Governor Denies Youngest Manson Family Member's Parole After Board Recommended She Be Freed
She was just 19 at the time and claimed she never murdered anyone, but Leslie Van Houten's role as the youngest member of the Manson family was enough to get her parole denied, this time by California Governor Jerry Brown.
Van Houten was stunned earlier this year when a parole board recommended she be released after nearly 50 years behind bars for her role in the vicious 1969 slayings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
Prior to this year, Van Houten had been denied parole 19 times.
This week, Governor Brown made it 20.
"Both her role in these extraordinarily brutal crimes and her inability to explain her willing participation in such horrific violence cannot be overlooked and lead me to believe she remains an unreasonable risk to society if released," Brown said.
Brown's decision comes after the sister of Sharon Tate, who was also killed in the summer of 1969 by Manson family members, strongly condemned the recommendation for parole.
In 1994, Van Houten told Larry King that she stabbed Rosemary LaBianca only after she'd been fatally attacked by other Manson members.
"I went in and Mrs. LaBianca was laying on the floor and I stabbed her in the lower back around 16 times," said Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the murders.
Van Houten then put on LaBianca's clothes and drank chocolate milk from her refrigerator, according to prosecutors.
Her attorney, Richard Pfeiffer, says Van Houten deserves to be freed and has been a model prisoner over the years by teaching other inmates to read and write.
Van Houten also has spoken to several interviewers throughout the decades she has been locked up, expressing remorse for her actions and saying she understood that she deserved to be imprisoned for her actions.
“The way Leslie’s trying to make amends is to try to pay it forward by helping other people. That’s all she can do,” Pfeiffer said.
However, Tate’s sister, Debra, told Inside Edition that Van Houten doesn’t deserve parole. “These are predatory killers,” she said of the remaining Manson family members.
Van Houten did not participate in the grisly murders of the pregnant actress and her houseguests the night before in the Hollywood Hills.