Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bruce Davis, a Charles Manson Follower, Has Parole Blocked for Fifth Time

The New York Times
Bruce Davis, right, with his lawyer, Michael Beckman, before a parole hearing in 2012. Mr. Davis, a former member of the Manson family, was convicted in 1971 of two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and robbery. CreditJoe Johnston/The Tribune of San Luis Obispo, via Associated Press
A prison inmate who was a member of the Manson family has had his parole blocked by the governor of California for the fifth time.

A state parole board had recommended the prisoner, Bruce Davis, for parole in February. But Gov. Jerry Brown, who is known for taking a hard line against the followers of Charles Manson, refused to grant the parole on Friday.

In his decision, Governor Brown acknowledged that Mr. Davis, 74, who was convicted in 1971 of two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and robbery, “has not been disciplined for any misconduct for 25 years, and he has made efforts to improve himself while incarcerated.”


But the governor said the inmate, along with Mr. Manson and other followers, had “committed some of the most notorious and brutal killings in California’s history.” He added that in the years since, Mr. Davis had played down his role in a series of gruesome killings in 1969, and had acted in ways that suggested a lack of remorse.

“This is just a governor playing politics,” said Michael Beckman, Mr. Davis’s lawyer. “Bruce Davis is the most rehabilitated California inmate that I’ve represented, and there’s not even a close second.”

Bruce Davis, left, and Steve Grogan, both followers of Charles Manson, leave court after a hearing in Los Angeles in December 1970. Credit Harold Filan/Associated Press
Mr. Davis and other followers of Mr. Manson were convicted of killing Gary Hinman, a musician, in July 1969, and Donald Shea, a stuntman, a month later.

The victims were shot, beaten, suffocated, or stabbed with knives or forks. Their blood was used to write messages — such as “rise” or “political piggy” — on the walls at the crime scenes.

Mr. Manson told his followers that the killings were intended to ignite a race war that would bring about the end of civilization, which Mr. Manson called “Helter Skelter.”

Mr. Beckman, the defense lawyer, said Mr. Davis had taken responsibility for the crimes committed by Mr. Manson and his followers — even those in which he did not participate — and deserved to be freed. He said the next parole hearing for Mr. Davis could take place next year.

But the governor wrote on Friday that Mr. Davis “currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison.” It is the fourth time Mr. Brown has denied parole for Mr. Davis, who is incarcerated at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. Mr. Brown’s predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, did the same in 2010.

Mr. Davis said at his parole hearing in February that, at the time of the killings, he “wanted to be Charlie’s favorite guy,” referring to Mr. Manson, according to the text of the governor’s decision.

Mr. Davis’s case is one of several in recent years that has forced officials to wrestle with a difficult question: whether Mr. Manson’s followers should be granted leniency because of their relative youth at the time of the murders, or because they may have been under the sway of Mr. Manson, who was considered a charismatic and ruthless leader.

Others who participated in the 1969 killings, but sought release as they aged behind bars, include Susan Atkins, who was ultimately convicted on eight counts of first-degree murder and lived in prison until her death at 61 in 2009; Patricia Krenwinkel, 69, who was denied parole for a 14th time on Thursday after officials considered whether abuse by Mr. Manson had affected her state of mind at the time of the killings; and Leslie Van Houten, 67, who was convicted in the LaBianca murders and sought parole 19 times before a board recommended it in April 2016. Three months later, Governor Brown blocked her release, as well.

Mr. Manson, 82, is incarcerated at the California State Prison in Corcoran. Records show that he has been denied parole a dozen times, most recently in 2012. His next parole hearing is scheduled for 2027.


48 comments:

starviego said...

Let him go already!

Zelda Formaldehyde said...

I think Bruce deserves to be released. His culpability in the murder of Hinman is tangental at best. I think his responsibilty for the death of Shorty was less than others(Tex) who were not even charged for that crime. Bruce is a pawn in a politician's game.

Dave1971 said...

