Tapes May Provide New Evidence of Charles Manson Killings


Charles Manson committed his crimes in the late 1960s but he remains one of America’s most infamous killers.

Now police in Los Angeles, where he committed his crimes, believe recordings of conversations between his associate and a late Texas attorney, could shed light on the infamous killings or implicate Manson in other killings.

Los Angeles believe recordings of talks between Manson’s right-hand man, Charles “Tex” Watson, and his former attorney Bill Boyd, could provide new evidence 40 years later, the Los Angeles Times reported. They form part of a bankruptcy case involving Boyd’s now-closed Texas law firm.

The Manson killings continue to fascinate and appall after all this time. Manson brainwashed members of his commune known as The Family into killing eight people including film director Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate in 1969.

Manson, who is serving a life sentence, broke a 20 year silence, in 2011 in an interview with Vanity Fair, to describe himself as a “bad man who shoots people.”

While few murderers elicit such interest after so many years behind bars, Manson is clearly an exception.

The Los Angeles Times reported U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brenda T. Rhoades in Plano, Texas, granted a request from the Los Angeles Police Department  for access to eight cassette tapes containing long conversations between Watson and Boyd, a Texas attorney who died in 2009 and once represented Watson.

Like Manson, Watson remains incarcerated on multiple murder convictions.

Police said they want to listen to the tapes to learn whether Manson’s right-hand man described any unsolved killings in the conversations. They admit they have no specific information on the contents of the recordings.

“We’re hoping 14 days from now we can send our guys there to pick them up,” LAPD spokesman Andrew Smith said.

However, the judge has left open the possibility of a further challenge to the release of the tapes within 14 days by Watson’s current attorney, who has objected to the disclosure of the recordings.

In the past Watson made the tapes of the conversations available to the co-author of his 1978 book, “Will You Die for Me? The Man Who Killed for Charles Manson Tells His Own Story,” Fox News reported.

However, lawyers now representing Watson, argued their client didn’t waive attorney-client privilege when making the book deal.

In any criminal proceeding attorney-client privilege is vital to encourage communication between clients and attorneys and the broader public interest, according to the Supreme Court. It should survive the death of an attorney as well as a client.

Although cases such as the Manson killings fire the imagination of the public, these kinds of killings are rare. Most of the murder charges we deal with involve people who know each other and raise questions of self-defense. Intoxication manslaughter is a common charge.

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.