Bruce Davis Parole…$64,000 Question – Part Three

$64000Question-1993ParoleHearing-BruceDavis 1 “It’s not like Bruce just jay-walked in front of Hinman and Shea, ya know!”, I said to myself.
The Board of Prison Terms has a extremely difficult time coming to a decision for or against an early release date, especially when it comes to convicted multiple First Degree murderers.

Or maybe they don’t.

Maybe they look at the more than one count with no voluntary admissions to the authorities as to the actions of his cohorts or the whereabouts of Shorty Shea’s grave and say, “Nope, this dude ain’t seein’ the light of day no-how!”

But if that were the case, then why would the lawyers of these multiple First Degree murder convicts insist that attending these Parole Hearings was anything but a waste of time?

Charlie Manson gave up years ago, knowing full well that such efforts were an exercise in futility…but the members of his Family continue to attend. And for Bruce, like the others, his parole hearing denial numbers are now in the double digits, the largest amount of Hearings attended of all the convicted Family members.

Regardless of the past, Bruce and his past will be up-front and centre once more in just under a week’s time, and one has to wonder if the holes in the cheese I have highlighted in the last part of my post series on Davis will be factors in their decision to grant parole as well.

Well, just in case they run out of holes, here are a few more points for them, and you, to consider, as we all walk down the hall toward Bruce’s 23rd hearing…

8) Bruce and the Lethal Weapons – Bruce has no problem remembering the events that occurred down the hill, as all the men hovered over Shea’s dead or dying body. Bruce states,

“And it started off Manson handed me a machetti [sic] as if I was supposed to – I mean I know what he wanted. But, you know, I couldn’t do that. And I – in facts I did touch Shorty Shay [sic] with a machetti [sic] on the back of his neck, didn’t break the skin. I mean I just couldn’t do it. And then I threw the knife – and then he handed me a bayonet and it – I just reached over and – I don’t know which side it was on but I cut him right about here on the shoulder just with the tip of the blade. Sort of like saying, are you satisfied, Charlie?”

Hard to tell if a) Bruce didn’t have the stomach to decapitate Shorty; or b) didn’t have it in him to kill anyone with any weapon. I would like to believe the latter but the evidence speaks to the former.

Bruce did far more than just “cut him…just with the tip of the blade” if you examine the autopsy report on Shea. The coroner recorded that there were THREE stab wounds in and around the $64000Question-1993ParoleHearing-BruceDavis 2right shoulder area of Shea and, of course, there was no skin, muscle or tissue remaining on the corpse by the time this autopsy was performed. These stab wounds were deep and damaging enough to leave cut marks right through to the bone, some EIGHT years after Shorty was murdered. The evidence does not lie but I think Bruce may be, on this issue.

9) Manson and the Trailer Incident – Bruce states,

“I remember being in the trailer one night and I had the – the bunt-line .22 pistol, it was just laying there, that got involved in that other murder, and Manson was asleep on the couch over here and it – and it crossed my mind in a – I mean very clearly, you know. Because I don’t know, I just had a fear. I couldn’t see what was going to happen. I didn’t know. But I actually thought about what – wonder what would happen if I did that, you know? And then after all this thing come down I remembered that. I don’t know. It’s just – it’s terrible. It’s terrible.”

Bruce, without actually coming out and implicating himself in yet another attempted murder, is explaining to the Board what may have happened had he chosen to kill Manson in that trailer when he had the chance, before the Hinman/TLB murders occurred.

IF (and this is a BIG if!) this incident actually took place, Bruce must be referencing the Crowe “murder” (as Charlie and The Family thought that Manson HAD murdered Bernard Crowe in Tex’s bungled drug-deal), as the Buntline was NOT used in Hinman and was thrown away right after Tate.

This is a HUGE admission by Bruce, that if true, he concedes that he had a chance to “off” Manson before any more murders by The Family had occurred. It also goes to Davis’ culpability, that his mind-set was such that he believed Manson would order more murders if Bruce didn’t stop him while he slept in the trailer that night.

Why is this a huge admission, you ask?

Because Bruce continues to assert that he had NO IDEA anyone in The Family was capable of murder when he drove the gang over to Gary’s place on July 25th, 1969.
Bruce, you can’t have it both ways, Buddy!

Either you thought The Family was capable of murder or you didn’t, and if this incident is true, then you did think they were apprentice killers with a penchant for escalation and further destruction of innocent lives, and you chose to stick around the Ranch regardless.

10) Bruce’s Personal Feelings on Death – This, in my mind, is quite a significant issue with Davis – his personal feelings toward the death of a fellow human being, even the deaths of loved ones. One of the commissioners notes the deaths of BOTH his parents but Bruce never offers his feelings one way or another on these momentous events.