One of my favorite clips of the family is when Bruce turned himself in and hes high on LSD laughing and having fun with the reporters asking him questions, ill bet he never thought that would be the last hed ever see the street as a free man again

Dave1971 said...

If anyone deserves to get out its Charlie not Bruce

Matt said...

Dave1971 said...

... ill bet he never thought that would be the last hed ever see the street as a free man again


I've thought that too while viewing that clip. I bet it's crossed his mind once or twice, too.


grimtraveller said...

Dave1971 said...

i'll bet he never thought that would be the last hed ever see the street as a free man again

I'll bet he wasn't thinking much at all that day !

Dave1971 said...

Lol he was definitely feeling good in that clip, i doubt he grasped the severity of the trouble he was in

Dave1971 said...

Zelda ive often wondered if Doris Tate had lived longer what effect shed have had on all of the family members cases, she definitely had pretty strong opinions about who was and wasnt culpable, the whole case has been a political football for alot of people

Dave1971 said...
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Bobby said...

Dave1971 said...
If anyone deserves to get out its Charlie not Bruce

Hi Dave, Ive been able to read your posts and not commented.

that one though I cant resist. why would you say that or do you really believe that CM should be released at all let alone before BD ?

I'm totally open to what ever your rational is. I honestly can't thinks of a reason for me to believe CM before anyone let alone ever but I truly do want to know why you feel/think that way.

Thanks.

Bobby

Dave1971 said...

Real simple Bobby i just dont believe Charlie told anyone to kill anyone and wasnt on the scene for any murders, he was guilty by his own admission of assaulting Hinman and shooting Lotsapoppa and possibly of returning to Cielo to destroy evidence but hes more than paid for those crimes, even Sharons mom believed Charlie was set up

Dave1971 said...

But at this point i think the HUMANE thing to do would be to keep Charlie inside and let him live his last few years in peace at this point releasing him would just cause him hardships

Zelda Formaldehyde said...

Dave1971,as long as Bruce is still the one who stood there while Charlie brought the sword down along the side of Hinman's head, Charlie is far more culpable in that slaying. It's inarguable.

Dave1971 said...

Zelda i never said he wasnt, i was talking more about Shorty but with Hinman the ONLY killer was Beausoleil in my opinion

Dave1971 said...

In other words i dont think Bruce should have even been charged on Hinman but i do think he took part in Shortys murder

grimtraveller said...

1971, I can understand your reasoning and don't get me wrong, it's a view. An interesting one, actually. Unfortunately, it is wholly ignorant of the law and as such doesn't really have much relevance. If the overall opinion is "the law is stupid" {well, that particular one} then that's the route to take. Personally I think there are degrees and it's pretty much always going to be a question as to whether or not someone who, for instance, drives to a scene with no intention of killing and walks into a scene where a killing takes place at the hand of someone else, should be held as responsible as the one who actually commits the murder. Or say, two people go to rob a bank and they agree that they will use replica guns that only fire blanks, for the purpose of scaring the people and ensuring there will be no heroes. And say, one of the robbers packs a real gun and uses it and kills someone, should they both be guilty of murder ? I'd say no, only one is clearly a murderer. But the law would hang them both.
With Susan Atkins, Pat Krenwinkle and Linda Kasabian all clear as to instructions from Charlie {"Go with Tex and do whatever he tells you"} on Cielo night, they show that he is part of the conspiracy whether he specifically told them to kill or not. With them understanding that the following night Charlie decided they were going out again to be shown how to do it and with Charlie entering a house uninvited in which he saw a man {Leno}, he has shown himself to be part of the conspiracy. At this point, the motive, whatever it may be, is unimportant.
In a sense, Helter skeptics, by spending so much time and energy ridiculing HS have actually made it even more clear that with or without HS, under existing California law, Charlie is guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit it by causing us to look at the actual law. Now, that law may be unfair, it may be regarded as dumb, but whatever it may be seen as, it's the law and Charlie claimed that he knew the law pertaining to conspiracy, thus sinking himself deeper in the miry clay.
And don't even get me started on Hinman !

grimtraveller said...

