May 20, 2024

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Manson Family killer Leslie Van Houten has been released on parole

Manson Family killer Leslie Van Houten has been released on parole

Leslie Van Houten, a follower of Charles Manson who was convicted of two killings, was released on Tuesday, officials said.

Van Houten, 73, has spent more than five decades in prison.

California Governor Gavin Newsomwho had previously blocked attempts at parole, said Friday that he would not challenge Houten’s release in the state Supreme Court.

An appeals court ruled in May that Van Houten was eligible for parole, reversing Newsom’s decision to deny parole.

Van Houten was originally sentenced to death on August 10, 1969, for the murders of Lino and Rosemary La Bianca.

“The original conviction and death sentence were reversed on appeal and she was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole,” the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.

In 1969, Manson and fellow cult member Charles “Tex” Watson entered the couple’s home and tied them up.

Manson went outside and told Van Houten and one other person to go and follow Watson’s instructions, according to court records. Watson told them to kill Rosemary LaBianca, and Watson killed Lino LaBianca.

The day before, Watson and other members of the cult—not Van Houten—had killed actress Sharon Tate and others in her home.

Van Houten is the second of six Manson cult followers convicted of murder and initially sentenced to death to be released.

Most death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment by a 1972 court decision outlawing the death penalty; The death penalty was later reintroduced in California.

A judge commuted Steve “Clem” Grogan’s death sentence to life in 1971 for various reasons, and he was paroled in 1985.

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Manson died in hospital in 2017 while serving a life sentence. Watson is serving life in prison. Susan Atkins died in prison in 2009, and Patricia Krenwinkel is serving a life sentence.

Others were also convicted but not sentenced to death.

A relative of one of the people killed by the Manson family in the 1960s, who regularly attended parole hearings for cult members, said Van Houten’s release was a fiasco of the parole system.

“Every governor since Arnold Schwarzenegger has revoked parole for Manson killers,” said Kay Martley, 86, whose cousin Gary Hinman was tortured and murdered by Manson followers on July 27, 1969.

He did not kill Van Houten Hinman. Bobby Beausoleil was convicted and is serving a life sentence for the Hinman murder.

Gov. “Let Newsom the judicial system override his parole power, which will affect the families of all the victims, not just those of us fighting against the five Manson killers,” Martley said.

In announcing Friday that he would not seek review in the state Supreme Court, Newsom’s office said the case was unlikely to be heard by the court.

Newsom’s office said additional appeals are unlikely to be successful.