California Appeals Court Says Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten May Be Paroled

Leslie van Houten (Stan Lim / Los Angeles Daily News via Associated Press)
Stan Lim / Los Angeles Daily News via Associated Press

A California appeals court has overruled a decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to deny parole to Leslie van Houten, who has served a half-century in prison for her role in the gruesome Charles Manson murders.

Manson, who was hailed as a hero of the 1960s counterculture, masterminded a series of murders in Los Angeles and died in prison in 2017 at the age of 83, having been denied parole by several governors.

Van Houten, 73, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the stabbing murders of grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, has reportedly been a model prisoner, and her attorneys have argued that she poses no danger to society.

The three female defendants in the Tate-LaBianca murders, (L-R) Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel, return to their cells.

As the Los Angeles Times notes, the appeals court took issue with Newsom’s reasoning for denying her parole:

Newsom wrote in his denial that there were inconsistencies between Van Houten’s recent statements and those she made during the killings in the summer of 1969, indicating “gaps in Ms. Van Houten’s insight or candor, or both.”

Judges for the appellate court in Los Angeles wrote that Newsom’s rejection “fails to account for the decades of therapy, self-help programming and reflection Van Houten has undergone in the past 50 years.”

Newsom has a 10-day window, which begins in 30 days, in which he could ask Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta to petition the California Supreme Court to reverse the decision.

The fight could go all the way to the California Supreme Court — but Van Houten could then be released.

Only one member of the Manson “family” convicted for involvement in the murders has been paroled: Steven Dennis “Clem” Grogan, who was paroled in 1985 after helping authorities in the investigations of the others.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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