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California Supreme Court Denies Charles Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten's Appeal For Release

Leslie Van Houten was among a group of Charles Manson's followers who broke into the home of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca on Aug. 10, 1969 and viciously slaughtered the couple.

By Jill Sederstrom
Manson: The Women Bonus Leslie Van Houten

Charles Manson follower and convicted killer Leslie Van Houten will remain behind bars after the California Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal for release Wednesday.

Van Houten had appealed to the state’s highest court after a lower court last December denied her petition to review a decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom to keep her in prison over the state parole board's recommendation, according to The Associated Press.

The parole board had recommended her release in 2020 after determining that Van Houten — who helped torture and kill Leno and Rosemary LaBianca along with other Manson followers in 1969 — “does not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety.”

Newsom had rejected the parole board’s recommendation, saying he believed the 72-year-old would pose an “unreasonable danger” if she was released.

Leslie Van Houten Ap

Given the extreme nature of the crime in which she was involved, I do not believe she has sufficiently demonstrated that she has come to terms with the totality of the factors that led her to participate in the vicious Manson Family killings," Newsom wrote in his decision, according to CNN.

Van Houten’s legal team then argued to the courts that the governor’s decision denied due process. They also claimed that Newsom refused to provide documents about when the case had been referred to him by the parole board, the Associated Press reports; that was relevant because they believed there was a “strong possibility” Newsom had gone over his 30-day time limit to review the decision.

The parole board recommended Van Houten be released for a fifth time in November 2021, CNN reports. The latest recommendation remains under procedural review.

Oxygen.com reached out to Van Houten’s attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, but did not receive an immediate response.

The LaBiancas were brutally stabbed in their Los Feliz home on August 10, 1969 after Charles Manson had directed his followers — including Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Tex Watson — to sneak into the home under the cover of darkness and kill the couple.

Van Houten and Krenwinkel threw a pillowcase over Rosemary’s head and wrapped a lamp cord around her neck. She could hear her husband being stabbed to death in the next room, according to the Oxygen special “Manson: The Women.”

Rosemary died after being stabbed 42 times herself.

"Eight of the stab wounds would've been fatal in and of themselves," former Los Angeles County Prosecutor Stephen Kay said in the special. "Seven of the eight fatal stab wounds were in Rosemary's back. One of the stab wounds ... severed her spinal cord."

The night before the brutal attack on the LaBiancas, another group of Manson’s followers stabbed pregnant actress Sharon Tate to death along with four other people in her Benedict Canyon home. Van Houten was not in attendance that night.

Van Houten later renounced the charismatic cult leader, telling the parole board in 2017 that she still struggles with her decision to kill.

“To tell you the truth, the older I get the harder it is to deal with all of this, to know what I did, how it happened,” she said, according to Newsweek.