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Manson skips 12th parole hearing, board denies bid

Killer talked to someone from Arkansas on smuggled phone, authorities say

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published April 11, 2012 at 7:01 a.m. Updated April 11, 2012 at 1:18 p.m.

— A California prison panel denied parole Wednesday to mass murderer Charles Manson in his 12th and possibly final bid for freedom.

Manson, now a gray-bearded, 77-year-old, did not attend the hearing.

Under current law, inmates can be denied the chance to reapply for parole for up to 15 years, so Manson could be 92 before he’s eligible for another hearing.

Debra Tate hopes that Wednesday is the last time she has to walk into a prison and argue to parole officials that Manson should not be freed.

For four decades, the sister of murdered actress Sharon Tate has traveled to whatever rural California prison has held the notorious cult leader and his band of murderous followers for hearings she says are too numerous to count.

“I’ve tried to take this thing that I do, that has become my lot in life, and make it have purpose,” said the 59-year-old Tate, who was 17 in August 1969, when Manson sent his minions across Los Angeles on two nights of terror. “I’ve been doing it for Sharon and the other victims of him for the last 40 years.”

Manson has a steady stream of visitors who submit requests to see him, including college students writing papers about him, said Theresa Cisneros, spokesman for Corcoran State Prison. Manson has been cited twice for having smuggled cell phones. Authorities found he had been talking with people in California, New Jersey, Florida, British Columbia, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Indiana.

The phone numbers were traced, but Department of Corrections spokesman Terry Thornton said she could not disclose who received the calls.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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