The First Manson Murder

The murder that started it all

Robert “Bobby” Beausoleil, a member of the Manson Family, was convicted to life imprisonment for killing his friend, Gary Hinman. Beausoleil was arrested for the murder of Hinman on August 6, 1969, two days before the Tate murders. According to several members of the Manson Clan, one of the reasons for the Tate murders was to get Beausoleil out of jail by committing a copycat murder.

A good-hearted person

Gary Hinman [img] was the first murder victim in a series of killings by the Manson Family. Gary’s house was a regular crash pad for anyone needing a place to stay. Several Manson Family members lived at Gary’s home for short periods of time, including Beausoleil.

Gary Hinman was a musician who left his home state of Colorado to live and work as a musician in the Los Angeles area. Gary was kind and outgoing, he was a good-hearted person who often gave others in need of a place to stay or a few dollars to get by.


According to Beausoleil, Gary had sold him 1000 tabs of bad mescaline, and Beausoleil wanted his money back. When Gary wouldn't return his money, Beausoleil killed him. However, according to statements made by several Manson Family members, the motive to visit Hinman was because the group needed capital for their move to the desert. Someone in the group suggested going to Santa Monica and kidnap Terry Melcher and hold him for ransom. The name of Gary Hinman was brought up and Manson said, “Yeah, he’s single and owns that house and probably has stocks and lots of money.”

A needle and dental floss

On July 25, 1969, Bobby Beausoleil, Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner paid Gary Hinman a visit. Beausoleil told Gary that the Family needed all of his money. At first, Gary thought that Beausoleil, his friend, was joking, but when it turned out that Beausoleil was serious, Gary replied he had no money. They then held Gary captive for three days. During this period, Gary was severely beaten and tortured.

At some point, Charles Manson and Bruce Davis stopped by. Manson had a sword on him and struck Gary in the head, slicing off a piece of his ear, while Davis pointed a gun at Hinman. Atkins and Brunner then tried to stitch up Gary’s face with a needle and dental floss.

The ordeal ended when Beausoleil stabbed Gary twice in the chest. Gary didn't die and started making gurgling noises, at which point Atkins and Brunner suffocated him with a pillow. After Gary died, Beausoleil wrote the words “Political Piggy” and drew a paw print on the wall in Gary’s blood, to make authorities think the Black Panthers committed the murder.

A couple of days after the murder, the California Highway Patrol found Beausoleil sleeping in Hinman’s Fiat station wagon. Beausoleil told the police that the car had broken down while he was driving to San Francisco. It wasn't long before Beausoleil was booked for the murder of Gary Hinman. He had two trials and was convicted and sentenced to death. His death sentence was commuted to life when California outlawed the death penalty in 1972.