Robert Kenneth Beausoleil
November 6, 1947
Santa Barbara, California, United States
|Criminal penalty||Death, commuted to life imprisonment|
|August 6, 1969|
Robert Kenneth Beausoleil (born November 6, 1947) is an American murderer who was given the death sentence for killing his friend Gary Hinman, a fellow associate of Charles Manson and members of his communal "Family", on July 27, 1969. He was later granted commutation to a life sentence when the Supreme Court of California issued a ruling that invalidated all death sentences issued in California prior to 1972.
During his incarceration in the California state prison system, Beausoleil has recorded and released music along with working on visual art, instrument design and media technology. Although a parole board recommended him for parole in January 2019 in his 19th hearing for eligibility, the recommendation was denied by the Governor of California.
Beausoleil was born on November 6, 1947, in Santa Barbara, California, to working-class parents Charles Kenneth Beausoleil and Helen Arlene Mattox. He was the first-born child in a large Catholic family and has four siblings. When he was 15, Beausoleil was sent to Los Prietos Boys Camp for ten months for running away from home and a series of juvenile pranks. After he was released, Beausoleil moved to the Los Angeles area and drifted between there and San Francisco, gravitating towards the emerging counterculture music scene and acting. He became a member of several rock bands beginning about 1965, including The Orkustra, The Milky Way and The Grass Roots (other members later became Love). In 1967, he met Kenneth Anger and secured a part in Anger's film Lucifer Rising. In 1968, Beausoleil was living with Gary Hinman in Topanga Canyon when he met Charles Manson and became associated with him and the communal group known as the "Manson Family".
Murder of Gary Hinman
According to the Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi in his book Helter Skelter, Gary Hinman was killed over money and property that Manson believed Hinman owed to the Family. At Beausoleil's second trial, prosecutors said it had been rumored that Hinman had received a $20,000 inheritance. According to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, the slaying became the first in a series of murders committed by the "Family" that set in motion the "Helter Skelter" scenario that Manson envisioned and preached would happen in the near future in America. Accompanying Beausoleil that night were Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner. Brunner was granted legal immunity as the key witness for Beausoleil's prosecution. Atkins subsequently became involved in the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders and other crimes perpetrated by Manson and his family.
Beausoleil went with Atkins and Brunner to Hinman's house, where Beausoleil had also briefly been living, demanding that he give them money, but Hinman told them he did not have any money to give them. Beausoleil called Manson at Spahn Ranch and told him no money was forthcoming, and was instructed by Manson to hold Hinman captive at the residence and convince him to get the money before Manson arrived.
Manson, driven by Bruce Davis, came out to the Topanga Canyon home and brought a samurai sword or a bayonet. Manson struck Hinman with the sword, severely cutting his face and ear, and according to some accounts cutting off part of his ear. Beausoleil said he then stitched up Hinman's ear with dental floss, although other reports say the stitching was done by Atkins and Brunner. Hinman begged for medical attention and was held captive at the home and tortured for three days before he was ultimately killed. Manson told Beausoleil to kill Hinman and to make it look as if the crime had been committed by black revolutionaries, as part of his ideology that a race war was imminent and part of what he called "Helter Skelter". Beausoleil stabbed Hinman to death while Hinman, a devotee of Buddhism, repeated a Buddhist chant. As Hinman lay dying, Beausoleil, Atkins and Brunner took turns smothering him with a pillow. After he killed Hinman, Beausoleil 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. He then dipped his hand in Hinman's blood and left a paw print, attempting to symbolize The Black Panthers as a way to mislead the investigators in regard to Hinman's murder. Beausoleil was 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.
Twelve years after the murder, Beausoleil would assert that the killing was the result of a drug transaction gone wrong. There was no such discussion of a drug deal in either of Beausoleil's two trials for the murder or in the books by Ed Sanders and Vincent Bugliosi. Beausoleil first gave this version of events in a 1981 interview published in Oui magazine, saying he had unknowingly supplied members of the Straight Satans motorcycle gang with a batch of bad mescaline, sold to him by Hinman, and the bikers had demanded their money back. In that interview, he also denied that Manson had come to the Hinman residence during the event that led to the murder and said he had cut Hinman's face himself with a knife during a struggle over a gun, although he later reversed himself about that aspect in 1998.[failed verification] Conspirator Susan Atkins 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.
