Criminal Justice

Did Charles Manson commit more 'Helter Skelter' murders? Lawyer's tape suggests he may have


As California’s governor mulls a state parole board recommendation that could result in the first release of a convicted member of the notorious Charles Manson “family” responsible for the “Helter Skelter” murders of actress Sharon Tate and others during the late 1960s, a lawyer’s audiotape is raising questions about whether Manson could have masterminded more murders.

Twice recommended for parole, Bruce Davis, 70, would already have been released but for the fact that the two murders for which he was convicted were part of a group of slayings orchestrated by Manson, according to his lawyer, Michael Beckman, who is urging Gov. Jerry Brown to grant Davis the parole he has “earned” through good behavior. Manson, now 78, is serving a life term for nine murders. He has been denied parole 12 times and will next be considered in 15 years, when he is 92, reports CNN Justice.

The Associated Press also has a story about the parole recommendation for Davis.

Meanwhile, KTTV reports that it has obtained an audiotape recorded years ago by a lawyer for another Manson follower, Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, who also is serving a life term for the 1969 murders of Tate and four others.

Attorney Bill Boyd, who died in 2009, was recorded before his death by an author. In the audiotape, which the station has obtained, he discusses what Watson told him on 20 hours of taped interviews Boyd did while preparing for his client’s murder trial. The Los Angeles Police Department has been working for years to obtain the tapes.

Articles published by the Daily Mail and the Independent provide additional details about what Boyd disclosed.

After Boyd’s firm went bankrupt, a bankruptcy court said the LAPD could have the tapes. Watson, however, objects, according to the Daily Mail, even though Watson OK’d the sale of the tapes in 1976 to help cover his legal fees.

Although Boyd said Watson never implicated himself, the client did reportedly tell the attorney that Manson was responsible for more murders.

Additional and related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Bankruptcy Judge Says LAPD Gets Tapes Convicted Manson Family Killer Gave to Now-Deceased Attorney”

ABAJournal.com: “Admittedly Very Dangerous, Charles Manson, Architect of ‘Helter Skelter’ Slayings, Is Denied Parole”

ABAJournal.com: “Hit with 30 Extra Days on Life Term for Cellphone, Helter-Skelter Slayer Manson Is Found with a 2nd”

ABAJournal.com: “Dig at Charles Manson Site Ends; No Human Remains Found”

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