Leslie Van Houten, the youngest member of the Manson "family" to take part in a series of gruesome California murders in 1969, has been denied freedom again—her past overshadowing her decades as a model prisoner. On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown overturned a parole board recommendation that found Van Houten, 66, was no longer the violent woman who helped slaughter a wealthy grocer and his wife, the AP reports. The board noted that during her 46 years in prison, Van Houten completed college degrees, ran self-help groups for other inmates, and had a spotless disciplinary record. Brown disagreed with their conclusion. "She remains an unacceptable risk to society if released," he wrote in a five-page review that denied Van Houten parole for the 20th time.
At 19, Van Houten, a former homecoming queen, was the youngest Charles Manson follower to take part in killings he orchestrated in hopes of fomenting a race war. She did not take part in the murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in 1969 but did participate in the killings of grocer Leno La Bianca and his wife, Rosemary, the next day, stabbing the woman at least 16 times. "The shocking nature of the crimes left an indelible mark on society," Brown wrote. "The motive—to trigger a civilization-ending race war by slaughtering innocent people chosen at random is equally disturbing." Her lawyer says he expected Brown's decision because of the political pressure put upon him and he will challenge the decision in Los Angeles County Superior Court. (The DA urged Brown to keep the "manipulative" Van Houten behind bars.)