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Should Tex Watson Be Paroled From Prison?

Former “Right-hand man” and Manson follower Tex Watson is up for parole today for the 14th time since being convicted of the Tate/LeBianca murders in 1971.

Tex Watson's mug shot. Courtesy of ABOUT.com

Originally sentenced to death, Watson’s sentence was commuted to Life In Prison after the death penalty was temporarily abolished in 1972. Watson’s legal team is asking for his release back to into society and claims that he has been transformed while in prison and is no longer a threat to society. Watson is a Christian minister in the prison and has been deemed a model prisoner. You can read more about Watson’s prison ministry on his website
Here is our question to you:
Should Tex Watson be released from prison? Why and why not?

Tex Watson today. CDOC photo.

As a side note, none of the members of the Manson family has been released from prison for their crimes.
Tell us what you think in the comment section below!


  1. First off. Tex butchered the victims brutally. He was under the influence of drugs and brainwashed by the most prolific cult leaders in modern American culture while he committed these acts. Reformed into Christianity in the late 70’s and authored a book about his experience as well as obtaining a bachelor’s degree while he was incarcerated. The crimes committed were so horrendous to a point that one has to question, “What kind of human would be capable of such acts?” The prison system on the other hand is in-place to mold inmates into model citizens during incarceration. So, should he not be paroled after showing strong evidence of remorse and a different way of life while other inmates who have murdered people have been paroled with less evidence of self development and improvement? Parole, in my opinion, could be granted with stipulations of a very short leash. Maybe even a program more intense than normal parole. Such programs do exist. Tex s not innocent by any means but, he was given a chance to be paroled during sentencing. He is at a point where he could not do much more at all to prove he has been reformed. He is only getting older. This opinion is controversial I know.

    • You know, granted everything you said is true… On the flip side there is the P.R. aspect of this and the fact that we are talking about a group of sick f*cks that have “fans.”

      The problem is that he’s more then a man in the system for “doing something bad” and there are people who I’m sure have done worse that did less time, but that’s like saying 2 or 3 wrongs make a right… BUT riddle me this…

      Does this misguided piece of poo doesn’t need to be treated like he was part of the West Memphis 3 by serial killer groupies?

      Ultimately I am person who loathes deprivation of freedom… However taking a human life is the ultimate expression of oppressive and totalitarian behavior a person or government can exercise.

      Has the punishment really fit the crime? I can’t answer that, I think it would be bullsh*t if I did answer it, in fact I don’t really know who is qualified to answer that one. Human life is precious, I don’t know what the value of it is, can we find an average between the value of how much “Tex” valued life when murdered multipul people and was party to cutting a fetus from a mothers stomach and say how much the parents of those victims valued their children’s lives, how much their loved ones valued their lives, their friends, and so on…

      It’s not a measurable standard, and does suffering repay that debt? Can it be repaid. In the scope of suffering would death be too good? I don’t know… I think anyone with hard fast answers to all of this really needs to think more about the conditions of human experience.

      I’m not saying you’re wrong, and I don’t know what I believe in this case. From my personal experiences with x-cons despite the degrees etc and how far they go while they are in jail, prison does permanent and irreparable damage to a persons psyche.

      When you are in prison you have nothing to do. You have nothing to do aside from find ways to kill boredom and education is one of them. The only way to have a shot at getting out is to participate in religious bullsh*t. A lot of people “find Jesus” in prison because a recommendation from the prison chaplain is the only way you are going to get out. The more you find Jesus the closer you are to out. And I don’t think that a Chaplin is the kind of person who will get or be respectful of you finding morality without deity. As far as I’m concerned Manson is one cult leader and the Pope is another, they just have a different scope. So I don’t think that Tex has really grown any. I don’t know what your personal experiences are with people after they have been to a maximum security prison for many years have been. I lived with a so called “rehabilitated” person who had finished college in prison and he was a f*cking nightmare…

      Unfortunately our system makes people worse not better…

      If I’ve offended anyone’s beliefs in Christianity or beliefs in any kind of “god” please accept my apology, straight up I will say that my opinion is:

      Religion is BULLSHIT

      However I respect your beliefs and I don’t think lesser of you for having them. We just disagree and I use harsh language, sorry.

      As is everything I’ve written here it’s merely from experience and opinion.

  2. Do you think the reason he is still in jail while other violent offenders are released is because of the fact that this was an extremely high profile case in contrast to others?
    Thank you for responding, J!

  3. He thought Manson was Jesus and killed in his name..now he follows the real Jesus..will he kill in his name too?? Let him rot!!

    • Tex Watson received his sentence when he slaughtered those people. They didn’t release Susan Atkins and she died in prison, which is what he should do too. They were the most heinous crimes in America. How can we even considered letting him go? Same on the rest of you who think so.

  4. I love the point you made there, Lola! Above your post, J says it seemed to be more of a drug crazed brainwashed act than one of a regular human. Do you agree with this and what do you think about other people who are released from prison when they have committed heinous crimes as well. Should we keep people who kill locked up?

