Bruce Davis, a former member of the notorious Manson “family,” was recommended for parole from a California prison Wednesday, PEOPLE confirms.
“Inmate Bruce Davis was found suitable for parole at his parole suitability hearing at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo,” reads a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Davis, 74, is currently serving a life sentence for the July 25, 1969, murder of musician Gary Hinman and the killing of stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea in August 1969.
Davis was not involved in the grisly killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people during a two-day spree in 1969. All of the murders were part of a plot by cult leader Charles Manson to start a race war he called “Helter Skelter,” after the Beatles song. Manson and his so-called “family” of followers were convicted in 1971.
The parole panel’s recommendation will now go to the Board of Parole hearings for review before being sent to Governor Jerry Brown who has a “maximum of 30 days to uphold, reverse or modify the decision,” according to the statement.
Since Davis began his sentence on April 21, 1972, he has had 31 parole hearings and has now been recommended for parole five times. Brown has rejected his last three attempts at release. Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also rejected his efforts in June 2010.
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“This is the fifth time the board has granted him parole,” Davis attorney Michael Beckman tells PEOPLE. “They have applied the law properly all four times and the Governor has played politics and has taken it away.”
While in prison, Davis has received his masters and his PhD degrees in philosophy and religion and has been a model prisoner, Beckman says.
“He hasn’t had a disciplinary violation in 36 years,” he says. “He has never had any violence in prison. Never illegal substances in prison. He has taken pretty much every self-help course you can imagine. He teaches Bible classes in prison.”
“I have represented over 2,000 life term inmates in my career and he is the most rehabilitated,” Beckman says.
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But Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey says Davis is still too dangerous to be walking the streets.
“These were some of the most horrific crimes in California history, and we believe he continues to exhibit a lack of insight and remorse and remains a public safety risk,” she said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Stephen Kay, who prosecuted Davis for the murders of Shea and Hinman, doesn’t believe Brown will ever release the convicted killer.
“I think Governor Brown will deny his release,” Kay tells PEOPLE. “Brown doesn’t want that as part of his legacy that he let one of the Manson killers out on parole.”
“Bruce Davis held a gun on Gary Hinman when Manson cut Hinman’s ear in half with a sword,” Kay adds. “Hinman was tortured over three days. Davis is very vicious.”