California governor blocks parole for Manson family member Patricia Krenwinkel
LOS ANGELES — The California governor has blocked the release of one of the eight members of the notorious Manson family because he doesn’t want them to go on the state’s death row.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday issued a “special parole” request for Patricia Krenwinkel, one of eight adults and three minors charged with first-degree murder in the brutal 1970 killings of actress Sharon Tate and four others at the home they shared in the Los Angeles suburb of Redwood City.
The move comes after a months-long battle over the parole request, which followed a request by Los Angeles County prosecutors to set a death penalty case against her. Krenwinkel, 69, was convicted last year of five armed murders and sentenced to life without parole.
With a new death penalty case already pending against her, the board that handles special parole requests agreed this week to hold off on releasing her from prison, pending the outcome of the new case.
Krenwinkel, 69, who has pleaded no contest to the murders and was given a life sentence, has been imprisoned for more than 25 years.
Krenwinkel’s attorney, Michael Risher, had asked Brown to issue the parole request because she may die in prison and “the risk that she will be released on parole is too great.”
The death-penalty case will still be on the table and possibly decided by the judge deciding her release from the life sentence, said Richard Donoghue, chief assistant district attorney in Los Angeles County.
“It may be a death penalty case against her,” Donoghue said. “It may be a life imprisonment case against her. It may be whatever case it is against her.”
Brown and the board of parole voted unanimously to release Krenwinkel, who has been on death row for more than 35 years.
Brown had asked California’s highest court to set aside Krenwinkel’s release on parole, arguing the California Constitution prohibits him from issuing the release.
The court would have ruled on the constitutional issue by June.
Krenwinkel’s son, David Krenwinkel, has lobbied hard for her release. David Krenwinkel said he and his father have been able to visit their mother multiple times. The parole board has allowed visits by David Krenwinkel, who has sought to visit his mother several times a month since his mother was paroled in 2009.
Even so, David Krenwinkel said his mother still remains upset with the California Board of Parole Hearings after he lobbied the board to review the case