(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
More than 40 years after the notorious Manson Family killing spree, a federal judge has granted the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) access to a collection of audio tapes that may link Manson and his cohorts to additional crimes, officials in California confirmed this week.
It's been reported that the tapes cover a series of conversations between one of Manson's followers, Charles "Tex" Watson, and his attorney Bill Boyd. U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Schell, a federal judge in Texas, has ruled that the LAPD can take ownership of the tapes due to the fact that Watson effectively waived his client-attorney confidentiality privileges when he allowed his attorney to sell the tapes to the co-author of his own book "Will You Die For Me? The Man Who Killed For Charles Manson Tells His Own Story."
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Boyd died in 2009 and the law firm at which he was a partner subsequently went broke and filed for bankruptcy. It was then that a lengthy legal battle ensued for custody of the tapes, according to laist.com. That legal battle came to an end in March when Judge Schell ruled in favor of the LAPD. The LAPD postponed investigation of the tapes initially, giving Watson the full 30 days he was legally entitled to, had he wanted to appeal the court decision.
No official appeal was filed. The Huffington Post reports that eventually, according to a lead detective at the LAPD, the department took possession of the tapes several weeks ago and that they are currently being analyzed by the Robbery-Homicide Division and the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Watson, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the Manson Family murder of Sharon Tate and four others in 1969, has reportedly told officials that they are unlikely to find any new evidence in these tapes. He denies that he, nor any other member of the Manson family took part in any other murders.
Investigators at the LAPD, however, believe that Manson and his followers were guilty of more than the nine murders that they were convicted of in the 1970s. As such, investigators are poring through the collection of eight tapes in the hopes that Watson "may have discussed additional unsolved murders committed..." according to the Los Angeles Times.
"The Manson crime spree is one of the most notorious cases in Southern California," LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times. "We owe it to the victims and their families to ensure every facet of the case is thoroughly and completely investigated."