“I realized then it was dangerous, dirty, criminal, and I did not care because I was getting what I wanted”.
“I could have, should have made different decisions. And I could have. But these are the ones that I made. I chose to stay. I didn't care what he did. It never crossed my mind to care”.
-Bruce Davis at his 2010 Parole consideration hearing
Dear Mr. Governor:
I am writing you today to ask that you NOT grant parole to Bruce Davis. I understand that this is a very difficult decision. Times are tough in the state of California, and there must be many pressing issues on your plate. However, I ask that you take a moment and hear me out on this matter which is surely going to set precedents for not only the other defendants in this case, but many others who may someday consider committing additional crimes of this heinous nature. To help me make this case- I will point out some common arguments for his release below in addition to some words that were never intended for my use to debunk them. I chose to use the words of those involved so as to make no mistake that my ideas were not made up to support my claims, and that even those involved make the same arguments as I do, although again, they never intended to do so. Please take the time to consider my offering.
“So I decided to be a counterculture dropout and an outlaw. That opened me up.”
-Bruce Davis at his 2010 Parole consideration hearing
You see Governor, Bruce made this decision to go over to the dark side before he met Charlie Manson or anyone in his family. Bruce was traveling all over the country, and world, doing his own thing both before and during his time with Manson. There are several other crimes out there that coincide with his presence in the areas. Bruce Davis may have been involved with, or have knowledge of, some of these crimes. In fact, another one of his co-defendants Steve Grogan led authorities to the area where one of Bruce’s victims was buried for years. It is worth pointing out that Grogan had no religious conversion aiding him with his decision to help. Certainly Grogan had his own motivations, but wouldn’t Bruce Davis with his search for forgiveness and his desire to make amends to the families under the light of God have felt the need to do so as well, or sooner in his case in light of his new belief system? It seems his actions are not as committed as his words when it comes to easing the pain of his victims families. Letting him out now would be doing so without having ever forced him to come completely clean. That would be not such a great precedent to set in this citizen’s eyes. Everything Bruce and his attorney have said leads me to believe that if released Bruce would not be out there preaching, or talking to others about the errors of his ways, as much as sitting on a couch somewhere complaining about how unfairly he was treated.
“apply the law fairly and honestly and give Mr. Davis the parole grant he's been owed for about 30 years. Courage that the last 22 Panels with the exception of one Commissioner lacked.”
" Bruce Davis reached his base term over 30 years ago and has to date been denied 22 straight times based solely upon the life crime and other unchanging historical factors."
- Attorney for Bruce Davis at 2010 Parole consideration hearing
This is my personal favorite reason you will hear Mr. Governor as to why he should be released. The “time frame” argument. Nobody has yet been able to show me where life sentence with a possibility or eligibility for parole becomes a guarantee for parole after a certain amount of time. I wonder- Is there a matrix or time frame for when Gary Hinman or Jerome Shea get to go home to their families? It seems to me that Bruce is getting frustrated that all these years haven't changed the fact he helped kill a couple of people. You mean after 22 straight parole hearings I still did that? You still want me to pay? Also- I remind you that Bruce Davis initially fled when charged. He decided when to turn himself in to serve justice for what he did. Are we now allowing him to decide when he is done based on a certain amount of time? We OWE him something? My greatest concern regarding this is the message it sends. If we tell our fellow citizens that taking a life from another may cost your own- it may make people think twice. If we send a message that simple math dictates how long you will serve- wont people start making judgments based on how much time is worth how much damage they want to cause? Do we really want people to start trying to figure out what is and isn’t worth doing. Don’t we owe it to each other to make sure people understand that we will not tolerate behavior which harms others, and if you take a life you need to be prepared to give up your own? I don’t know a single person who would risk losing their freedom forever. But there are people out there with nothing to lose and if they get desperate or angry enough- 7 to 10 may not be the end of the world if they don’t get away with it. Do we need/want to make the statement that nothing you do has permanent consequences?
Q: Describe or explain the relationship between Bruce Davis and Charles Manson.
A: It seemed to me that Bruce was competing with Charlie. He was trying to be an equal with Charlie or even he -- he was loud-mouthed. Whereas when Charlie would generally speak most of the people in the family would keep silent and listen, unless he asked them something directly or he said, "What do you think," or, "Say something." But Bruce would interrupt Charlie when he was talking and he talked in a real loud voice, and it seemed like that he like the power that he had when Charlie wasn't around because he could have one of the girls run and fetch him something.
Q: You got the impression that Bruce Davis wasn't subservient to Charlie either?
A: It seemed to me that he had more ego than any of the other guys I ever saw there. So that he hadn't given it up to Charlie.
MR. BUGLIOSI: Thank you. No further questions.
