Jun. 22 – Patricia Krenwinkel has been found unsuitable for parole by the Board of Parole Hearings, at a hearing held today at the California Institute for Women, in Chino. The hearing was a continuance of a December 29, 2016 hearing that was suspended after Krenwinkel’s attorney claimed his client had been a victim of intimate partner battering.
The decision to suspend the hearing enraged victims’ relatives who regularly attend Krenwinkel’s hearings to oppose her release.
Leno Labianca’s nephew, Lou Smaldino, called the decision “absurd.”
Jay Sebring’s nephew, Anthony DiMaria, filed a complaint with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, about what he considered to be troubling behavior exhibited by the board and its unusual reasoning in suspending the hearing to investigate Krenwinkel’s intimate partner battering claim.
In January, Sharon Tate’s sister, Debra, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times.
“Patricia Krenwinkel has been diagnosed as a sociopath more than once,” wrote Tate. “In the controlled environment of prison, she has done well. But she is still a dangerous woman. Krenwinkel — and all the members of the Manson family — should never be granted parole.”
Following the December hearing, the Board of Parole Hearings launched a formal investigation to determine whether Krenwinkel was a victim of intimate partner battering. According to the California penal code, parole boards are directed to put great weight to any evidence that, at the time of commission of the crime, an inmate had experienced intimate partner battering.
The investigation included interviews of former Manson family members in and outside of prison. According to multiple sources familiar with the investigation, the board interviewed Charles “Tex” Watson, Leslie Van Houten, Bruce Davis, Diane Lake, Steve Grogan, Catherine Share, Barbara Hoyt, Stephanie Schram and Sherry Cooper. Others were sought but not located. Charles Manson refused to be interviewed.
The investigation was completed on February 17, 2017 and the report concluded that Charles Manson used violence and manipulation towards the women in the family. Accordingly, the investigation ruled that Krenwinkel was a victim of intimate partner battering at the hands of Manson.
Today, the board discussed the findings of the investigation and again listened to arguments from both sides.
“Given the horrific dimension of Patricia Krenwinkel’s crimes, how profoundly her many victims suffered, the inexplicable disconnect exhibited in her statements, and the behavioral evidence defining an entrenched sociopath despite decades of rehabilitation,” DiMaria told the board. “It is only just and civil to deny Patricia Krenwinkel parole for the longest period of time.”
Despite the conclusions made in the investigation, the board found Krenwinkel was still unsuitable for release. Krenwinkel, now 69, is serving a life sentence for her role in the seven Tate-LaBianca murders. She was sentenced to death on March 29, 1971, but saw that sentence commuted to life when the death penalty was briefly outlawed in 1972. Today was the 14th time she has been denied parole since she became eligible in 1977. She will not be eligible for another hearing until 2022.