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Steve "Clem" Grogan


Steve “Clem” Grogan speaks of Charles “Tex” Watson leading the Donald “Shorty” Shea murder— a murder he was never charged for committing. This was at his 1981 parole hearing when he was granted a parole date. He was officially released in 1985.

Clem tells the story where he states Charles “Tex” Watson told him to kill Donald “Shorty” Shea and when he couldn’t, Watson did it himself. During the trial Watson was not indicted for this murder, but Charles Manson was. Manson became the man who told Grogan to kill him and Manson became the man who stabbed Shea. Oh, Mr. Bugliosi; you had the wrong Charlie.

MR. ROBINSON: Tex was sitting in the front seat and you were sitting where?

INMATE GROGAN: I was sitting behind the driver.

MR. ROBINSON: In the back seat.

INMATE GROGAN: Then we pulled off the road. Tex got out. The car was still in gear. I think he just had his foot on the break, and they got out and they looked around the bushes like he was looking for some parts. In the meantime, I was supposed to hit this guy in the back of the head. And Tex was urging me, you know, come on hit this guy. I kept hesitating. He pulled out a knife that he had. I guess that’s what finally, you know, put me over the edge. I just hit the guy. I wasn’t really – there was no accurate shot or nothing like that.

MR. ROBINSON: Take your time.

INMATE GROGAN: Well, the blow stunned him but it didn’t knock him out. And he jumped to the passenger side of the seat. That was, the car door was already open and exited through there.

MR. ROBINSON: Steve, let me interrupt you. One of the things that was read in the statement was that the blow knocked him out of the vehicle. I remember that was discussed last year, and as you just said, he left the vehicle after being hit, right? He went out which side?

INMATE GROGAN: Right side.

MR. ROBINSON: The passenger side, all right.

INMATE GROGAN: The blow knocked him forward so he hit the steering wheel and surprised him and jumped out the side and I had to reach over the seat and get in the driver’s seat to stop the car, because the way it was parked there was an embankment, you know, like cul de sac ditch. And the car ran – drove into the ditch. So, meantime I’m jumping over the seat trying to put the brakes on, put the car in gear, stop the motor, he had already been stabbed.


INMATE GROGAN: I imagine Tex did. I didn’t actually see him stab him. My head was turned, you know. The car had left. My peripheral vision, I didn’t catch what was going on. Came out of the car and he was laying on the ground and semi unconscious state.

PRESIDING MEMBER ROOS: So Charles Manson was in the back seat with you?

INMATE GROGAN: No. No one was in the back seat.

(Source: Parole Hearing)



A small excerpt of Steve “Clem” Grogan talking about the motive for the murder of movie stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea. This motive is far different from the motive Paul Watkins brought to District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi and used against Manson— that Shea was married to a black woman. Grogan was granted parole and eventually released in 1985.

INMATE GROGAN: Well, it was like a growing hostility. They didn’t like him. Charlie didn’t like him because he was – he was always drinking, and he thought he was a slob. He was, you know – was always talking about messing with the girls that were there. […] Over a period it grew worse until – and then we were raided by the police where everything we had was taken, that we had bought legitimately. All our tools and cars and all the possessions that we had accumulated. And plus the children were taken, too. Everybody was arrested on the ranch. In fact the only person left was George Spahn, and he was blind.

PRESIDING MEMBER BROWN: Why were you arrested?

INMATE GROGAN: I was under the – because Mr. Shea had told the police that we had a stolen car ring. Okay? Well, we spent three days in jail, and we were released. And we didn’t get back none of our property. The pink slips were confiscated – along with our property – to four or five dune buggies that we couldn’t get back from them: the children put into foster homes. And what it really did is made everybody really upset at this guy, because I was led to believe that he was doing it to get us evicted off the ranch, to get us thrown off the ranch. And that was the only place we had to stay at the time. And it was through his actions that he caused us this trouble. I think it’s – you know – excuse me. It goes – you know, it goes – it’s kind of hard for me to talk about this because there are a lot of emotions that I have experienced, guilt and stuff, you know, what I did. But there was, you know, a feeling almost of hatred toward the guy because of what he made us go through, the children and stuff. Like we had held the children in really almost the highest position. They were home delivered and breast fed. It was like – our feeling for the children was really the highest thing we felt. This was mostly the whole reason we was all together, to put the children in a good environment, free from social indoctrinations and stuff, try to raise them as natural as we could. And then to have someone come along and form a false story and have them put in foster homes, it was really a blow to the women and men that were at the place at the time.

(Source: 1978 Parole Hearing)


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