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Serial Killer Manson's 'Disciple' Wins Parole
A former member of the murderous Charles Manson family cult who is serving a 40-year sentence for a double murder has been recommended for parole.
It was the 27th time Bruce Davis had appeared before a parole board panel and the decision came on the eve of his 70th birthday.
Davis was 30 years old in 1972 when he was convicted alongside Manson and Steve Grogan over the killings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea.
He had long maintained he was a bystander in the murders of the two men, but in recent years acknowledged his shared responsibility because he was present.
Davis' release was opposed by a Los Angeles prosecutor and by a former Manson family member, Barbara Hoyt, as well as Debra Tate, the sister of Sharon Tate, the most the famous of the Manson victims.
Davis was not involved in the 1968 murder of Sharon Tate, the wife of film director Roman Polanski, who was more than eight months pregnant when she was killed along with four other people in her home.
Los Angeles County district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said, "We certainly disagree with the board's decision. We will evaluate how we plan to proceed as the matter goes to Governor Brown."
The decision to grant parole is subject to a 120-day review period by the entire board. If it is upheld, Governor Jerry Brown then has 30 days to review the matter.
California's previous Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected Davis' last parole date in 2010, citing the heinous nature of his crimes and deciding that he was still a danger to society.
Davis became a born-again Christian in prison and ministered to other inmates, married a woman he met through the prison ministry, and has a grown daughter. The couple recently divorced.
He also earned a master's degree and a doctorate in philosophy of religion.
Davis' lawyer, Michael Beckman, said before the hearing: "It's time for him to go home."
Few followers of the infamous Manson cult have been released from prison, however Grogan was freed in 1985 after he led police to Shea's buried body.
Manson and two of his followers, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, remain in prison for life over the Sharon Tate killings.
His apocalyptic cult committed a series of murders in upscale, mostly white neighbourhoods of Los Angeles in the hope of sparking a race war.