A former Charles Manson follower, imprisoned for 40 years after being convicted in the killings of two men, has won a recommendation of parole.
The answer to Bruce Davis's plea for freedom, in his 27th appearance before a parole board panel, came on the eve of his 70th birthday.
He was sentenced to life in prison in 1972 in a case that was a postscript to Manson's notorious reign as leader of the murderous communal cult known as the Manson family.
Davis was convicted with Manson and another follower, Steve Grogan, in the murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea.
He long maintained he was a bystander in the killings of the two men, but in recent years he has acknowledged his shared responsibility, and said he has "made remarkable progress in coming to terms with what I did".
He was not involved in the infamous Sharon Tate murders in 1969.
The hearing was held at the California Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo, where Davis is imprisoned.
His release was opposed by a Los Angeles prosecutor and by a former Manson family member, Barbara Hoyt, as well as Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate, who attended the hearing.
The recommendation is not the last hurdle in Davis' quest for freedom.
The parole grant is subject to a 120-day review period by the entire parole board. If it is upheld, California Governor Jerry Brown then has 30 days to review the decision.
"I'm pleased and relieved and I hope Bruce's ordeal will be over," said attorney Michael Beckman, who has been fighting for years for the release of Davis.
If eventually freed, Davis will go to transitional housing associated with religious groups in Los Angeles County.
Davis became a born-again Christian in prison and ministered to other inmates, married a woman he met through the prison ministry, and has a grown daughter.
The couple recently divorced.
Mr Beckman said Davis also earned a master's degree and a doctorate in philosophy of religion.
Few followers of the infamous Manson cult have been released from prison. Grogan was freed in 1985 after he led police to Mr Shea's buried body.
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was released from federal prison in 2009 after serving time for the attempted assassination of US President Gerald Ford.
Manson and two of his followers, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, remain in prison for life in the Tate killings.
Their co-defendant, Susan Atkins, died of cancer behind bars in 2009. Another of the Tate killers, Charles "Tex" Watson, remains in prison.