Dave1971 said...

i've often wondered if Doris Tate had lived longer what effect shed have had on all of the family members cases, she definitely had pretty strong opinions about who was and wasn't culpable

Yes, she hated Tex and Sadie and not surprisingly. One murdered her daughter and grandson, the other she saw as doing likewise but perhaps worse, besmirched Sharon's name and laughed about her severe discomfort and scoffed at her concern for her unborn child, called her a bitch and an IBM machine and store mannequin and at one point claimed to have tasted her blood with an unforgettable and excited reaction to the telling of it.
What's not to detest for the parent of that victim ?
In saying that, a question I'll throw out generally; do many people count Hitler as responsible for the deaths of those who were killed at his command during WW2 or closer to home, do people have more angst towards the actual 9/11 hijacker murderers than Bin Laden without whom it wouldn't have happened even though he never killed anyone ?
Again, not trying to be cute, I'm genuinely curious.

the whole case has been a political football for a lot of people

That's for sure !
It is however, a political football that many truly believe that is being kicked toward the right goal posts.

even Sharon's mom believed Charlie was set up

Does she actually say that ? Do you know of anywhere where I can access that ? I'd be fascinated as to her reasoning and thought process.

simon davis said...

Charlie wasn't convicted for telling them to kill people. He was convicted for joining in the agreement/conspiracy. To be guilty, one doesn't have to be the "orderer". One just needs to be an "agreer".

And it was hardly surprising he was convicted, he had so many connections to the murder scenes that he as well have sent a signed confession with Tex and told him to pin to the front door/s of the scene/s. There was also other evidence of the most damning sort - admissions, threats in court etc. One one view of it, the conviction of Charlie was easier than the convictions of the actual killers (and they were pretty easy).

Then, shortly after conviction, he admitted to Bugliosi (to this effect): "Yeah I knew what they were going to do, and I said here take this rope, take these bolt cutters, and I told them not to tell anyone". These admissions were tantamount to a confession.

He has since made other similar damning admissions. The admissions to Dianne Sawyer in 1994 were damning (e.g. "they were going out to fight the war", "I didn't know, I didn't not know").

It is hard to see how it could be much clearer.



Dave1971 said...

Simon i concede to you on all legal matters, youre the expert here, all im doing is debating the "coulda, shoulda, wouldas" of the case or the "what ifs" but as i said youre 100 percent on the laws

Dave1971 said...

Grim get on youtube and find Bill Nelsons "Doris in her own words" series

simon davis said...

Dave1971 that's very gracious of you to say those things. Many lawyers here would disagree !. But this case didn't really turn on any laws. Not many cases do. The law is usually pretty straightforward, as it was here. The law was barely an issue (except the stuff about adverse media exposure excited some interest in the appeal court, coming as it did after the notorious Shepherd case). This case, like most, turned on the facts, and it turned very quickly and overwhelmingly against Charlie. Judge, jury and appeal court all were convinced beyond any doubt that Charlie joined in the agreement to take everyone out at Cielo and Waverley. Game over. Very simple case really. Nothing I've said should be interpreted as trying to be facetious, sarcastic or the like (I mean it !). What I've said is, truly, my assessment of Charlie's involvement. Now, if you want to find some tricky and difficult issues, look closely at the girls' defences and what became of those defences at the trial(s). The girls' convictions were, in my opinion, somewhat troublesome.

grimtraveller said...

simon davis said...

The girls' convictions were, in my opinion, somewhat troublesome

In what way ?

IlovePho said...

Manson ran a group of morons who committed deadly home invasions. After they got caught, they didn't help themselves by parading down the courthouse singing, laughing, and basically being smug assholes. It's as simple as that. None of these individuals are innocent. Bruce Davis too. You don't get a second chance after participating in human slaughter. Doesn't anybody have any sympathy for the victims at all anymore? I dig other people's opinions, but this pro-Manson Family bullshit is stale.

Matt said...

^^^ The guy with the reading comprehension issues.

