After 50 years in prison for murdering musician Gary Hinman in 1969 as a follower and member of Charles Manson’s family, a California parole panel recommended that Robert Beausoleil is freed.
Although Beausoleil, now 71, was not involved in the most notorious killings of actress Sharon Tate and six others by the Manson family in 1969, he was convicted for the torture and slaying of musician Gary Hinman that same year, reported the Associated Press.
Hinman was tortured for three days, according to testimony at Beausoleil’s previous parole hearings, including when Manson cut his face with a sword. Prior to his impending release, parole panels ruled against releasing Beausoleil 18 prior times.
Although it has been recommended that Beausoleil is freed by the parole board, California’s incoming governor, Gavin Newsom, could block that order in the coming months.
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown consistently stopped releases for followers of Charles Manson, who died in prison in 2017 at the age of 83.
California panel recommends parole for Charles Manson follower Robert Beausoleil, outraging the family of the man he killed in 1969. https://t.co/30dF5i5LFA
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) January 4, 2019
According to the Associated Press, Gary Hinman’s cousin, Kay Hinman Martley, who attended Thursday’s hearing, said Beausoleil was already lucky once when his death sentence in 1970 was reduced to life in prison by an appeals court in 1973.
“I constantly have hope that they’ll do the right thing and keep these people in prison, and now my hopes have to go with the governor,” she said.
“This man does not belong outside the walls of a prison,” she remarked.
According to Beausoleil’s attorney Jason Campbell, his client is no longer dangerous and that his release “is long overdue,” noted the AP.
“He is a very thoughtful, insightful and compassionate person. He’s not the person he was in 1969,” Campbell said. “He’s matured dramatically since then.”
The sister of one of the Manson family’s most infamous victims, Sharon Tate, noted that she will begin using social media to oppose Beausoleil’s release.
Debra Tate will appeal to Gov.-elect Newsom “because he has a tendency to be very liberal. Without public opinion weighing in on this, there is no hope.”
Tate said testimony showed that Beausoleil is still physically capable of violence and had borderline psychological reports. She said he also keeps breaking prison rules by profiting from selling his art and music outside of prison.
Beausoleil is currently held in the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, northeast of San Francisco.
The Manson Family was a desert commune and cult formed in California in the late 1960s. Led by Charles Manson, the group consisted of approximately 100 of his followers who lived an unconventional lifestyle with habitual use of hallucinogenic drugs