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Bruce Davis, a Roane County High School graduate who was a member of the murderous Charles Manson Family, was granted parole on Oct. 4 by a California parole board.
However, he remains incarcerated in a California prison because the board’s decision has to undergo a 120-day review.
“If the grant is finalized at the conclusion of decision review, the governor may conduct an independent review of the decision,” the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a news release. “Under California law, the governor may reverse, modify, affirm or decline to review the board’s decision.”
Davis has gone through that process before. In January 2010 he was granted parole, but then California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger later reversed the board’s decision.
Schwarzenegger concluded Davis was still dangerous because of an evaluator’s diagnosis of a personality disorder, conformist tendencies and his sporadic participation in substance-abuse programs over the years.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled against Schwarzenegger and vacated his decision after a legal challenge by Davis. However, a California appellate court upheld the reversal, ruling that Schwarzenegger’s concerns were justified and supported his conclusion that Davis was still dangerous.
Manson and his followers went on a violent killing spree in California in 1969.
Davis, who graduated from Roane County High School in 1961, was convicted of killing Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea. He received a life sentence.
Davis, 70, was sent to California state prison on April 21, 1972. He has had 27 parole suitability hearings.
“Bruce Davis has rehabilitated himself,” Davis attorney Michael Beckman said. “He’s not the same man who was involved in those horrible crimes over 40 years ago, and I think he deserves a chance to be free.”
Jerry Brown is now governor of California. Beckman is hopeful he won’t take the same action as Schwarzenegger.
“We think we have a slightly better chance with Gov. Brown, but because of who Mr. Davis is, we don’t consider it in the bank by any means,” Beckman said.
If Davis is released, Beckman said he would spend his first year out going to transitional housing in Los Angeles County.
“And then, we don’t know,” Beckman said. “He has relatives in either Virginia or North Carolina and I think in Mobile, Ala. He’s got offers to live there. I don’t know if he still has any relatives in Tennessee or not.”