Bruce McGregor Davis
(CDC # B-41079)
Convicted of the murder of Gary Hinman and Donald Shea.
Convicted of Conspiracy to commit murder.
Sentenced to Life in Prison.
Next Parole hearing set for Sept. 9th, 2009.
We are currently accepting email letters opposing release of these Manson Family murderers.
These letters are vitally important to let the parole board know that you do not want these individuals paroled.
If you’d like some information on Davis please see our biography below.
You can then email your letter to us here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll make sure they are forwarded on.
If you prefer you may mail your letter to:
Board of Parole Hearings
Post Office Box 4036
Sacramento, CA 95812-4036
However, if you do mail your letter please do so ASAP.
Make sure you include Davis' name and CDC number
Bruce McGregor Davis CDC # (B-41079)
Bruce Davis was born on October 5th, 1942 in Monroe LA. The youngest of two children. He was reared in Mobile AL. By most reports he had an estranged relationship with his father who he says was an alcoholic. Davis would say that "in my life with my relationship with my dad, I had been...I had been rejected by him as being good enough for him. I was always looking for acceptance from him and I never...I never felt I got (it)"
In psychiatric reports, brought out in Davis' parole hearings, Davis claimed his father was verbally abusive to him "almost daily" and he received "several beatings, several times a month" from his father. Davis also claimed that at the age of 12 he was molested by an "adult friend" but did not tell anyone, and at the age of 13 he was raped by an english teacher, and again told no one.
In the seventh grade Davis was expelled from school for stealing money. Davis says he was an average student and participated in some extracurricular activities but never really felt close to anyone.
Davis graduated high school and then attended college at the University of TN for approximately three years accumulating a year and a half of credits. Davis says that he was about a D average student at the time.
In 1962 Davis traveled to CA for the first time. For the next few years he traveled back and forth between CA and TN, moving from job to job.
Bruce Davis' involvement with the Charles Manson Family reportedly dates back to 1967.
Davis claimed in his 1978 parole hearing that he had only been with the Manson Family for a year at the time of the murders, and altogether just a few consecutive months:
"I first had met Charlie and the other members of the Family in the year before that. (Summer, 1969) We were together for a period of time. I left. I went to Europe and back home to TN and different places for, I guess about a year. I came back to LA. Then I was in Spahn Ranch for a period of time in the Summer."
From November 1968 to April 1969, Davis worked in the London Headquarters of the Church of Scientology.
He was reportedly kicked out for drug use.
He then returned to the US and to the Manson Family fold just In time for the murders of the Summer of 1969.
Davis has said that he looked at Manson as a father figure. Davis' father died when Bruce was 25.
By most accounts, Manson considered Davis his chief lieutenant and enforcer. Davis denies this.
We do know that on the night of the Labianca murders Davis gave Manson money before they left the ranch. Manson obviously trusted Davis with the Family's money, stolen credit cards and I.D.s.
THE MURDER OF GARY HINMAN
On Friday July 25th, 1969 Davis drove Bobby Beausoleil, Susan Atkins, and Mary Brunner to Gary Hinman's home. Hinman was a friend of the Manson Family. Davis says he dropped the three off and left. Beausoleil, Atkins, and Brunner were there to convince Hinman to sign over his property and give them money. It is believed that the Family mistakenly thought Hinman had come into a large inheritance.
Beausoleil, Atkins and Brunner held Hinman captive in his home during the weekend, trying to force him to sign over his cars and to give them the cash they believed he had. Hinman tried to reason with his captors and convince them that he did not have any money to give them.
Sometime between the night of July 25th, and July 27th the three Family members at Hinman's house contacted Manson at Spahn Ranch and advised him that Hinman was not cooperating. Manson and Davis went to Hinman's to help Bobby Beausolei strong arm Hinman into giving up his money and property to the family.
It was reported that Davis held a gun on Hinman while Manson cut Hinman's ear with the sword he and Davis brought to the home. During his 1978 parole hearing Davis was asked if he took a gun to Gary Hinman's home. He answered "No, I didn't." When pressed further Davis replied:
"Here's what happened. I did buy the gun. Bobby took the gun when he left initially from the ranch. When I got to the house Bobby still had the gun. I may have had the gun in my hand. He might have handed me the gun. I know I didn't put it on the man while Charlie did whatever he was supposed to have done. I wasn't even...when that happened, I wasn't present. I was there but I didn't have a gun on me."