This could indicate a) a callousness or an inability to feel sorrow for the loss of another; hence, the hallmark of a sociopath; or b) a possible deep-seated hatred for his parents, which if evident, is very consistent with ALL the Hinman/TLB killers when one examines their familial situations prior to joining Manson.

I tend to believe the latter in Bruce, that due to the repeated beatings he suffered at the hands of his Father - and possibly his Mother’s inability to stop the abuse - lead to a deep, underlying parental rage which manifested itself when he chose NOT to stop the Hinman assault or the Shea murder.

Bruce also concedes being twice sodomized by an adult friend of the Family and raped by an English teacher. I am unaware if these assaults actually took place, and if they did, if they were ever reported to authorities and/or prosecuted in a court of law. In the 1950s not very many familial assaults were ever brought to justice. To Bruce’s credit, if he was assaulted thusly and received no counselling nor forthcoming justice, one could understand his inner rage and inability to focus and become a productive member of society.

With this kind of childhood, it’s not surprising that Bruce grew up with little regard for his fellow human, projecting on his fellow man only what he received from others in his youth.

Every indication, that this type of anger transference had occurred, is in his attendance in prison behavioural training and anger control courses, that, to his credit, had significantly lowered his “fear of injury of death or fear of rejection” from others. Such courses enabled Bruce to receive assessments by his in-prison psychiatrist, Dr. Nablatono, such as “his level of anger is low” and “non-criminal thinking”.

The main question on the minds of his doctors wasn’t any longer if Bruce could act properly in society but if he would CHOOSE to do so if released. This doubt, still a major concern, even after almost a quarter-century of incarceration.

We all need a license to drive a car but we can procreate at will, abuse the heck out of these unwanted or neglected children and only cry woe is me when they become enraged killers in their adulthood. Bruce, and most of The Family members were neglected, abused and eventually became highly anti-social, disturbed human beings capable of anything, including murder.

11) Small Errors in Fact or Outright Lies? – Bruce seems to omit or deny certain events in his past. Several which stand out in his testimony are;

a) Beth Davis was and is the only woman he ever married. This could very well be true, but in December of 1970, the public was told that Bruce had been married to Manson Family member Nancy Pitman (aka Brenda McCann, aka Brindle), and she was seen by Bruce’s side as he surrendered to the authorities at the Hall of Justice on December 2nd.

b) Bruce was caught with “contraband” in prison in 1975, and although we aren’t informed as to the type/kind of said, Bruce states that he was free of drugs by 1972 or ‘73.

c) Bruce denies having ever participated in “group sex” at the Ranch, yet every other Family member easily admits to said.

d) Bruce denies that he was ever a “Lieutenant” of the Family, or Manson’s “Right Hand Man”, and doesn’t even concede the oft-repeated Family position of Comptroller – the one in charge of all the money and false IDs for the Family.

12) Bruce’s Decisions to Say Yes or No to Murder – This seemed to confound the Parole Board as much as it does MsBurb. Bruce states,

“And when it came to the Tate-Lobianca (phonetic) they came to me and said come on, we’re going on this caper. I didn’t know exactly what was – nobody really – that I knew that knew about exactly what was going to happen, but for – and this – this was the crazy part of it, very uncharacteristic of the way I had been, I said no, I’m not going. Because they said we’re going to go out and do something really crazy. And said no, I’m not going. And that was that. The second night when they – when the Lobianca [sic] came down the same thing happened and I said no,  I’m not getting involved in that, and I didn’t.”

But when it came to Hinman and Shea just the opposite decision was made by Bruce. On witnessing Manson slash Gary’s ear with the cutlass and on hearing of Gary’s murder, Bruce states,

“But I wasn’t into questioning him [Manson]. I wasn’t going to jerk him right there, what did you do that for? I was – that was out of the question for me….I was not a kind of person at that point that would ask a question or challenge somebody around me like directly…I wouldn’t do that. I was afraid of being rejected, being turned on, whatever.”

On being involved in the plan to kill Shorty, Bruce states,

“That – and you know, the part that made me sick all the way through the whole thing was that I didn’t have enough guts to say I’m not going. I just went along.”

The Commissioners outwardly pondered this dichotomy but Davis just doesn’t offer a reasonable excuse as to why he said Yes to Hinman and Shea and No to Tate-Labianca, and all of us are left bereft of an answer to properly determine if such fuzzy decision-making could again rear it’s ugly head in Bruce once more if he was freed.

The doubts mount up, the Hearing inches closer, and the cheese continues to get holier…

To be continued…


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L to R: Charles Manson - Charles "Tex" Watson - Bobby Beausoleil - Bruce Davis - Susan Atkins - Patricia Krenwinkel - Leslie van Houten