Manson Follower Gets Some Bad News

Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom blocks parole for Patricia Krenwinkel after board recommends it
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 15, 2022 5:30 AM CDT
Manson Follower Hears News on Parole Bid
This March 13, 2020, photo shows Charles Manson follower Patricia Krenwinkel.   (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP, File)

California's governor blocked the parole of Charles Manson follower Patricia Krenwinkel on Friday, more than five decades after she scrawled "Helter Skelter" on a wall using the blood of one of their victims. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Krenwinkel, now 74, is still too much of a public safety risk to be freed, per the AP. "Ms. Krenwinkel fully accepted Mr. Manson's racist, apocalyptical ideologies," Newsom said. "Ms. Krenwinkel was not only a victim of Mr. Manson's abuse. She was also a significant contributor to the violence and tragedy that became the Manson Family's legacy." A two-member parole panel for the first time in May had recommended that Krenwinkel be released, after she previously had been denied parole 14 times. Newsom has previously rejected parole recommendations for other followers of Manson, who died in prison in 2017.

Krenwinkel became the state's longest-serving female inmate when fellow Manson follower Susan Atkins died of cancer in prison in 2009. Krenwinkel's attorney, Keith Wattley, said he understands Krenwinkel may be the longest-serving woman in the United States. She and other followers of the cult leader terrorized the state in the late 1960s, committing crimes that Newsom said "were among the most fear-inducing in California's history." She was convicted in the slayings of pregnant actor Sharon Tate and four other people in 1969. She helped kill grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, the next night in what prosecutors say was an attempt by Manson to start a race war. She and other participants were initially sentenced to death, but they were resentenced to life with the possibility of parole after the death penalty in California was briefly ruled unconstitutional in 1972.

New laws since Krenwinkel was last denied parole in 2017 required the parole panel to consider that she committed the murders at a young age and is now elderly. Newsom agreed that Krenwinkel has been well-behaved in prison, has completed many rehabilitation and education programs, and has "demonstrated effusive remorse." But he concluded that "her efforts have not sufficiently reduced her risk for future dangerousness." She still doesn't have sufficient insight into what caused her to commit the crimes or her "triggers for antisocial thinking and conduct" during bad relationships, Newsom said. "Beyond the brutal murders she committed, she played a leadership role in the cult and [was] an enforcer of Mr. Manson's tyranny. She forced the other women in the cult to obey Mr. Manson and prevented them from escaping when they tried to leave," he said.

(More Patricia Krenwinkel stories.)

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