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Parole hearing for Manson follower postponed after he is taken ill

By Michael Martinez and Michael Cary, CNN
updated 11:05 PM EDT, Wed June 13, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bruce Davis, 69, becomes ill, and his parole hearing is rescheduled
  • Davis is serving a life sentence for two first-degree murders in 1969
  • Illness is a defense "ploy" to avoid witnesses, sister of victim Sharon Tate tells CNN
  • Davis won parole in 2010, but then-Gov. Schwarzenegger overturned it

Los Angeles (CNN) -- The parole hearing for one of killer Charles Manson's followers, Bruce Davis, was continued Wednesday to an undetermined date after Davis became sick, a corrections spokesman said.

"The hearing started but ended early because the inmate fell ill and had to leave for treatment," Jeffrey Callison, press secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, told CNN.

Two years ago, a California panel granted parole to Davis, but it was overturned by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, officials said.

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Davis, 69, is serving a life sentence for the 1969 first-degree murders of music teacher Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea.

In Davis' last parole hearing, in 2010, the board said that Davis had not been disciplined since 1980 and participated in all available education, vocation and self-help programs.

Davis is one of several imprisoned followers of Manson, 77, who is serving a life sentence for nine murders. Manson led his "family" in a deadly spree in 1969, whose victims included eight-months-pregnant actress Sharon Tate. Manson was denied parole for the 12th time in March.

Manson, whose gruesome killings inspired the best-selling book "Helter Skelter," will be up for parole again 15 years from now, when he would be 92.

Debra Tate, the sister of Sharon Tate, attended Wednesday's parole board hearing for Davis, but she told CNN that the hearing never started.

The hearing was slated to start at 10:30 a.m. PT (1:30 p.m. ET), but Davis' defense attorney alerted the parole panel at 2:15 p.m. PT that Davis was ill, and the lawyer sought a postponement.

"Davis allegedly fainted for no apparent reason," Tate told CNN. "Honestly, in my opinion, this was a ploy to help (Davis') defense attorney since he didn't want to deal with witnesses."

Tate said that if Davis and his defense team are planning to schedule a new hearing to avoid victim statements, "that will happen over my cold, dead body," Tate said.

Tate said she attends most parole hearing for imprisoned Manson "family" members.

Wednesday's hearing was held at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo, where Davis is incarcerated, 193 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

"The public needs to know this man is very dangerous now as he was in 1969," Tate told CNN before the hearing. She also attended Manson's parole hearing and objected to Manson's parole.

CNN's Kelly Andersen contributed to this report.

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