Steve Dennis "Clem" Grogan (born May 24,
1952), is an American murderer, former member of The Manson Family.
Grogan, a musician, dropped out of high school and
was involved in minor crimes before joining the Manson family at the
Spahn Ranch. Like Charles Manson, he was friends with Dennis Wilson of
the Beach Boys. He was often considered dumb, or even 'retarded', by
other Family members, earning him the nickname 'Scramblehead', but
some felt he was only "playing dumb". Allegedly, it was Grogan who
wrecked Wilson's uninsured Ferrari.
In 1969 he was sentenced to 90 days observation at
Camarillo State Mental Hospital for exposing his penis to a group of
school children, but he returned to the ranch after two days.
The night of August 10, 1969 he rode with members
of the Manson family. Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van
Houten were dropped off at the house of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca,
but Grogan, Manson, Susan Atkins and Linda Kasabian continued to
Venice Beach where Manson sent Grogan, Atkins and Kasabian to kill
actor Saladin Nader, but Kasabian led them to the wrong apartment and
the plan was aborted.
Grogan later helped Manson, Watson and Bruce Davis
to kill Spahn ranch hand Donald "Shorty" Shea. The jury returned
verdicts of life imprisonment for Manson and Davis, but death for
Grogan. However, on December 23, 1971, Judge James Kolts stated that "Grogan
was too stupid and too hopped on drugs to decide anything on his own"
and that it was really Manson "who decided who lived or died" and
reduced Grogan's sentence to life imprisonment.
Grogan later assisted the authorities and drew a
map to where Shea's body was buried. In prison he was head of the
prison's program to deter juveniles from a life of crime and kept away
from fellow inmate Manson.
He was released from prison in 1985 and remains the
only Manson family member who has been convicted of murder and
released from prison.
Grogan was one of the people featured in the Oscar-nominated
1973 documentary film Manson.
After dropping out of high school, Steve Grogan
roamed the communes of California, eventually ending up at Spahn's
Movie Ranch in the spring of 1967. Grogan was a talented musician and
had a criminal record; which included small time crimes such as
Disturbing the Peace, and Possession of Marijuana. He joined the
Manson family when they moved to Spahn's Ranch in the spring of 1968.
During the days the family hung around with Beach
Boy Dennis Wilson, Steve crashed Wilson's uninsured Ferrari while
racing through the roads outside of Spahn's Ranch. While many at the
Ranch viewed Clem Tufts (an alias used by Grogan) as nearly retarded,
others felt that he was just playing dumb.
In June of 1969, Steve was arrested for exposing
his penis to a group of school children. He was sentenced to a 90-day
observation period at Camarillo State Mental Hospital, but walked out
and returned to Spahn's Ranch 2 days later.
Grogan was along for the ride on the night of the
Labianca murders. After Tex, Pat, and Leslie were dropped off at the
Labianca home, Manson, Sadie, Linda, & Grogan drove down to Venice
Beach. The latter three were dropped off with orders to kill an actor
that once gave Linda Kasabian a ride. After Linda brought the would-be
killers to the wrong apartment, the three decided to abort the mission
and head back to Spahn's. Weeks later, Grogan helped Manson, Bruce
Davis, & Tex Watson kill ranch hand Donald "Shorty" Shea. It was
rumored that Shea was cut up into 9 pieces, and buried behind Spahn's
Clem was arrested in the October 10, 1969 Barker
Ranch raid. When police realized the family's involvement in the Tate
murders, Grogan became an early suspect. In 1971, Steve went on trial
for the Shea murder, was convicted, and sentenced to death by the jury.
However, on December 23, 1971, judge James Kolts changed the sentence
to Life imprisonment, stating "Grogan was too stupid and too hopped up
on drugs to deicide anything on his own."
In prison, Clem transformed from a drugged-out
zombie to a mature, remorseful young man. In 1977, Clem drew a map to
help authorities finally locate the body of Donald Shea. When Shea's
remains were found, they were in one piece. On November 18, 1985,
Grogan was released from prison. To date, he is the only Manson family
member convicted of murder to be released from prison.
