Charles Manson follower Bruce Davis recommended for parole
After 43 years in prison and 30 parole hearings, US parole officials have again decided it is safe to free Charles Manson follower Bruce Davis.
They recommended that Davis be paroled in the 1969 slayings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea.
It is the fourth time for such a recommendation, but the 72-year-old Davis remains imprisoned at California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo.
The previous three such recommendations by the Board of Parole Hearings were blocked, once by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and twice by governor Jerry Brown.
Mr Brown most recently rejected Davis' parole a year ago, saying he remains dangerous despite his age. It will be about five months before Mr Brown decides on Thursday's recommendation.
"I am pleased that the board again followed the law and did the right thing, and I am hopeful that the governor will do likewise," Davis's lawyer, Michael Beckman, said after the hearing.
Davis was not involved in the notorious killings of actress Sharon Tate and six others, but Los Angeles County deputy district attorney John Morris said the lesser-known slayings are plenty to keep him behind bars.
"The heinousness of the crimes held southern California in the grip of fear for months," said Mr Morris, who heads the district attorney's parole division and drove to San Luis Obispo to oppose Davis's parole. "The reason for the crimes was to incite the race war of Helter Skelter."
Manson interpreted the Beatles song to symbolise an Armageddon-like war between whites and blacks. He convinced some of his followers that the killings would help spark the war and benefit his "family" of disciples.
Since his conviction, Davis has become a born-again Christian who earned a doctoral degree in philosophy of religion and ministers to other inmates.
He is serving a life sentence for two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and robbery.