Open Homicides Possibly Linked to Manson Family

California Dept of Corrections & Rehabilitation(NEW YORK) -- The Los Angeles Police Department continues to battle for audio tapes that could hold clues to a dozen open homicides potentially linked to the murderous "Manson family," officials told ABC News.

The open cases came to light during a legal battle first reported by The Los Angeles Times and confirmed by ABC News.

"We do have open cases from that time; there is a possible link," LAPD Commander Andrew Smith, who heads the department's public information section, told ABC News.

The tapes, recorded by Manson disciple Tex Watson, could hold information that helps to solve the decades-old homicides that occurred in circumstances similar to the Manson murders.

The circumstances and time frame fit, but there are no guarantees.

"It's an awful slim chance," said Smith, "but we want to hear those tapes and we've never been able to."

The renowned cold case and robbery homicide units are both involved in the cases and the legal battle.

The LAPD disclosed the cases as it battled to get access to hours of audio tapes, The Los Angeles Times reported and ABC confirmed.

Those tapes, according to the Times, were recorded in 1969 "between Charles Manson follower Charles 'Tex' Watson and his attorney."

According to the newspaper, "The LAPD has said detectives believe tapes could shed more light on the activities of Manson's group" -- a detail that was confirmed to ABC News.

Watson has fought to limit the LAPD's access to the tapes.

Manson and his disciples were tried and convicted of eight murders.  One of those, in 1969, was the murder of actress Sharon Tate, the wife of film director Roman Polanski, who was eight and a half months pregnant.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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