• Bobby Beausoleil’s 2003 Parole Hearing

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Bobby Beausoleil’s 2003 Parole Hearing

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015



I would like to make a statement and say a few things. Now this is the part where I get to tell you why I think you ought to let me out of prison. And you know, that’s not really what I understand about what is happening and that was really happening, because this really is not about me. I understand that now, whereas I didn’t when I was a kid, you know, when I was 20 or 21 years old. I thought it was all about me. But it’s not about me. This is about what is best for society. I hope that what is best for society and what I can bring to a successful parole will coincide at some point. I do want to be united with my family, but like I said, it’s not really about what I want.

But for what it’s worth, I’m going to tell you what I want. What I want is to be able to no longer be considered a liability. I want to be considered an asset. I am fully capable of doing that. I have abilities and talents that I worked very hard to develop, that I’ve learned how to use in a way that’s beneficial to a lot of people, both in this community on the inside and to the outside community. I’d like to be able to do this more effectively. So if it’s about what I want, that’s what I want to be able to do.

But again, it’s not really about what I want. It’s about what is best for society. And in that regard, I’ll say this. I am really extremely sorry for what I’ve done to bring harm to all the people that I’ve brought harm to over the years. And it begins, of course, with Gary. And I am fully cognizant of what I did there. I mean there’s discrepancies in the facts, and I really can’t speak to that anymore. I’ve told you what I know from my own experience, and I hope that you will use that to mitigate Danny DeCarlo’s self-serving statements early on. It’s my own fault that I didn’t own up early on and have this be part of the actual court records. So I have nobody to blame there. And so I can’t really tell you that you have to believe me. All I can do is represent to the best of my ability the facts as I know them.

I killed Gary Hinman. I am responsible for that. It was my decision to do it. Nobody forced me or ordered me to do it. I feel that I was, you know, as I’ve said, I was kind of forced into the position of being there in the first place, but that, again, was from the decisions that I had made earlier on. I had entered into a drug transaction that escalated and got out of control. But I made that decision initially, and it rests with me. I must hold myself accountable.

Insofar as how it has hurt Gary, in 1981, a man did exactly to me what I did to him. I was stabbed in the heart and both lungs, and for some reason, some miracle kept me alive. And so now I since then for the past 22 years, I’ve had an opportunity to remember what that felt like. So I know what I did. I also know how it affected Gary’s family because I know intimately how it affected mine. Excuse me. I hurt a lot of people, and I’m very sorry for having done that. I want to be able to give something back. It is my very clear intention to give something back, to do the best that I can to make amends, to honor Gary’s life by helping other people to understand how I took it, so that they won’t make the same mistakes that I’ve made.

I think that’s probably the best that I can give, although I know it’s never really enough. If all I have is a prison cell and a piece of paper and a pencil, I will continue that work. Thank you.

Click here to read full transcript

Governor Brown Denies Bruce Davis Parole, Again

Friday, August 8th, 2014



Aug. 8 – The Board of Parole Hearings found Davis suitable for parole based on his satisfactory conduct in prison, age, parole plans, positive psychological evaluation, acceptance of responsibility, participation in self-help programming, laudatory notes from correctional staff, work ratings, and educational accomplishments.

Davis is now 71 years old and has been in prison for over 43 years. I acknowledge Davis has made efforts to improve himself while incarcerated. He has not been disciplined for serious misconduct since 1980 and earned his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in religion from Bethany Bible College, graduating summa cum laude. He has been commended for his outstanding job performance, high personal standards, and excellent people skills. He has worked in the chapel for nearly three decades, teaches Bible study classes, and has moderated Yokefellows Peer Counseling since 1983. He has participated in self-help classes including Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, Alternatives to Violence, and others. I commend Davis for taking these positive steps. But they are outweighed by negative factors that demonstrate he remains unsuitable for parole.

The exceptional brutality of these crimes and the terror the Manson Family inflicted on the Los Angeles community 45 years ago still resonate. The sentencing judge aptly noted that “these were vicious murders. They indicate a very depraved state of mind on the part of the defendant.”

Davis’s crimes were intended to fund and protect the cult and to trigger an apocalyptic race war. The Family planned a violent robbery of Gary Hinman because they believed he had money to fund the cult’s endeavors. Davis armed himself with a gun and drove others to Mr. Hinman’s home. Two days later, Davis and Manson were summoned for help. Davis pointed a gun at Mr. Hinman while Manson slashed Mr. Hinman’s face from ear to chin. The two left the others to continue to hold Mr. Hinman hostage in his own home while he bled profusely, and Beausoleil finally stabbed him to death and smothered him with a pillow. The Family used Mr. Hinman’s blood to write messages on his walls and left his body to decompose and rot. Two weeks later, other members of the cult carried out seven more horrific murders. Seventeen days after the Tate-LaBianca massacre, Davis, Manson, and others killed Mr. Shea because they suspected he was a police informant. They surrounded Mr. Shea, relentlessly beat and stabbed him, chopped up his body, and hid his remains. Davis finally admitted in 2012 that he sliced Mr. Shea from his armpit to his collarbone while the others stabbed Mr. Shea. Davis and Manson later bragged about the gory details of the murder. These crimes represent that “rare circumstance” in which the aggravated nature of the crimes alone is sufficient to deny parole.