Dave1971 said...

Simon my point was that its these technicalities and intricacies in the laws abd statutes that make things very confusing and vague in certain matters, in a perfect world we all should be held responsible for our direct actions and not be able to lay blame on gurus, leaders, parents, friends, etc, me telling someone to "get a gun and go kill this person" does not make me guilty of anything even if the person does it, i know youre going to say yes it does, such and such law or statute says this or that but that doesnt make it right or just, my comment about killing the person without someone else actually hearing it could be completely out of context, were seeing more and more of this these days with people even in positions of power saying things on social media that are impossible to interpret any context of by just reading words on a screen, i was just watching the second season of Aquarius finale where the murders finally take place and i thought to myself about how many movies over the years have completely failed to get Charlies real persona down with any of the portrayals, maybe im being naive but they always portray him as being more calculated and more articulate than he really is, theres a great little scene on laws and crime in the great movie Midnight Express when the main character Billy is talking to the court before hes sentenced "what is a crime? What is punishment? It seems to vary from time to time and place to place, whats legal today is suddenly illegal tomorrow because some society says its so and whats illegal today is legal tomorrow because everyone is doing it and you cant put everyone in jail"

Dave1971 said...

Also Simon theres simply far too much evidence of family members doing things completely independant of Charlie, Texs drug scams, Susan and Texs amphetamine use, Bobbys dealings with Straight Satans, Tex moving back and forth between the ranch and his wannabe drug dealing playboy Hollywood lifestyle, etc, even Tate had so many things completely ignored that Charlie supposedly told them to do

Dave1971 said...

Grim i agree on the football being kicked to the right goal posts for the most part especially when it comes to keeping Tex, Pat, Leslie, Susan, Bobby snd Bruce locked up but there have been some things that have been unfair such as allowing Debra Tate and Anthony DiMaria to appear at the Labianca killers parole hearings and also Bruce Davis and Beausoleils parole hearings even though they were in no way involved in Sharon or Sebrings murders, lets play this thing by the books

simon davis said...

Grim, the girls' convictions were problematical for several reasons, which is a big part of my book. I'd tell you privately, but in a public forum I can't divulge such a big part of my book.

Before I go further, please be assured I am not using the blog to promote my book. The sales of my book to this blog will represent an infintesimally small part of the proceeds of the book, which BTW will be shared with charities and government programs for homelessness, street kids and victims of domestic violence. Now that's not a plug for what a great guy I am, that's just to say "I don't really benefit financially from promoting the book on this blog, if that is what anyone thinks I'm doing".

OK, Grim, this is one of the main themes of my book. Suffice to say, I am almost certain the girls' convictions at the (first) trial were bad miscarriages of justice. Now before you or anybody gets too excited, I hasten to add that they probably would still have been convicted even if they had a fair trial BUT they would have had better sentencing and parole prospects if they had a fair first trial. I'd have to guess the girls would have all been out of prison by the end of the last century if that first trial had been fair.

simon davis said...

Dave1971, I agree or sympathise with quite a few of the points you make there.

I get the feeling that you, like many, often feel bewildered by the law and it's apparent technicality. Me too !

As I see it, our bewilderment is caused primarily by two things:

1. the simple fact that law is a (technically) difficult subject. It has to be because it is grapples with the most basically difficult thing about human beings' social existence - balancing the interests of all of us. That is all the law does - balance everybody's interests - but wow what a difficult task ! And we are all stakeholders - everyone wants the law to work in certain ways (usually in line with OUR interests) but of course it can't possibly do that, so we all get frustrated with the law. Science faces the same enormous kinds of tasks and responsibilities but we tend to not be so directly affected in our day to day existence by science, and science is usually a win/win for the ordinary human being - positive breakthroughs in cancer etc. Science usually delivers positives, and rightly so, and thank God it does ! But law delivers win/lose results for human beings. You either win your case, or you lose it. And your case - your divorce, your home purchase, your criminal charge, your compensation claim, whatever, is hugely emotional, tends to be the high pressure points of your life that bring you into direct contact with the law, so everything you feel is magnified exponentially. So the law is not a very well-loved animal.

