CORONA, Calif. — In a decision suggesting that the brutal Sharon Tate murders are unforgivable, a parole board panel refused to consider releasing Patricia Krenwinkel, who told the board she killed for the love of Charles Manson.
The two-member panel made clear Thursday that it was the horror of the killings, one of the most notorious of the 20th century, that led them to reject the bid for parole in spite of Krenwinkel’s efforts to change her life.
They said that the murders of seven people in an extremely atrocious manner had impacted the entire world as evidenced by letters which came in from around the globe urging that she be kept behind bars.
“These crimes remain relevant,” said parole commissioner Susan Melanson. “The public is in fear.”
Melanson and Deputy Commissioner Steven Hernandez issued their decision after a four-hour hearing and more than an hour of deliberations at which Krenwinkel wept, apologized for her murderous deeds and said she was ashamed of her actions.
Members of victims’ families also cried and recalled their suffering after the murders and called for her to be kept behind bars. Melanson said the notoriety of the crimes and their viciousness weighed heavily in the decision.
Cult leader Manson, now 75, 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 likely that he will never be released.
At times he has said that he does not want his freedom and considers prison his home.
Krenwinkel, who has been imprisoned longer than any other woman in California, told the parole board earlier Thursday that she threw away everything good in herself and became a “monster” after she met Manson.
Krenwinkel, 63, one of Manson’s two surviving female followers, has maintained a clean prison record in her four decades behind bars, but her chances for release appeared slim following parole rejections in other Manson cases.
Krenwinkel was convicted along with Manson and two other female followers in seven 1969 murders, considered among the most notorious crimes of the 20th century.
Sharon Tate, a rising actress, was the wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski and as 8 1/2 months pregnant.
None of those convicted has ever been paroled 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 long thought to be the most likely to win eventual release. But she 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 murders committed by members of the Manson Family.
Krenwinkel admitted during her trial that she chased down and stabbed heiress Abigail Folger at the Tate home on Aug. 9, 1969, and participated in the stabbing deaths of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the following night. Both homes were defaced with bloody scrawlings. She was convicted along with Manson, Van Houten and Atkins. Another defendant, Charles “Tex” Watson was convicted in a separate trial.