We're a hawk on the issues.

Manson Family Member Granted Parole

A member of the infamous Manson family was recently granted parole. Bruce Davis, who was convicted in 1972 for the killing of ranch hand and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea and aspiring musician Gary Hinman, could be released soon if California governor Jerry Brown supports the parole board’s decision and grants him his freedom.

Davis was an active participant in the brutal death of both men while with the Manson family in the late 60’s and recounted their deaths in grisly details during his parole hearings. However, according to Davis, it was the sex and drugs, not the criminal activity, that lured him into the Manson clan.

“You know, when I joined the Family, I knew that there was illegal activities going on. And I convinced myself that if I didn’t get directly involved in the drug deals or credit cards, that I would be okay,” Davis said in 2012.  “Now that was a foolish notion on my part, one of many foolish notions. But I was — I thought that I could just have access to the ladies and the drugs. I talked myself into that was okay. As a result of those decisions, nine innocent people were killed.”

Soon, however, Davis began participating in the crimes and the killings, even bragging that he had dismembered and decapitated Shea.

“After Mr. Shea was killed, I even bragged about how his body was dismembered and decapitated,” Davis recalled during his last parole hearing, admitting that it was only a lie to get notoriety among the gang.

He did, though actively participate in the death of Shea with a steely resolve.  “Let me say this, it wouldn’t have mattered to me were he dead or alive at the time. I was going to do what I did, and I did it,” Davis said of his crime.

After nearly four decades in prison, however, Davis said that he has had time to reflect on his time with the Manson family and now feels terrible about what he and others did.

“When I think of Donald Shea and how so cowardly and craven I was, completely insensitive. Hey, I am so sorry for not only for Gary and Donald, but their families and all the families of our victims, I mean, there were nine separate families that had to endure the terrible violence, the terrible loss that I supported. I was part of the Family. So feel responsibility for all of those people,” Davis said.

The parole board has also agreed Davis is a changed man citing his “positive adjustment, record of no recent disciplinary problems, and for successfully completing academic and vocational education and self-help programs” as reasons for granting him parole.

The governor now has 150 days to decide whether or not he will block Davis’ release.

Photo Credit: Manson Family/Archive photo


About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.