-Exchange between DA Bugliosi and Brooks Poston during Tex Watson Trial
As well Governor- you will hear many say that Bruce Davis was simply a follower, and under Charlie’s spell. But again I point out that he was much older, and more educated than most of the teenage girls following Charlie around. This was a man in his mid to late twenties during this time who had done quite a bit of traveling around. This was not some young dumb hick just getting off the farm for the first time. In the Oscar nominated Documentary Manson by Robert Hendrickson- there is a scene in which Lynette Fromme goes on and on about a ceremonial vest all the girls made, and contributed their own hair to. She gleefully points out that only Charlie is allowed to wear it. Not 5 minutes later in the same film- Bruce Davis is strutting around in this same vest designated only for the leader. Today they tell us to be weary of the internet and email- for once words are sent out into cyberspace- they are public domain forever, and can’t be taken back. So too was this true for video in the early 70’s. What Bruce wants you to believe now about his role then, and his actual actions and words from back then are very different. If you listen to his words he will tell you he was following Charlie and desperate to please him. Nobody else who was around them says that.
INMATE BEAUSOLEIL: Bruce Davis came with Charlie. He's the person who originally -- he and Dan DeCarlo from Straight Satan's were the two individuals that drove me to Hinman's place in the first place and dropped me off. Then Bruce Davis came in with Charles Manson. As the information that you have, that part is true. He came with Manson. He didn't do anything to Hinman, but the gun that I had was his gun, and he was concerned about that.
- Bobby Beausoleil from his 2010 parole consideration hearing
Finally Governor, you will hear people say he Bruce didn’t directly kill anyone himself. Well to that I would say aside from him personally stabbing Shorty Shea- the murder of Gary Hinman could not have happened without the participation of Bruce Davis, and that Bruce Davis specifically had the power to stop the murder from occurring. He drove them to the scene and gave them the weapon to make it possible. The knife may have done the damage, but the gun set the tone and made escape thoughts much more imprudent. If Bruce was concerned about the gun- it had to be his own interest he was concerned about. He did nothing to stop it from harming Gary. He left the gun with them despite knowing the intention of the visit. He never took it away, or told them they couldn’t have it. In fact when he got there and saw that Gary was being tortured and held captive in his own home- instead of offering help- he stole a car and left. Bruce didn’t deliver the fatal blow, but Bruce did nothing to stop it either and he was in a position on at least two occasions to do so. If Linda Kasabian was guilty for driving to the locations at the Tate and Labianca homes, and Susan Atkins was guilty at Labianca for just being in the car- how can Bruce not be guilty for driving the car and supplying the weapon he purchased (illegally by the way) at Hinman, or with Shorty Shea who he physically, personally contributed to slaughtering with his own hands??
So Mr. Governor I ask you to take all of this into consideration. I ask you to follow not only the law, but your heart in making the just choice of keeping Bruce Davis right where he belongs. In prison, working with others through programs and correspondence to make sure that people understand what happens when you get involved with taking lives from others. He will do more good, and can touch more people right there. I understand that with the passing of time it becomes more and more difficult to remember the atrocities this man helped to commit, and although he has behaved himself in prison quite well- it is fair to point out that from Scientology to Charlie to Christianity- he still is seeking for a higher power to lead him. He has spent most of his adult life searching for the right answers. Yet, if he would just listen to his own heart and read between the lines of his own words, the answer and most important issue in all of this has been there all along. What and who have been the bottom line. This is not about attorneys or matrix’s. This is about life and death, and what we do for each other as a community and society to protect each other and look out for one another and Bruce Davis said it best himself….
“Admitting I had indeed influenced the others brought out a struggle between my old habit of denying my influence in general and my conscious awakening to my true responsibility for my crimes. I struggled with fear of condemnation and pride as I came to terms with the truth about myself. I had not only done dreadful things, but I also influenced others to participate in horrible crimes. I experienced a shattering impact of my crimes when from deep within with my mind's eye I saw two gravestones, Gary Alan Hinman and Donald Jerome Shea."
"I know that the real focus of this was thinking about Donald Shea and Gary Hinman and their families that will never get over it. And the very fact that nothing I could ever do will ever change that for them.”
- Bruce Davis Parole consideration hearing 2010
But Mr. Governor- there is something you can do for others who have yet to have to go through a tragedy like this. Send a message loud and clear. Let them hear your message from California to New York, and all places they are listening in between. We will not forget, and will not tolerate what this man did. We will not make this type of crime something you can wash away with time, or jailhouse accomplishments. I agree with Bruce on this one point- some things can never be changed. I am not a lawyer myself. I have no real knowledge of the California correctional system or its guidelines. I am not trying to make a legal argument to keep him in. I am just one voice out here trying to remind you of what Bruce and his Attorneys won't tell you. Just to remind you of two voices you wont hear from.Two lives so savagely taken. To shout one out for the memories of Gary Hinman, and Jerome Shea.
And as Bruce said himself- that should be the real focus…
(Transcripts from Trials and Parole hearings can be read in full at Cielodrive.com)