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California governor weighs parole for Charles Manson follower

By Michael Martinez and Kyung Lah, CNN
February 2, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
Bruce Davis was sent to prison on April 21, 1972, for the 1969 first-degree murders of two men.
Bruce Davis was sent to prison on April 21, 1972, for the 1969 first-degree murders of two men.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "He earned it," defense attorney says of recommendation
  • California parole board formally recommends parole for Bruce Davis, 70
  • Governor must modify, affirm or reverse the recommendation in 30 days
  • Davis is serving a life sentence for 1969 first-degree murders of two men

(CNN) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown is considering whether to grant parole to a convicted murderer who followed notorious killer Charles Manson, a spokeswoman for the governor said.

Brown's office received a formal recommendation from the state board parole Friday to release Bruce Davis, 70, who would be the first Manson "family" member to secure freedom solely for good behavior.

Brown has 30 days -- or until March 3 -- to either modify, affirm or reverse the parole board's recommendation, a corrections spokeswoman said.

In 2010, Davis secured his first formal recommendation for parole by the state board, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the board's decision.

This image is the most recent photo of infamous inmate Charles Manson. This image is the most recent photo of infamous inmate Charles Manson.
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Davis was sent to prison on April 21, 1972, for the 1969 first-degree murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea. Davis is serving a life sentence.

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Michael Beckman, Davis' attorney, urged Brown to grant parole.

If the case were not connected to Charles Manson, Davis would have already been released by now, Beckman said. He called it "not fair."

"He earned it," Beckman said.

"I think the governor should respect the work by his parole board. That hearing took five or six hours. They took into account everything about Bruce. And they didn't grant him parole as a favor. They didn't grant him parole on a whim. They considered it very carefully," Beckman said.

Two men relate to same haunting specter -- Charles Manson

In 2010, the parole board said that Davis had not been disciplined since 1980 and participated in all available education, vocation and self-help programs.

Davis is one of several imprisoned followers of Manson, 78, who is serving a life sentence for nine murders.

Manson led his "family" of followers in a deadly spree in 1969, whose victims included eight-months-pregnant actress Sharon Tate.

Last year, Manson was denied parole for the 12th time.

Manson, whose gruesome killings inspired the best-selling book "Helter Skelter," will be up for parole again 15 years from now, when he would be 92.

CNN's Michael Cary contributed to this report.

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