The crimes alone, however, are not the only evidence that Davis is unsuitable for parole. Davis continues to paint himself as a passive bystander who took part in these appalling events because he was afraid of the repercussions of breaking away. He told the psychologist who evaluated him in 2013, “I was a dependent person. I needed attention and approval. I wasn’t my own person. I wanted sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.” He later continued, “I wasn’t looking out for my best interests; I was led by fools, bigger fools than myself.” Davis told the Board that he was willing to do “whatever it took” because he wanted to be “Charlie’s favorite guy.” He still maintains that he did not participate in the planning of the murders of Mr. Hinman or Mr. Shea.

Davis explained that he “deceived himself” by telling himself that it was “okay” as long as he did not actually “pull the trigger” to kill Mr. Hinman. He claims that he refused to go out on August 9 and 10, 1969 to participate in the Tate-LaBianca murders because “I didn’t want to be involved in something that could be physically confrontive.” He claims that he reluctantly participated in the stabbing of Mr. Shea because he was threatened by Manson and said that immediately after he “cut” Mr. Shea, “I looked around as if I hope you’re happy, threw down the knife and left. And that was a shock. That was a shock.” He said, “I felt terrible about it. I didn’t feel, of course, too terrible not to do it, because I was – I had – there was other considerations like what will happen if I say no.”

Davis’s explanations show he is still dodging responsibility for his active role in these murders. Each of the members of the Manson Family, including Davis, knew full well what the purpose and intent of the cult was— to prepare for and instigate Helter Skelter. Davis’s actions show that he, too, signed on to the plan and didn’t merely tolerate the violence of the others. Davis did not just “cut” Mr. Shea, he sliced Mr. Shea “from armpit to collarbone.” As I noted in my reversal last year, Davis bragged about murdering and dismembering Mr. Shea, stating “Yeah, when we brought him to now, Clem cut his head off,” adding, “That was far out.” Davis also bragged to Springer about dismembering Mr. Shea as a way to “tak[e] care of snitchers.” Although Davis did not participate in the Tate-LaBianca murders, those grisly crimes neither caused him to question his involvement with the Family, nor deterred him from participating in the brutal murder of Donald Shea weeks later. Davis then evaded capture for over a year, hiding in the desert with the other cult members. These are not the actions of a distraught and reluctant participant.

Davis was not simply a follower. At his sentencing, the judge stated, “I don’t want to give…the impression that Mr. Davis was at all a dupe…in these cases or simply a foil of Charles Manson.” The judge, who reviewed the facts of this case first-hand, observed that Davis was older and more educated than most of the other members of the cult and capable of independent judgment, and said “he shouldn’t be treated as somebody who was just led along by the nose and at the whim and command of Charles Manson. He’s a man who is capable of going on his own path and he deliberately chose to engage in these murders.”

My reversal of Davis’s grant of parole last year was based on the gravity of his offenses as well as his minimization of his role in these events. I noted that Davis was still revealing new details about the murders over 40 years later. I asked Davis to explain why he has shielded other Family members from prosecution by withholding information about these crimes, and to finally reveal what he knows. I asked him to reconcile his version of being a follower with the evidence that he was a leader who actively championed the Family’s values. He did not address these concerns at his most recent parole hearing. For the same reasons I articulated last year, I find that Davis is not suitable for parole.

I have considered the evidence in the record that is relevant to whether Davis is currently dangerous. When considered as a whole, I find the evidence shows that he currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison. Therefore, I reverse the decision to parole Davis.

Governor, State of California
Decision Date: August 8, 2014

30 Days: Bruce Davis’ Parole Fate Is Now In The Governor’s Hands

Thursday, July 10th, 2014


Jul. 10 – Governor Jerry Brown will have until August 9th, the 45th anniversary of the Tate murders, to decide whether or not to affirm, modify or reverse the Board of Parole Hearings’ decision to grant Bruce Davis parole.

The Board of Parole Hearings’ March 12th recommendation for parole has now been confirmed after the 120-day BPH review process and today becomes subject to Brown’s review.

Davis, 71, serving life terms for his role in the 1969 murders of Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea, has been recommended for parole in three consecutive hearings, but has seen two of those recommendations reversed during the executive review process.

After receiving 23 consecutive one-year denials, Bruce Davis was recommended for parole for the first time on January 28, 2010. The decision, however, was reversed in June of 2012 by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wrote, “I believe his release would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society at this time.”

