Davis was born on October 5, 1942, in Monroe, Louisiana. Davis was the youngest of two children. Davis was the editor of his high school yearbook. After high school, Davis attended college in Tennessee for two years, moving to California in 1962. Davis worked as a construction worker and made music in his spare time. Davis, like Manson, was also involved in Scientology.
In 1967, Davis met Charles Manson, who, by this time, had composed a small group of girls. Described as Manson’s right-hand man, Davis’ primary job was handling the stolen credit cards and fake IDs for the group.
Davis was one of the Family members present when tragedy struck and John “Zero” Haught lost his life in a game of Russian roulette. While the police initially ruled Haught’s death a suicide, there are indications that he may have been murdered. An anonymous source reportedly told the L.A. Times that he was there when Haught died, claiming that the young man did not take his own life, but was instead shot by one of the girls.
Davis admitted he had picked up the gun after Haught shot himself. However, when the handgun was dusted for fingerprints, no prints were found, not even Haught’s or Davis’ prints, indicating that the gun had been wiped clean. The police found out the gun contained seven live rounds and one spent shell, meaning it had been fully loaded when Haught played Russian roulette. The police were unaware of the fact that the individuals present were all members of the Family.
Davis’ time in London from November 1968 to April 1969, during which he worked at the Church of Scientology headquarters, was shrouded in mystery. During this period, Sandra Good’s friend, Joel Pugh, was found dead in a London hotel room under suspicious circumstances. Despite the cause of death being determined as a suicide, there are still lingering suspicions that Pugh was in fact murdered. The London police didn’t know that Joel Pugh had connections to the Family.
When Danny DeCarlo, a former Family member, fled the group, Davis and Steve Grogan set out to find him. After an extensive search, the duo located DeCarlo sleeping in his truck in Venice. As they attempted to break into the car, DeCarlo suddenly woke up, grabbing his .45 pistol. In his own words, DeCarlo believed that Davis and Grogan were there “to off him”.
Davis was brought to justice in 1972, when he was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the killings of Hinman and Shea, conspiracy to commit murder, and robbery. After being implicated in the death of Gary Hinman by Family member Mary Brunner, Davis went into hiding, only to turn himself in on December 2, 1970. As a result of his actions, Davis was sentenced to life imprisonment.
While in prison, Davis became a born-again Christian and started preaching in the prison chapel. He assisted Susan Atkins in “finding Jesus”. Davis was granted parole several times, but the Governor has reversed his parole.