Manson follower Leslie Van Houten denied parole

By Sarah Mulé  |  July 23, 2016 at 1:16 PM
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LOS ANGELES, July 23 (UPI) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown denied parole for Leslie Van Houten, a former follower of Charles Manson, who was convicted in the 1969 murders of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca.

Van Houten, 66, was 19 at the time of the murders and has been incarcerated since she was sentenced to life in prison 40 years ago.

Van Houten admitted to holding down Rosemary La Bianca while someone else stabbed her, and then stabbing her 14 more times after she was dead.

Van Houten was recommended for parole by the state Board of Parole Hearings in April. Brown said in a statement that Van Houten's "willing participation in such horrific violence cannot be overlooked and led me to believe she remains an unreasonable risk to society if released."

The board recommended Van Houten's release based on her age at the time of the murders, her length of incarceration, a lack of violent crime as an adult, and her clean prison record.

During her time in prison, Van Houten – referred to as a model inmate – has earned bachelor's and master's degrees and has run self-help groups for other incarcerated women.

She has been denied parole 19 times before this recent recommendation. Relatives of Van Houten's victims signed a petition opposing her release which garnered 140,000 signatures.

At a 2002 hearing Van Houten said she was "deeply ashamed" of her actions and she takes her role in the murders and her involvement with Manson "very seriously."

Manson, 81, remains incarcerated at California State Prison in Corcoran, Calif., and is serving a life sentence.

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