DA: Deny Parole for 'Manipulative' Manson Follower

Letter to Gov. Jerry Brown says Leslie Van Houten has no remorse for LaBianca murders
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2016 3:03 AM CDT
Updated Jun 29, 2016 7:10 AM CDT
DA: Deny Parole for 'Manipulative' Manson Follower
Former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten confers with her attorney during a break from her hearing before the California Board of Parole Hearings in Chino, Calif., on April 14, 2016.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

The Los Angeles district attorney is urging Gov. Jerry Brown to reject parole for a follower of mass murderer Charles Manson, the AP reports. District Attorney Jackie Lacey released a letter Tuesday she sent to Brown saying that Leslie Van Houten should stay in prison for her role in the brutal 1969 killings. Van Houten is serving life for the first-degree murders of wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary. The couple were fatally stabbed a day after other "Manson family" members killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others. "[Van Houten] poses an unreasonable risk to public safety and is unsuitable for parole at this time," Lacey's letter notes, adding that she believes Van Houten is "manipulative," has a "disturbingly distorted view of Charles Manson," and "clearly lacks insight, genuine remorse, and an understanding of the magnitude of her crimes."

The 66-year-old Van Houten has been denied parole 19 times, per the Los Angeles Times, but a parole board recommended in April that she be freed. Van Houten's lawyer, meanwhile, tells the Times that Lacey took comments Van Houten made at her parole hearing—including that Manson was a "myth of a person" and a "caricature of horror"—out of context, and he notes that 17 doctors had concluded that Van Houten poses "low" or "extremely low" risk to society if she's given parole. Brown has until mid-September to block her release. In addition to Lacey's letter, Tate's sister and LaBianca relatives turned in signatures of 140,000 people opposing Van Houten's release. (More Charles Manson stories.)

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