Evidence

LAPD to get tapes of defense lawyer talks with convicted 'Charles Manson family' killer


After months of litigation and two court rulings, it looks like the Los Angeles Police Department may be on the verge of getting hold of long-ago taped conversations between a now-deceased Texas defense lawyer and a member of the notorious Charles Manson “family” convicted in multiple 1969 murders that terrorized residents of the city.

A federal judge in Texas upheld an earlier bankruptcy court ruling that the LAPD should get the tapes of 1969 conversations between defense lawyer Bill Boyd and his client, Charles “Tex” Watson, who is now 67, according to the Associated Press and Reuters

U.S. District Judge Richard Schell ruled Sunday that Watson waived the attorney-client privilege that would ordinarily keep such talks confidential when he allowed his attorney to sell the tapes to an author to satisfy unpaid legal fees.

As detailed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, Watson reportedly waived the privilege in 1976, allowing Boyd to sell the tapes for $49,000. The issue wound up in bankruptcy court after Boyd’s law firm became insolvent. Before he died in 2009, Boyd also discussed what was said on the tapes with an author, in another recorded conversation.

The LAPD wants to review the Boyd-Watson tapes to see whether they cast any light on unsolved murders in which members of the Manson family might possibly have had a role.

A spokesman for the department says detectives will travel to Texas to get the tapes as soon as the 30-day period to appeal Schell’s ruling expires.

“This Manson Family crime spree is one of most notorious and heinous in Southern California history and we, the LAPD, believe we owe it to the victims and their families to ensure that every facet of this case is thoroughly and completely investigated, and we plan to do exactly that,” spokesman Andrew Smith told Reuters.

A lawyer for Watson declined comment, the AP says.

Also see:

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

ABAJournal.com: “Did Charles Manson commit more ‘Helter Skelter’ murders? Lawyer’s tape suggests he may have”

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