The murder of Gary Hinman may not have been the most diabolical act the Manson Family committed, but it was a very significant one. Charles Manson and his notorious gang gained popularity in the late 1960s and the early 1970s due to their heinous crimes.
The murder of the actress Sharon Tate while she was pregnant, along with four other victims, popularized the group. But a less informed event was the murder of Gary Hinman just days before those events.
Gary Hinman had made the mistake of inviting the Manson Family to his home. Little did he know that this would cost him his life. After all, fear is not a rational emotion, and neither does it come when expected.
Charles Manson had ordered Bobby Beausoleil, one of his followers, to kill Gary. This single event determined the turning point for the Mansion family that would go on to haunt the world.
Gary Hinman's Childhood
Born on Christmas Eve in 1934, Hinman was a brilliant student from early childhood. Born as a resident of Colorado, he would become a graduate in chemistry and later pursue a Ph.D. in sociology.
While he was doing his doctorate at UCLA, he made a reputation of being kind and gentle. He was also known to be an intellect among his peers. He even worked at a music shop as he was a talented musician. There he used to teach how to play bagpipes, drums, trombone, and piano.
During 1968, he became inclined towards Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. As a result, he was planning to go on a pilgrimage to Japan.
His house in Topanga Canyon was a regular crash pad for anyone seeking spiritual refuge. This is where he befriended the infamous Manson family. On the night of his murder, Gary had invited three of his friends- Bobby, Susan, and Mary.
Who Was Bobby Beausoleil?
Robert Beausoleil was the murderer of his friend Gary Hinman. The younger Bobby became influenced by the Charles Manson group early in his life to cause this tragic event.
Born in a working-class Catholic family in 1947, he was the firstborn among his siblings. At 15, Bobby was sent to a camp for almost a year for his juvenile acts. When he was released, he went back to the Los Angeles area before drifting to San Francisco.
From very early in his life, Bobby was interested in counterculture music and acting. He had even become part of various rock bands in 1965. The Grassroots, The Milky Way, and The Orkustra were a few of those bands.
He had even acted in Kenneth Anger's movie Lucifer Rising in 1967. Later on, Beausoleil started living with Gary Hinman in Topanga Canyon, where he met the Manson family. This eventually led to him murdering Hinman- a decision Beausoleil would come to repent.
Gary Hinman's Death: The Motive
Charles Manson was obsessed with Gary's idea that a lot of money was in stocks and bonds. He also believed that Gary Hinman possessed a house and cars. This made Charles feel that Gary would be an asset to the Mansion family cult.
Initially, he had sent the group to visit Gary to convince him to join. As a member, it would mean that Gary willingly turns over his possessions. According to Beausoleil, Gary had sold him some poor-quality Mescaline, and he went there to ask for a refund.
The Event Of Hinman's Murder
Irrespective of the motive, the conflict had lasted for three days. Even the San Diego Union-Tribune had reported this when they originally had covered the story. During this time, Bruce Davis, along with Charles Mansion, had also visited Gary. When Mansion arrived, he struck Hinman in the head with a sword without hesitation.
Hinman's left ear and face were sliced immediately. Mary and Susan helped stitch his ear using dental floss. Even then, he was asking the reason behind this and pleading with them to leave. Davis and Mansion took one of Gary's cars and went away while the others stayed.
Hinman was a practitioner of non-violence and, all this time, kept pleading with them to leave. Finally, on 27th July, Beausoleil murdered his friend Gary Hinman by brutally stabbing him in the chest twice. After that, Mary, Susan, and Bobby kept holding a pillow over Gary's face. They were taking turns while doing this.
When Gary Hinman stopped breathing, the group left. But not before Beausoleil wrote Political Piggy on Gary's wall with his blood. There was even a drawing of a paw print found on the wall. This was done in an attempt to make it look like the Black Panthers had done the deed.
Who Were The Black Panthers?
The Black Panther Party was a revolutionary organization formed in 1966 in Oakland, California. Their ideology revolved around socialism, Black nationalism, and self-defense. They were especially vocal against police brutality.
Even though they had started with the same ideology as Dr. Martin Luther King, they soon broke free from the nonviolent ways of protest. Another Black political party inspired the black panther as their symbol and in Alabama.
What Happened To The Actual Killers?
On 18th April 1970, a Los Angeles court condemned the then 22-year old Beausoleil to a death sentence. Later, this was commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court of California, claiming death sentences unconstitutional.
While being in prison, Beausoleil had worked on multiple music compositions and even released his paintings. He even went to claim moderate fame while still being imprisoned.
To this day, he regrets killing his friend, though. While being in prison, he was denied parole 18 times.
Gary Hinman's murder may not be one of the most well-known crimes, but it set the Manson family off on their journey. The Mansion family would go on to become a national nuisance later.
Although most of the cult, including Charles, was captured and died in prison, the tragedy would go on to haunt Beausoleil for the rest of his life.