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Youngest Manson follower has 20th parole hearing

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   June 5, 2013 at 3:03 PM   |   Comments

June 5 (UPI) -- The youngest member of the Manson family, Leslie Van Houten, headed to court Wednesday to plead for parole for a 20th time.

Van Houten, 63, was one of six followers of Charles Manson, convicted of taking part in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca on August 9, 1969 in Los Feliz, Calif.

She was just 19 at the time.

Van Houten will again attempt to convince a state parole board she was the least culpable member of the Manson "family." She was not present for the murders of Sharon Tate and four others the previous night.

Van Houten testified that she held down Rosemary LaBianca while another of the killers stabbed her, and only took the knife herself when Charles Watson told her to "do something." She said she thought Rosemary LaBianca was dead when she stabbed her.

During the initial trial with Manson and two other family members, Van Houten was uncooperative and disruptive, losing the sympathy of the jury and was given a death sentence along with the others.

She won retrial in 1977, on the grounds she had not been adequately represented as her lawyer had disappeared and was later found dead, possibly murdered by other Manson followers.

The second trial ended in a hung jury, and a third trial again found her guilty and sentenced her to life in prison.

She has since continually requested, and been denied, parole.

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