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Ex-Manson follower gets parole, but hurdles loom

Charles Manson

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) -- A California board once again approved parole Wednesday for former Charles Manson follower Bruce Davis, but before he's released he'll have to get past Gov. Jerry Brown - who chose to keep him in prison under the same circumstances just last year.

Davis, 71, made his 28th appearance before a Department of Corrections Board of Parole Hearings at the California Men's Colony near San Luis Obispo.

He has been in prison for nearly 43 years, sentenced with Manson and others for the 1969 murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman ranch hand Donald "Shorty" Shea. He long maintained that he was a bystander in the killings, but in recent years he has acknowledged his shared responsibility.

Davis was granted parole by the same board in 2012, but Brown rejected it last March, saying he was convinced Davis still hadn't revealed all he knew about the Manson Family.

Brown said in his written decision that after four decades "it is encouraging that Davis is beginning to reveal the actual details of what happened. But it is clear that he continues to withhold information about these events."

"Until Davis can acknowledge and explain why he actively championed the Family's interests and shed more light on the nature of his involvement, I am not prepared to release him," Brown said.

And just three years before Brown's rejection, Davis got the same treatment from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who refused his release on parole in 2010.

Wednesday's decision now triggers a 120-day review period for the board. The governor then has 30 days to approve, reverse, change or decline to review the decision.

Governor's spokesman Jim Evans said in an email Wednesday that he could not comment beyond the information released by the Department of Corrections.

Davis' attorney, Michael Beckman, said last year that Davis was the most rehabilitated of the hundreds of parole candidates he's represented, calling the governor's decision "horrible" and contrary to the findings of parole commissioners who found him eminently suitable. He said Davis has told everything he knows.

Davis was not involved in the notorious slayings of Sharon Tate and six others, making him a more likely candidate for parole than many of the better-known Manson family members.

He became a born-again Christian in prison, earned a master's degree and a doctorate in philosophy of religion and ministered to other inmates.

He married a woman he met through the prison ministry, and has a grown daughter. The couple recently divorced.

Davis would be only the second Manson-related murder defendant to be granted parole since the killing spree began in 1969.

Manson and three of his followers, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles "Tex" Watson, remain in prison for life in the Tate killings. Their co-defendant, Susan Atkins, died of cancer behind bars in 2009.

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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vaitkusm March 13 2014 at 12:09 PM

He should not be let out, of course you are not the same person 43 years later, but that does not dismiss the crimes committed. Gov. Brown, do not let him out.

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1 reply
Mary vaitkusm March 13 2014 at 12:22 PM

tell that to victims families

Flag Reply 0 rate up
robertaeinbender March 13 2014 at 6:46 AM

KEEP him in prison

Flag Reply +3 rate up
theresa March 13 2014 at 6:49 AM

Keep him in jail. We are already paying for the bastard! It would cost more to take care of him on the outside. I am sure he would be catered to like all the others, welfare health insurance etc.....

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Dickhead March 13 2014 at 11:06 AM

yup

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Kim&Moe Ethier March 13 2014 at 11:04 AM

If ever released, I hope the spirits of those he killed or was an accomplice of killing, haunts him every sleeping or waking minute of whats left of his pitiful life. DO NOT LET ANY OF THEM OUT JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE FOUND GOD. They can still spiritually exhist behind those bars. It's only the FEAR of God that moves them to being so called Christians.

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Mimi March 13 2014 at 10:58 AM

It's always nice to know that a convicted (and subsequently confessed) murderer can get his college education completely gratis, get married, and (presumably) father a child -- I guess those bars are just for decoration. I remember all the bleeding hearts begging for the release of Susan Atkins when she was dying of cancer....what she did was beyond horrific, and her sentence meant exactly that -- you're in until you die. This guy should stay where he is.

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1 reply
Go RU ! Mimi March 13 2014 at 11:21 AM

I agree. Murderers and other criminals are supposed to be punished, not given the same privileges of the rest of society. Just as an aside, I went to college late in life to get my degree and will probably be paying off my student loans until 6 days after I'm dead.

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b4awl March 13 2014 at 10:55 AM

Keep him locked up till he rots..

Flag Reply +7 rate up
bradlwat March 13 2014 at 10:55 AM

Davis shoule never get out of prison--so what if he is aborn again Christian--what these people did to Gary Hinman, Sharon Tate, her unborn child, her friends,Steve Parent, and the LaBiancas was saidstic and inhumane.

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tranacria March 13 2014 at 7:11 AM

All of them should have been executed.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
endlessdrip March 13 2014 at 10:54 AM

Never, this monster must remain in prison for life with no chance for parole.

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