California parole officials on Thursday postponed a decision on setting free Patricia Krenwinkel, a follower of Charles Manson and convicted killer, after the woman’s attorney made new claims that she had been abused by Manson or another person, reports the Los Angeles Times. The two-person panel from the the Board of Parole Hearings “felt information discussed at the hearing was cause for an investigation,” the California corrections officials said in a statement. The inquiry into the allegation is expected to take several months. Krenwinkel, now 69, has been imprisoned since 1971 for the Manson-inspired murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others. She is the longest-serving woman inmate in California and has been denied parole 14 times.
A source said Krenwinkel’s attorney, Keith Wattley, raised the notion in his closing statement that his client was a victim of “intimate partner battery.” The claim was akin to battered spouse syndrome, a psychological condition experienced by people who have suffered prolonged physical or emotional abuse by a partner. The syndrome has been used as a legal defense by women charged with killing their husbands. In an email to The Times, Wattley wrote, “I pointed out that there are some things that haven’t fully been investigated (believe it or not). Can’t really elaborate at this time.”