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Bobby Beausoleil, a part of Charles Manson's circle, is serving a life sentence in a California prison for the July 1969 murder of Manson associate Gary Hinman.
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Manson associate Bobby Beausoleil was an aspiring actor and musician when he stabbed Gary Hinman to death in July 1969. Although conflicting motives have been given for the killing, it is known that Beausoleil killed Hinman and then wrote "Political Piggy" on the wall in Hinman's blood afterward. He received the death penalty but later had it reduced to life in prison, where he remains as of 2012.
In the early 1960s, Bobby Beausoleil moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career and started a band there called Grass Roots, which later changed its name to Love. Beausoleil soon moved to San Francisco and played with a few different bands until the late 1960s. While there, he met filmmaker Kenneth Anger and began composing music for Anger's film Lucifer Rising.
After a falling out with Anger in 1967, Beausoleil moved back to Los Angeles, where he acted in a soft-porn movie shot on the Spahn Ranch with Manson follower Catherine Share, also known as "Gypsy." He began living with Manson associate Gary Hinman and soon met Manson himself, who was impressed with Beausoleil's musical abilities.
By 1969, Beausoleil was part of Manson's group, and that summer he would participate in the torture and murder of Hinman. Conflicting reports, from Beausoleil himself, have emerged about the motive behind the killing. In one version, Manson sent Beausoleil and two other Manson "Family" members to Hinman's house to collect money he owed them. The other version says that Beausoleil sold some bikers a bad batch of LSD and they wanted their money back. Hinman had allegedly made the drugs, so Beausoleil went to Hinman's house to get the money in question, and events took an ugly turn. In either case, it is also unclear whether Manson himself was at the Hinman residence. At one point, Beausoleil claimed that Manson was never there, but he later changed his story and said that Manson was there and had sliced Hinman’s face with a sword and then ordered Beausoleil and the others to kill him.
Regardless of motive, Beausoleil was found soon after in Hinman's car, arrested and tried, and sentenced to death. California repealed the death penalty in 1972, and Beausoleil’s sentence was changed to life. While in prison, in the late 1970s, Beausoleil finished composing the soundtrack to Anger's Lucifer Rising, with permission from the prison. He has done other projects from behind bars, and he has been denied parole each time he has been up for it, partially because the parole board has found his musical and artistic endeavors to be exploitative of his crime.
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Charles Manson's eerie ability to control his "family" of young hippies in California remains as mysterious and intriguing today as it did in 1969, when Manson orchestrated the infamous murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Many Manson Family members were sentenced to life in prison for participating in those murders, including Squeaky Fromme, Susan Watkins and Patricia Krenwinkel. Members Bobby Beausoleil and Steve Grogan, under Manson's bizarre influence, committed other murders. Examine our list of Manson Family members and find out about life on the Spahn Movie Ranch, Charles Manson's uncanny hold over his followers, and the random and brutal crimes that ensued.
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