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Ex-Manson Follower Patricia Krenwinkel Recommended For Parole In California
Patricia Krenwinkel, who was convicted for her role in the Manson Family killings of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca and those at Sharon Tate's home, is the latest elderly former Manson follow to receive a parole recommendation in California. Sharon Tate's surviving sister opposes all of them.
Krenwinkel, 74, was found suitable for parole by a Board of Parole Hearings Panel on Thursday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed. Krenwinkle has been denied parole 14 times dating back to 1976, and her last parole bid was blocked in 2017, per online records.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon didn’t attend this week’s parole hearing to challenge Krenwinkel’s arrest, per his office’s hands-off policy when it comes to release hearings.
The state’s parole board now has up to 120 days to review the panel’s release recommendation, at which point California Governor Gavin Newsom will make the final decision regarding Krenwinkel’s release.
“In all cases, the Governor carefully reviews parole decisions to determine whether a parole grant is consistent with public safety,” a spokesperson for Newsom’s office told Oxygen.com in a statement on Friday.
Newsom has recently blocked the parole reommendations of other former Manson followers — most notably Leslie Van Houten, whose release was reversed by the governor in March. It was the fifth time Van Houten had been granted parole only to have the recommendation overruled by the state’s governor.
On Aug. 9, 1969, Krenwinkle — along with Manson family members Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins and Linda Kasabian — entered the Los Angeles home of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and director Roman Polanski, killing Tate, celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring, writer Wojciech Frykowski, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Steven Parent.
Krenwinkel also participated the following evening in the double murder of grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary, whom she stabbed repeatedly with a fork.
Krenwinkel was convicted in the murders in 1969 and later sentenced to life in prison.
At least one surviving family member of the Manson family murders victims is disgusted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s absence from Thursday’s parole hearing.
“Our victims' rights are going right out the window,” Debra Tate, the sister of Sharon Tate, who sat in on Thursday’s parole hearing, told Oxygen.com by telephone from California. “Yesterday’s hearing was an absolute outrage and a full blown testimony that this is indeed happening. There’s a lot to be done in the state of California, there's a lot to be done in the country. Our systems are failing us.”
Tate, 69, also accused the county district attorney of “handicapping” victim’s families.
“We don’t have representation in those hearings, which means we don’t have an entity that can ask questions and give us a better understanding of the mindset and the circumstances,” she added.
Gascon — a Democrat who ran on criminal justice reform platform — has come under fire from the families of victims in other cases, many of whom are frustrated with his policy to stop attending parole hearings.
Several family members of Robert F. Kennedy’s family repeatedly slammed Gascon for not challenging the release of Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated the star senator and presidential hopeful in 1968. Sirhan was recommended for parole in 2021, but his release was later blocked by Newsom’s office.
Tate, an outspoken advocate for her slain sister — who she called "all-around wonderful soul" — and other Manson family victims, said she’s attended roughly 50 parole hearings for various Manson family members since the 1980s. She disputed that Krenwinkel was reformed.
“Ms. Krenwinkel is one of the most heinous and notorious female killers in American history and the most active participant under the Manson family," she explained. "I’m going to call them the Manson crime family, because that is indeed what they were. She wasn’t an innocent bystander.”
Krenwinkel’s attorney, Keith Wattley, however, argued his client was no longer a threat to the public.
"Ms. Krenwinkel shows the worst of what can happen when whites believe a race war is inevitable,” Keith Wattley, Krenwinkel’s lawyer, told Oxygen.com in a statement on Friday. “It also shows the best of what can happen when that idea is replaced with real human connection, empathy and transformation."
"Under the law, Ms. Krenwinkel has so thoroughly completed that transformation that she must be released — even if we are horrified by what she did," he added. "She is, too."
He called on Newsom to grant Krenwinkle’s release.
"There are more than 35,000 life-sentenced people in California prisons whose release depends on the belief that transformation is real,” Wattley added. “Under the law, Governor Newsom must embrace that concept and allow Ms. Krenwinkel to be released."
Krenwinkel is being housed at California Institution For Women in Chino, California.