California High Court Denies Parole Bid by Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten

Van Houten’s appeal was rejected following parole denial for her role in the 1969 Labianca murders
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The California Supreme Court has rejected a potential bid for freedom by Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s rejection of her parole in Dec. 2020.

Newsom had previously written that Van Houten was “an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison at this time,” and added that, “Given the extreme nature of the crime in which she was involved, I do not believe she has sufficiently demonstrated that she has come to terms with the totality of the factors that led her to participate in the vicious Manson Family killings.”

The 2020 parole panel responded by saying she showed remorse for her crimes and “does not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety.”

The court refused to hear Van Houten’s appeal of the Dec. lower-court ruling that denied her petition for a review.

The petition said that a denial of due process had taken place by Newsom in his reversal of a 2020 parole board recommendation. It also said that there was a “strong possibility” Newsom failed to meet the 30-day deadline for review when he declined to provide documents that suggested when the board referred the case to him.

Van Houten, 72, is serving a life sentence for her collaboration with the Manson family and other cult members in the Aug. 1969 killing of Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary. She was 19 when she and other followers fatally stabbed the Labiancas and smeared “Healter (sic) Skelter” in the victims’ blood on their refrigerator door.

The slayings occurred just one day after other Manson followers, but not Van Houten, killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others.

Since 2016, parole boards have put in five bids suggesting that Van Houten be freed from prison. Newsom and then-Gov. Jerry Brown have rejected her parole four times. Nov. marked the fifth recommendation and it remains under procedural review.

Rich Pfeiffer, Van Houten’s attorney, has not yet responded to Los Angeles Magazine’s request for comment.


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