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California governor stops parole for Charles Manson follower

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2012

    Bruce Davis was recommended for parole by a state panel only to see it blocked by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

LOS ANGELES >> California Gov. Jerry Brown tonight blocked parole for Charles Manson follower and convicted killer Bruce Davis.

Brown’s rejection issued late tonight is the fifth time Davis has been recommended for parole by a state panel only to see it blocked by a governor, and continues Brown’s unflinching pattern of refusing to allow anyone from Manson’s “family” to be freed.

On Feb. 1, the parole panel recommended release for the 74-year-old Davis, who is serving a life sentence for the 1969 slayings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea. Davis was not involved in the more notorious killings of actress Sharon Tate and six others by Manson’s group.

Brown in his written decision acknowledges the factors that led the board to recommend parole for Davis: His efforts to improve himself, his academic progress, and 25 years with no discipline for misconduct.

But he said these things are “outweighed by negative factors that demonstrate he remains unsuitable for parole.

“These cult murders have left an indelible mark on the public — the Manson Family is still feared to this day,” Brown wrote. “Incredibly heinous and cruel offenses like these constitute the ‘rare circumstances’ in which the crime alone can justify a denial of parole.”

Also, Brown added “his continued minimization of his own violence and his role in the Manson Family further shows that he remains an unreasonable risk to the public.”

The governor’s decision came a week before the deadline.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also rejected Davis’ parole bid before Brown made a common ritual of it.

A message left with Davis lawyer Michael Beckman was not immediately returned.

Davis is serving his time at the California Men’s Colony at San Luis Obispo.

During the half-century since the slayings, parole panels decided five times that Davis is no longer a public safety risk. Officials have cited his age and good behavior behind bars that includes earning a doctoral degree and ministering to other inmates.

Davis testified at his 2014 hearing that 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 then.

Beckman, who has been fighting for years for the release of Davis, said in February that his client is the most rehabilitated prisoner among the 2,000 he is representing in the penal system.

“There’s no one even a close second,” Beckman said.

On Thursday, California officials denied parole for convicted killer and Manson follower Patricia Krenwickel.

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