Manson family member Leslie Van Houten OK’d for parole

LOS ANGELES, April 14 (UPI) — Manson Family member Leslie Van Houten was recommended for parole in her 20th parole board hearing since she was sentenced to life in prison in 1978, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections said Thursday.

The decision will be reviewed by the full Board of Parole Hearings in the next few months then California Gov. Jerry Brown would have 30 days to approve or deny the recommendation.

Van Houten, now 66, was 19-years-old and a former high school homecoming queen when she joined other Manson family members in the murders of supermarket executives Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in 1969. She was not directly involved in the murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others the previous night.

Van Houten was sentenced to death in 1971, but California overturned the death penalty one year later. The conviction was also overturned because her attorney died before the trial was completed. Another trial ended in a hung jury and finally in 1978, she was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Cory LaBianca, the LaBianca’s son, who was 21 years old when the murders occurred, was outraged by the decision.

“Maybe Leslie Van Houten has been a model prisoner,” LaBianca said. “But you know what, we still suffer our loss. My father will never be paroled. My stepmother will never get her life back. There’s no way I can agree with the ruling today. I don’t seek revenge. I just think it’s just for someone to do that to stay in prison.”

Van Houten has been described as a model inmate who received her college degree while in prison. Gov. Brown in January rejected the parole of Manson associate Bruce Davis, convicted in the 1969 slayings of Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea.

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