Jerry Brown to set fate of ex-Manson follower
LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s governor has been asked to make the final decision on whether a former Charles Manson follower will be released on parole after serving more than 40 years in prison.
The state’s Board of Parole Hearings submitted to Gov. Jerry Brown its recommendation that Bruce Davis is suitable for parole. The documents were submitted Friday, one day ahead of the deadline, according to California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton.
The board’s attorneys were required to review the findings of a two-member panel which ruled he was suitable for parole. They confirmed there were no errors of fact or law in the submission.
The governor has up to 30 days to make a decision. His options are to affirm, decline, modify or decline to review, which would allow the parole to take effect, Thornton said.
Davis, now 70, was convicted with cult leader Manson and another man in the killings of a musician and a stuntman. He was not involved in the infamous Sharon Tate murders.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a previous parole recommendation for Davis.
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey sent a letter to the board last week opposing Davis’ release.
Davis was 30 when he was sentenced to life in prison in 1972, in a case that was a postscript to Manson’s notorious reign as leader of the murderous communal cult known as the Manson family.
Davis long maintained that he was a bystander in the killings of the two men, but in recent years, he has acknowledged his shared responsibility.
A recent photo released by CDCR shows a gray-haired, wrinkled man smiling for the camera.
If he is freed, Davis will go to transitional housing associated with religious groups in Los Angeles County.
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. The couple recently divorced.
Davis also earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in philosophy of religion.
Manson and three of his followers, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles “Tex” Watson, remain in prison for life in the Tate killings. Their co-defendant, Susan Atkins, died of cancer behind bars in 2009.