Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Parole Considered for Watson, Manson's 'Right-Hand Man'

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Parole Considered for Watson, Manson's 'Right-Hand Man'

Article excerpt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California parole officials were considering Thursday whether Charles "Tex" Watson, the self-described right- hand man of murderous cult leader Charles Manson, should be released from prison 47 years after he helped plan and carry out the slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people. Watson, 70, is serving a life sentence for the murders of Tate and four others at her Beverly Hills home on Aug. 9, 1969.

The next night, he helped kill grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.

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

Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate, the last surviving member of her immediate family, planned to attend Watson's 17th parole hearing and fears officials may recommend freedom for Watson.

- the associated press

family.

"The authorities in this state want to let out predatory people, she said, citing recent parole recommendations for other Manson followers that were overturned by Gov. Jerry Brown.

"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.

In July, 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.

In prison, Watson wrote the book, "Manson's Right-Hand Man Speaks Out, saying the charismatic Manson offered "utopia then persuaded his followers to act out his "destructive worldview. …

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