  5. meleestormbringer

    you know, it’s a tough call. The point of prison is to rehabilitate (in theory), and he’s been in prison a LONG time. If as he claims he was misled and under the influence of drugs, perhaps he is “better” now. On the other hand, he wouldn’t be the first lifer to play reformed just to get out and pick up right where they left off. And don’t get me started on lifers claiming to have “found God”. You make a good point, Dai, in that this is a very high profile crime. As such, he is less likely to be paroled based on that fact alone. The system needs to make an example of this man. For the same reason Charles Manson will never see freedom again, most likely Tex Watson will never see it again either. Shouldn’t there be some consideration after all this time of incarceration? Perhaps, but look at the treatment of the Manson girls. Even dying from terminal illness, they were given no quarter and no mercy. I geuss my point is: if it was up to me to decide if he should be released or not, I would have to meet him and speak with him and judge from that. Judge for myself if he’s sincere or just playing the game. But in all honesty, like the parole board involved in this case, I don’t know how, or if, I could see past the evil he has done. How much time has gone by does not lessen the loss, or the pain to the victim’s families. If the families had forgiveness, that would make a world of difference to the parole board.

  6. hyaenagallery

    Personally, I think he would be much more dangerous in the free world as a Christian minister, than as a cold-blooded killer. His parole will be denied, as is the norm with the Manson crew…

  7. I can see Lolas’ and Melees’ point very clearly. This is very hard to call without jumping to conclusions and judging him ourselves. The crimes were probably the most high profile crimes of the century some might say. He would have been sentenced to death for sure if there was not a death penalty ban that year. My only objective with my opinion is the matter of what good is prison for if we never give a person a chance to truly change their lives around? I think it is that very mentality about/of the judicial system that allows the death penalty to remain in effect in most states. When it comes down to it. It is still a matter of if one were to support the death penalty or not. The Judge and Jury for this case could have handed Tex a sentence of life without parole but they chose to sentence him with the possibility of parole. But, there are A LOT of “what ifs”. What if he got out and killed in the name of The Family? What if he got out and started his own cult? For all we know he has played a key and integral part in the reformation of other inmates lives while incarcerated. Sort of like a “sponsor” as in AA/NA. A mentor. He probably feels that he chose the wrong mentor and chose the wrong decision to do the drugs he was doing during this period of his life. Anyone could go out and murder while under the influence and being brainwashed, if even to a mild degree of brainwashing. I believe nearly everyone should have AT LEAST a 2nd chance or something close to a 2nd chance. IF they show they deserve it. I highly doubt he has sat in prison and stewed over and over about getting out and killing anyone. He knows as well as any of us that he probably, in all actuality, will not get out. My grandfather was the last police officer in my hometown to get shot and killed in the line of duty at point blank range whilst walking into a gas station to get a soda in ’78, all the while, not knowing a robbery was in place. The man that killed him was high as a kite and reacted out of pure shock. We all write letters every parole hearing to get it denied. Not out of vengeance. But because he has not apologized at all for his actions, he has not even gotten a GED, and he has been in numerous crimes while incarcerated. If he would have chose his fate differently and served good time instead of grouping up with the no-goods in prison, then we would not write those letters. So my point is. It is VERY difficult to turn your life around in prison really. Most never do. And for someone to actually make this their accomplishment, through all these years. That shows determination to do good, not vile, corrupt, or malicious things. I would nearly guarantee that there were times that it would have been easier to follow the way of the “criminal” over the years but instead this man chose to change his life. That shows strength and willpower and remorse. In my opinion.

  8. As expected, Watson was denied parole. He will be eligible again in 5 years.

    You guys bring up a lot of interesting points and I thank you for replying!
    Here is my question in the whole thing:

    Due to the overpopulation of the CDOC, many inmates are released for being “model prisoners” after a short period of time (compared to their sentence) even when they have committed some of the most heinous crimes. Many of those murders do not get as much press as this one did so people don’t really understand the kinds of people who are being released back onto the street. What they Manson family did was extremely horrible and of course they deserve to pay for it but is their a double standard in this case because of the infamy of the murders that they are being kept? It would seem to me that if other people are released when committing crimes just as bad, these people should get the same treatment or no one should be released. Just because one case has more press than the other it does not mean the crime was less as horrific. I fully believe that these people would have been released on parole already if the entire world hadn’t heard of them. Fair or not, why thousands of people have to deal with the person who viciously killed their loved ones being able to walk free is beyond me when these people sit in jail for crimes just as bad. It should be the same rules for everyone. Either they are all kept in jail or they are all paroled after an amount of time and change. Just my opinion of course…

  9. I’m a bit late to the show and the point is moot now, however: should he be paroled? Absolutely not. The “prison is intended to provide rehabilitation” argument doesn’t float here; just because rehabilitation is the ideal outcome for an inmate doesn’t imply that it is always successful, or that it even *can be* successful for all inmates. Also, don’t get me started on the “conversion to christianity” nonsense. As somebody has already pointed out, irrational religious fervor was a major contributor to the crimes he committed in the first place. The fact that christianity is the generally accepted religion in the U.S. doesn’t mean that there haven’t been (and *still are*) those who have (and will) commit unspeakable acts in its name.

