A federal judge in Texas has ruled that tapes of conversations between a lawyer and Tex Watson, one of the key members of the Manson Family, will be released to the Los Angeles Police Department. See original letter from LAPD seeking the tapes here. The LAPD hopes that some of the info in those tapes would help solve some cold cases.
Watson, now 65, was arrested November 1969 in Collin County, Texas, a then-rural area 30 miles north of Dallas. Watson fled LA after the Manson Family murdered a batch of partiers at the mansion owned by filmmaker Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate, then killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca at their home the next night.
After his arrest and before extradition, Watson’s family hired Bill Boyd, a defense attorney from McKinney. Watson fought extradition, with the help of Boyd, but lost that battle and was returned to California in September 1970. During his time at the Collin County jail, some of the talks between Boyd and Watson were taped. Watson’s current lawyer, Kendrick Jan, claims that Watson never waived his right to attorney-client privilege, while the Boyd camp contends he did. I have no idea why Watson would do that and I’m inclined to believe his current lawyer.
Boyd sold the tapes for $49,000 at some point. Sure would like to find out who paid that dough. What happened to the tapes in that original sale?
Watson was convicted of first-degree murder in 1971. He wrote a book, Will You Die For Me?,whichwas published in 1978. I call it suggested reading.
I met Boyd on several occasions when I worked my first job as a reporter at the McKinney Courier-Gazette, which was then a pretty aggressive newspaper. He was well known in McKinney, which was at the time a farm town of 30,000. It’s now a traffic-clogged exhurb of over 130,000. Boyd died in 2009.
Of course I couldn’t stop when I found out that the decision to give the tapes to LAPD was made by a bankruptcy judge as part of a filing by Boyd’s firm, Boyd-Veigel. I looked up the filing to see if anyone connected to the Manson case was a creditor. No dice – the firm had racked up over $8 million in debt, but no Manson connection.
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter with over two decades of experience in daily newspaper, Web and magazine reporting and writing. Miller has done time as a court and cops beat reporter at the Dallas Morning News and as a national reporter for the Washington Times, and as a correspondent for national publications including People magazine, High Times, Boston Magazine, Miami New Times, Houston Press, The Daily Beast and U.S. News and World Report. In 2012, he was an Edgar award finalist for his book, Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender. He is a recipient of the digital investigative award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Miller was also the former vocalist in the Midwest punk rock outfit the Fix in 1980-81.
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