious and represent that ‘rare circumstance’ in which the aggravated nature of the crimes alone is sufficient to deny parole.” That was true then and this hard reality remains true today.
The petitioner and his attorney would have you believe Davis’ crimes occurred in a vacuum, void of any further societal harm and dangerousness. I sadly direct the Board to the horrific murders of Vivian French in 1977 and Jason Sweeney in 2003, decades after Bruce Davis’ incarceration:
Detective Don Ryan describes the crime scene of Vivian French’s murder March 7, 1977:
“As I entered the residence I could hear ‘The Pigs Are Coming’ song that was playing over and over again. When we walked in, I observed a white female, later identified as Vivian French, lying on her back. She was nude and I noticed what appeared to be a black handled knife in her right side just above the breast.
I noticed on the wall there were some things written in blood: ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘All Pigs Must Die’…
On May 30, 2003, Jason Sweeney was murdered by four teenagers, ages 15 to 17. The weapons used to massacre the young man were a hammer, a hatchet, and several large rocks. At one point during the attack there was a hammer blow so severe that it remained protruding from Jason’s scull, as he continued to fight for his life. During the trial, the teenaged killers testified listening to “Helter Skelter” over and over repeatedly for several hours before committing the murder.
The prosecuting attorney, Jude Conroy, stated, “It is really amazing that teenagers in Philadelphia, Memorial Day weekend, are attuned to the whole Helter Skelter mythology. It’s a sad testament to the twisted, brutal legacy those murders have left behind such that it attracts 15, 16, 17-year-olds. Over forty years later. 3,000 miles across the country. It is a powerful legacy.” It is critical note in today’s proceedings that 3 of the convicted teenagers were sentenced to LIFE WITHOUT POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE.
There will be no “misunderstanding” of LAWRENCE in today’s hearing—— Bruce Davis and his crimes embody the “rare, egregious, severe” nature as defined in LAWRENCE and continue to pose a risk to society directly and culturally as illustrated in the brutal murders of Ms. French and Mr. Sweeney.
Bruce Davis’ crimes have dealt permanent and enduring wounds to American society. The nexus of current dangerousness——direct, repercussive, cultural——is permanent, current, and deadly.
In his last 2 parole hearings, Mr. Davis goes to great lengths to say he “cut” Donald Shea but never “stabbed” his victim. From p.117 of the 2017 hearing:
INMATE DAVIS: In one of the hearings in 2010, uh, I told, I told what I did. I said I cut him, and the Commissioner said, oh, no, you stabbed him. I said, I didn’t stab him. He said, yeah, well you had — had to stab him. I said, I didn’t stab him, and there was kind of a big deal about that, so I’m gonna just make it clear.
COMMISSIONER FRITZ: Okay.
INMATE DAVIS: I didn’t stab him.
COMMISSIONER FRITZ: You wanna make a – – you wanna distinguish between stabbing and slashing?”
(Then on pages 72-73 in the 2019 transcript)
INMATE DAVIS: I cut Mister — Mr. Shea.
COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: You cut him?
INMATE DAVIS: Yes.
COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: With a what?
INMATE DAVIS: With a knife.
COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Where’d you cut him?
INMATE DAVIS: Uh, from his collar bone down to his armpit.
COMMISSIONER: Was he moving?
INMATE DAVIS: Uh, no. He may have been dead. Uh —
COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Was he dead? He wasn’t moving. So you cut him?
INMATE DAVIS: Yes, it’s on his right — down his right side. I was standing on his right.
COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Official reports say you stabbed him. Did you — did you stab him or did you cut him?
INMATE DAVIS: I cut him.
This clearly is minimization and lacks proper insight into these crimes. Citing SHAPUTIS, even when an inmate states that his conduct is “wrong” and that he feels some remorse for the crime, his failure “to gain insight or understanding into either his violent conduct or his commission of the commitment offense” provide “some evidence in support of the conclusion that the petitioner remains dangerous and is unsuitable for parole.” (In re: Shigemura (2012) 210 Cal. App. 4th 440, 453-454 citing In re: Shaputis (2008) 44 Ca1. 4th 1241, 1260.)
In today’s and past hearings Mr. Davis shares what he identifies as influences specific to a father figure, the lure of women (at the ranch) and group acceptance. Frankly, these are common interests of many, many people throughout the world. Thankfully, very few of these individuals, if any, go out and kill innocent people in a sustained rampage and carve a swastika on their face.
Before I conclude, I must address statements made by Michael Beckman at Mr. Davis’ last hearing June 28, 2019: “Despite having his freedom snatched from him 5 times, he’s continued programming well.” [p.154,ll.8-10] He then goes on to attack the governor stating “if the governor chooses to play politics with my client’s life again, then he’s going to do that because my client is a political prisoner at this point. Plain and simple.” [p.153,ll.1-4] Even today when Mr. Davis was asked why he is in prison he responded “because of the governor’s feeling against him”. Shockingly, the inmate made no mention of his crimes or victims!
THIS IS A GLARING LACK OF INSIGHT.
Does it occur to any of us in this hearing today that Bruce Davis is in prison because he killed people? Plain and simple?
Does it occur to any of us in this hearing today that Bruce Davis remains in prison because his crimes were so severe and profound that they shook our country to its core with permanent repercussions? Plain and simple?
Not only are Mr. Beckman’s presumptions disingenuous, they are offensive to our families and demonstrate an extensive pattern of attorneys propping up their clients into the role of victim. This deplorable tactic has been perpetuated for decades now and completely lacks any crumb of insight into these crimes. So if there’s any confusion in this matter, let there be none now. The only people who had their freedoms snatched from them are Bruce Davis’ victims… and all victims of Mr. Davis and his so-called family.
REGARDING “THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW”
At Mr. Davis’ last hearing, the inmate asked the Board, “How am I different now than I was 50 years ago?”
Well, I ask that same question now to the two people most impacted by these crimes:
Gary Hinman, how are you different now than you were when Bruce Davis held you hostage, drove off in your car and left you bleeding-out forcing you to endure a death that lasted 3 days?
Donald Shea, how are you different now than you were when Bruce Davis and four other men ambushed you like cowards, then beat, stabbed you to death and mutilated you like a pack of jackals?
How is it possible for amends to be made for Bruce Davis when no one on this planet can make amends for his dead?
Gary and Donald are just as dead today as when they were sent to their graves 53 years ago at the hands of Bruce Davis.
Commissioners Garland & Stern, I urge you to consider parole for Bruce Davis, once you’ve paroled his victims from their graves…
…once you’ve healed and corrected the permanent wounds Bruce Davis and his crimes have dealt to American society.
Commissioner, as you acknowledge the rare, egregious, aggravated nature of Bruce Davis’ crimes as defined in LAWRENCE, how horrifically his victims suffered, the inmate’s minimization and lack of insight in to his crimes as cited in SHAPUTIS and the permanent destructive wounds Mr. Davis has dealt to American society- it is proper and just that you determine Bruce Davis unsuitable for release for the longest period of time.
…I must say before I leave, I feel great sorrow for the 4 of us directly impacted by these crimes. I extend this sorrow to Mr. Davis. I am so sorry that all of this ever happened.