A prison spokesperson told CNN that Leslie Van Houten, a former Charles Manson follower and convicted murderer, was released from a California prison on Tuesday.
Van Houten He was released on parole supervisionMarie Zimenez, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. Xjimenez said Van Houten will have a maximum of three years parole with a parole review procedure after one year.
Van Houten, now in her 70s, was 19 when she met Manson and joined the murder cult that came to be called the “Manson Family.”
Before her release on Tuesday, she was serving concurrent seven-year sentences after being convicted in 1971 for her role in the murder of supermarket executive Lino LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in their Los Angeles home.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced Friday that it will not appeal a state appeals court ruling in May that opened up the possibility of Van Houten’s parole, paving the way for her release.
“More than 50 years after the Manson cult committed these brutal crimes, the families of the victims continue to feel the impact, as do all Californians,” Erin Mellon, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Friday. Governor Newsom has revoked Ms. Vann’s parole grant. Houten three times since taking office and has defended her challenge to those decisions in court.
“The governor is disappointed with the appeals court’s decision to release Ms. Van Houten, but will not take any further action as efforts at further appeals are unlikely to be successful. The California Supreme Court accepts appeals in very few cases, and generally no Cases are chosen based on this kind of determination of specific facts.”
A family member of celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, who was killing By the Manson cult in 1969, he said he did not agree with the governor’s office’s decision not to challenge Van Houten’s parole.
“I certainly respect Governor Newsom and the attorney general,” Sebring’s nephew, Anthony DeMaria, told CNN’s Laura Coats. “But our families strongly and vehemently oppose their decision not to file an appeal.”
Calling Demaria Van Houten a “cold-blooded killer in one of the worst killings in US history”, she said her release set a “dangerous and pernicious precedent”.
Van Houten’s attorney, Nancy Tetro, told CNN reporter Jon Berman Tuesday night that her client “underwent courses to stand up to what she did — to take responsibility for what she did,” along with “40 years of psychiatric evaluation” to get her parole.
“I understand why…the family members of the victims are emotional about this and want revenge, but that’s not the law,” Tetro told Berman. “The law says she has the right to parole if she meets the criterion, and the criterion is that she no longer poses a danger to society.”
Tetro said she is not trying to prove that Van Houten is innocent, but maintains that Van Houten “had, and has accepted, full responsibility for the crime.”
After 53 years in custody, Van Houten will participate in a transitional housing program to help her with job training, teach her how to get a job and support herself, Tetro told CNN last week.
“If you think about it, she’s never used an ATM, she’s never had a cell phone,” Tetro said last week. The lawyer told CNN that she had discussed with her client the possibility of her getting disoriented as she went about her daily routine activities, such as going to the supermarket.
The attorney said Van Houten will seek work that builds on her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the humanities that she earned while in prison. But for now, I’m just getting used to it.
“She said she’s just trying to get used to the idea that she’s no longer in prison after all these decades, and just adjusting to her new life outside of prison,” Tetro said Tuesday.
Convicted, Van Houten was sentenced to death, but her death sentence was overturned after California abolished the death penalty, and her sentence was commuted to life in prison. She first became eligible for parole in 1977 and was first recommended by a California Parole Board committee for parole in 2016 after she appeared 22 before the board, CNN reported.
This decision, however, It has been reversed five times by the state’s governors — twice to former Governor Jerry Brown, who cited the horrific nature of the murders and Van Houten’s enthusiastic involvement, and three times to Governor Gavin Newsom.
In 1994, Van Houten described her role in the prison killings Interview with Larry King from CNN.
“I walked in and Mrs. LaBianca was lying on the floor and I stabbed her,” said Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the murders. “On the lower back, about 16 times.”
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