Davis was again recommended for parole at his next hearing held on October 4, 2012. But that decision was reversed in March of 2013 by Governor Brown, who stated Davis was still unsuitable for release into society because of the heinous nature of the crimes. Brown’s reversal highlighted areas where, over the years, he felt Davis had minimized his role in both the Manson family and their crimes. The governor also questioned how truthful Davis had been, stating as an example, that Davis hadn’t mentioned Larry Jones being present during the Shea murder until his 2010 parole hearing.

“Davis’s choice to withhold information regarding the crimes and the identity of a potential crime partner indicates to me that his commitment to the Manson Family still exceeds his commitment to the community,” wrote Brown.

Brown now has 30 days to decide whether he will let the board’s March 12th recommendation stand. And as fate would have it, that review window will expire on the 45th anniversary of the most infamous of all Manson family crimes, the Tate murders.

Leslie Van Houten’s 2006 Parole Hearing

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014


Opposition letter from Cory LaBianca, read by her cousin, John DeSantis, at Leslie Van Houten’s 2006 Parole Hearing

My name is Cory LaBianca, and I am the eldest daughter of Leno LaBianca. Rosemary LaBianca was my stepmother for 11 years. I was 21 years old at the time of their deaths and I loved them both dearly. My cousin, Lewis Smaldino and John DeSantis, have graciously appeared at these parole hearings, representatives of the entire LaBianca family. In my eyes, they are angels. John has offered to read my letter to you today.

The house at 3301 Waverly Drive is in our — in our family for years. Since 1940, when my grandfather and grandmother, Anthony and Corina LaBianca bought it for their growing family. A solidly-built, white stucco house with a red tile roof, stood upon an acre of high land in the Los Feliz hills of Los Angeles. It was a modest two-bedroom home. But the ceilings in every room are decorated with (inaudible) intricately painted scroll work and the grounds reminiscent of a miniature Italian villa. The sweeping front lawn was our Thanksgiving Day rolling (inaudible), where my cousins and I would race each other rolling; rolling sideways to the bottom of the hill. We played hide and go seek in a side yard. A well-manicured rose garden maze like the Queen’s Garden in Alice in Wonderland. The sloping backyard was filled with trees that only my older cousins, boy cousins, were allowed to climb fully mature walnut, persimmon, apricot, fig and one huge mulberry. That mulberry tree covered the ground with its ripe fruit and I loved to mischievously squish those dark, juicy berries into the cement with my bare feet, knowing I would get a mild scolding from Papa Anthony if he caught me. The wine cellar beneath the back porch was off limits, and when nobody was looking, my little brother and I would creep open the rickety old wooden door and climb into the dark dankness of forbidden space, just to count the wine bottles and finger the spider webs. Sometimes we would get to stay overnight at our grandparents’ house. And in the early morning, Nana Corina would wake me and we’d walk to the bottom of the hill to admire her morning glories. The blue violet, funnel-shaped blossoms were mixed in with the ivy that blanketed the slope next to the road, and were always the first thing I’d seen from the car window when we came to visit. See how they open with the sun, Nana would say, cupping the flower gently in her hand. Aren’t they pretty. And then we would turn and walk slowly up the long driveway to the house. This was our family home, our grandparents’ home, the place where I and all my cousins have wonderful memories.

But on the night of August 10th, 1969, those memories were fractured when a band of strangers invaded our home and killed my parents, who were living there at the time. Can you imagine how we must feel having that nightmare interwoven with our most cheeriest childhood memories? We can do nothing to change the events of 37 years ago or to erase those horrible memories from our hearts and minds. But you, the Parole Board, can make certain that we don’t have to bear more. I ask you, please, do not make a mockery of what we love with your decision here today. Your rule — Your ruling will have an impact on all our lives.

Cory LaBianca

Click here to read full transcript

Patricia Krenwinkel Documentary, Life After Manson Debuts At Tribeca Today

Friday, April 18th, 2014


Olivia Klaus and Patricia Krenwinkel at the California Institue for Women while filming Life After Manson
Photo Credit: Quiet Little Place / Misty Dameron Photography

April 18 – A new documentary, Life After Manson, featuring Patricia Krenwinkel’s first on-camera interview in over two decades, is set to premiere today at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. The film, which profiles Krenwinkel life, is directed by Olivia Klaus, whose previous documentary, Sin by Silence, told the stories of a group of battered women all convicted of killing their abusive lovers.

It was during the filming of Sin by Silence that Klaus came to find out one of the members of the group she volunteered in was Patricia Krenwinkel. According to Klaus, Krenwinkel approached her with the idea of doing the interview and because they were already filming the support group, they were able to get around a law that traditionally gives the department of corrections the right to prevent on-camera interviews with high profile inmates.