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Manson Family Follower Recommended For Release By Parole Board For Fifth Time

"These hearings are very hard on her," Leslie Van Houten’s appeals lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer stated. It was the fifth time since 2016 that the 72-year-old former Manson Family follower has been recommended for parole. 

By Dorian Geiger
Manson: The Women Bonus Leslie Van Houten's Retrials

A former member of Charles Manson’s cult has been recommended for parole for the fifth time by a California parole board. 

Leslie Van Houten, 72, was recommended for parole in her 24th appeal before the parole board on Tuesday. It's her fifth release recommendation in the past half decade, according to reports. 

The recommendation is now subject to a three-month review by the legal division of the parole board, CNN reported. California Governor Gavin Newsom will then have 30 days to make a final decision regarding Van Houten’s possible release.

Newsom has twice reversed Van Houten’s parole, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, former California Governor Jerry Brown, who also denied Van Houten’s release on two separate occasions.

Newsom stated in a previous decision to bar Van Houten's release that he believed the 72-year-old "poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison."

"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 stated.

Leslie Van Houten Ap

A spokesperson for the governor’s office wasn’t immediately available for comment regarding the parole board’s decision this week.

"These hearings are very hard on her," Van Houten’s appeals attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, said.

Van Houten's attorney predicted that it will be "more difficult for Governor Newsom to do it again."

"But he wants votes so I predict he will reverse this grant as well," Pfeiffer added, the Associated Press reported.

Pfeiffer, who has previously taken issue with Newsom's decisions regarding his client's release, has also appealed them in the past.

“This reversal will demonstrate to the courts that there is no way Newsom will let her out,” Pfeiffer said in 2020, according to the Guardian. “So they have to enforce the law or it will never be enforced.”

Van Houten was convicted in the 1969 murder of Los Angeles grocer, Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary LaBianca, which prosecutors alleged was carried out at the behest of the Manson Family cult. She was 19 at the time.

"I was mesmerized by his mind and the things he professed," Van Houten said of Charles Manson. 

In 1971, Van Houten was sentenced to death, however, that sentence was later changed to life in prison. 

Charles Manson died in prison of natural causes in 2017 while also serving a life sentence for the sixties cult killings.

Debra Tate, the sister of Sharon Tate — has also petitioned the state to grant Van Houten’s release. Debra Tate has previously attended parole hearings of the former Manson member.

Van Houten is currently in custody at the California Institution for Women in Riverside County near Los Angeles. Her legal team wasn’t immediately available when contacted by Oxygen.com for comment on Wednesday afternoon.