'San Francisco Witch Killer' Michael Bear Carson Denied Parole After His Daughter Opposed His Release
The serial killer will not be eligible for parole until 2030.
Michael Bear Carson, born as James Clifford Carson, and his wife Suzan Carson killed, at least, three people between 1981 an 1983 in Northern California. The killer couple both received three 25-year sentences for their crime spree. But because of a new program called elderly parole program made his early release possible. According to The Mercury News, the program helps inmates over the age of 60 get a second chance at freedom.
Jenn Carson, Michael's only child, worked tirelessly to block her father bid for freedom. She worried if he got out, he would kill again. She also couldn't help fear her own safety, so she wrote to the parole board and did everything she could to keep him behind bars.
The Killing Spree
Their first victim was 23-year-old Karen Barnes. She was their roommate, who Suzan felt jealous of the connection she had with her husband. Suzan claimed to be a witch killer and told Michael that Karen was a demon and needed to die. According to AZ Central, they stabbed her to death, wrapped her body in a blanket and fled the scene.
The police suspected the Carsons immediately as they had access to Karen at the time of her death, but they couldn't find them. They were hundreds of miles away by the time the police found her body.
In 1982, the couple took a job at a marijuana farm. At this point, Michael and Suzan's mental health was declining. They were constantly high on mind-altering drugs. Police say Michael shot and killed farm co-worker Clark Stephens after an altercation over his sexual advances toward Suzan.
They moved and burned Stephens' body in a remote area. By the time police got wind of the murder, the Carson were on the move again, escaping justice again.
This time, the police almost nabbed him, but he ran away. Before taking off into the woods, Michael dropped his backpack, giving the police their first big break in the case. Inside his backpack, they found his manifesto, which detailed a plan to kill political leaders including President Reagan and the governor of California.
The last victim was messy and it led to their capture. In 1983, they were hitchhiking outside of Bakersfield, California. A young hippie, Jay Hellyar spotted them and offered them a ride. While in the car, Suzan claimed he made a sexual advance to her, and a fight broke out in the vehicle. She whispered to Michael he was a demon, which seemed to be her code for someone who needed to die, and they shot him with his own gun. A witness called the police, who finally apprehended the couple driving Hellyar's car.
The road to their conviction was a media circus. They refused to speak to their attorney, but held a press conference where they confessed to the murders and dubbed themselves, "vegetarian Muslim warriors." They claimed the reason they killed was to fulfill their mission to kill all witches.
Jenn Carson Opposed Their Parole
Jenn Carson was only three-years-old when her parents divorced. She had visitation with her father until her mother had concerns over his declining mental status and she went on the run to protect her from him. When she was a preteen, her mother told her father was a sick man and he has to go to prison for a long time. She recalled asking her mom if he hurt someone, which her mother confirmed. It led to Carson struggling with her own bout of mental illness.
Michael is being held at California’s Mule Creek State Prison. At 69, he was eligible for release under the elderly parole program. The parole board denied Suzan's release in 2015. All Jenn knew is, she had to take action because if she didn't someone else would die.
“I truly believe that just because he’s old does not make him safe. With his lack of regret and his views and the hate he’s filled with and his demented mind—I think in a year or less someone else will be dead. You don’t address mass incarceration by releasing the less than 1% of prisoners who are serial killers. My father, Michael Bear Carson. hunted humans, young beautiful innocent victims. He is a predator who will kill again. I oppose my father’s parole.” Jenn said.
Michael Believes His Beliefs Prevent Parole Approval
According to Daily Beast, Carson canceled his scheduled parole hearing because he felt the board would reject his release.
“I know this is absurd. No one is going to parole me because I will not and have not renounced my beliefs,” Michael said.
The couple created their own version of Muslim, where they took mind-altering drugs and planned attacks on several political and public people (President Ronald Reagan, Gov. Jerry Brown and Johnny Carson, to name a few).
As part of their religion, the Carsons believed that witchcraft, homosexuality, and abortion were justifiable reasons to kill someone. He described his wife as “a yogi and a mystic with knowledge of past, present and future events." She allegedly ordered him to kill and he blindly followed her command.
While in prison, Carson manages the library and acts as the chaplain. Even though he has been a model inmate, Jenn believes he would be a threat to society.
In the end, the parole board agreed with her and denied his request. With his health failing, he may not live long enough for his next parole hearing, currently scheduled for December 2030.
He's been in prison for 40 years. Do you think it's time to release him? Do you think he is a risk to society? Don't forget to subscribe to read more of my stories.