Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Tape is Allowable, says Texas Judge

From http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/lapd-allowed-manson-family-1448568.html

The Associated Press
PLANO, Texas — Los Angeles police are entitled to audio recordings of conversations between a Manson family member and his attorney, a Texas judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brenda T. Rhoades of Plano granted the request allowing police to obtain the eight cassette tapes containing hours of talks between Charles "Tex" Watson and Bill Boyd, a now-deceased Texas attorney who once represented Watson.

Detectives want to listen to the tapes to learn whether Watson described any unsolved killings in the conversations. An LAPD spokesman has told The Associated Press that officers have no specific information on what might be in the recordings.

A law firm in McKinney where Boyd once worked has the tapes, and a trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding involving the firm asked the judge to grant legal authority to give police the recordings. Boyd died in 2009.

Watson is serving a life sentence for his role in the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. He previously made the tapes available to the co-author of his 1978 book, "Will You Die for Me? The Man Who Killed for Charles Manson Tells His Own Story."

Rhoades' ruling came despite an objection from Watson's current attorney, who argued Watson didn't waive attorney-client privilege when making the book deal.

In the book, Watson detailed his role in the killings of actress Sharon Tate and six other people but didn't mention any unsolved slayings.

Watson, now 65, was convicted of all seven murders. He and three other Manson followers were sentenced to death but had their sentences commuted to life when the death penalty was briefly outlawed in 1972.

Boyd, who was hired by Watson's family, conducted a long fight to prevent his client's extradition to California from Texas, where Watson went after the killings.

According to court records, Watson waived his right to attorney-client privilege in his dealings with Boyd in 1976. The law firm then surrendered the tapes to the co-author of Watson's book in exchange for partial payment of legal fees.

The Smell of Death at Barker Ranch

Photo courtesy Robert Hendrickson
Compounding this lack of concern for potential victims was my discovery of a hand written "help" note left behind by a possible hostage. After our trip, with members of the Family to their Death Valley hideout, Craig and I alone, later made another trip to Barker's, but this time with a dune buggy up the more difficult Golar Wash canyon. The other difference was, this time, the scorching desert heat was fast approaching. Also, this time we could do some investigating on our own, without the watchful eyes of the Manson Family. Strange as it seems now, there are only two things I remember about the abandoned Ranch from that trip.

After entering an old out building, (can be seen as Gypsy points it out in the new Manson Gang film) I found a piece of paper with handwriting on it. I took it back outside and read it. It was a note, apparently written by a daughter in hopes that it may find its way home to her mother. Somewhat desperate in its tone, I realized that the game of making a movie about the Manson Gang, wasn't a game anymore. Many thoughts were now crossing my mind, as Craig and I had a bite to eat. Also exhausted, after lunch we decided to take a nap on the ranch house front porch.

It must have been a hour or so later, when we awoke to the most God awful smell that anyone could possibly have imagined. The next thing we realized, was that it must have been at least 120 degrees, and we were in the shade. I'm sure that the troubling note found earlier had played some tricks on my mind, but without any question, we understood that the horrible smell could only be coming from a dead body. Craig quickly fired up the dune buggy and I, almost in a panic mode, returned the note to its original resting place. With breakneck speed two young filmmakers got the Hell out of there.

One of the possible grave sites sites is about 50 feet away from where Hendickson was sitting on the front porch when he smelled it.  Since it was soon after the arrests there would still be a lot of soft tissue decomposition going on (very smelly) and in that sandy soil, it would migrate up very easily.  According to one of our sources who went to the Barker Ranch in 1969, there is about two feet of alluvial deposition on that spot since 1969. If there is a serious dig it must be much deeper than the 3-4 feet that was previously allowed.