Manson family killer Bruce Davis is to be released on parole

Manson family killer Bruce Davis is to be released on parole


Manson family killer Bruce Davis is to be released from jail in California on parole, DailyMail.com can disclose.

The 76-year-old was cleared for release following a five-hour parole hearing at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo on Friday morning.

He will now be allowed to go free after 120 days, unless California Governor Gavin Newsom overturns the decision.

Davis cut a frail figure during the hearing and appeared dressed in a white jumpsuit and black sneakers.

The Manson follower was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald ‘Shorty’ Shea in August 1969 and conspiracy to commit murder and robbery. He began his sentence in 1972 and has spent 47 years behind bars. 

He told Commissioner Roger Anderson that he has been in solitary confinement since April 19 due to a threat made against him but has completed a series of courses while in jail, including a 16-week life awareness course that covered topics such as anger management, victim awareness and relapse prevention.

Manson family killer Bruce Davis is to be released from jail in California on parole, DailyMail.com can disclose. The 76-year-old was cleared for release following a five-hour parole hearing at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo on Friday morning

Manson family killer Bruce Davis is to be released from jail in California on parole, DailyMail.com can disclose. The 76-year-old was cleared for release following a five-hour parole hearing at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo on Friday morning

Victim: Gary Hinman

Killer: Bruce Davis

Davis (right) was part of the murderous gang who killed musician Gary Hinman (pictured left)

Davis claimed he only drove the gang to and from Hinman’s home during the hearing, and said he was too afraid of Manson not to take part in the killing of Shea (Hinman is pictured)

Davis claimed he only drove the gang to and from Hinman’s home during the hearing, and said he was too afraid of Manson not to take part in the killing of Shea (Hinman is pictured)

Davis also said he has found religion in jail and would go to a transition home on release and would like to continue his prison work as a quality control inspector on the outside.

He also told the board that he suffers from respiratory disease emphysema and is in need of a hip replacement.

His release was opposed by Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Donna Lebowitz who told the parole hearing he had shown a lack of insight into the impact of his crimes on the victim’s families and wider society.

She also said his claims not to have been directly involved in the murder of musician Gary Hinman were ‘implausible’ and pointed to discrepancies in his testimony about the murder of Donald ‘Shorty’ Shea.

Davis claimed he only drove the gang to and from Hinman’s home during the hearing, and said he was too afraid of Manson not to take part in the killing of Shea.

Davis is held at the California Department of Corrections in Sam Luis Obispo

Davis is held at the California Department of Corrections in Sam Luis Obispo

Debra Tate, sister of Manson Family victim, Sharon Tate

Kay Martley, cousin of victim Gary Hinman

Speaking afterwards, Martley (pictured right) told DailyMail.com that she was angry and upset at the result and refuses to believe Davis does not pose a risk to the public. The family members of victims appeared for the parole hearing on Friday in California

He told the board he had not known of the Tate killings until the morning after they happened but asked why he then did not report the crime, added: ‘I don’t know. I’m embarrassed to say but at the time I didn’t care.’

Hinman’s cousin, Kay Martley, 81, of Denver, Colorado, was also at the hearing along with murdered Sharon Tate’s sister Debra, 66.

During the hearing, Martley told the board: ‘Bruce Davis already had a second chance when his death sentence was commuted to life. He doesn’t deserve a third one.

Speaking afterwards, Martley told DailyMail.com that she was angry and upset at the result and refuses to believe Davis does not pose a risk to the public.

She said: ‘I don’t think he’s suitable for parole because of public safety. I know the prison mission is that they should let people out and make prisoners suitable members of society.

‘But these people [the Manson Family] are not. Just look at their personalities and what they did.’

The new decision is the sixth time Davis has been granted parole, although it has previously been blocked every time – most recently by former Governor Jerry Brown in 2017.

Robert 'Bobby' Beausoleil poses for a mugshot after being arrested for the murder of Gary Hinman at the request of Charles Manson on August 7, 1969

Robert ‘Bobby’ Beausoleil poses for a mugshot after being arrested for the murder of Gary Hinman at the request of Charles Manson on August 7, 1969

Steve Grogan (left) and Bruce Davis (right), defendants in the murder of movie stunt man, Donald (Shorty) Shea are taken into court December 23. Davis, along with Charles Manson (not present) was accused of both the Gary Hinman and Shea murders

Steve Grogan (left) and Bruce Davis (right), defendants in the murder of movie stunt man, Donald (Shorty) Shea are taken into court December 23. Davis, along with Charles Manson (not present) was accused of both the Gary Hinman and Shea murders

Charles Manson followers Bruce Davis, left, and Steve Grogan leaving court after a hearing in Los Angeles (1970)

Charles Manson followers Bruce Davis, left, and Steve Grogan leaving court after a hearing in Los Angeles (1970)

Brown, who was replaced by Newsom last year, said at the time that Davis appeared unrepentant and presented a danger to the public having ‘committed some of the most notorious and brutal killings in California’s history’.