Conviction, life in prison, and parole hearings
On April 18, 1970, a Superior Court jury in Los Angeles found the 22-year-old Beausoleil guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death.
Beausoleil's 18-year-old girlfriend Kathryn "Kitty" Lutesinger had testified against him during the trial while she was pregnant by him, later bearing a daughter. The daughter would later be cared for by Lutesinger's parents.
When he was called as a witness at a sanity hearing for four other Manson associates in 1973, Beausoleil said that he and they would not conform to society's standards of sane behavior, saying "I'm at war with everybody in this courtroom. It's nothing personal but the world has been gattling at my brothers and sisters and as long as they are ripping off our world, our friends and our children, you better pray I never get out."
Beausoleil's initial parole suitability hearing was held on August 15, 1978, and prior to 2019, he had a total of 18 suitability hearings that each ended in the parole board finding him unsuitable for parole.
Beausoleil attracted some women admirers while in prison, and in 1980, he married a 21-year-old fan. Within a year, she sought to annul the marriage, saying he had also been involved with other women.
On April 15, 1982, while incarcerated, Beausoleil was stabbed by other prisoners. After that point he reportedly began to lose his sense of loyalty to Manson and distance himself more from the "family", ceasing to justify their actions and expressing more regret.
In 1994, he requested and was transferred to the Oregon State Penitentiary. His wife, Barbara, whom he had met while in California, moved to Oregon to be near him. Bobby and Barbara had no children together, but she had children from a former marriage. He was then transferred back to California in 2015, to the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, following the death of his wife and a disciplinary infraction in the Oregon prison.
Part of the reasoning for denial of his parole in 2016 was said to be that he had been recording music for sale without permission from the California authorities, although while he had been in Oregon, authorities there had given him permission to do that, according to Gary Hinman's cousin Kay Hinman Martley and Sharon Tate's sister Debra Tate, who had been involved in the proceedings and were opposed to his release.
On January 3, 2019, a panel of commissioners of the California Board of Parole recommended that Beausoleil be freed on parole. In recommending parole, the panel cited Beausoleil's youthful offender status as being in mitigation to the severity of the crime and stated that during his nearly half-century of incarceration he had devoted himself to creativity and pro-social growth, gradually maturing into a person exhibiting compassion and empathy. The Los Angeles District Attorney's office disagreed, calling the panel's recommendation "unfortunate". Kay Martley and Debra Tate also continued to oppose the granting of parole, with Martley saying that "this man does not belong outside the walls of prison." Debra Tate repeated the allegation that Beausoleil had been violating prison rules by profiting from the sale of his music and art while in prison, and started a petition on Change.org to ask the governor to deny him parole. Beausoleil's attorney responded to the comment about his music and art activities by saying that "Everything he has produced so far was done with the full permission of the warden of his prior institutions."
As has been the case previously for several other Manson associates, the parole recommendation was denied by the Governor of California. Governor Gavin Newsom reversed the parole board recommendation and denied parole to Beausoleil on April 26, 2019, saying he felt that Beausoleil's release could still pose a danger to society.
As of 2021, only one person who has been convicted of murder in the killings committed by the Family has been released from prison: Steve "Clem" Grogan, who was paroled in 1985. Several others, including Manson himself and Atkins, have died in prison, and Davis remains incarcerated after seven recommendations for parole that have been denied by California governors.
Beausoleil was to star in Kenneth Anger's 1967 version of the film Lucifer Rising, but little footage 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 appeared in a western-styled 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 at a small ranch in Topanga Canyon.
A 16-year-old 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.
In 1979, along with his prison band The Freedom Orchestra, Beausoleil completed his soundtrack for Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising. The film debuted in New York in 1980.
In 1965, he was a member of Arthur Lee's band the Grass Roots, not to be confused with the San Francisco Bay area recording artists of the same name. To avoid confusion, Lee's group later changed its name to "Love". Beausoleil claims that Lee told him he named his band Love in reference to one of his nicknames – "Cupid". In early 1966, Beausoleil formed a band called The Orkustra; bandmate violinist David LaFlamme subsequently went on to greater success with It's a Beautiful Day.
