California parole officials recommended Thursday that Charles "Tex" Watson, the self-described right-hand man of murderous cult leader Charles Manson, should remain in prison 47 years after he helped plan and carry out the slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people, the AP reports. Watson's 17th parole hearing was held at Mule Creek State Prison, near Sacramento. He can seek parole again in five years. Watson, 70, is serving a life sentence for the murders of Tate and four others at her Beverly Hills home on Aug. 9, 1969. The next night, he helped kill grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary. "These were some of the most horrific crimes in California history, and we believe he continues to exhibit a lack of remorse and remains a public safety risk," Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement after the decision.
Watson was initially sentenced to death, but the sentence was later commuted to life when the California Supreme Court ruled in 1972 that the death penalty was unconstitutional. Tate's sister, Debra Tate—the last surviving member of her immediate family—urged the panel of parole commissioners to reject freedom for the man she called "the most active, the most prolific killer in the Manson family." "He's a sociopath, and sociopaths are incapable having insight or empathy for anything. It's all about him. He didn't have it then, and he doesn't have it now," she said after the hearing. She said Watson still blames the murders on his drug use and lack of a clear goal in life rather than accepting full responsibility. Says the nephew of one of the people killed at Tate's house: "With crimes of this magnitude, I felt profound sorrow for what the victims suffered, for the family members and representatives who spoke in the room ... and for what Charles Watson brought upon himself."