Member of Manson Cult Recommended for Parole

Associated Press/January 29, 2010

Los Angeles - Bruce Davis, a member of Charles Manson's murderous cult who participated in two killings, was recommended for parole on Thursday after nearly four decades in prison.

The decision by a two-member Board of Prison Terms panel came after the 26th parole hearing for Davis, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

It was just the first step in a parole process that also requires approval by the governor and other parole board members. The process could take five more months.

The 67-year-old Davis has been in prison since 1972 after being convicted in the murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea.

Attorney Michael Beckman, who represented Davis at the hearing, said Davis acknowledged for the first time that he shared responsibility for what happened, even though he killed no one himself.

"He said, "I was as responsible as everyone there,"' Beckman said.

Davis was not involved in the infamous Manson family murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

Davis became a born-again Christian in prison and ministered to other inmates, married a woman he met through the prison ministry and has a grown daughter.

Los Angeles County prosecutors could petition the governor to reject parole, but spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said no decision had been made on how to proceed.

The only other Manson family member convicted of murder to be paroled was Steve Grogan. He was released in 1985 after leading authorities to the site where Shea's body had been buried.

The decision to recommend Davis for parole was made by panel members Robert Doyle and Booker Welch after a five-hour hearing at the California Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo.

Deputy District Attorney Pat Sequeira, who argued against the parole, declined to discuss the proceedings.

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