From left to right: (back row) Big D 55’s Uncle Hector, Danny Cali 51’s Uncle Shorty, Danny Decarlo, Fritz, Skinny Don; (front row) Al Springer, Shades.
The Straight Satans were one of the most well-known motorcycle clubs in California, and said to have been a “1%er” club. The term 1% comes from the idea that 99% of riders are law abiding citizens and the remaining 1% are “outlaws”.
Most are familiar with the Straight Satans club due to their connection with Charles Manson since they hung out with Manson and the Family at Spahn Ranch. Their former leader Danny DeCarlo became a police informant and testified against the Manson Family during the trials.
On Friday, July 25, 1969, approximately 45 hours prior to the fatal stabbing of Gary Hinman, Robert Beausoleil, a member of the Satan’s club, went to Hinman’s residence to buy Mescaline. Beausoleil delivered the mescaline he had purchased from Gary to the Straight Satan’s at Spahn Ranch where Danny DeCarlo resided with his girlfriend, Susan Atkins. DeCarlo and other members of the Straight Satans took the drugs. On Saturday, July 26th, DeCarlo and other members of the Straight Satans returned to Spahn Ranch and confronted Beausoleil, accused him of selling them bad drugs, roughed him up and threatened him to get their money back.
DeCarlo and Bruce Davis told Beausoleil that they would drive him to Hinman’s residence to make sure that he did. Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner came along for the ride but were unaware of the intended violence to come about. Upon arrival at the Hinman residence, Brunner and Atkins went ahead into the house to visit Hinman with whom they had more than casual relationships. Davis then gave Beausoleil a gun and instructed him to keep it concealed, but to produce it if Hinman failed to cooperate and return the money. They told Beausoleil to phone them at the Ranch when he obtained the money and they would return to pick him up. Davis and DeCarlo then left.
Beausoleil confronted Hinman about the bad drugs and commanded he return the $1,000.00 he had given him the day before. Hinman claimed that the mescaline was not bad, and in any case that he had already spent the money. Beausoleil became agitated and pulled the gun out and threatened Hinman. He struck Hinman with the gun two or three times. Hinman then produced his check-book to prove that he had already spent the money. Convinced that Hinman was telling the truth, Beausoleil handed the gun to Atkins and told her to keep it on Hinman and not let him move, that he was going to go into the other room in search of something of value that he could give to the Straight Satans in lieu of the money.
While Beausoleil was out of the room, Hinman lunged at Atkins and took the gun away. Atkins cried out and Beausoleil ran back into the room. He grabbed Hinman’s arm and began to fight with Hinman. While the two men were wrestling over the gun, one of the two females telephoned Spahn Ranch and reported that there was trouble, that Hinman had taken the gun and that he and Beausoleil were fighting over it. During the struggle the gun discharged. The bullet pierced the kitchen sink without injuring anyone, but the sudden shock of the gun’s loud concussion enabled Beausoleil to regain possession of the gun. Hinman offered to resolve the conflict by signing over the two titles for the two old automobiles that he owned, one of which was a dented Volkswagen van that Hinman had recently purchased for $800.00. Beausoleil accepted.
When the transfer of the titles was complete Beausoleil and the two females were preparing to leave when Bruce Davis and Charles Manson showed up. Manson came in and immediately slashed Hinman across the check with a long sword like knife cutting Hinman’s ear and cheek. Beausoleil asked Manson why he did that and Manson replied that he was showing Beausoleil, “how to be a man.” Manson harassed Hinman for a while and tried to ensure he had nothing more of value they could steal. Manson then told Beausoleil that he had made a mess of things and that he needed to get it cleaned up. Manson told Atkins and Brunner to help Beausoleil take care of Hinman. Manson and Davis then left.
Beausoleil spent the rest of the night, and most of the next day, with Hinman, attending to his injury and talking to him in an attempt to convince Hinman that his wound was not very serious and would heal without the need of going to see a doctor. Beausoleil feared Hinman would inform on him if he went to the hospital for medical treatment. Hinman became increasingly adamant about wanting to get treatment for the injury.
Beausoleil phoned Spahn Ranch for advice on what to do. Manson came to the phone and told Beausoleil that he was on his own and hung up. Hinman made additional demands to be allowed to go to the hospital. In a state of panic and desperation Beausoleil made the decision to kill Hinman to prevent him from telling what he knew of Beausoleil’s involvement of the drug deal and the assault. Beausoleil stabbed Hinman once in the chest and when Hinman did not immediately fall he stabbed him a second time.
In court testimony the coroner said that the second stab wound was almost instantly fatal. Beausoleil has stated that neither Atkins nor Brunner had any foreknowledge of the fatal assault and were out of the room when it occurred. However, Beausoleil asked them to help him remove evidence of their presence and to take measures that might help him evade detection by the authorities, which they did.
Beausoleil decided to try to make it look as though Hinman had been killed by other ‘less then steller’ friends and misfit associates by burning some of Hinman’s Marxist newspapers on the floor, and by drawing ‘political pig’ on the wall in the victim’s blood. He also put an animal paw mark on the wall, supposedly to make it appear as a sign of possible Black Panther involvement. The three then left Hinman’s residence at nightfall on Sunday, July 27th.
In a 1981 interview with Truman Capote, Beausoleil revealed that Hinman specifically stated that he would disclose the attack and that this was reason he was killed.
DeCarlo and members of the Straight Satans wound-up accepted the old Volkswagen van as repayment for the bad drugs and took it to Venice Beach. It was subsequently found in Santa Monica. Beausoleil was arrested in San Louis Obispo on August 6, 1969 driving Hinman’s other vehicle which had broken down on the freeway. The knife used in the slaying of Hinman was in the vehicle.
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