Parole Board Recommends Release of Former Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Parole was recommended today for former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, who is serving a life sentence for helping Manson and others kill Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Feliz home more than 50 years ago.

This is the fourth time the Board of Parole Hearings has recommended parole for Van Houten. Each of the previous three recommendations were blocked, once by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the other two by his predecessor, Jerry Brown.

The recommendation will undergo a 120-day review process and her fate will once again rest with Newsom.

“As with any parole suitability recommendation, when the case reaches the governor's office, it will be carefully reviewed on its merits,'' Vicky Waters, Newsom's press secretary, said in a statement.

A request in May to release Van Houten, 70, on bail or her own recognizance due to her high risk of contracting COVID-19 was denied.

A state appeals court in September 2019 declined to reverse Brown's 2017 rejection of her release.

In a ruling in which Associate Justice Victoria Gerrard Chaney dissented, the panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal found that Brown's “conclusion that Van Houten lacks insight into her commitment offenses, and thus remains a threat to public safety, is supported by some evidence in the record. As the governor noted in his reversal, the record has several instances in which Van Houten appears to qualify the responsibility she feels for the crimes by emphasizing Manson's role.''

The former Monrovia High School cheerleader was 19 at the time of the August 1969 murders, which came a day after Manson followers, not including Van Houten, killed actress Sharon Tate and four others in the Benedict Canyon home Tate shared with her husband, director Roman Polanski.

There was no immediate response late Thursday night from Van Houten's attorney, Rich Pfieffer, to requests for comment from City News Service.

Photo: Getty Images

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