Board Grants Parole to Youngest Manson Follower

Governor could overrule Leslie Van Houten decision again
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2017 1:27 AM CDT
Board Grants Parole to Youngest Manson Follower
Leslie Van Houten reacts after hearing she is eligible for parole during a hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 at the California Institution for Women in Corona, Calif.   (Stan Lim/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool)

For the second time in two years, a California panel has recommended parole for Leslie Van Houten, the youngest former Charles Manson follower imprisoned for the 1969 murder spree that horrified Los Angeles. After a 120-day review process, California Gov. Jerry Brown will have the final say on whether to approve, reject, or modify the parole board's decision in the case of Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the murders and is now 68, USA Today reports. Van Houten has confessed to stabbing Rosemary LaBianca, wife of grocer Leno LaBianca, more than a dozen times after invading their home with fellow members of the "Manson Family" on Aug. 9, 1969.

This is Van Houten's 21st bid for parole. Brown overturned the parole board's recommendation for freedom last year, but attorney Rich Pfeiffer says they will go back to court if he turns her down again because of public pressure, the Los Angeles Times reports. "She's very thankful and relieved," after the latest board decision, Pfeiffer says. "She’s going home. There’s no question she’s going home. The only question is when." Brown also has the options of sending the decision to the full Board of Parole, or taking no action, allowing the decision to stand. (A fellow Manson follower testified last week that she was threatened with a painful death if she left the cult.)

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