By Danny Robbins Associated Press
PLANO, Texas — Los Angeles police are entitled to audio recordings of conversations between a Manson family member and his attorney, a Texas judge ruled Tuesday.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brenda T. Rhoades of Plano granted the request allowing police to obtain the eight cassette tapes containing hours of talks between Charles “Tex” Watson and Bill Boyd, a now-deceased Texas attorney who once represented Watson.
Detectives want to listen to the tapes to learn whether Watson described any unsolved killings in the conversations. An LAPD spokesman has told The Associated Press that officers have no specific information on what might be in the recordings.
A law firm in McKinney where Boyd once worked has the tapes, and a trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding involving the firm asked the judge to grant legal authority to give police the recordings. Boyd died in 2009.
Watson is serving a life sentence for his role in the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. He previously made the tapes available to the co-author of his 1978 book, “Will You Die for Me? The Man Who Killed for Charles Manson Tells His Own Story.”
Rhoades’ ruling came despite an objection from Watson’s current attorney, who argued Watson didn’t waive attorney-client privilege when making the book deal.
In the book, Watson detailed his role in the killings of actress Sharon Tate and six other people but didn’t mention any unsolved slayings.
Watson, now 65, was convicted of all seven murders. He and three other Manson followers were sentenced to death but had their sentences commuted to life when the death penalty was briefly outlawed in 1972.
Boyd, who was hired by Watson’s family, conducted a long fight to prevent his client’s extradition to California from Texas, where Watson went after the killings.
According to court records, Watson waived his right to attorney-client privilege in his dealings with Boyd in 1976. The law firm then surrendered the tapes to the co-author of Watson’s book in exchange for partial payment of legal fees.