An awful lot of people are expressing an interest in the goings on in a Texas bankruptcy court this week. That's because a tape made between the late attorney Bill Boyd and Charles "Tex" Watson may offer some insight into other possible murders committed by one or more members of the so-called Manson Family between 1968 and 1970.
One of Charles Manson's prosecutors, Stephen Kay, said Manson bragged about additional murders over the years but it was impossible to know if he was telling the truth. "Manson told one of his cellmates his followers committed as many as thirty-five murders," Kay said. "He provided no particulars, no names and no dates. He just fueled the fear that he craved. Criminal defendants are known to lie to their attorneys. But maybe these tapes will reveal something."
Maybe they will.
Bill Boyd represented Watson in Texas while the defendant was fighting extradition to California to face prosecution for the murder of Sharon Tate and six others. When Boyd passed away a couple years ago, his estate ended up in bankruptcy court and his possessions came under scrutiny. One of those possessions consists of eight cassette tapes made between Watson and Boyd. The Los Angeles Police Department homicide detectives hope that listening to these tapes will shed light on several unsolved murders long-suspected to involve the Manson group. The argument is that this disclosure will not violate attorney-client privilege because Watson earlier allowed a writer to listen to the tapes in preparation for so-authoring a book with the convicted murderer. Indeed, this week Watson wrote a letter granting LAPD permission to listen to the tapes. He says he is confident nothing of value will be on them.
Who are on this list of additional possible Manson victims?
Jane Doe #59 is one likely candidate. The unidentified female was described by the coroner as being between eighteen and twenty-two years old, five feet nine inches tall, and 112 pounds. Although never positively identified, it is possible her true name was either Sherry Andrews or Claudia Leigh Smith, an associate of the Family who hung out with them at Spahn Ranch. Her body was discovered November 16, 1969. Police said she had died two days earlier as the result of multiple and savage stab wounds.
The double homicide of Doreen Gaul and James Sharp has also long intrigued LAPD, as well as the D.A.'s office and Manson experts. Sharp and Gaul, age 15 and 19, respectively, were Scientology students who authorities believe were known to Manson Family member and convicted murderer Bruce Davis. Both victims had been stabbed more than fifty times. In a report from April 24th, 1973 by the Department of Corrections Special Service Unit, requested by the Los Angeles Police Department, it was stated that investigators believed Davis knew Gaul and was either involved in her murder or knew the identity of the murderer/murderers. The SSU was to interview Davis and solicit his cooperation with a promise of immunity. According to the report Davis denied knowing Gaul and claimed he did not know anything about the crime. It was believed that Gaul had been a girlfriend of Bruce Davis. Davis denied this but did admit to having dated several women that lived at the same rooming house as Gaul. Police Lt. Earl Deemer believed there was a connection between the killings of these two and Jane Doe #59. In both cases the victims were killed somewhere other than where the bodies were found. In both cases the victims were savagely stabbed over and over. And both Doreen Gaul and Jane Doe had their right eyes cut out.
On New year's Day, 1969, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department discovered the body of a missing girl named Marina Habe. The coroner report stated that the seventeen-year-old had been held for one day, fed, stabbed, and raped. Although she had been living in Hawaii until a week before her murder, there are those in law enforcement from the time who still insist that she was either killed by the Family or else by a now deceased biker named Spanky.
Then there is Carl Stubbs, an elderly man from Olancha, near Death Valley, the very same Olancha where Mr. Watson had been staying at around the time of Stubbs brutal murder. According to the book 5 to Die, Joseph Krenwinkel, father of Patricia, said his next contact with his daughter was across a narrow wooden table in Lancaster, California, jail where she was being held on suspicion of murder. The details of the case were shrouded in mystery and the local Sheriff's department is saying nothing, which in itself is some indication that this is almost certainly connected with the Tate and La Bianca investigation. All they will say is that she was detained in Lancaster and was part of an investigation into the death of an old man who had befriended some hippies.
There is one little known brutal murder in that area which to all outward appearances remains unsolved. The details of the killing are similar to some facts that have emerged about the Hinman, Tate and La Bianca killings.
Carl Stubbs in his sixties was a retired spiritualist and author--a very religious man, he loved nature and people and lived quietly at Olancha just south of Lone Pine in Inyo County near the turnoff for Death Valley.
His neighbors knew they were always welcome to visit him at home. "In fact," said one, "he never closed his door. He befriended everyone and would offer hospitality to all comers."
The woman who runs the local filling station was accustomed to bringing Carl his mail every day and she looked forward to her daily visits and short chats with him.
One morning arriving as usual she was surprised to find his front door closed. "I was surprised too," she said, "because there was a blue station wagon with Michigan plates." She knocked on the door and the old man opened it just a little.
"He said he couldn't invite me in because he had relatives visiting from Chicago," she recalled, "But that seemed funny to me because that wasn't Carl's way and I knew he didn't have any relatives."
She also remembers that she looked into the room and saw two girls and two men, "hippie types," standing there. "And the girls kept looking over, sort of behind the door, as if there was somebody else standing there."
Carl's friend left and went back to her gas station. Business was brisk that morning but at the back of her mind was a nagging worry, something had not seemed right up there and she thought Carl was trying to tell her something. About an hour later she and her husband went back up to the cottage and found the old man lying badly beaten in a pool of blood, half way out of the house onto the porch.
They took him to Lone Pine hospital where he managed to speak to police before he died. But the details have never been released by the Sheriff's Department and nothing has appeared about the murder in the papers.
Lancaster Sheriffs said little about the alleged crime on which they are holding Patricia Krenwinkel to her father, but they released her to his custody and she drove back with him to Inglewood.
"Well," he turned angrily to his daughter. "What the hell is all this about?"
But the girl was silent and remained so for most of the journey home.
"Her reaction was completely unemotional," recalls Krenwinkel. "I don't think we spoke 20 words by the time we hit the San Diego freeway."
Back in Inglewood, Patricia seemed to pick up the threads of her old life again, staying at home or visiting old friends. Then she asked to be allowed to go home to visit her mother.
"I bought her a plane ticket to Alabama," Krenwinkel said, "and she left.
How many more of these unsolved murders are there? Well, back in 1989 when Manson appeared on TV for a long interview with Geraldo Rivera, the interviewer remarked that there were nine dead bodies out there. Manson snapped, "There's a whole lot more than nine, son. A whole lot more."
That still seems likely. Some of the names have faded from the public consciousness and yet bear repeating here: John Philip Haught, Joel Dean Pugh, attorney Ronald Hughes, Mark Walts, Darwin Scott, Nancy Warren, Clydia Delaney, Cheri Jo Bates, Robin Graham, Darwin Scott, and Mona Jean Gallegos.
Is it possible that any of these murders will have been discussed between Watson and Boyd, or that, if so, the information will appear on any of the eight cassette tapes? We should know within a few days.