||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2009)|
Mug shot taken in 1969
|Born||Robert Kenneth Beausoleil
November 6, 1947
Santa Barbara, California, United States
|Death, commuted to life Imprisonment|
Robert Kenneth "Bobby" Beausoleil (born November 6, 1947) is a former associate of the Charles Manson "Family" (he denied ever being a member) who is serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of music teacher and associate Gary Hinman on July 27, 1969. By some accounts, Beausoleil's personal attractiveness made him the Manson family's main recruiter of young women. He was a promising musician in addition to being an aspiring poet and actor at the time of the Hinman murder. A prosecutor later noted that while representing himself Beausoleil had asked witnesses seemingly simple questions that actually demonstrated an understanding beyond many qualified lawyers' grasp.
Murder of Hinman
As described in the book Helter Skelter, Hinman was killed over money and property that Manson claimed Hinman owed the Family. It also served as the first of a series of murders committed by The Family to start Helter Skelter, a "war" that Manson had preached to his Family that would happen in the summer of 1969.
Accompanying Beausoleil that night were Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner, both later involved in other murders and crimes. Beausoleil claims that Hinman supplied him with a batch of bad mescaline that Beausoleil in turn sold to the Straight Satans motorcycle gang. When the bikers demanded their money back, Manson ordered Beausoleil to Hinman's residence to get the money. Hinman is said to have refused to pay saying, "I don't have any money to give you". Beausoleil called Manson back at Spahn Ranch to tell him that no money was forthcoming. Beausoleil, Atkins, and Brunner then held him captive in his own home in an attempt to convince him to refund the money.
Manson arrived and proceeded to slice off a part of Hinman's ear with a sword; Atkins and Brunner stitched it up with dental floss afterwards. Manson then ordered Beausoleil to kill Hinman and told him to make it look as if the crime had been committed by black revolutionaries, as he had been predicting to his Family that a race war was imminent. Beausoleil stabbed Hinman to death as Hinman chanted a Buddhist chant. Afterwards, he wrote the words "Political piggy" on a wall in Hinman's blood in an attempt to lead police to believe the murder was done by a group of radicals. After he wrote the words, Beausoleil dipped his hand in Hinman's blood and left a paw print, symbolizing The Black Panthers, in order to mislead the investigators of Hinman's murder. Beausoleil was subsequently arrested on August 6, 1969 after falling asleep in Hinman's broken down Fiat alongside the highway at Cuesta Grade, a steep segment of U.S. Route 101 between San Luis Obispo and Atascadero.
At Beausoleil's two trials for the murder, the defense mentioned nothing about the murder being the result of a drug transaction gone wrong. His first revelation of this came in 1981, 12 years after the murders, in an interview published in Oui magazine. In that interview, he denied that Manson had come to the Hinman residence during the event that led to the murder, although he later reversed himself on this detail. This is the version that Beausoleil currently maintains as truth. Also, conspirator Susan Atkins had stated before her death that she never heard any mention by Beausoleil indicating that the reason they went to Hinman's residence had anything to do with a drug transaction. See Helter Skelter (Manson scenario) for more details on the murders perpetrated by Charles Manson and members of his Family.
On April 18, 1970, a Superior Court jury in Los Angeles found Beausoleil, aged 22, guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when the California Supreme Court ruled the then-prevailing death penalty statutes unconstitutional in 1972. He is currently serving his sentence in Oregon State Penitentiary.
Beausoleil was to star in Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising, but little was shot before Beausoleil and Anger had a falling out and the project was abandoned. Some of the footage later appeared in Invocation of My Demon Brother (and again in the resurrected Lucifer Rising film). He also appeared in a softcore porn film titled The Ramrodder (a.k.a. Savage Passion), which also featured his friend Catherine Share — who went on to become a full-fledged member of the Manson Family. This film was shot, in part, at the infamous Spahn Ranch. Beausoleil had a brief appearance as Cupid in the 1967 film Mondo Hollywood, a documentary about the social, political and cultural climate of Los Angeles featuring a wide cast of Hollywood figures, including hair stylist Jay Sebring, who was also murdered by the Family.
Circa 1965, Beausoleil was a member of Arthur Lee's band the Grass Roots, which later changed its name to Love. Lee claimed to have bestowed the nickname "Bummer Bob" on Beausoleil due to a drug burn. Beausoleil claims that Lee named his band Love in reference to another of his many nicknames — "Cupid." Circa 1966, Beausoleil joined a band called The Orkustra; bandmate David LaFlamme went on to greater success with It's a Beautiful Day. Following his stint in The Orkustra, Beausoleil put together the band he called The Magick Powerhouse of Oz.
In the late 1970s, with the permission of the prison, he composed and recorded the soundtrack for Kenneth Anger's movie Lucifer Rising after Anger's first choice, Jimmy Page, could not manage to deliver enough music for the film after three years of waiting, according to Anger. The official Beausoleil soundtrack was released on CD (along with archival material from The Orkustra and The Magick Powerhouse of Oz) in 2004. He has also recorded and released two albums of instrumental material (Orb and Mantra).
In 2005, a selection of his artwork exhibited in Clair Obscur Gallery, Los Angeles. Just prior to the exhibition, the gallery exhibited photos of Sharon Tate. The parole board, in denying parole in 2005, stated that this display and marketing of Beausoleil's artwork was exploitative of the victims and showed a lapse of judgment by Beausoleil.
Bobby Beausoleil in literature
Truman Capote interviewed Bobby Beausoleil while the latter was imprisoned in San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California. Capote then published the interview in the form of a short story "Then It All Came Down", included in Music for Chameleons.
- 1967: Mondo Hollywood
- 1969: The Ramrodder
- 1969: Invocation of My Demon Brother
- 1972: Lucifer Rising (released 1980)
- 1981: Lucifer Rising (reissued in 2005)
- 1997: Running with the White Wolf
- 1998: Mantra: Soundscapes for Meditation
- 2001: Orb
- 2002: 7
- 2009: The Orkustra: Experiments in Electric Orchestra from the San Francisco Psychedelic Underground, 1966-69
- 2013: Dancing Hearts Afire EU LP
- 2014: Orb EU LP'
- 2007: Dreamways of the Mystic, Vol. 1
- 2007: Dreamways of the Mystic, Vol. 2
- 2009: The Lucifer Rising Suite (4xLP Boxed Set) Reissued in 2013.
- 2013: "Red House"
- 2014: "OM's Law"
- A. L. Bardach (November 1981). "Jailhouse Interview: Bobby Beausoleil and the Manson Murders". Oui Magazine.
- "Bobby BeauSoleil Interview with Seconds, 1998". Seconds Magazine. 1998 (Now available on Bobby Beausoleil MySpace page). Retrieved 2012-11-11. Check date values in:
- Archived September 10, 2007 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
- Lindsay William-Ross (2010-12-14). "Manson Follower Denied Parole, Can't Ask Again for 5 Years". LAist. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
- [dead link]
- Archived September 25, 2007 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
- 2005[dead link]
- By A. L. Bardach (November 1981). "Jailhouse Interview: Bobby Beausoleil". Oui Magazine.
- Official website
- White Dog Music: Official Music Store of Bobby BeauSoleil
- Lessley Anderson (Nov 17, 2004). "Lucifer, Arisen". San Francisco Weekly.
- Bobby Beausoleil at the Internet Movie Database