Five months after being recommended for release by a parole board, Bruce Davis is once again a lifer without a release date.
Davis, 67, was a minor player in Charles Manson’s “family” in the late ’60s and was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in 1972. He’s spent the last 30 years at California Men’s Colony on the outskirts of San Luis Obispo. Since then, he’s been a model prisoner, earning a master’s degree in religion and a doctorate in philosophy of religion.
On June 22, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the parole board’s decision, citing the “heinous nature” of the crimes, as well as statements made by Davis from parole hearings dating back to the early ’70s minimizing his involvement in the murders of musician Gary Hinman and ranch hand Donald “Shorty” Shea.
Davis did not kill either man himself but was present during the crimes, at one point driving Manson to Hinman’s home. Davis had no involvement in the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders.
“It’s a political calculation [on the part of the governor],” said Michael Beckman, Davis’ attorney. “Bruce Davis has got to be one of the safest inmates in the entire system.”
“It is difficult for us that they waited until the very latest that they could wait to release the information,” Beth Davis, Bruce’s wife, told New Times. “Unfortunately, we have seen that time and again with others.”
Beckman said Davis’ next parole hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13, but that he plans to file a writ of habeas corpus challenging Schwarzenegger’s decision.
Should he be released, Davis hopes to live with his wife and daughter in Grover Beach. He’s already been offered a job at a local church.