During that same parole hearing, while describing the scenario at Hinman's house, Davis said that he did not see Manson cut Hinman. That it happened while he was in the kitchen:
"I was in the kitchen looking at...there was other people in the house. And they had a scuffle. Something was going on. I didn't see it. But when I got back Gary had like a towel or something like this on his head. I don't know. But there was...you know, like he had been cut or something."
In his June 1993 parole hearing Davis claimed that he had not been present when Hinman was being tortured but did acknowledge seeing Manson cut his ear:
"I wasn't there; I didn't see it. I...I didn't see him being assaulted. Except when Manson cut him with a knife."
Hinman's ear was practically severed by the sword that Manson and Davis brought to his home. By most standards having your ear slashed would constitute torture.
In his 2006 parole hearing Davis went a little further. When asked "Did you point the gun at Mr. Hinman?" Davis responded:
"Well, you know that's been a big question. I don't remember exactly. I tell you, I never thought I would shoot Gary so I don't believe I would ever point a gun at a person that I would...I was always taught better than that. So, I never had any idea of shooting Gary, I doubt if I pointed the gun. Now, if somebody testified 'I saw you pointing the gun' I would not...I wouldn't fuss with them, it might have happened. But it wasn't like me to point a gun at somebody, especially somebody I wasn't...I didn't have a reason to."
Three different parole hearings and three different answers to the same questions.
He contradicts himself by first saying he wasn't present during the slashing of Hinman's ear. Then at a later time he says he wasn't present for the torture of Hinman except for the slashing of his ear by Manson. When asked about holding a gun on Hinman he first says it was his gun but Bobby Beausoleil had possession of it. He says Bobby may have handed him the gun at some point while he was at Hinman's but he knows he didn't point the gun at Gary Hinman. Still later he says he doesn't remember "exactly" but that if someone said he pointed the gun at Hinman he wouldn't argue.
After slashing Hinman's ear, Manson and Davis left, Davis taking one of Hinman's cars back to the Ranch.
On Sunday, July 27th, after obtaining the pink slips for Hinman's two cars and deciding that either Hinman really didn't have any money or was not going to give it to them, the remaining Family members decided to murder Gary Hinman.
Today, Davis says he did not touch Hinman, that he was simply at the Hinman house with Manson and that the full extent of his culpability is that he didn't do anything to aide Himan.
However, Ella Jo Bailey testified that right after the murder of Hinman, Davis told her that he had "russeled" with Hinman and that Hinman had been struck over the head with the gun. Presumably the gun Davis says he just held.
After the Tate-Labianca murders the Manson Family decided to kill Donald "Shorty" Shea, a ranch hand at the Spahn Ranch where the Family lived. They believed that he had turned them in to police resulting in an August 16th, 1969 raid on the ranch where the Family was taken into custody on suspicion of car theft.
Davis claims that the decision to kill Shea came from Manson. In his parole hearings Davis has described the murder of Shea and the events that led up to it:
"..we were at the ranch early in the morning. Manson came down, said 'We're going to kill Shorty.' I said 'What for?', 'Well, he's a snitch.' Charlie is there, Bill Bass is there. He says 'You guys take him. Ask him to take you down the hill to get some car parts and..and kill him on the way down the hill'.
"I was in the car when Steve Grogan hit Shorty with the pipe wrench. Charles Watson stabbed him. I was in the backseat with...with Grogan. They took Shorty out. They had to go down the hill to a place. I stayed in the car for quite a while but what...then I went down the hill later on and that's when I cut Shorty on the shoulder with the knife, after he was...well, I don't know...I...I don't know if he was dead or not. He didn't bleed when I cut him on the shoulder."
"When I showed up, you know, he was...he was incapacitated. I don't know if...you asked if he was unconscious, I don't know. He may or may not have been. He didn't seem conscious. He wasn't moving or saying anything. And it started off Manson handed me a machete as if I was supposed to...I mean I know what he wanted. But you know I couldn't do that. And I...in fact I did touch Shorty Shea with a machete 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 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?'.
