Former Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten Freed After 53 Years In Prison
Former Manson follower Leslie Van Houten freed after 53 years in prison for the brutal murder of a Los Angeles grocer and his wife in 1969. Van Houten, now 73 years old, was only 19 when she participated in the murders.
Hilda WorkmanJul 12, 202323225 Shares400426 Views
Former Manson follower Leslie Van Houten freed after 53 years in prisonfor the brutal murder of a Los Angeles grocer and his wife in 1969. Van Houten, now 73 years old, was only 19 when she participated in the murders.
Despite facing previous rejections on five separate occasions by California's governors, the decision to deny her parole was eventually overturned by a state appeals court. Van Houten, who had once held the title of homecoming queen, became the youngest member of the Manson family to be convicted of murder for her involvement in the slaying of Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.
During the horrific incident, which occurred shortly after the murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others, Van Houten held down Rosemary LaBianca while another individual stabbed her. Van Houten later confessed to also stabbing the deceased woman herself.
According to Leslie Van Houten's lawyer, Nancy Tetreault, the former Manson family member left a women's prison in California early Tuesday morning and is expected to be on parole for a period of three years.
According to Ms. Tetreault's statement:
She had a long job of detaching herself from the cult mentality and accepting responsibility for her crimes. It took her a long time. She had decades of therapy. So she felt guilt and deep remorse.- Nancy Tetreault, Leslie Van Houten's lawyer
Former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten released from prison
Charles Manson, widely recognized as one of America's most infamous cult leaders, orchestrated a series of nine murders with the intention of inciting a race war referred to as "Helter Skelter," named after the renowned Beatles song. He passed away in prison in 2017.
During her imprisonment, Leslie Van Houten, who received a life sentence, managed to obtain both a bachelor's and a master's degree. Additionally, she served as a tutor for fellow inmates.
Despite facing numerous parole denials throughout her time behind bars, Van Houten's recommendation for parole was finally granted in 2016. However, both California Governor Gavin Newsom and his predecessor, Jerry Brown, rejected these recommendations.
In 2020, the denial of Van Houten's parole was eventually overturned by a California appeals court, marking a turning point in her case. On July 8, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he would not impede Leslie Van Houten's parole, clearing the path for her release on Tuesday.
In a recent statement, the governor expressed his ongoing disappointment regarding her release, noting that further legal proceedings were unlikely to result in the case being heard by California's Supreme Court.
"More than 50 years after the Manson cult committed these brutal killings, the victims' families still feel the impact," the statement said.
Following her release from prison, Leslie Van Houten is anticipated to reside in a halfway house for approximately a year. According to her lawyer, during this time, she will need to adjust to a vastly changed reality compared to when she was initially incarcerated and learn to navigate her new surroundings.
"She has to learn to use the internet. She has to learn to buy things without cash," Ms Tetreault told the AP. "It's a very different world than when she went in."
Throughout the repeated parole hearings, Leslie Van Houten consistently expressed remorse for her participation in the murders and her association with Charles Manson. She later admitted that she had allowed Manson to overpower her own independent thinking.
"I bought into it lock, stock and barrel," she said of his beliefs in a 2002 parole hearing. "I took it at face value".