Charles Manson disciple Leslie Van Houten, who stabbed members of the LaBianca family '14 times', denied parole
California governor thinks that after serving for 48 years in prison, Leslie Van Houten could still be threat to the society.
Governor Jerry Brown's decision denying parole to former Charles Manson follower and convicted killer, Leslie Van Houten, was refused to be overturned by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Friday. The County judge, William C. Ryan, reflected upon the fact that Brown's decision in refusing to release Houten, now 68, had "some evidence." Houten was found guilty in 1971 for taking part in the killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in Los Angeles.
According to Los Angeles Times, Leslie Van Houten was a follower of Charles Mansion (the cult leader of a quasi-commune named 'Manson Family' in California), who had admitted in court testimony that she had stabbed one of the victims of the "family" almost 14 times in 1969. Houten, a former homecoming queen from Monrovia, became involved with the Manson family as a misguided teen, and who was under the heavy influence of LSD on the night the killings took place.
She was reportedly involved in the second murder carried out by the "Family," where she killed Los Feliz grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary in 1969. The report quotes Houten's testimony where she said, " And I took one of the knives, and Patricia had one a knife, and we started stabbing and cutting up the lady." Houten went through three trials for her killings the first of which led to her conviction and a death sentence, which was overturned on appeal; in the following two trials she was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
New York Daily News reports that the 68-year-old had filed the writ only a few days after California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed her recommended parole for a second time. Judge Ryan however, wrote on his Friday ruling, "Petitioner’s crimes terrified a generation and remain imprinted on the public. If any crimes could be considered heinous enough to support a denial of parole based on their circumstances alone years after the occurrence, they must certainly be the crimes perpetrated by the Manson Family. While petitioner may someday be suitable for parole, it is not yet that day."
The report also stated that Debra Tate, the sister of a Manson Family victim Sharon Tate, was happy with the judge's decision as she said, "I’m very pleased with the ruling...I sit in a room six feet away from Ms. Van Houten during her parole hearings, and I believe she is as self-consumed today as she ever was, and that is a premiere marker of a sociopath." However, Houten's lawyer Rich Pfeiffer plans to push forward with the appeal: "I’m actually right now re-writing the writ for the appellate court. I’m filing it today."
Born to a middle-class family in Southern California in 1949, Houten met Charles Manson in 1968 and was immediately infatuated with him. Within a year she was involved in the murder of Roman Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, and in the following night, she participated, along with Charles "Tex" Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel in the murder of the LaBiancas, after which she was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death. Her death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment when California banned the death penalty. Houten appeared in front of the California parole panel for the 21st time in 2017, after her parole was rejected in 2016 by Gov. Jerry Brown following a 120-day review process.
Although Brown does acknowledge that Houten was only 19 during the murder and has spent almost 48 years as a model prisoner, he still believes that her crimes are heinous and that proves that she's "capable of extraordinary violence."
He further writes in his report: If Ms. Van Houten fails to recognize the true facts of how Manson controlled the cult, she has no insight and remains a risk of danger. If she does testify to that control, she shifts some blame to Manson and does not take full responsibility, and is denied parole for that reason. The Governor can’t have it both ways."