Story Summary

Charles Manson

manson-before-after-bgCharles Milles Manson is the leader of what became known as the Manson Family.

He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the murders of actress Sharon Tate, hairstylist Jay Sebring, aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski, heiress Abigail Folger and teenager Steven Parent at a home in Benedict Canyon in 1969.

He and family members were also convicted in the murders of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in Los Feliz.

Manson believed in what he called “Helter Skelter,” a term he took from the song of the same name by The Beatles.

Manson believed Helter Skelter to be an impending apocalyptic race war, which he described in his own version of the lyrics to the Beatles’ song.

He believed his murders would help precipitate that war.

From the beginning of his notoriety, a pop culture arose around him in which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence and the macabre.

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manson-buddyCORCORAN, Calif. — A follower of Charles Manson has been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle a cellphone to the cult leader at Corcoran State Prison

Craig Carlisle Hammond, 63, was arrested Sunday on charges of possession of an illegal communication device, attempting to bring a cellphone into a prison and conspiracy, said Terry Thornton, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman.

Hammond, a retiree, was searched and subsequently arrested at 3:35 p.m. and taken to a King County Jail, where he was released four hours later on $30,000.

He is due in court next month.

Thornton said the device was a wrist watch cellphone and was discovered by guards after Hammond entered an area where he possession of such devices is prohibited.

Hammond, who goes by the name Gray Wolf given to him by Manson, is a regular visitor to Manson, the mastermind of the one the most notorious killing sprees in U.S. history — the Tate-Bianca murders in Los Angeles.

Manson has been caught with a cellphone in his cell twice.

Manson called people in California, New Jersey and Florida with an LG flip phone found under his prison bunk in March 2009.

For the offense, 30 days were  added to his life sentence.

The cult leader was again found with a cellphone in his cell Jan. 6, 2011.

That fall, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a Senate bill that makes it a misdemeanor to possess an unauthorized cellphone in prison or to try to take one into a prison.

Violators face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

The proliferation of cellphones in prisons is a significant public safety concern, officials say. Inmates have run street gangs from behind bars, intimidated witnesses and orchestrated assaults on guards, they said.

In 2011, 15,000 cellphones were found inside prisons.

Manson, 78, is technically eligible for parole but will almost certainly die in prison for ordering the ritualistic murders of Sharon Tate and six other people in Los Angeles in the summer of 1969.

Manson sees few visitors, but Hammond is among his regulars. Hammond controls a copyright on Manson’s music and is a self-described follower of the the inmate.

A Manson website maintained by followers and believers of Manson’s ATWA group –an acronym for Air, Trees, Water, Animals — reported that Gray Wolf was detained at Level 4 visitation entrance. According to the website, Manson was meeting with another friend when Gray Wolf was detained by guards.

Manson and the two visitors were subsequently searched and the two visitors also consented to their vehicles being searched. Gray Wolf was then taken into custody and asked for a lawyer, according to the website.

– Richard.Winton@latimes.com

bruce-davisSACRAMENTO — Saying he still poses a threat to society, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday blocked parole for Manson family member Bruce Davis.

“Until Davis can acknowledge and explain why he actively championed the Family’s interests, and shed more light on the nature of his involvement, I am not prepared to release him,” the governor wrote in his decision.

Brown’s office received a formal recommendation from the state board parole earlier this year to release Bruce Davis, 70, who would be the first Manson “family” member to secure freedom solely for good behavior.

Steve Grogan, another participant in those murders, was released in 1985 after he agreed to lead police to where the bodies were buried on a remote movie ranch in the San Fernando Valley.

Davis is serving 2 life sentences for the 1969 slayings of musician Gary Hinman in his Topanga Canyon home and former stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea, who lived in Manson’s commune at the Spahn movie ranch in Chatsworth.

He was not involved in the infamous murders by Manson followers of actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles.

During his 40 years in prison, Davis became an ordained minister and earned master’s degrees in philosophy and religion via a correspondence program.

In 2010, Davis secured his first formal recommendation for parole by the state board, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the board’s decision.

Michael Beckman, Davis’ attorney, urged Brown to grant parole.

If the case were not connected to Charles Manson, Davis would have already been released by now, Beckman said. He called it “not fair.”

“He earned it,” Beckman said.

“I think the governor should respect the work by his parole board. That hearing took five or six hours. They took into account everything about Bruce. And they didn’t grant him parole as a favor. They didn’t grant him parole on a whim. They considered it very carefully,” Beckman said.

In 2010, the parole board said that Davis had not been disciplined since 1980 and participated in all available education, vocation and self-help programs.

Davis is one of several imprisoned followers of Manson, 78, who is serving a life sentence for nine murders.

Last year, Manson was denied parole for the 12th time.

Manson, whose gruesome killings inspired the best-selling book “Helter Skelter,” will be up for parole again 15 years from now, when he will be 92.

bruce-davisSACRAMENTO — California Gov. Jerry Brown is considering whether to grant parole to a convicted murderer who followed notorious killer Charles Manson, a spokeswoman for the governor said.

Brown’s office received a formal recommendation from the state board parole Friday to release Bruce Davis, 70, who would be the first Manson “family” member to secure freedom solely for good behavior.

Brown has 30 days — or until March 3 — to either modify, affirm or reverse the parole board’s recommendation, a corrections spokeswoman said.

Davis is serving 2 life sentences for the 1969 slayings of musician Gary Hinman in his Topanga Canyon home and former stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea, who lived in Manson’s commune at the Spahn movie ranch in Chatsworth.

He was not involved in the infamous murders by Manson followers of actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles.

During his 40 years in prison, Davis became an ordained minister and earned master’s degrees in philosophy and religion via a correspondence program.

In 2010, Davis secured his first formal recommendation for parole by the state board, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the board’s decision.

Michael Beckman, Davis’ attorney, urged Brown to grant parole.

If the case were not connected to Charles Manson, Davis would have already been released by now, Beckman said. He called it “not fair.”

“He earned it,” Beckman said.

“I think the governor should respect the work by his parole board. That hearing took five or six hours. They took into account everything about Bruce. And they didn’t grant him parole as a favor. They didn’t grant him parole on a whim. They considered it very carefully,” Beckman said.

In 2010, the parole board said that Davis had not been disciplined since 1980 and participated in all available education, vocation and self-help programs.

Davis is one of several imprisoned followers of Manson, 78, who is serving a life sentence for nine murders.

Last year, Manson was denied parole for the 12th time.

Manson, whose gruesome killings inspired the best-selling book “Helter Skelter,” will be up for parole again 15 years from now, when he will be 92.

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