Former Charles Manson follower Charles Tex Watson is seeking parole for the fourteenth time this week. He has been in jail since 1971 for the Tate/LaBianca murders committed by the infamous 'Manson Family' in 1969.
Watson was originally sentenced to death, but had the sentence overturend, the Los Angeles Times notes. According to the Times, family members of Sharon Tate, the Hollywood actress and wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski who was the first victim of the cult, will testify against Watson and ask he not be freed.
The murders were part of Charles Manson's philosophy, famously called Helter Skelter after the Beatles song of the same name. Manson believed that the Beatle's self-titled record commonly called The White Album, detailed an incoming apocalypse and race war. This philosphy was detailed in the book Helter Skelter, written by Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted the murders.
The crimes still have a strong resonance.
There's no question these were some of the most horrific crimes in California history in terms of the brutality, the multiple stab wounds, the gunshots, the large number of victims over a two-day period, said Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick Sequeira to the Associated Press. For a group of people to just slaughter strangers in hopes of igniting a race war is extremely horrifying.
Since going to prison, the LA Times reports, Watson has converted to Christianity. He has a Web site ministry. On the About section of his site, he says he deeply regrets his participation in the murders. He was last denied parole in 2006, according to the AP.
Watson's former leader Manson, meanwhile, has a parole hearing scheduled for 2012, according to the LA Times.