Manson follower Van Houten loses appeal for parole

Sommer Brokaw
A state appeals court denied Leslie Van Houten's latest appeal for parole Friday. File Photo by Damian Dovarganes/EPA-EFE
A state appeals court denied Leslie Van Houten's latest appeal for parole Friday. File Photo by Damian Dovarganes/EPA-EFE

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten lost her latest appeal to be released on parole.

A state appeals court ruled 2-1 Friday against reversing former Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown's 2018 rejection of parole for Van Houten, 70.


Van Houten, who is serving a life sentence, was 19 when she was convicted of murder and conspiracy.

California's 2nd District Court of Appeal panel ruled 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 [of the parole], the record has several instances in which Van Houten appears to qualify the responsibility she feels for the crimes by emphasizing Manson's role."

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Associate Justice Victoria Gerrard Chaney, who dissented, wrote that "the record contains no evidence that rationally supports the governor's decision reversing the [parole] board's grant of parole.".

Brown also rejected the convicted killer and Manson cult follower's parole back in 2016.

Nearly two years after Brown's second rejection, the Board of Parole Hearing recommended Van Houten for parole again this year, which Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected in June.

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Van Houton, a former Monrovia high school cheerleader and homecoming princess, was 19 when she was involved in the infamous 1969 killing of Los Angeles businessman Leno LaBianca, 44, and his wife, Rosemary LaBianca, 38, each stabbed multiple times at their Los Feliz home.

She was convicted of murder and conspiracy for participating in the August 1969 killings along with fellow Manson family members Charles "Tex" Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel.

Van Houten was not directly involved in the killing of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others the previous night in a Benedict Canyon mansion.

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Manson, whose cult followers killed seven people in the two-day killing spree in 1969, died at 83 in November 2017 of "natural causes" after serving 46 years in prison on a life sentence.

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