Tuesday 6 December 2016

Chales Manson follower 'Tex' Watson refused parole in California

Published 28/10/2016 | 06:26

Charles
Charles "Tex" Watson pictured in 2014 - the right-hand man of Charles Manson has been denied parole (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation/AP)

The right-hand man of murderous US cult leader Charles Manson must stay in prison, California parole officials have recommended.

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They refused parole for Charles "Tex" Watson for the 17th time in the 47 years since he helped plan and carry out the killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people.

The hearing was held at Mule Creek State Prison, near Sacramento. He can seek parole again in five years.

Watson, 70, is serving a life sentence for the murders of Tate and four others at her Beverly Hills, California, home on August 9, 1969. The next night, he helped kill grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.

"These were some of the most horrific crimes in California history, and we believe he continues to exhibit a lack of remorse and remains a public safety risk," Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said after the decision.

Watson was initially sentenced to death in the stabbing and shooting rampage, but that was later commuted to life when the California Supreme Court ruled in 1972 the death penalty was unconstitutional. He is currently in Mule Creek State Prison, near Sacramento.

Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate - the last surviving member of her immediate family - urged the panel of parole commissioners to reject freedom for the man she called "the most active, the most prolific killer in the Manson family".

"He's a sociopath, and sociopaths are incapable having insight or empathy for anything. It's all about him. He didn't have it then, and he doesn't have it now," she said after the hearing.

She said Watson still blames the murders on his drug use and lack of a clear goal in life rather than accepting full responsibility.

In July, Governor Jerry Brown reversed a Board of Parole Hearings recommendation that the state release Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, 67, who is serving a life sentence for the La Bianca killings.

In January, he blocked the release of Bruce Davis, 74, another Manson devotee who was convicted in the killings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea.

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