TIME

Manson Family Murderer Robert Beausoleil Recommended for Parole

A member of Charles Manson’s cult could soon walk free after nearly 50 years in prison for murder as a California parole panel has recommended Robert Beausoleil for parole. Beausoleil, now 71, was not involved in the most notorious killings by the so-called Manson Family—those of actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969—but he was convicted in the murder of musician Gary Hinman the same year. Hinman was tortured for days, including when Manson cut his face with a sword. Parole panels had turned down the chance to recommend Beausoleil for parole 18 times, but now say he should be free to go. However, the victim’s cousin, Kay Hinman Martley, has urged incoming California Gov. Gavin Newsom to block the release. “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. Tate’s sister, Debra Tate, has started a petition to keep Beausoleil behind bars; so far, it has amassed more than 36,000 signatures.