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Watson's parole request was refused by a two-member California Board of Parole Hearings panel at Mule Creek State Prison, which is located about 50 miles southeast of Sacramento. During the five hour hearing, Watson read a statement but due to the fact that he did not answer questions, parole officers were unable to decide whether he was a candidate for release, according to Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Sequeira. Watson must now wait five years before pursuing another parole hearing.
Anthony DiMaria, a nephew of one of Watson's victims, attended the hearing to request a denial of the parole request. Other family members of victims were also present. “I know that our family, myself included, feel no hatred, anger or vengeance toward them. We actually go out of love for the victims, and we go out of justice. This is calculated, cold-blooded mass murder in which bodies were desecrated. We want to bring the memories of the victims into the room as the commissioners deliberate on whether to parole the inmate,” said DiMaria prior to the hearing.
Watson, who has referred to himself as Manson's “lieutenant for killing,” was originally sentenced to death by a Los Angeles County court but his death sentence was overturned in 1972 when the death penalty was temporarily outlawed.
In August of 1969, Watson murdered actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant, as well as four others in Beverly Hills. The following night he assisted in the slaying of grocery owners Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
“There's no question that 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 Sequeira.
Watson has expressed regret for his role in the crimes and claims that he is a different person now and no longer poses a danger to the public. He was not present at his 2006 parole hearing but was described as an ardent fundamentalist Christian who kept bad company in the past as a result of drugs and gullibility, according to a psychiatric evaluation. While in prison, Watson fathered four children through conjugal visits with his ex-wife and in 2009 he earned a BS in Business Management from California Coast University.
However, despite claims that he has turned his life around, the “prison panel found that they could not measure his true remorse or his measure of understanding of what caused him to become involved in these gruesome murders,” said Sequeira.
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