October 14, 2016 - 2:43 PM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California officials said Friday that they have again denied parole for a follower of cult leader Charles Manson who is serving a life sentence for a murder he committed 47 years ago.
Parole officials decided that Robert Beausoleil, 68, should remain in prison for the 1969 death of musician Gary Hinman. He can seek parole again in three years, said board spokesman Luis Patino.
Beausoleil was an aspiring musician and actor before he joined the Manson family, and he has written and recorded music while in prison.
He originally was sentenced to die, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison when the California Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in 1972.
He was in jail when other Manson followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others, then murdered grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.
"There's absolutely no doubt in my mind, if released, Bobby will be just a model citizen. I think he's a very insightful and introspective person, and there is nothing about him that is dangerous," said his attorney, Jason Campbell.
Beausoleil had been denied parole 17 times previously.
"Thank God," Hinman's cousin, Kay Martley, said of the latest parole decision.
"He killed, murdered my cousin and it was gruesome. Three days they kept him and tortured him," she said. "All of this just comes back, even after 47 years."
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement that Beausoleil should remain imprisoned because of the heinous nature of the crime and because he remains dangerous.
Beausoleil was denied parole in part because he has been recording music for sale without the permission of California authorities, said Martley and Debra Tate, Sharon Tate's sister.
He previously had permission from Oregon authorities, where he had been serving his sentence until last year, they said. Patino and Campbell said they couldn't comment.
"If he can't play by the rules in place within prison, how can he play in a free society?" said Tate.
Beausoleil was transferred in 1994 to the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem at his request, after he married a woman from Oregon while in prison and later fathered four children. He was transferred last year to the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, southeast of Sacramento, after his wife died and he had a disciplinary infraction at the Oregon prison.
Martley fears that officials may decide to parole Beausoleil next time because of his young age when he committed the crime, and because he elderly now.
In January, Gov. Jerry Brown reversed the parole board and blocked the release of Bruce Davis, 74, who was convicted in the slayings of Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea. In July, Brown blocked the release of Leslie Van Houten, 67, who is serving a life sentence for the LaBianca killings.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016