Beausoleil has produced a significant body of musical recordings, visual art, and writings despite his having been held behind bars nearly all of his adult life. Among his most notable works is the soundtrack for the indie-underground film Lucifer Rising by filmmaker Kenneth Anger, a prog-rock symphony describing a fallen angel's mythical journey. To perform and record his score, Beausoleil put together The Magick Powerhouse of Oz band while in prison during the 1970s. The official Beausoleil soundtrack was originally released on LP by Lethal Records in 1980, and later on CD (along with archival material from The Orkustra and The Magick Powerhouse of Oz) on the Arcanum label in 2004. The Lucifer Rising Suite was released on The Ajna Offensive in 2009 and 2013. This anthology documents the Lucifer Rising soundtrack project from its earliest beginnings in 1967 to its ultimate completion and delivery to the filmmaker in 1979. In addition to the actual soundtrack, some alternate themes, musical and soundscape experiments, and live performances are contained in the boxed set. In 2014, a CD version of the anthology boxed set was released.
Beausoleil has subsequently composed and recorded additional original music albums often correlated to his visual drawings and paintings. In 2014, a compilation titled Whispers Through The Black Veil was released on the Wyrd War label, containing the song "The Wailing On Witch Mountain" composed, performed and recorded by him in 2012. His most recent musical release is Voodoo Shivaya in 2018, a 2-disk concept album recorded between 2008 and 2015, featuring both covers and original songs with vocal and instrumental tracks showcasing Beausoleil's instrumental and vocal skills. Guest performances, with the approval of the Oregon State Penitentiary administration, included Annabel Lee Moynihan, Michael Jenkins Moynihan, Robert Ferbrache, and Mike Behrenhausen, all members of the dark folk band Blood Axis. The triple gatefold LP and CD packaging integrates Nicholas Syracuse's photography with calligraphy by Timo Ketola.
Truman Capote interviewed Beausoleil in 1972, while the latter was imprisoned in San Quentin State Prison. Capote then published the interview in the form of a short story "Then It All Came Down", included in his 1980 book Music for Chameleons. According to his biographers, Capote believed his memory to be infallible and did not keep notes. Following the publication of the book, Beausoleil has said that Capote took gross literary license in his reporting of the interview from eight years earlier.
- 1967: Mondo Hollywood
- 1969: The Ramrodder
- 1969: Invocation of My Demon Brother
- 1972: Lucifer Rising (released 1980) – soundtrack composer
- 1981: Lucifer Rising (reissued in 2005 and 2016)
- 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, 1966-67
- 2013: Dancing Hearts Afire EU LP (reissued on CD in 2016)
- 2014: Orb EU LP
- 2018: Voodoo Shivaya LP and CD
- 2007: Dreamways of the Mystic, Vol. 1
- 2007: Dreamways of the Mystic, Vol. 2
- 2009: The Lucifer Rising Suite (4-LP Boxed Set) Reissued in 2013.
- 2014: The Lucifer Rising Suite CD boxed set
- 2013: "Red House"
- 2014: "OM's Law"
- 2014: "Angel"
- 2014: "Who Do You Love"
- 2015: "Ghost Highway"
- Anderson, Lessley. "Lucifer, Arisen". SF Weekly. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
- "Informal Q & A, 2017". Bobby BeauSoleil Reference Archive. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- Breznikar, Klemen (July 27, 2014). "Bobby BeauSoleil interview (The Orkustra)". It's Psychedelic Baby! Magazine. Archived from the original on December 18, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- "Bobby Beausoleil". Biography.com. A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on May 1, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
- Middlecamp, David (November 17, 2017). "Manson Family murders began after Cuesta Grade arrest in SLO". The Tribune. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- Sachs, Andrea (August 7, 2009). "Manson Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi". Time. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- Manson in His Own Words by Nuel Emmons, 1986
- Krajicek, David J. (July 14, 2019). "The Manson Family's forgotten victim". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
- Sederstrom, Jill (September 18, 2018). "The Story Behind The Murder That Set Off The Manson Family". Oxygen. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
- A. L. Bardach (November 1981). "Jailhouse Interview: Bobby Beausoleil and the Manson Murders". Oui. Archived from the original on November 19, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
- Yuko, Elizabeth (January 4, 2019). "Manson Family Associate Bobby Beausoleil Recommended for Parole". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
- Moynihan, Michael (September 1998). "Interviews with Bobby Beausoleil". Seconds. Bobby Beausoleil MySpace page. Archived from the original on December 3, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- "Subsequent parole consideration hearing, State of California Board of Prison Terms". Archived from the original on September 10, 2007. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- Associated Press, “Manson’s Pal Found Guilty Of Murder,” The San Bernardino Sun-Telegram, San Bernardino, California, Sunday 19 April 1970, Volume XXIV, Number 82, page 1.
