Member of Charles Manson's murderous cult, 81, has parole hearing postponed after he appeared in podcast called 'The Lighter Side of Serial Killers': Serving life for his role in killing musician, 34, and Hollywood stuntman, 35, in 1969

Daily Mail, UK/February 2, 2024

By Kamal Sultan

A member of Charles Manson's murderous cult has had his parole hearing postponed after he appeared on a true crime podcast.

Bruce Davis, 81, has been serving life in prison since 1972 for his role in the murders of musician Gary Hinman, 34, and Hollywood stuntman Donald 'Shorty' Shea, 35.

He appeared on the The Lighter Side of Serial Killers podcast after giving two phone interviews in February and April 2023 about his Christian faith and upcoming book which he is writing in prison.

Davis even wrote a Christmas card to host Keith Rovere, who is a former prison chaplain, where he expressed his excitement for his upcoming parole hearing on January 18.

But this was postponed to August 8 after his podcast appearance as parole commissioners voiced concerns, according to him.

'I've yet to hear the podcast,' Davis told Fox News Digital. 'Does it sound as if I'm glorifying Manson or my crimes?'

He spoke to Rovere twice last year and said: 'He wanted my help and the help of my followers to ask him questions about his past to jog his memory for stories for the book.'

The pair spoke about how Davis first met Manson and his time on the cult's Los Angeles ranch as well as stories about the other members in Manson's life.

He described the cult leader as a 'little, undersized person' with enormous influence over his followers.

'I know from the dark side,' Davis told Rovere in a phone call from San Quentin State Prison.

'I'd never say no to Charlie because I wanted to be his favorite guy.'

He later spoke about his parole hearings and how the family members of the murdered victims attended.

'After I got found suitable, the next time I went to the board the DA went out and got all these victims,' Davis said.

'The family members of the victims they had never had any interest in coming to my hearings before.

'But this time they showed up and my lawyer was freaked out, "oh my goodness, they've got all these people".

'I kind of got freaked out with him.'  

But he said they did not discuss his crimes but instead how Manson attracted a cult following and that members were usually high on drugs.

'I know that I don't know everything,' he added. 'And there will be some questions that stimulate something that bring something back that is part of the story that I dismissed.'

Davis has been in prison for 51 years since he was convicted of the first degree murders of Hinman and Shea in 1969.

He said he attacked Shea with a knife and held a gun on Hinman while Manson cut Hinman's face with a sword.

'I wanted to be Charlie's favorite guy,' he said during a 2014 parole hearing.

After the murders, other members of the cult wrote 'political piggy' on the wall of Hinman's home in his own blood.

There were six other murders committed by the Manson cult in 1969. Members stabbed, beat and shot young actress Sharon Tate, who was heavily pregnant, to death at her Hollywood Hills home on August 8 1969.

They also killed her friends, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski and teenager Steven Parent, who had been visiting an acquaintance at the estate’s guesthouse.

The next night Manson and some of his followers struck again, this time murdering wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary at their home.

Davis has been recommended for parole seven times between 2010 to 2021 but it has been blocked by three consecutive California governors.

Parole panels have repeatedly decided Davis is no longer a public safety risk, citing his age and good behavior.

But his release has been blocked by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom.

In 2019, Newson said Davis has yet to demonstrate that he has a 'comprehensive understanding of how he came to participate in such extreme violence'.

'As a result, I do not believe that he has the current insight and skills to abstain from violent situations in the future if released.'

The board granted Davis parole again in 2021 but Newsom again overturned the commissioner's decision.

In July 2022, officials denied him parole and he was not supposed to be eligible until 2025 but his application was approved for an administrative review the next year.

His suitability hearing was postponed by parole officials on January 18 and California Department of Corrections records show it was moved to August 8.

Podcast host Rovere said the decision came after the commissioners found out about the episode with Davis.

'If the parole board felt uneasy about him just doing a podcast, who knows what they'll think,' he said.

'Most of the people I talk to aren’t believers and aren’t religious. I don’t push it on them, but that’s my personal foundation.

'It’s mostly about making a positive change in their lives, because no one else is doing it.'

Davis was convicted with Manson and another follower, Steve Grogan, in the two slayings.

Grogan was paroled in 1985 after he led police to Shea's buried body. Robert Beausoleil, 72, convicted in Hinman's death, remains in prison.

Manson died in prison on November 19, 2017 at the age of 83.

Manson followers Leslie Van Houten, 70; Patricia Krenwinkel, 71; and Charles 'Tex' Watson, 73, are imprisoned for the Tate killings. Their co-defendant, Susan Atkins, died of cancer in prison in 2009. has contacted the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for comment.

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