Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Manson cult killer seeks parole

Charles Manson follower Patricia Krenwinkel is seeking parole in a Californian jail

A follower of cult leader Charles Manson is facing a parole hearing after serving 40 years in a California jail for her part in the Sharon Tate killings.

Patricia Krenwinkel, one of Manson's two surviving female followers, has maintained a clean prison record but her chances for release appear slim following the parole officials' rejections in other Manson cases.

Krenwinkel, 63, was convicted with Manson and two other women in seven 1969 murders, considered among the most notorious crimes of the 20th century.

Hollywood star Tate, wife of film director Roman Polanski, and four other people were found brutally murdered at her Los Angeles home. She was eight months pregnant at the time.

None of those convicted has ever been released on parole and one of them, Susan Atkins, died in prison last year after being denied compassionate release when she was terminally ill with cancer.

Leslie Van Houten, 61, the youngest of the women convicted, was denied a parole date last summer by officials who said she had not gained sufficient insight into her crimes.

Parole boards have repeatedly cited the callousness, viciousness and calculation of the seven murders committed Manson and his followers.

Krenwinkel admitted during her trial that she chased down and stabbed heiress Abigail Folger at the Tate home on August 9, 1969, and participated in the stabbing deaths of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the following night. She was convicted with Manson, Van Houten and Atkins. Another defendant, Charles "Tex" Watson was convicted in a separate trial.

All were sentenced to death but their sentences were commuted to life when the US Supreme Court briefly outlawed the death penalty in 1972.

Meanwhile Manson, 75, has refused to appear at his most recent parole hearings where he was denied a release date. His multiple disciplinary violations and refusals to participate in rehabilitation activities make it unlikely that he will ever be released.

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