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Manson killer remains behind bars

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By Damon Lawrence

Manson Family killer Bruce Davis waived his parole hearing earlier this year and remains behind bars in a California prison.

Davis, 68, graduated from Roane County High School in 1961.

He hooked up with Charles Manson after making his way to California.

Manson and his followers went on a violent killing spree in California in 1969.

Davis' attorney Michael Beckman argues that his client's role in the Manson Family was small.

“When people think of the Manson Family, Bruce Davis is not the name that comes to mind,” he said.

Davis was convicted of killing Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea.

He was sent to prison with a life sentence in 1972.

A California parole board approved his release in January 2010.

However, then California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger later reversed the parole board's decision.

Luis Patino, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Davis was scheduled to have another parole hearing in January, but opted not to.

Patino said inmates will sometimes delay a hearing so they can improve their standing for the parole board.

“Sometimes they go over their situation with their attorney and decide maybe they should have been part of, for example, a self-help program, or they should have completed a certain course or they should have done certain things to show that they're really working toward rehabilitation,” Patino said. “They may feel that they have a better chance to wait and reschedule their hearing, which they can do for a year, instead of going in, getting denied and then getting a longer period between hearings.”

Davis' next parole hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13, 2012.

It will be his 27th parole hearing.

Beckman said Davis waived the parole hearing to fight for his freedom in court.

Beckman contends Schwarzenegger erred and is challenging the former governor's decision in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

If the challenge is successful, Beckman said Davis would be released.

“We got an order to show cause, which means the state has to provide a response,” he said.

That could take months.

If he's released, Davis could return to Tennessee provided he goes through the proper legal channels.

“I don't think he's planning to do that,” Beckman said. “I think his plans are to stay in California for a while.”