The Summer of ’69: The Murder of Gary Hinman


July 31, 1969

None of Gary Hinman’s friends or colleagues had seen him for a week. Worried, his friends  Mike Irwin, John Nicks, and Glenn Giardinelli stopped by his house at 964 Old Topanga Canyon Road to check up on him.  They knew he was looking forward to a trip to Japan but he wouldn’t have gone without saying goodbye.

When they arrived, they noticed Gary’s Fiat was missing.  They climbed the stairs to the porch where they detected a foul odor. They were alarmed enough to go to a neighbor’s home and call the L.A. County Sheriff’s Malibu Station.

Deputies Paul Piet and Donald Lang rolled out to the location. When they arrived Piet climbed a ladder to look in the main window. He saw decomposing body, covered with maggots around the head. The man was partly covered with a blanket and a pillow covered the left side of his face.  There was blood on the floor and the blanket.

The deputies contacted Detective Sergeant Paul J.  Whiteley in the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.  Whiteley advised them to secure the location. He would be there as soon as possible.

At 9:45 p.m. Detective Whitely and Sergeant Gunther arrived. Deputy Coroner Green arrived at 11:30 p.m. and removed the body for autopsy and assigned it a case number, 69-8448.

Hinman’s death was classified as a routine “dead person” until the autopsy proved he was murdered.

AUGUST 6, 1969

On August 6, 1969 at 10:50 a.m., a CHP officer on routine patrol observed a Fiat, license number OYX833, parked northbound on the east side of the 101 on the Cuesta grade. The officer ran the license plate for outstanding warrants – the car was reported stolen out of Los Angeles.

La Cuesta Grade

The officer asked for ID, but the man didn’t have a driver’s license. He said he was Jason Lee Daniels, born November 11, 1946. The officer  transported Daniels to the Highway Patrol Office in San Luis Obispo and booked him for 10851 V.C. Auto Theft.  Once at the station, Jason admitted that his true name was Robert Beausoleil.

As the officer was writing up the stolen car report he saw an APB [All-Points Bulletin] dated 8-3-69  which stated that the owner of the car was murdered. He advised Beausoleil that he was under arrest for 187 P.C. murder and read him his rights.

NEXT TIME: A murder spree in Los Angeles.

4 thoughts on “The Summer of ’69: The Murder of Gary Hinman

  1. They blame all the other Manson murders on brainwashing. What was Beasolei’s excuse? He had a reputation as a charmer and he did’nt seem like a follower.

    • I agree with you about Bobby Beausoleil. I don’t believe any menber of the Manson family was brainwashed. They were drug addled, but in my opinion still responsible for their actions. They got the sentences they deserved. They were extremely lucky when, in 1972, California overtunred the death penalty. That is when their sentences became life with the possibility of parole.

      • Leslie Van Houten has been up for parole 24 times. On each of the last four she was recommended for parole. Three of those were vetoed by Gov. Moonbeam and the last one in July 2020 is still in the 120 day review period. This woman has been inside for 50 years. IMO she is not a threat to society. I believe it is a political issue. No governor wants to be the one that approved the release of one of the Manson killers.

        • I have mixed feelings about parole for any of the Manson family members. But, if there is a case to be made for one of them, I believe it is Leslie Van Houten. I absolutely agree with you that there is an enormous political issue here and no governor wants to be the one that give the greenlight to releasing a Manson family member.

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