2. faced with this PR problem, unfortunately lawyers are usually not much good at explaining how the law works, so the law never gets much good PR. If it marches forward in a positive and meritorious way, people usually say "well about time". Again, lawyers haven't helped much by occasionally allowing themselves to be seen as schonky.

Now all that's off the top of my head, so you'll excuse me if I just gather my thoughts and develop things in a way that benefits both of us and return at some stage in the next little while. The chooks are restless, the dogs are hungry and the dog poo is accumulating in the back yard and I must get off this computer for a bit.

Cheers beers, good talking to you, talk soon.

Dave1971 said...

So Simon are you suggesting thst you believe the girls were not guilty via diminished capacity and that Manson was the main culprit?

simon davis said...

Not quite. (BTW my beliefs are irrelevant, but that's another story for another day).

1. The Girls: The girls did not get a fair (first) trial in 1970/71, for several reasons which I won't go into. But even if they had got a fair trial, they probably would still have been convicted. In other words, a defence along the lines of diminished capacity would probably not have been successful. But the unfairness of the first trial probably did result in worse sentencing and parole prospects for them. It is admittedly guess work, and there quiet a few "ifs " and "buts", but my best guess is all of the girls would have been released by, say, 2000 if they had got a fair first trial (except possibly, and perhaps ironically, for Van Houten). Now I'm not in a position to elaborate on my reasoning, but it will become clear come about 1 August 2017, and I'm more than happy to discuss it here if you wish.

2. Charles Manson: Was Charlie the "main culprit"? Not quite sure about that language you use, but I think I see your point. Let me put it this way. On the basis of the evidence (and you can take that as a "legal" term or you can take it as a "non-legal" common sense type of thing), there was no doubt that Manson's culpability far exceeded the girls' culpability. Yes, and I've said this before, the case against Charlie was exceptionally strong and frankly fairly easy to prosecute (I envy Bugliosi's luck - what a great gig - and the fortune he made out of his book LOL!).

Now shortly we'll go on a journey together about the concepts of "law" and "facts", about which I think we're sometimes at cross purposes. Not your fault. Not my fault. Nobody's fault. Just happens. In short, no offence to you, but I think you, like so many others, tend to lead yourself into anxiety and frustration because you conflate the two concepts when, in truth, they are very different beasts.

Cheers mate, speak tomorrow or whatever it is wherever you are (USA ?).

Dave1971 said...

Simon of course your beliefs are relevant and welcomed as i hope mine are, thats what were here for and yes i am in the US, the midwest part of the country

Dave1971 said...

Also Simon theres no anxiety or frustration on my part discussing this case, quite the contrary, discussing this case brings alot of joy and is one of my favorite "hobbies" if you will, im under no illusion that my opinions on the case will change anything or persuade people to think what i do but the TLB case is one of the most fascinating things ive ever read about and it seems every time you read about it something new pops up, im amazed at some of the knowledge some of the people on this blog have about the case

Dave1971 said...
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Dave1971 said...
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grimtraveller said...

Dave1971 said...

theres simply far too much evidence of family members doing things completely independant of Charlie

You're right, there is. And that, for me, is actually one of the major examples of his dominance and influence over them, the fact that he still held such sway when they had all this supposed freedom of movement. Tex could leave the ranch for days, even months at a time. Yet he still came back. And deferred to Charlie. That applied to Susan, Barbara, Bruce, Cappy, to most of them.
And yet, he still controlled the parameters they moved in. And you know what ? In George's book, he says as much.

there have been some things that have been unfair such as allowing Debra Tate and Anthony DiMaria to appear at the Labianca killers parole hearings and also Bruce Davis and Beausoleils parole hearings even though they were in no way involved in Sharon or Sebrings murders, lets play this thing by the books

Actually, it is playing by the books. It's part of the law.
That said, I think it's unfair, I think it's wrong. I don't think victim's relatives that may not even have had real contact or memories of the victim or may have been three when their uncle or cousin was killed should be arbiters of whether or not an inmate is deemed to be fit for parole after 48 years, let alone in a case in which the victim wasn't a member of their family.

simon davis said...

