Donald Shorty Shea

Name: Donald Jerome Shea
AKA: Shorty
Date of Birth: 09/18/1933
Date of Death: August 1969
Place of Birth: Massachusetts
Cause of Death: Multiple stab and chop wounds
Place of Burial: Angeles Abbey Memorial Park
Documents: Autopsy Report

Donald “Shorty” Shea moved to California to pursue a career in acting, but mostly worked as a horse wrangler at Spahn Ranch and as a bouncer at a topless bar. Although he occasionally obtained temporary employment elsewhere, he always returned to Spahn Ranch. “Shorty” actually stood about six feet 4 inches tall and weighed more than 200 pounds.

When Charles Manson and the Family first moved to Spahn’s Movie Ranch, Shea initially co-existed with them peacefully but, in time, Charles Manson began to look down on Shea because Shea married a black woman. Shea began to complain about Manson and the family to George Spahn. Eventually Shea planned to help George Spahn remove the Family from the Spahn Ranch when their brushes with the law grew out of control.

Shorty Shea (left) at Spahn Ranch

Murder

Somewhere between August 26 and 28, Charles Manson, Tex Watson, Steve Grogan, Bill Vance, Larry Bailey, and Bruce Davis asked Shea to come with them to get some auto parts. Shea was in the drivers seat, Grogan sat behind Shea, Watson sat next to Shea in the passenger seat and Davis sat behind Watson. Manson, Vance and Bailey followed them in another car. After Watson gave a sign, Grogan hit Shea over the head with a pipe wrench and Watson stabbed Shea several times. Shea managed to get out of the car. He then was surrounded by the gang and they brutally stabbed him to death. Grogan later said that Shea was so strong it took all of them to kill him.

According to Bruce Davis and Steve Grogan, both Bill Vance and Larry Bailey were participants in Shea’s murder. However Vance and Bailey were never prosecuted for Shea’s death.

Motive

Several motives are given for Shea’s murder. On August 16, 1969, the Sheriffs Department raided Spahn Ranch. They were looking for stolen cars not knowing they had the Tate/LaBianca killers in reach. Manson was convinced that Shea ratted on the Family and Manson blamed Shea for the raid.

Another suggested motive for Shea’s death was “bad blood” which existed between Shea and Manson. According to Windy Bucklee, Shea’s cousin , Manson never got over a beating he got from Shea. “The fact that Shea beat the shit out of Manson was the reason, I’m quite sure, that Shea always remained on Manson’s bad side,” Bucklee said. “I know he never forgot that.” And Manson reportedly resented the fact that Shea was married to a black woman.

Donald Shea with wife Magdalene Fuery

Barbara Hoyt testified that after Manson’s release from jail after the raid, he said that Shea was responsible for the sheriff’s raid and that Shea was trying to get the Manson family kicked off of the Spahn Ranch. Hoyt also testified that one night in August 1969 she heard screaming. She heard many loud screams coming from down by the creek. She recognized the screams as coming from Shea. Hoyt never saw Shea again after that night.

Shea’s Remains Discovered

Shea’s remains were discovered in December 1977 when Steve Grogan agreed to tell authorities the location of the body. Grogan was granted parole after the discovery of Shea’s remains in exchange for his cooperation.

Shea is buried in a community plot in Angeles Abbey Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.

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Bruce Davis

Name: Bruce McGregor Davis
Date of birth: 10/05/1942
Place of birth: Monroe, Louisiana
AKA: Bruce McMillan, George McGregor, Jack Paul
Whereabouts: California Men’s Colony Prison
Prisoner ID: B41079
Archive: Bruce Davis
Recent Pictures: Bruce Davis Today
Image Gallery: Bruce Davis Gallery

In ’67, Bruce Davis met Charles Manson, Mary Brunner, Lynette Fromme, and Patricia Krenwinkel. Having several things in common, Davis and Manson became friends and Davis joined the Family. Described as Manson’s right-hand man, Davis main job was handling the stolen credit cards and fake ID’s for the Family.

In July of ’69 Davis was present when Manson cut off Gary Hinman’s left ear with a sword. In August, Davis assisted Manson, Watson, and Grogan in the murder of Donald “Shorty” Shea.

Zero

Davis was one of the family members present when John “Zero” Haught killed himself playing Russian roulette. The police ruled Haught’s death a suicide, however there are indications that Haught may have been murdered. No fingerprints were found on the gun, not even Haught’s own prints and the gun was fully loaded at the time of death. An anonymous source told the L.A Times that he was there when Haught died. He claimed Haught didn’t kill himself but was shot by one of the girls.

Shorty Shea Murder

Somewhere between August 26 and 28, Charles Manson, Tex Watson, Steve Grogan, Bill Vance, Larry Bailey, and Bruce Davis asked Shea to come with them to get some auto parts. Shea was in the drivers seat, Grogan sat behind Shea, Watson sat next to Shea in the passenger seat and Davis sat behind Watson. Manson, Vance and Bailey followed them in another car. After Watson gave a sign, Grogan hit Shea over the head with a pipe wrench and Watson stabbed Shea several times. Shea managed to get out of the car. He then was surrounded by the gang and they brutally stabbed him to death. Grogan later said that Shea was so strong it took all of them to kill him.

According to Bruce Davis and Steve Grogan, both Bill Vance and Larry Bailey were participants in Shea’s murder. However Vance and Bailey were never prosecuted for Shea’s death.

Hinman Murder

On July 25, 1969, Robert Beausoleil, Susan Atkins, and Mary Brunner paid Gary a visit. According to Beausoleil’s jailhouse interview for Oui Magazine, 1981, they went to Gary because he had sold Beausoleil a 1000 tabs of bad mescaline. Beausoleil wanted his money back.

Gary told Beausoleil that he didn’t have the money. Gary was held captive for 3 days. Beausoleil, Atkins and Brunner took turns sleeping. According to Danny Decarlo Beausoleil had knocked Gary around for 3 or 4 hours. Later on Manson and Bruce Davis stopped by. Manson had a sword on him and struck Gary in the head, slicing of a piece of his ear. Atkins and Brunner tried to stitch up Gary’s face with a needle and dental floss.

The ordeal finally ended when Beausoleil stabbed Gary twice in the chest. Gary didn’t die immediately and made loud gurgling sounds so Atkins and Brunner took turns smothering Gary with a pillow.

After Gary died Beausoleil wrote the words “Political Piggy” and drew a paw print on the wall in Gary’s blood, in an attempt to make authorities think the Black Panthers committed the murder.

Before the trio left they covered Gary’s body with a blanket, took his bagpipes and two pink slips for his cars and took the cars to Spahn Ranch.

Conviction

In April 1970, Davis was implicated in the death of Gary Hinman by Family member Mary Brunner. Davis went into hiding, ultimately turning himself in on December 2, 1970.

In ’72, Davis was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the killings of Hinman and Shea, conspiracy to commit murder, and robbery. Davis was sentenced to life imprisonment.