Wednesday, 17 January 2018

My letter to Charles Watson and his wife’s response and my return letter to her. 
Charles Tex Watson was part of the Manson cult and was responsible for seven murders undertaken on the instructions of Charles Manson.  His death sentence was commuted to life in a California  prison,

One day I read that he was unhappy because every time he applied for parole, he was turned down. I decided to write him and explain to him why he would never get parole. His wife replied to my letter to her husband. What follows is the communication between me and Watson’s wife, Kristin.

Hello Dahn,

This is Kristin Watson, Charles' wife. Thank you for writing and sharing your insightful thoughts. What you had to say was very interesting.

Charles is not allowed to respond to e-mail anymore. The prison is cracking down on how much he can be involved in the Ministry. (He created one in prison)

Charles is not seeking to be released at all. He goes up before the parole board every few years because it is a formality here in CA. They let him know he has a parole hearing and he goes. He does not go to receive a date for release.

He is very occupied in the prison sharing the Gospel.  Amazing how God can take a seemingly wasted life and use it for good somehow.

As far as remorse, he loathes his past with all his heart. He hates what he did to those people, believe me. Somehow you did not perceive that from reading our web site. I am sorry about that.

If Charles is ever released, it will be God's will. A miracle. No, he does not feel he deserves that at all. We live every day for how God can use us right now. Really, it does not look like he will ever be released,

Thankyou Dahn for writing. God bless you!


My reply to Kristin

Dear Kristin:

        Thank you for writing me on behalf of your husband. I am sorry to hear that the prison authorities are forbidding him to communicate directly with people outside but perhaps as time moves on, they will eventually relent.

        I guess I did miss the part in his Internet message in which he expressed remorse for what he had done to those innocent victims but I do believe that he is remorseful and I am sure than many others around the world who are aware of his Ministry are convinced of his sincerity also. (In 1983, Charles Watson became an ordained minister. He and his wife operated a prison ministry, called ‘Abounding Love Ministries. As of 2018, his ministry is still functioning.) 

I appreciate your comment that Charles is convinced that the parole authorities do not have any intention whatsoever of ever releasing your husband back into society. He would be pretty naïve if he thought that they would release him eventually.

        It is not that they fear that he will go out and kill others. I am sure they are satisfied in their minds that if he were released, he would be a stable and decent human being while in society—as many murderers who were released in the past, have turned out to be. I think they are thinking about retribution. There is no doubt in my mind that that is uppermost in their minds.

When someone loses a loved one to a murderer, it is a natural instinct in all humans to want revenge. In order for our fellow citizens to not go out and take the law in their own hands and hunt down the murderer and kill him or her. We rely on those whom we have appointed for the task to arrest, try and punish the murderer in our names. To do otherwise, would bring chaos in the community—such as what happens in third-world countries. 

Forgive me for being presumptuous but I really believe that the reason why most of society per se does not want your husband back on the street is  simply because they want him to suffer in the manner which they believe is just punishment—life imprisonment.

I know how that conflicts with the teachings of Jesus when he spoke of forgiveness but we must never forget that Jesus was an extraordinary human being who was capable of forgiving those who would do him wrong. The average human being doesn’t have that ability to forgive for the obvious reason that the average human being is a normal human being who is susceptible to many emotions and one of the most powerful of them being revenge.

In all likelihood, most of society would probably be willing to forgive Charles for what he did but at the same time, insist that he remain in prison for the rest of his life. It would not be for the purpose of deterring him but rather for the purpose of deterring others who might want to kill innocent victims.

And yet, the fact that a man like Charles who can turn his life around and sincerely preach the gospel and yet, still never be released from prison, this is a strong message to others who might be prone to killing other human beings. If being in prison for the rest of his life acts as a strong deterrent to others, then Charles life (as it is) on this world we live in is serving a useful purpose.

If Charles is convinced that he will never be released from prison and he isn’t even bothering to apply for parole, then perhaps he realizes that he can do more to bring the word of Jesus to others while he is in prison than he could ever do if he was back in society. If this is so, his life in prison will be much easier for him.

Of course, I doubt that he could survive prison life alone but as fate would have it, you have come into his life and that has probably done much to turn him around. Perhaps if fate had been kinder to both of you and you met him before he met Manson, he wouldn’t be where he is today. However, that being as it is, it is also conceivable that he may never have turned to Jesus and preached his word and instead simply been one of the millions of common folk just as the rest of us are.

I believe that God has a role for all of us and he certainly acts in very strange ways indeed. For example, many, many years ago, I too was in prison (not for murder however) and in a time of weakness, I hanged myself from the bars of my cell. A guard found me a few minutes later and cut me down. The prison chaplain spoke to me a week later and said that I should not think that I will not serve a useful purpose in life. He said that the fact that the guard came by when he wasn’t expected to come by at that moment, was an act of God and that God had other plans for me and that I should wait patiently until I am called upon.

Well, I am not really very religious but I do believe that fate (for whatever that is) works in strange ways indeed and fate being what it is, I survived my own suicide attempt with a sound mind and eighteen years later, I ended up addressing the United Nations on a proposal I had put to them—the creation of a bill of rights for young offenders. My speech in 1980 made such an impact, that the UN conducted studies around the world and in January 1986, the United Nations General Assembly passed those Rules I brought to them six years earlier (without debate) and that bill of rights effects the lives of millions of young offenders all around the world—assuring them of fair trials, humane treatment etc. 

Believe me, as I was placing my belt around my neck and was about to end my life right then and there, I had no idea at all what God or fate or whatever had in store for me. I didn’t know that in seven years after I hanged myself, I would be called upon by my own government to head a task force that was to decide if innocent people wrongfully imprisoned should be compensated. We recommended compensation and innocent people who were in prison for the crimes they didn’t commit are compensated in Canada. Further, I didn’t know that in twelve years, my government would ask me to negotiate with the PLO (while I was at the UN headquarters in Geneva and ask the PLO to commit no acts of violence in future Olympic Games or in the western hemisphere. I was successful in that also. 

        It is strange indeed when one thinks about it. My life has had a greater impact on millions of people in the world and yet I am not as famous as Charles. But I do not act for a desire to obtain fame—I act to accomplish some good simply because it appears that I can do some good because for me to stand by idly when I am able to assist others, would make a mockery of my own existence.

        None of us know what the future holds for us but if Charles has accepted his fate—that being that he will serve the rest of his life in prison, and he has decided (as apparently he has) that he can serve God and Man alike by preaching goodness and kindness to his fellow human beings, then he too will be serving a useful purpose in life.

      Please tell him that I do wish him well in his endeavor and I hope that you both can find happiness in the confines that fate has placed you both in.

     Please feel free to communicate with me any time you are so inclined. I always reply to those who write me and again, and I thank you for replying on behalf of your husband. 

                                                                    Yours truly

                                                                                       Dahn Batchelor

I never heard from her again but both she and Watson were married for 25 years and they had four children as a result of conjugal visits in the prison. Later I learned that she and her husband were divorced in July 2004 after she met another man however both she and Watson are still friends.

Charles Tex Watson applied for parole in November 16th 2011 and his request was again denied. He applied again in October 27th, 2016 (my 83rd birthday) and again his request was denied. At the time of this writing, Watson is 74 years of age. Incidentally, it is the governor of California who makes the final decision. Watson Wrote and published his autobiography, "Will You Die For Me?" in 1978. He still remains incarcerated at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, California.

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