Who Is Bobby Beausoleil? New Details On The Manson Family Killer And His Bid For Parole

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Who Is Bobby Beausoleil? New Details On The Manson Family Killer And His Bid For Parole

Half a century ago, then 21-year-old Bobby Beausoleil murdered his 34-year-old friend Gary Hinman on July 27, 1969. The two men were both members of Charles Manson's "family." He was sentenced to life in prison. Earlier this year, Beausoleil, who has spent the last 50 years in prison, was recommended for release by the Board of Parole Hearings. The families of Gary Hinman and other Manson Family victims waited anxiously to see whether or not Beausoleil would be released. However, on Friday, April 26, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom reversed the Board of Parole Hearings' decision. Newsom said he believes that Beausoleil would pose a danger to society if her was released. Who is Bobby Beausoleil?

1. Early life

Robert Kenneth Beausoleil was born November 6, 1947 in Santa Barbara, California. His parents were working class. He is the oldest of five children in his Catholic family. At 15, he was sent to the Los Prietos Boys Camp for 10 months for a series of juvenile crimes and running away from home. When he was released, Beausoliel moved to Los Angeles and spent the next few years drifting between LA and San Francisco. He was drawn to the counterculture music scene of the late 1960s and to acting. He was a member of a number of rock bands in the 1960s. In 1968 he was living in Topanga Canyon with Gary Hinman, a music teacher and PhD student at UCLA, when he met Charles Manson and became a part of the "Manson Family."

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2. Helter Skelter

Gary Hinman's murder was the first in a series of murders by Manson Family members that set in motion Manson's Helter Skelter movement. Charles Manson called Helter Skelter an apocalyptic war arising from racial tensions. Ultimately, the period of time that Manson decreed Helter Skelter concluded with the Tate/LaBianca murders, during which pregnant actress and wife of Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, and four other people were murdered at the house at 10050 Cielo Drive in the Benedict Canyon part of Beverly Hills on August 8th and 9th, 1969.

3. Gary Hinman's murder

Gary Hinman was killed over money and property that Charles Manson believed he owed the Family. During Beausoleil's trial, prosecutors said there were rumors that he had received a $20,000 inheritance. Beausoliel and two other people went to the house that Himan lived in and demanded that he give them the money he had inherited. Hinman told them he didn't have any money. Beausoliel then called Manson for instructions. He was told to hold Hinman captive and get the money from him before Manson arrived. When Manson arrived at the Topanga Canyon home, he had a weapon resembling a samurai sword or bayonet with him. Manson used the sword to cut Hinman's face and ear. Some reports say that part of his ear was severed. Reportedly, Beausoleil stitched up his ear with dental floss. Manson, Beausoliel and the other Family members present tortured Gary Himan for three days before killing him. Beausoleil stabbed Hinman and smothered him with a pillow. Twelve years after the murder, Beausoleil said that the murder was the result of a drug transaction gone wrong.

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4. "You had better pray I never get out"

In 1973, then 25-year-old Beausoleil was called as a witness at a sanity hearing for four other members of the Manson Family. He entered the courtroom wearing aviator-style sunglasses. His regulation blue prison uniform shirt was unbuttoned to display the tattoo that covered his entire chest. He was manacled and wearing leg chains. When he took the stand, his attitude was casual. Under questioning by an attorney, he was asked if the people he was a witness for could conform to society's standards of sanity. He said: “No more than I could. I’m at war with everybody in this courtroom. It’s nothing personal but the world has been gattling at my brothers and sisters and as long as they are ripping off our world, our friends and our children, you better pray I never get out."

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5. The trial, conviction and parole hearings

On April 18, 1970, a Superior Court jury in Los Angeles found then 22-year-old Bobby Beausoleir guilty of the first-degree murder of Gary Hinman and sentenced him to death. His sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972 when the Supreme Court of California ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. Beausoleil first came up for parole on August 15, 1978. Through 2016, he had 18 parole hearings during which he was found unsuitable for parole. Now, thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom's reversal of the Board of Parole's decision, Bobby Beausoleil will spend even more time in prison for the brutal murder of Gary Hinman.

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.