Former Manson Follower Files Suit to Block LAPD From Releasing Audio Recordings

The filing by Charles "Tex" Watson notes that the convicted killer is concerned that if LAPD gets the tapes, media could use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain them

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    NEWSLETTERS

    LAPD investigators are set to get their hands on audio tapes that could reveal new information about the Manson Family murders, but the ex-follower featured in the tapes, Charles "Tex" Watson, is trying to stop that from happening. Patrick Healy reports from LAPD headquarters in Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on June 12, 2012. (Published Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012)

    Former Manson follower and convicted murderer Charles "Tex" Watson has filed a legal motion to stop Los Angeles Police from taking possession of long unheard audio tape recordings of Watson speaking to his attorney.

    The recordings were made 43 years ago, after Watson's arrest for his involvement in the Tate-LaBianca murders of seven people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate.

    A Brief Delay in Pursuit of New Manson Tapes

    [LA] A Brief Delay in Pursuit of New Manson Tapes
    Approximately eight hours of police interviews linked to the Manson Family will be reviewed by the LAPD, but not before a brief procedural delay in court. The audio was recorded decades ago between attorney Bill Boyd and his then-client Charles "Tex" Watson, who is serving a entence for his involvement in the 1969 Manson Family murders. Investigators believe the recordings could contain information about unsolved cases, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 (Published Tuesday, May 29, 2012)

    Only in recent months did police learn the tapes had surfaced in a Texas bankruptcy proceeding, following the death of Watson's attorney Bill Boyd.

    LAPD’s effort to obtain the tapes was not known publicly until it was reported by NBC4 News last month.

    LAPD Awaits Audio Recordings in Manson Case

    [LA] LAPD Awaits Audio Recordings in Manson Case
    A bankruptcy court judge in Texas could help unravel additional Manson Family murder cases. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 25, 2012. (Published Friday, May 25, 2012)

    Police want the tapes in the belief "Watson discussed additional unsolved murders committed by followers of Charles Manson," according to a letter the department sent the East Texas Bankruptcy Court.

    Watson, now 66, is serving a life sentence in California's Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, Amador County, outside Sacramento.

    Last month, bankruptcy Judge Brenda T. Rhoades signed an order that the tapes be turned over to LAPD effective Thursday, June 14.

    Last week, a legal motion signed by Watson himself asks the court to "revise" its decision.

    Watson proposes that LAPD be allowed only to listen to the tape recordings, and not be given possession of them. The listening would be done "in the presence of the trustee or a court designed person," according to Watson's filing.

    Such an arrangement is not adequate, according to LAPD Commander Andrew Smith.

    "Just to sit down and listen with a lawyer in the room, that's not really how our detectives get into the details," Smith told NBC4 News.

    In Watson's filing, he wrote of a concern that if LAPD gets the tapes, media could use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain them, and that "could be hurtful to the families of victims."

    Police note that in the 1970s, Watson allowed the tapes to be released to a prison chaplain, Ray Hoekstra, for the purpose of writing a book on Watson published under the title, "Will You Die for Me?"

    The book was written "to respect the victim's (sic) families...to show delicate consideration when sharing the graphic details of the crime," Watson wrote. The book did not reveal additional unsolved murders.

    Watson contends he did not discuss such murders on the tapes.

    "That remains to be seen," Smith said. "We've got eight hours of audio tapes to listen to. Hopefully we can solve some crimes with it."

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