New photos of Charles Manson released

New photos of Charles Manson were taken in June 2011 because his appearance had changed, officials say

LOS ANGELES (CNN) — The latest photos of notorious killer Charles Manson have been released by the California Department of Corrections, one week before his next parole hearing.

At the request of CNN, the department provided two photographs of Manson taken in June at the state prison in Corcoran, California. They show Manson, 77, with long flowing gray hair, long beard and mustache.

Photos are taken of prisoners when they are transferred to other prisons or medical facilities or, in the case of Manson, when an inmate’s appearance changes.

“He looks a lot different,” department of corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

The last prison photo of Manson was released three years ago and showed Manson with the top of his head shaved. One distinguishing mark remains in the recent photos, a swastika tattoo on Manson’s forehead.

A parole hearing is scheduled April 11 for Manson, who was initially sentenced to death for the 1969 slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others by a group of his followers as part of what prosecutors said was an attempt to incite a race war. His death sentence was changed to life in prison after California’s death penalty was overturned for a period during the 1970s.

Manson may choose not to attend the hearing. The last time he appeared at his parole hearing was 15 years ago. He has been denied parole 11 times.

Manson has not been a model inmate. A prosecutor who handled Manson’s parole hearings told CNN in 2009 that Manson had a “laundry list of violations in prison.”

In the past five years, Manson was punished for threatening a peace officer and for possession of a weapon, the latter happening in October when Manson was found with a sharpened pen, Thornton said.

Manson received notoriety when he was found to be in possession of a contraband cell phone — twice — the latest in January 2011. That incident is still under investigation. Prison officials said they tracked phone numbers in California, Oregon and Maine.

By Michael Cary

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