Parole Recommended For Manson Family Murderer Leslie Van Houten
The state parole board recommended Thursday that former Manson Family member and convicted murderer Leslie Van Houten receive parole. Van Houten was last denied parole in 2013. Van Houten, now 66, was involved in the murders of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca in Los Feliz in 1969. Van Houten has been denied parole numerous times, most recently in 2013, since her sentencing in 1971. At Thursday morning's hearing at the California Institution for Women in Chino, she described her role in the killings and then said, "I don't let myself off the hook. I don't find parts in any of this that makes me feel the slightest bit good about myself," according to ABC 7.
Her lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, said that his client was "numb" after hearing the decision. He had previously argued that Van Houten was no longer a risk to public safety and should be let go.
"The only violent thing she has ever done in her entire life was this crime and that was under the control of Charles Manson," he said.
It's not a done deal that Van Houten will go free, however. First, the decision has to be upheld by the Board of Parole Hearings. Then, Governor Jerry Brown has the option to intervene, as he did in 2014 when it came to Manson member Bruce Davis. Davis was not involved in the Tate-LaBianca murders, but was convicted in the murders of Spahn Ranch worker Donald Shea and Gary Hinman.
Van Houten was the youngest member of the Manson family. She joined when she was 19, after meeting Manson through friends. On August 9, 1969, she accompanied fellow Manson Family members Charles Manson, Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, Steve Grogan and Linda Kasbian to the home of grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary LaBianca. Van Houten held Rosemary LaBianca down as Watson stabbed her, then Van Houten took her turn. Van Houten has often maintained that she only stabbed LaBianca after she was dead.
Van Houten was not present the night before during the murders on Cielo Drive, in which Atkins, Krenwinkel and Watson murdered actress Sharon Tate, hair stylist Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and a friend of the home's caretaker, Steven Parent.