"And I turned around and walked away. And I...I was sick for about two or three days. I mean I couldn't even think about what I...what I had done."
Davis claims he did not participate in the disposal of Shea's body and had no knowledge of the location of the body. Steve Grogan claims that he alone buried the body of Donald Shea. (Years later Grogan would lead authorities to the body. He was subsequently paroled.)
However, on December 9th, 1969 Shea's 1962 Mercury was found with a footlocker of Shea's possessions and a pair of Shea's blood stained cowboy boots. A palm print belonging to Davis was found on the footlocker. Danny Decarlo says that Davis gave him a pawn ticket for a pair of guns that belonged to Shea. So it appears that Davis was involved in disposing of Shea's possessions if not his body.
In his parole hearings Davis has made a point of saying that the murder of Shorty Shea took place during the day. Barbara Hoyt who lived with the Family during the Summer of 1969 but did not participate in any of the murders, has testified that she fed Donald Shea dinner the night before the Family made their move to the dessert. Shortly after turning in for the night she heard a scream which was followed by a brief silence after which it began again and lasted for a long time. Hoyt believed the screams to belong to Shea. She did not see Shea after that night.
Ruby Pearl, who ran the riding stable at Spahn Ranch, testified that she had spoken with Shea one night at approximately midnight, and he had told her that he felt nervous being at the ranch. He had asked if he might stay at her home that night but at some point decided to stay at Spahn in his car. As she was leaving Spahn Ranch she saw a car come up and park. She saw Manson, Watson, Grogan and Davis get out of the car and rush toward the boardwalk where Shea was. Pearl continued to drive away and eventually lost site of Manson, Watson, Grogan, Davis and Shea.
Returning to the ranch the next day Pearl did not see Shea's car. She testified that she never saw Shea again after that night.
In December 1969 the Tate-Labianca case was solved (for lack of a better word) resulting in charges being brought against Charles Manson, Charles "Tex" Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. Davis, who had not participated directly in the Tate-Labianca murders, remained free.
In 1970, the Grand Jury brought indictments against Davis for the Hinman murder. Davis subsequently dropped out of site.
On December 2nd, 1970, after several months as a fugitive, he turned himself in.
Charges were also brought against Davis for the Donald Shea murder. (At the time the Shea murder trial was only one of a handful of trials where a body had not been recovered.)
Bobby Beausoleil, in his second trial for the Hinman murder, was the first Manson Family member to be convicted of murder on April 21st, 1970. (His first trial resulted in a hung jury) He was given the death sentence.
Susan Atkins pled guilty in the Hinman murder and received a life sentence.
Mary Brunner received immunity for her testimony at Beausoleil's trial.
In November, 1971 Charles Manson was found guilty of the Hinman-Shea murder.
On November 8th, 1971 the Jury in the trial of Steve Grogan for the Hinman murder, recommended the death penalty. However, on December 23rd, 1971 Judge Kolts, noting that Grogan was "of limited intelligence.", ruled that Grogan should receive life in prison instead.
On March 14th, 1972 Bruce Davis was convicted for the murder of Gary Hinman and Donald Shea by a jury comprised of eight men and four women. On April 17th, 1972 Judge Choate sentenced Davis to Life saying:
"These were vicious murders indicating a depraved state of mind on the part of the defendant…I don't want to give the impression that he was at all a dupe or the foil of Charles Manson. Davis is older than most of the youngsters who were led by Manson. He is more intelligent and educated and capable of independent reasoning. For reasons known only to him he did not exercise this capability."
It's worth noting that even though Davis did not get the Death sentence that most of the other Manson Family Murderers received, his life sentence was imposed after the CA Supreme Court had temporarily abolished the Death Penalty in that state. (Which resulted in Life sentences for all the Manson Family members on death row at the time.)
It wasn't until a November, 1977 psychiatric report that Davis took any responsibility for the murder of Gary Hinman and Donald Shea. Prior to that report he said:
"I didn't kill them. I'm not sure Shea is dead."
