Charles Manson may not attend parole hearing, but lawyer will
Next week convicted killer Charles Manson is set for his 12th chance before the parole board, but so far the notorious inmate informed Corcoran State Prison officials that he is not planning to attend.
Corcoran State Prison spokeswoman Theresa Cisneros said so far Manson has said that he will not be showing up for his parole hearing but as is allowed he could have a last-minute change of heart. An attorney for Manson, however, is expected to attend, Cisneros said.
It could be his final chance at freedom as the state board under Marsy's Law can now deny parole for up to 15 years. Manson is now 77.
Manson refused to participate in his last parole hearing, in 2007, describing himself as a "prisoner of the political system." He also declined to participate in any psychological evaluations that were part of that process.
He and other members of his so-called family were convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate and six other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area during two August nights in 1969. He is housed in a special unit for inmates felt to be endangered by other inmates separated from the general prison population.
Twice in the last few years, guards at Corcoran State Prison said they found phones in the notorious killer's possession. Manson called people in California, New Jersey and Florida with an LG flip phone found under his prison bunk in March 2009, The Times reported in 2011. A second cellphone was found a year later. Thirty days were added to his sentence for the first offense, officials said.Earlier, a homemade weapon was found in his possession.
Despite the prospect that Manson will be absent, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said it would vigorously oppose Manson's release. "We consistently [opposed parole] and will continue to do so," spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.
A new photo released by the California prison system shows Manson with long, gray hair and a beard. It was released at the request of CNN.
In 2007 at his last parole hearing, the board concluded that Manson "continues to pose an unreasonable danger to others and may still bring harm to anyone he would come in contact with."
"Prosecutors said that Manson and his followers were trying to incite a race war that he believed was prophesied in the Beatles song "Helter Skelter."
Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was 8½ months pregnant when she was killed at the couple's hilltop home in Benedict Canyon on Aug. 9, 1969.
Polanski was out of the country working on a film. Besides Tate, four others were stabbed and shot to death, including Jay Sebring, 35; Voytek Frykowski, 32; Abigail Folger, 25, a coffee heiress; and Steven Parent, 18, a friend of Tate's caretaker. The word "Pig" was written on the front door in blood.
The next night, Manson rode along with his cohorts to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, then left three of them to commit the murders. "Death to pigs" was written on a wall, and "Healter Skelter," which was misspelled, was written on the refrigerator door.
Manson was also convicted of the earlier murder of musician Gary Hinman in his Topanga Canyon home, and the slaying of former stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea at the Spahn movie ranch in Chatsworth, where Manson had his commune.
Manson initially was sentenced to death. A 1972 ruling by the California Supreme Court found the state's death penalty law at the time unconstitutional and his death sentence was changed in 1977 to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
-- Richard Winton
Photos, from top: Charles Manson in a recent photo; Manson in a 1968 booking photo, bottom left; and at Corcoran State Prison in 2009. Credits: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via KTLA News; Ventura County Sheriff’s Department; Department of Corrections.