Follower of cult US killer Manson wins parole green light


Sat, Oct 06, 2012 - Page 7

US authorities on Thursday recommended parole for a follower of infamous US mass murderer Charles Manson, more than four decades after he killed two people who were tortured and mutilated.

Bruce Davis, who turned 70 yesterday, was already recommended for parole once in 2010, but then-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected the recommendation, saying Davis would pose a danger to society.

Davis won a new release recommendation on Thursday at his 27th California Parole Board meeting since his conviction over the 1969 deaths of musician Gary Hinman, who was stabbed, and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea.

Six months after the January 2010 parole green light, Schwarzenegger rejected it, saying in a review that releasing Davis would pose an “unreasonable risk of danger to society at this time.”

The killings for which Davis was convicted were “especially heinous because both victims were abused, tortured and mutilated,” wrote the former Hollywood film star, who is returning to the big screen after leaving office last year.

“Indeed, some murders are so atrocious that the gravity of the murder, by itself, evidences current dangerousness. I believe this is such a case,” he wrote.

Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors are to evaluate the parole panel’s recommendation before deciding how to proceed.

Manson himself was refused parole in April, in what could be the 77-year-old’s last review for release after more than 40 years behind bars, since he would not be eligible for parole again for another 15 years.

He headed an apocalyptic cult and hatched a plot to commit murders in upscale, white neighborhoods in Los Angeles which he planned to blame on African Americans, to spark a race war.

He was sentenced to death with four of his disciples for having led the 1969 killing of seven people, including Sharon Tate, the wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski. Tate was eight-and-a-half months pregnant.

One of Manson’s disciples, Leslie Van Houten — convicted in the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Angeles home — was denied parole in 2010.

Another follower, Susan Atkins, died of cancer in prison in 2009. She had mounted over a dozen bids for parole in nearly four decades of incarceration and repeatedly apologized for being part of the brutal crime spree.