SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California officials are expected to consider parole Thursday for a follower of cult leader Charles Manson who has spent 45 years in prison and been denied supervised release 17 times.
Robert Beausoleil, 67, originally was sentenced to death for the 1969 slaying of musician Gary Hinman, but it was commuted to life in prison when the California Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in 1972.
If parole officials recommend his release, the decision will be reviewed by the entire parole board. Gov. Jerry Brown could also block his parole.
In August, Brown blocked the release of Bruce Davis, 72, who was convicted in the slayings of Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea. The parole board had found that Davis was suitable for parole based on his age and good conduct in prison.
Beausoleil was an aspiring musician and actor before he joined the Manson family.
He was in jail when other Manson followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others, then murdered grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.
He 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 fathered four children. California parole officials planned to conduct his hearing by telephone.
His release faces opposition from Hinman's cousin, Kay Martley, who lives in the Denver area, and Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate, who lives in the Los Angeles area and is the last surviving member of her immediate family.
Both planned to testify by telephone. Tate said in a telephone interview that Beausoleil should serve out the rest of his life sentence in California instead of Oregon.
"She has since passed away and he needs to come home now," Tate said, referring to his wife.
Beausoleil has worked since 2009 in a furniture factory operated by Oregon Corrections Enterprises, according to California corrections officials. He develops and produces orientation, safety training and promotional videos and materials for the prison industry program.
He has had no disciplinary violations since 2008 and has participated in conflict resolution seminars, corrections officials said. He also has attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings and completed a literature class and a sociology class through the University of Oregon.