Bruce Davis Parole Transcripts
- 03/12/14 Parole Hearing
- 10/04/12 Parole Hearing
- 01/28/10 Parole Hearing
- 09/15/08 Parole Hearing
- 09/06/07 Parole Hearing
Shea / Hinman Files
PRESS RELEASE FROM GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN, AGAIN DENYING PAROLE FOR FORMER MANSON FAMILY MEMBER BRUCE DAVIS
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.
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor, State of California
Decision Date: August 8, 2014
I think this is getting ridiculous. I’m starting to feel sorry for Bruce. The governor’s team of legal asswipes really are doing unconstitutional stuff.
Nevermind, I just reread Shorty Shea’s autopsy report, and he even had chop marks on his skull. I did feel sorry for Davis, but I feel more sorry for what Shorty went through.
this becoming a case of political prisoner in my mind. Politicians simply don’t have the courage or clear mindedness to let these people out. Retribution has been made, let this fella go!
Implicit in Moonbeam’s rejection notice is that Davis is aware of crimes committed by un-prosecuted Family members. Thus Davis is yet putting loyalty to Family over justice. (Nancy Pitman perhaps?) This idea is Orwellian. Keep people in prison because of crimes they may know about? It is state sponsored blackmail, but that’s what happens in the lawless third world.
I just read an article about Brown on a rip to parole “lifers”. He let out some 2,300 since 2009. Brown was AG during that time before becoming a hack governor again. Brownie said that these prisoners deserve parole because they have proven they are no longer a threat to society. But not Davis, who, like Leslie, Kren, and Susan, has compiled an impeccable prison record. The difference? The Manson killers are white, the recent parolees since 2009 are brown and black.
Gov. Brown is like any political hack, he plays to his base. That base is minorities. But wait, Spahn’s ranch partners, blacks and browns are the majority in the now Mexican colony of California. Dipshit Brown bought into the Jessie HiJackson hype that there are too many persons of colour in prison, thus proving white privilege and institutional racism.
I’ve maintained that if Leslie, Davis, Kren, and Susan (deceased) wanted out of prison they should petition the Mexican Minister of Justice in DF. In Mexico the maximum time for any offense is 30 years. I’ve heard they moved that to 40, but don’t know. In the English colonies the subjects had the right to appeal to the crown for relief. Why not to Mexican authority?
Dutifully, like the good colonial governor his is, Brown went to Mexico recently to consult with his superior on how to manage better his Mexican colony. While there Brown slammed the feeble efforts of Gov Perry of Tejas for trying to protect his soon to be Mexican colony.
Brown is worse that Arnold. At least Arnold juiced the Tookei.
No parole for any of these murdering assholes, they should have been sentence to death to begin with, if they are let it out of prison, the victims will still be in their graves! I have zero sympathy for any of these monsters period, they should stay in prison until they die, like that bitch Susan Atkins did!
Anyone who has studied this case at length would see that none of the manson family should be released from prison. Just look at the autopsy photos and it sends chills down your spine. These people reveled in murder, they thoroughly enjoyed it. They were also originally given the death penalty, and should feel lucky they have a chance at life, which is more than what their victims had.
The Governor’s comments don’t make sense. The first paragraph describes the significant steps Davis has taken to improve himself and then he goes back to 1969, talking about the terror people felt and the depravity of the crime. If decisions are continually amde based on the case itself and the way in which people were feeling in 1969, then they will never let him out. All murders are heinous and violent and violate humanity but we still see murderers get out after 15 years. davis has done 3 times that and he is 71 years old for god sake. Costing Americans about $40,000 to keep him there. just seems stupid to me.
Bruce Davis is right where he needs to be. In going thru his many parole hearings thru the years, he changes his story about his involvement in the crime, and continues to minimize his actions. I’m glad as a tax payer to keep these people where they need to be, IN PRISON! The Tate Family legacy has alot of info about these people, and why they need to remain in prison until they draw their last breath.
Springer was a big liar who ended up getting busted in an airport in the eighties with a suitcase full of cocaine. He is not credible in my eyes. In my opinion he said all he said to protect his biker gang’s part in the Hinman murder.
My concern regarding Family members is that, firstly, they continue to send coded messages to those who escaped imprisonment and secondly they show as little remorse and understanding as classic SS men who never repudiated their philosophy.
In other words, despite the passing of decades, the Manson Family is still alive and could conceivably even be part of the underground “dark web” school for psychipaths that has produced some recent spree and serial killers.
Almost uniquely, Manson’s gang exposed the lie that serial and spree killers are always “loners” and that there is no economic motive for their crime. This is still a topic taboo for the lapdog media, naturally.
Brown’s continued overruling of parole for Davis may be an example of a coverup as much as vindictiveness.
Mae Brussell got on to this subject and did some good work before straying off into the long grass again.
If i may, I will quote the late Christopher Hitchens.
There seems to be no easy way to discuss this other than in personal or individual terms. You and I have no idea what it is like to be a sociopath-someone that does not care about other people except inasmuch or they serve his turn-or a psychopath-someone who deserves actual delight from inflicting misery on others. But we know that such people exist, and that they must be guarded against. I regard their existence as part of our haphazard evolution and our kinship with a nature that often favors the predator. You do not. Indeed, you apparently adopt the immoral and suicidal doctrine that advocates forgiveness for those who would destroy us. Please take care not to forgive my enemies, or the enemies of society. If I have to call such people “Evil” (and I find I have no other alternative), I do not deduce peaceful coexistence from that observation and do not want you being tender to them when it is my family’s life that is at stake.