Grim, "arbiter" probably overstates their influence, but I am in substantial agreement with you and Dave1971 about the apparent extent of their influence. Its not really something I have expertise in, but the apparent influence of the victims' rights movements in Aus and US, to my observation, may have grown out of proportion to what was originally intended. And there has been blatantly transparent political popularism. The apparent achievements of the victims' right movements are very much due to their causes being guaranteed big vote winners for politicians.

However, see how I keep using the word "apparent". There is reason to believe their influence is more "apparent" than "real", at least to the extent you can keep politicians out of the picture. In short, most lawyers, by dint of their training and experience, would tend to get victims' rights statements and the like into their proper perspective. Almost all lawyers I know would regard victims' rights as a principally a means of appeasing the victims by giving them a say in the process, as opposed to something which would significantly affect their judgment about the substantive matter of sentencing. Thus, as I understand it, since they victims rights came in Aust there has been no appreciable increase in sentencing lengths. (Lawyers -judges - decide sentence.) Don't quote me on that just yet - I should confirm with some sources. As to parole entitlements< I do not know but will enquire but will be surprised if victims' rights corresponds with any significant reduction in people getting parole.

The problem in Cal seems to be that it is a politician who has the final say. It has to be almost certain (I reckon) that the Manson followers are kept in for this long because of politics. I'm frankly not sure whether here a politician has the final say. But the Manson case is SOOOOO political that it probably doesn't matter.

simon davis said...

Dave1971, I hear what you say about the law. I guess its just that you often refer to the law and its technicalities and you mention how you know what the law is but you still reckon Charlie shouldn't have been condemned in the way he was. Even if its not the case, you give the appearance of being bewildered and flummoxed by the unfairness of it all.

I guess I just wanted to clarify that there was no real legal technicality about Charlie's trial or conviction. Like 95% of cases day in and day out in UK, US and Aus, Charlie's case was just a good old fashioned shoot-out on the FACTS. The law was straightforward - if you agree with somebody that a person should be killed, and one of you goes and kills that person, then both of you are guilty. So the judge told the jury "that's what you need to be satisfied about, applying your common sense and every day experience of life, and if you are satisfied, you must convict him". So they go away and they think about it and conclude: "We're satisfied that he agreed with somebody to kill, and one of them went out and killed". End of story. Most certainly jury does not have to grapple with any legal technicalities. Its simply citizens judging other citizens.

Now, if its the law itself that aggrieves you, well that's a different matter. First, the trial process ? - well nobody has yet come up with a better way of doing it. Second, the law about murder itself ? Well, you - yes you - can try to change it. But that's another story.

Dave1971 said...

Simon im not quite as emotionally investigated in the case you seem to think, even though i do think the laws involving murder in certain places are too far reaching ill never be involved in them so my position on it is "you play, you pay" if a person gets themselved in the situation they take what comes

Dave1971 said...

"emotionally INVESTED" not investigated lol phone printed it out wrong

Dave1971 said...
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Dave1971 said...

Simon im not quite as emotionally investigated in the case you seem to think, even though i do think the laws involving murder in certain places are too far reaching ill never be involved in them so my position on it is "you play, you pay" if a person gets themselved in the situation they take what comes

simon davis said...

OK ! Good chatting mate !

Dave1971 said...

I am looking forward to your book though Simon, will it be available in the US?

Dave1971 said...
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simon davis said...

Yes mate, probably available on the internet some time in August, will keep you updated.

Dave1971 said...

Wow Simon thats awesome, always love reading a fresh new take on the case especially from someone who has actual genuine interest in it

simon davis said...

Well mate, the interest is certainly actual and genuine. Whether it is worth anything might be another matter LOL ! Mate, I know you'll disagree with bits of it, but more importantly let's stay mates.