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Calif. Governor Nixes Parole For Charles Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten

Leslie Van Houten is serving a life sentence for helping Charles Manson and his followers kill Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.

By The Associated Press
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Manson: The Women Bonus Leslie Van Houten
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Manson: The Women Bonus Leslie Van Houten

In January 2019, Leslie Van Houten and Bobby Beausoleil, who had both been convicted of Manson Family murders, were found suitable for parole. California Governor Gavin Newsom had 30 days to approve or deny the parole board's decisions, and in June 2019, he vetoed the parole board's recommendation that Van Houten be released from prison.

California Gov. Gavin Newson has reversed parole for Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, marking the fourth time a governor has blocked her release. 

A California panel recommended parole in July for Van Houten, who has spent nearly five decades in prison. Newsom reversed her release once previously and his predecessor, Jerry Brown, blocked it twice.

Van Houten's attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, said they will appeal Newsom's decision. 

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

Van Houten is serving a life sentence for helping Manson and others kill Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in August 1969. Van Houten was 19 when she and other cult members fatally stabbed the LaBiancas and smeared the couple's blood on the walls. 

The day before, other Manson followers, not including Van Houten, killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others.

Newsom said in his decision that "evidence shows that she currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison." 

Pfeiffer had unsuccessfully requested her release in May due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In 2017, at her parole hearing, Van Houten talked about her childhood, including being devastated by her parents' divorce when she was 14, using drugs, and running away with a boyfriend at the age of 17.

She met Manson while traveling along the coast. 

Manson was living on the edge of Los Angeles with the "family" he recruited to survive a race war that he said he would spark with random, horrifying murders.

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

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