LAPD can review Manson family tapes, judge rules
A Texas judge on Tuesday granted a request by Los Angeles Police Department detectives to review interviews between a Manson family convicted murderer and his attorney.
The LAPD had made the request for recordings between Manson family member Tex Watson and his Texas-based attorney, hoping it could shed more light on the infamous case.
Officials said the judge allowed two weeks for anyone to challenge the release of the interviews. Watson's attorney had opposed the release.
Police sources stressed that it's a preliminary inquiry and that they have no idea whether the recording will provide new evidence.
Two sources, speaking to The Times on condition of anonymity, said the request is "routine due diligence" and is not tied to any larger investigation involving the Manson family.
Watson was the self-described right-hand-man of Manson. Last year, Watson was denied parole for the 14th time after decades behind bars. He will be considered for another parole review in five years.
Relatives of Watson's victims requested that the panel again deny his parole for killing actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant, and four others at her Bel-Air home on Aug. 9, 1969. The next night, Watson helped kill grocery owners Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
Watson was given the death penalty for his role in the murders, but that sentence was later overturned.
While in prison, he has married and divorced and fathered four children. He also started a prison ministry and became an author and ordained minister.
On Watson's ministry website, he says he believed Manson "offered utopia, but in reality, he had a destructive world view, which Charles ended up believing in and acting upon. His participation in the 1969 Manson murders is a part of history that [Watson] deeply regrets."
Officials also denied parole for Manson earlier this year.
— Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton
Photos: Charles Manson, left, and follower Charles "Tex" Watson. Credit: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.