Manson follower, longest-serving female inmate, seeks parole

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A parole hearing resumed Thursday for convicted killer Patricia Krenwinkel — a follower of cult leader Charles Manson — after officials investigated whether battered women’s syndrome affected her state of mind at the time of the murders nearly five decades ago.

Krenwinkel, 69, was previously denied parole 13 times for the 1969 slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other people in Southern California.

The next night, she helped kill grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in what prosecutors say was an attempt by Manson to ignite a race war.

Commissioners postponed the latest parole hearing in December while officials investigated whether Krenwinkel suffered from battered women’s syndrome.

The hearing resumed Thursday at the California Institution for Women east of Los Angeles. A possible decision by the parole panel to release Krenwinkel could be blocked by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Tate’s sister, Debra Tate, expects the commissioners to recommend release.

State law could favor Krenwinkel, the longest serving female inmate in California. It creates a greater presumption that she could be freed because she is considered legally elderly now and was legally youthful and thus less culpable at the time of the slayings, when she was 21.

If commissioners decide she suffered from what is formally known as intimate partner battering, “she would have three statutes in her favor,” Debra Tate said before the hearing. “That gives her the perfect trifecta, so I expect the worst and I will be pleasantly pleased if they deny her her parole date.”

Krenwinkel’s attorney Keith Wattley did not respond to requests for comment.

State law requires commissioners to give “great weight” to whether physical, emotional or mental abuse affected offenders to the point that “it appears the criminal behavior was a result of that victimization.”

“It appears from all of Ms. Krenwinkel’s testimony that she seems to fit in many if not all of the elements,” deputy…

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