“Well, we knocked off five of them, just the other night”
Nov. 12 – On Wednesday, November 12, 1969 an officer from the Venice Police Department placed a phone call to the Parker Center and asked if homicide detectives wanted to talk to Al Springer. Springer, a member of the Straight Satans motorcycle club – and friend of Danny DeCarlo – had some interesting information about a guy named Charlie and the Tate / LaBianca murder.
Sergeants Frank Patchett and Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez brought Springer to the Parker Center, sat him down in an interrogation cubicle and hit the record button.
In this portion of the interview, made at Parker Center in downtown Los Angeles, Springer tells Patchett and Gutierrez about the 1 percenters, his visits to Spahn Ranch and Devil’s Canyon, and how Manson bragged to him about killing rich people.
For the purpose of voice identification, the first detective to speak is Sergeant Frank Patchett. The detective who leaves to “go see the skipper” is Sergeant Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez.
Al Springer, 26 years-old at the time of this interview, was a member of the Straight Satans motorcycle club. Springer, who was originally from Alam, Michigan, lived in Torrance, California with his wife and kids.
Springer had first met Charles Manson a few days after the Tate-LaBianca murders, when he went to Spahn Ranch to talk his fellow club brother, Danny DeCarlo, into leaving. According to Springer, Manson attempted to impress him by bragging about the murders, saying, “we knocked off five of them, just the other night”
Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi didn’t end up using Springer as a trial witness. However, Springer did testify before the Los Angeles County Grand Jury that eventually indicted Charles Manson for the murder of Gary Hinman.
Although he was entitled to a share, Springer never collected his portion of the $25,000 reward put up by actors Peter Sellers, Warren Beatty and Yul Brynner.
Al Springer worked as a millwright for Lease Finance Corp. Co-Generation Plant in Yuba City, California. He passed away at the age of 56, at Rideout Memorial Hospital on Sunday, May 21, 2000.
He was survived by his wife, 6 sons, and 9 grandchildren.
Sergeant Frank Patchett
Sergeant Frank J. Patchett, 38 years-old at the time of this interview, had been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 12 years. He had studied Psychology and Sociology at L.A. State College.
Patchett spent 4 years as a communications officer in the Navy, specializing in Cryptography.
Patchett became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department in August of 1957, where he attended Polygraph school. Before working on the LaBianca murders, Frank had previously been assigned to the Robert Kennedy assassination case.
Sergeant Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez
Sergeant Manuel “Chick” Gutierrez, 43 years-old at the time of this interview, had been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 16 years. He had previously spent 3 years studying Police Science at Cal State.
Chick became a weapons expert in the USMC, serving in Iwo Jima and Korea. His military career earned him a Silver Star, 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Presidential Citations and 6 Battle Stars.
Gutierrez became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department in May of 1953. Before working on the LaBianca murders, Chick had previously been assigned to the Robert Kennedy assassination case.
Chick suffered a heart attack and passed away in his home on the morning of Saturday, December 9, 1972. The 46-year-old officer was survived by his wife, 3 sons and 3 daughters.