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Board backs parole for Manson accomplice

LOS ANGELES -- A California parole board panel recommended parole yesterday for a Charles Manson follower who has been in prison for 40 years.

Bruce Davis, convicted with Manson and another man in two murders unrelated to the infamous Sharon Tate murders in 1969, appeared before the panel on the eve of his 70th birthday. His 27th parole hearing was held at the California Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo, where Davis is imprisoned.

A parole board determined in 2010 that Davis was ready for release, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the decision, citing the heinous nature of the crimes. Gov. Jerry Brown has the final say on decisions by the current parole board.

Davis has been in prison since 1972 after being convicted with Manson and another follower, Steve Grogan, in the murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea.

"It's time for him to go home," Davis' attorney, Michael Beckman, said before the hearing.

In prison, Davis became a born-again Christian, ministered to other inmates, married a woman he met through the prison ministry, and has a grown daughter. The couple recently divorced.

Beckman said Davis earned a master's degree and a doctorate in philosophy of religion.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Sequeira opposed his release.

Few followers of the infamous Manson cult have been released from prison. Grogan was freed in 1985 after he led police to Shea's buried body.

Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was released in 2009 after serving time for the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford.

Manson and two of his followers, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, remain in prison for life in the Tate killings. Their co-defendant, Susan Atkins, died of cancer behind bars in 2009.

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