His first bid for parole, in 2010, was overturned by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Davis, who was convicted at trial in 1970 of the murders of Gary Hinman and Donald ‘Shorty’ Shea, was initially sentenced to death for his crimes.

After California abolished capital punishment in 1972, Davis and the other members of the Manson Family were resentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

Although the death penalty was reinstated five years later in 1977, Davis was not sent back to death row and, as a result, has repeatedly come up for parole since 2010.

Davis is the third member of the Manson gang to be granted parole this year, after Bobby Beausoleil, and Lesley Van Houten were cleared to leave jail in January.

However, their cases were reviewed by Governor Newsom who subsequently blocked them. 

Bruce Davis, the Manson Family "X" carved in his forehead, walks with his attorney Daye Shinn (right) after he surrendered himself to authorities outside the Hall of Justice. Davis is under indictment by the Grand Jury for the 1969 murder of Gary Hinman

Bruce Davis, the Manson Family ‘X’ carved in his forehead, walks with his attorney Daye Shinn (right) after he surrendered himself to authorities outside the Hall of Justice. Davis is under indictment by the Grand Jury for the 1969 murder of Gary Hinman

Mary Brunner was a former member of the "Manson Family" who was present during the 1969 murder of Gary Allen Hinman

Davis

The gang believed Hinman had come into an inheritance and decided to ‘coerce’ him into handing over the cash after he turned down an offer to join the Manson gang

The other surviving members of the Manson Family, Tex Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel were both denied parole, in October 2016 and July 2017 respectively, and cannot make further applications until October 2021 and July 2022.

Tennessee native Davis met Charles Manson, who died behind bars in October 2017, after arriving in California in 1965.

On July 25 1969, he drove Manson, Bobby Beausoleil and Susan Atkins to the home of Hinman, a Colorado musician who had come into the gang’s orbit a year earlier.

The gang believed Hinman had come into an inheritance and decided to ‘coerce’ him into handing over the cash after he turned down an offer to join the Manson gang.

Gary Hinman's house

Gary Hinman’s house

American murderer and member of the Manson Family Susan Atkins (1948 - 2009) sits at the defendant's table at the Santa Monica Courthouse for a hearing regarding the murder of music teacher Gary Hinman, Los Angeles, California, 25th June 1970

American murderer and member of the Manson Family Susan Atkins (1948 – 2009) sits at the defendant’s table at the Santa Monica Courthouse for a hearing regarding the murder of music teacher Gary Hinman, Los Angeles, California, 25th June 1970

Bobby Beausoleil, talks with newsmen after the jury returned a verdict against him of first-degree murder in the torture slaying of musician Gary Hinman. Beausoleil, a former member of the "Manson Family," claimed that Charles Manson sent him to Hinman's house to force the musician to turn over $20,000, but that Manson was the one that delivered the death blows

Bobby Beausoleil, talks with newsmen after the jury returned a verdict against him of first-degree murder in the torture slaying of musician Gary Hinman. Beausoleil, a former member of the ‘Manson Family,’ claimed that Charles Manson sent him to Hinman’s house to force the musician to turn over $20,000, but that Manson was the one that delivered the death blows

Victim Donald Shea

Victim Donald Shea

When he refused to hand over the money, telling them he did not have it, Manson sliced off his ear and then left the property – leaving him to be tortured over two agonizing days by the others.

His body was left to rot for three days before it was discovered by friends concerned that he hadn’t been in contact.

Manson told his followers that the killings were intended to ignite a race war which he dubbed ‘Helter Skelter’ after a Beatles lyric.

Although Davis was not involved in the infamous Tate murders or LaBianca slayings, he did take part in the murder of ranch hand and stuntman Shea at the Spahn Ranch a month after Hinman’s death.

He was the last of the Manson gang to give himself up, doing so December 2 1970 on Manson’s orders.

At his last parole hearing in 2017, he said he had committed murder because ‘I wanted to be Charlie’s favorite guy’.

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