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‘Criminals Do Not Retire’: Sharon Tate’s Sister Urges Governor To Reject Parole For Leslie Van Houten

Leslie Van Houten is currently serving a life sentence for the 1969 murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

By Connor Mannion

Sharon Tate's sister is strongly urging against release for one of Charles Manson's followers — saying in a new letter that she doesn't believe Leslie Van Houten has reformed. 

Last week, commissioners of the California Board of Parole Hearings ruled for the fourth time that they believed Van Houten, 70, was suitable for release. The move will now undergo a 120-day review process, at the end of which Gov. Gavin Newsom can approve or reject Van Houten's parole. 

Although the board has approved parole for Van Houten a number of times, both current governor Newsom and former governor Jerry Brown shot down three previous parole petitions. Now, Debra Tate is directly petitioning Newsom to again reject parole for Van Houten.

Debra Tate Leslie Van Houten G

"The danger of letting these people out of prison is ever-present and real. I am scared, not just for myself and other family members who may be targeted, but for society," Tate wrote in a letter to Newsom that was obtained by TMZ.

"Age is immaterial to psychopathology. There is no cure for the sociopath. The disposition to committing violent crime does not have an expiration date. And criminals do not retire," she added, attempting to head off arguments that Van Houten poses no risk due to her advanced age.

Van Houten is currently serving a life sentence for helping Manson murder Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in the summer of 1969. She was 19 years old when the Manson Family stabbed the couple to death in their home and smeared their blood on the wall.

“As with any parole suitability recommendation, when the case reaches the Governor’s Office, it will be carefully reviewed on its merits,” Vicky Waters, Newsom’s press secretary, said in a previous statement.

At a previous hearing in 2017, Van Houten contended she had a troubled childhood which led her to join Manson's group in the late 1960s. 

"She and her friends and family remain hopeful that she will be released. We all think we are getting closer and closer to release," Van Houten's attorney Rich Pfeiffer told CNN.

Manson died of natural causes in 2017 while serving a life sentence.

A representative for Tate did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In 2019, she attended a previous parole hearing for Van Houten and vehemently disagreed with the decision to grant parole.