That, of course, is a lie. His own statements at subsequent parole hearings bear out the fact that he participated in the torture of Gary Hinman, by taking Beausoleil, Atkins and Brunner to Hinman's home, by going back to the Hinman home with Charles Manson-sword in tow and-depending on which version of events you believe-holding a gun on Hinman while there. He also was participant in the murder of Donald Shea, and in fact helped dispose of his belongings afterward.
Davis has said that he was afraid of Manson and of Watson. He has said that the reason he stabbed Shea was because he feared for his life, that he felt if he did not do it then he could have been killed the same as Shea.
However, he contradicts that by saying he was asked to go along on the Tate "caper" but said no. He says he did the same the next night before the Labianca murder.
This statement is also contradictory of Davis' assertion that Manson did not trust him enough to take him along on the Tate-Labianca murders:
"Well, I guess he trusted everybody to some degree and I guess he trusted me. But when it came down to the business they got into, the murders and stuff, he didn't trust me in that because he took other people."
And when asked in his 2006 parole hearing if he embraced Charlie Manson's Helter Skelter theory he said:
"I laughed at Charlie, I said 'That's stupid. How can you even...where's your head at?'
So, Davis would like the parole board to believe that he stabbed Shea only because he feared for his life. Yet, he was able to refuse participation in the Tate-Labianca murders, and laughed at Charlie's philosophy of Helter Skelter.
He says that he refused to participate in the Tate-Labianca murders when asked, but then says that he wasn't trusted by Manson, and that is why he didn't go along on the nights of August 9th and 10th.
Even when dealing with the parole board, who controls his future, Bruce Davis cannot hide his true nature. He often appears sullen and argumentative in front of/with the board.
In his 2006 parole hearing he had the following exchange with Deputy District Attorney Sequeira in front of the parole board:
Deputy District Attorney Sequeira: "It's been written to letters to the board, specifically by Steve Kay, that you were Charles Manson's right hand man. Is that correct or not?"
Bruce Davis: "No."
Deputy District Attorney Sequeira: "In fact, Barbara Hoyt, also wrote a letter to the board for a previous hearing that also indicated you were Charles' right hand man. Is that also incorrect?"
Bruce Davis: "The answer is not different."
Presiding Commissioner Davis: "Is the answer no?"
Bruce Davis: "I thought I just said no."
Presiding Commissioner Davis: "It's two different questions."
Bruce Davis: "Oh, I'm sorry. How is the first question different than the second one?"
Presiding Commissioner Davis: "Two different letters. Would you like to re ask the second question?"
Attorney Beckman: "Why don't you just ask him if he was Charlie Manson's right hand man?"
Deputy District Attorney Sequeira: "Barbara Hoyt also wrote that you were Charles Manson's right hand man."
Bruce Davis: "She's incorrect."
In this exchange instead of just answering the question put forth, Davis sounds sullen and sarcastic. Even with his possible parole on the line he just can't seem to answer the question.
In the 2007 parole hearing of Leslie Van Houten Sequeira asked Van Houten:
"What role did Bruce Davis play in the hierarchy of the Family?"
Van Houten responded: "Bruce Davis had been gone when I got to the ranch and then he came back and...I think that he was one of the stronger men in the group because there were some boys in there also. And Bruce I didn't have that much contact but I know that Manson relied on him."
For the following reasons, we believe Bruce Davis is unsuitable for parole:
- The heinous nature of the crimes Davis participated in.
- His knowledge of other crimes that he did not participate directly in, but supported by aiding the perpetrators and remaining silent- before, during, and after- the commission of those crimes.
- His changing stories through the years.
- His unwillingness to take full responsibility for his two commitment offenses.
We urge you to contact the parole board when Davis next comes up for parole. (Sometime in 2008.) Keep an eye on this site and we'll update you when we know the date.
If you like, email us at email@example.com and we'll add your name to our list so that we can keep you updated on the parole hearings of Davis and all the other Manson Family members.
UNUSUAL DEATHS / UNSOLVED MURDERS 1969-1970
Bruce Davis was convicted of the murder of Donald Shea and Gary Hinman. It's worth noting that there have been many unusual deaths and unsolved murders that many in law enforcement felt the Manson Family might have been involved in.
If you'd like to read about some of them click here.