    Regarding your question, Dai: “Should we keep people who kill locked up?” “People who kill” is a rather broad category. For example: compare Tex Watson’s crimes with those of a wife with a documented/proven history of abuse at the hand of her husband who ultimately ends up killing the abuser, while showing no other proclivity towards violent action. Crime and punishment simply cannot be black & white. This is why we have judges and juries to interpret the law (even though the system may not seem to work in everybody’s favor at all times).

  10. I’m sorry but this man should have been executed decades ago, so we are not put in this position of having this this painful discussion! The Manson family were and still are a bunch of tosssers who all should have been executed for their heinous crimes! Say no more!

  11. Judy Senkbeil

    He, nor any of his cohorts in this murderous rampage ever apologized or showed any remorse for their crimes, the only remorse I ever witnessed was that they got caught and remained incarcerated, they just played the blame game and changed their stories over the years to make themselves look less culpable….his devils work is best done behind bars where at least he can be monitored. Sharon Tates mother dedicated her life to victim’s rights after what happened to her daughter and member of that family who endured so much of the tragedy still carry on that endeavor as per her mother’s wishes, as do many others. None of them should ever be released; Monsters then monsters now, let ‘em rot.

  12. No he should not be released EVER. The death penalty was just until reversed and is now back in effect. Tex seemed to be the one really in charge and smarter than manson. He was already spouting about being controlled by satan early on and had church background. He would know how to be a model prisoner and how to keep his family helping him. I think the family of victims who have sympathy for him are nuts. He did the actual killings so thus more than even manson which makes him serial killer organized smart in my opinion. Jesus will accept him if he is sincere but he still should stay in for life.

  13. No way do any of these felons get out of jail It is bad enough they are still alive. I hope they are not to comfortable with the taxpayers payng their room and board.They should havre to do some hard labor.I nean HARD labor,

  14. I am not a fan. None of them should ever be released. If they are that susceptible of being manipulated/controlled and able to committ such heinous crimes and then help themselves to a meal afterward with mutilated bodies around should never be in society again. Even going to their parole board meetings tells me that they do not comprehend the gravity of their crimes. The fact that this ass can get married, have congigal visits and father 4 children is disgusting.

  15. Manson and his entire family should never be released from prison. We wouldn’t even be discussing this subject if the Supreme Court didn’t overturn the death sentence law in the US in the mid 70s.

    If there was ever a case that should mean life without the ability of parole it’s these.

    It’s easy to find religion, and admit your wrongs once convicted, but it doesn’t change what you did. Sometime a crime is so brutal, disgusting and inhuman that the harshest punishment must be imposed, unfortunately for us, these monsters have to have a parole hearing now and then, when they shouldn’t even be among the living and being supported by tax payer money.

  16. first of all they were only on 1 drug the nite of the Tate murders and that drug was speed. It apparently can make a person even more vicious. No other drugs. Manson said no drugs that nite and Watson and Atkins took speed behind his back. When Watson described the murders later at the tate house he described the victims as running around like chickens with their heads cut off. (he smiled when he said it folks). In killing Sharon, he stabbed her 16 times and hung her from the rafters of her living room while she was still alive. She was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time. A few years after his conviction he told a psychiatrist, I could kill you right now and not feel a thing. His diagnosis, is extreme anti social behavior with a marked pronouncement of repressed hostility toward society. He was described further by the psychiatrists as a ticking time bomb. He did not graduate from college while in prison, he took a mail order type ordained ministry degree.He graduated from college before the murders while still in Texas. He has never apologized to the victims families, he has never said he was sorry. He blamed Manson, he blamed drugs, he blamed everybody but himself. After fleeing Cielo drive with the other murderers they stopped off at a residence to use an outdoor hose to wash off some blood and the owner and his wife came out of the house to investigate. Not 10 minutes after butchering 5 people, Watson was charm itself to this couple. This is Watson, he is a ticking time bomb. He is a sociopath, you cant fix that, no pills, no therapy, nothing cures this. sorry, he needs to remain in prison till he dies. Watson is actually far more dangerous than Manson, despite Mansons crazed look.

  17. Never should this person be let out of jail, nor any other members of the Manson Family currently incarcerated. Many of you were not alive when this happened, but I was and it rocked this country. These animals brutally killed so many innocent people, in the most obscene way and no matter what, I do not believe any one of them are truly rehabilitated;and given the chance, would commit further crimes. So many lives were destroyed – the Tate family and so many others. And for what? For an idiot like Manson who at best had nothing to offer of value. I hope each and every one of them dies in prison. Even that is too good for what they have done.


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