Donald "Shorty" Shea (September 18, 1933 –
August 26, 1969) was a Hollywood stuntman, actor and victim of the
Charles Manson murders. The location of his body was not discovered
until 1977, nearly a decade after his death. Manson family leader
Charles Manson and family members Tex Watson, Steve "Clem" Grogan and
Bruce Davis were eventually convicted of murdering Shea.
Shea was a former stuntman whose dream was to
pursue a film career in Hollywood, a dream, that according to many
friends, on which he never gave up. Donald Shea was a very tall man,
standing at almost 6'5". He worked as a bouncer, a ranch hand at Spahn
Ranch, an old Hollywood movie set that had become a horse riding
stables. Shea reportedly got along with the other ranch employees.
When the Manson family moved into Spahn Ranch, Shea initially co-existed
with them peacefully, but in time, Charles Manson began to look down
on Shorty because he had married a black woman by the name of
Magdalena. Manson had a well documented hatred and mistrust of black
people and had been particularly disgusted when Magdalena's friends
had shown up at the ranch. Eventually Shorty planned to help George
Spahn remove the Family from the Spahn Ranch when their brushes with
the law grew out of control.
Shea was murdered in 1969 on around August 26.
Manson had decided to have Shea killed because they believed he had
turned them into the police resulting in a raid on the ranch on August
16 where the family were taken into custody on suspicion of car theft.
Family member Bruce Davis, claimed that the decision to kill Shea came
from Manson because he considered Shorty to be a "snitch". Manson told
Davis, Tex Watson and Steve Grogan to ask for a ride to a nearby car
parts yard on the ranch. According to Davis, he sat in the back seat
with Grogan, who then hit Shea with a pipe wrench and Watson stabbed
him. They brought Shea down a hill behind the ranch and stabbed and
brutally tortured him to death. Bruce Davis recalled at his parole
"I was in the car when Steve Grogan hit Shorty with the pipe wrench.
Charles Watson stabbed him. I was in the backseat with...with Grogan.
They took Shorty out. They had to go down the hill to a place. I
stayed in the car for quite a while but what...then I went down the
hill later on and that's when I cut Shorty on the shoulder with the
knife, after he was...well, I don't know...I...I don't know if he
was dead or not. He didn't bleed when I cut him on the shoulder."
"When I showed up, you know, he was...he was
incapacitated. I don't know if...you asked if he was unconscious, I
don't know. He may or may not have been. He didn't seem conscious.
He wasn't moving or saying anything. And it started off Manson
handed me a machete as if I was supposed to...I mean I know what he
wanted. But you know I couldn't do that. And I...in fact I did touch
Shorty Shea with a machete on the back of his neck, didn't break the
skin. I mean I just couldn't do it. And then I threw the knife..and
he handed me a bayonet and it...I just reached over and...I don't
know which side it was on but I cut him right about here on the
shoulder just with the tip of the blade. Sort of like saying 'Are
you satisfied, Charlie?'.
"And I turned around and walked away. And I...I
was sick for about two or three days. I mean I couldn't even think
about what I...what I had done."
In grand jury testimony, Family member Barbara Hoyt
recounted hearing the screams which terrified her so much that she
left deciding to escape the family, frightened that she might be next.
"It was about 10:00 pm when I heard a long, loud, blood curdling
scream", she said, "Then it went quiet for a minute or so and the
screams came again and again, it seemed to go on forever, I have no
doubt that Shorty was being murdered at that time". When Shea was dead,
Grogan buried him, and the rumor was that he had been "dismembered
into nine pieces".
On December 9, 1969, Shea's 1962 Mercury was found
with a footlocker of his possessions and a pair of bloodstained cowboy
boots belonging to him. A palm print of Davis was found on the
Shea's remains were discovered in December 1977
when Steve Grogan, one of those convicted of the murder, agreed to
tell authorities the location of the body. Sgt. Bill Gleason, LASO
Homicide, Deputy Coroner John Mossberger and Deputy Sheriff Barry
Jones, LASO Homicide, were on the site when Shea was exhumed in 1987.
Gleason had been the officer who obtained the Spahn Ranch Raid search
warrant in August 1969. Grogan was released shortly after the
discovery of Shea's remains in exchange for his cooperation. Shea was
35 years old when he was murdered.