- Lamare, Amy (May 2, 2019). "Who Is Bobby Beausoleil? New Details On The Manson Family Killer And His Bid For Parole". Your Tango. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- William-Ross, Lindsay (December 14, 2010). "Manson Follower Denied Parole, Can't Ask Again for 5 Years". Laist.com. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
-  Archived December 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. December 22, 2008.
- "Manson follower denied parole for 1969 murder of musician". Los Angeles Times. October 14, 2016. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
- "Charles Manson follower Bobby Beausoleil denied parole". The Mercury News. Associated Press. October 14, 2016. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
- "Manson follower Bobby Beausoleil takes step toward parole". WTVR-TV. CNN Wire. January 4, 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- Elias, Thomas D. (April 3, 2019). "After death penalty reprieves, multiple Mansons confront Newsom". Antelope Valley Press. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- Sobel, Barbara (April 30, 2019). "Bobby Beausoleil, Manson Family Member, Parole Reversed by Governor". Guardian Liberty Voice. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- Seidman, Lila (June 21, 2021). "Charles Manson's 'right-hand man' Bruce Davis denied parole for seventh time". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
- Peter Levenda (June 1, 2011). Sinister Forces—The Manson Secret: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft. Trine Day. ISBN 978-0984185832.
- "'Mondo Hollywood': When the world went from B&W to color". DangerousMinds.net. September 17, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- Moynihan, Michael (2004). "The Saga of a Soundtrack". Vernal Equinox. Retrieved December 22, 2018 – via Bobby BeauSoleil Reference Archive.
- Moynihan, Michael (1999) Seconds #50
- Michael, Chris (July 22, 2013). "Kenneth Anger: How I made Lucifer Rising". Theguardian.com. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- Kovac, Adam (April 8, 2015). "We Spoke to Charles Manson's Guitarist About Making Art While Serving Time for Murder". Retrieved May 31, 2019.
- "Exposé Online » Reviews » Bobby Beausoleil - Lucifer Rising Suite - Original Soundtrack and Sessions Anthology". Exposé Online. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
- "Whispers Through The Black Veil". Discogs.com. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
- "Bobby Beausoleil - Voodoo Shivaya". Discogs. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
- Editor, P. K. M. (July 17, 2018). "BOBBY BEAUSOLEIL'S GHOST HIGHWAY". PleaseKillMe. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
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- George Plimpton (November 10, 1998). Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career (Reprint ed.). Anchor. ISBN 978-0385491730.
- Bob Colacello (March 11, 2014). Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up (Reprint ed.). Vintage. ISBN 978-0804169868.
- "The Farcical Capote Interview". Bobby BeauSoleil Reference Archive. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- Keefe, Patrick Radden (March 22, 2013). "Truman Capote's Co-Conspirators". Newyorker.com. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- "'Lucifer Rising' LP". The Ajna Offensive. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
- "The Orkustra: Bobby Beausoleil". Bobbybeausoleil.com. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
- "Exposé Online » Reviews » Bobby Beausoleil - Dancing Hearts Afire". Expose.org. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
- "'Voodoo Shivaya' Double DLP". The Ajna Offensive. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
- "'Voodoo Shivaya' Double CD". The Ajna Offensive. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
- "The Lucifer Rising Suite (Original Soundtrack and Sessions Anthology)". Bobby Beausoleil official web site. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Official website
- Lessley Anderson (November 17, 2004). "Lucifer, Arisen". San Francisco Weekly.
- Exposés Review of The Lucifer Rising Suite CD
- Bobby Beausoleil at IMDb
- Official YouTube Channel
- It's Psychedelic Baby! Magazine Interview with Bobby BeauSoleil
- Bobby BeauSoleil: Lucifer Rising for Bardo Methodology
- Bobby BeauSoleil Interview for Bardo Methodology
- Bobby BeauSoleil on Spotify