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LAPD: A dozen unsolved homicides may be linked to the Manson family

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Los Angeles police revealed Thursday that the department is actively investigating 12 unsolved homicides that may be linked to the Manson family.

The L.A. Times reports that the details of the dozen cases have been withheld, but that police were probing the decades-old cases because they were committed in areas the "family" was known to operate.

The announcement of the open investigations coincides with legal action to obtain audio tapes from 1969 that may hold clues about additional murders.

Officials have so far been unsuccessful in acquiring the eight cassette tapes, which are believed to contain hours of conversation between Manson follower Charles "Tex" Watson — currently serving a life sentence for his role in killings — and his late attorney.

Access to the tapes was blocked in early October when a Texas judge prevented the LAPD from executing a search warrant at the office that houses the tapes. The search warrant approach was taken after a previous ruling granting review of the tapes was stalled by an appeal from Watson's attorney, the Times reports.

"This court understands and respects the desire of the LAPD to seek access to the 42-year old tapes," [U.S. District Judge Richard A.] Schell wrote. "However, the LAPD has provided no explanation as to why this court should shortcut the usual procedure for determining a bankruptcy appeal of a previous ruling in Bankruptcy Court."

"The civil courts here are blocking a criminal investigation," LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith told the newspaper. "We are doing this for the families of these victims," Smith said of the department's motivations.

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