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Crime

Parole Denied for Charles Manson's 'Right Hand Man' Charles 'Tex' Watson

Updated

Wally Fong/AP

Forty-seven years after he helped plot and carry out the slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people, California parole officials denied parole on Thursday to Charles “Tex” Watson, the self-described right hand man of cult leader Charles Manson, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Watson, 70, is currently serving a life sentence for the murders of Tate along with four other people at her Beverly Hills home on Aug. 9, 1969. He helped kill Leno LaBianca, a grocer, and his wife, Rosemary, the following night.

He was initially sentenced to death after the murder sprees, but after the California Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional in 1972, his sentence was commuted to life in prison.

Tate’s sister, Debra Tate, planned to attend Watson’s 17th parole hearing and told the AP she fears officials may recommend freedom for “the most active, the most prolific killer in the Manson family.”

“The authorities in this state want to let out predatory people,” she said. “All of these people were deemed either sociopathic or psychopathic back in the day. You don’t come back from that…. They can’t be rehabilitated.”

California Gov. Jerry Brown reversed the Board of Parole Hearings recommendation that the state release Leslie Van Houten, a Manson cult member, in July. Van Houten, 67, is serving a life sentence for the La Bianca murders.

In January, Brown blocked the release of Bruce Davis, 74, who was convicted in the killings of Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea.

Watson wrote the book, “Manson’s Right-Hand Man Speaks Out,” in prison, writing that Manson had offered his followers “utopia.”

He apologized for the murders, converted to Christianity in 1975 and obtained his college degree while behind bars. He also founded the Abounding Love Ministries in 1980 and ministers to other inmates, according to the AP.

Watson will be eligible for parole in five years.