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Manson Family Member To Get New Hearing Considering Her Age At Time Of 1969 Crime

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Photo of Leslie Van Houten circa 1977 from the Herald-Examiner Collection, via the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.
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Leslie Van Houten, the youngest member of the Manson family cult that gained notoriety after committing the Tate-LaBianca murders of 1969, is getting a new hearing—it stems from a recently passed California law that allows parole boards to review the cases of inmates who were under 23 at the time of their offenses.

The new hearing, which will be held on September 6, will examine the role her youth may have played in the crime. According to the AP, the issues brought up in the hearing can be introduced at a later parole hearing to evaluate if the prisoner is fit for release.

Van Houten was 19 years old when she and fellow cult member Patricia Krenwinkel fatally stabbed Rosemary LaBianca. Van Houten was given a life sentence in 1971 for her part in LaBianca's murder, and has spent the past 46 years in prison.

Although Van Houten was recommended for parole in 2016 by a California review board, Debra Tate—the sister of Sharon Tate, one of the Manson family's victims—has advocated for Van Houten's continued imprisonment, Jezebel reports. Governor Jerry Brown denied parole to Van Houten—now 68 years old— last year, in the most recent of her 20 unsuccessful requests for parole.

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Van Houten was originally given the death penalty, although her sentence was commuted to life in prison after People v. Anderson invalidated all California death-penalty sentences prior to 1972. Van Houten's fellow Manson Family members, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins, have also been denied parole on numerous occasions.