Patricia Krenwinkel has sat in prison for almost 50 years, but she could soon be a free woman after a California parole panel recommended her release.
Krenwinkel was a member of the cult that followed Charles Manson and went on a killing spree.
Krenwinkel was the person who wrote “Helter Skelter” on a wall using a victim’s blood, The Associated Press reported.
She has been denied parole 14 times before this week’s decision after being convicted in the killing of pregnant actor Sharon Tate and four others in 1969.
Krenwinkel also helped kill Leno and Rosemary Labianca the night after Tate’s murder. Prosecutors said that Manson and his “family” wanted to start a race war, the AP reported.
There are new laws on the books that require parole panels to consider when someone is convicted to consider their age at the time of the crime and their current age. For example, Krenwinkel was in her early 20s when she was convicted and sent to death row in 1971, but CNN reports she is now 74 years old. The death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in 1972 and her sentence was changed to life in prison, CNN reported. The death penalty has been reinstated.
Her attorneys said Krenwinkel is a changed person.
“She’s completely transformed from the person she was when she committed this crime, which is all that it’s supposed to take to be granted parole,” Keith Wattley said, the AP reported.
However, the victims’ families objected to her release.
Krenwinkel is not a free woman yet. The final decision will be made by Gov. Gavin Newsom within five months. But he’s already denied the recommendations by the boards for other Manson followers, the AP reported.
Until a final decision is made, Krenwinkel remains at the California Institution for Women east of Los Angeles.
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