Leslie VanHouten, a former member of the Manson Family who spent more than 50 year in prison may be able to get out sooner after a California appellate court’s ruling on Tuesday. The court’s decision Gavin Newsom, California Governor. Gavin Newsom, who last year vetoed a recommendation by the state’s parole board that Van Houten be set free.
Van Houten, a follower of Charles Manson’s cult in 1969, was found guilty in 1971 for killing Leno LaBianca and Rosemary LaBianca. She had been initially given the death penalty, but was allowed two retrials during the late 70s. She received a first-degree murder conviction and received a prison sentence of up to life with parole.
Van Houten was recommended for release five times since 2016, but the recommendations were all vetoed. The first two by then-Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed two of the recommendations and Newsom, one. Newsom was overruled by the Los Angeles 2nd district court of appeals, which voted 2-1 to do so.
“Van Houten has shown extraordinary rehabilitative efforts, insight, remorse, realistic parole plans, support from family and friends, favorable institutional reports, and, at the time of the Governor’s decision, had received four successive grants of parole,” The majority of opinion is that. “Although the Governor states Van Houten’s historical factors ‘remain salient,’ he identifies nothing in the record indicating Van Houten has not successfully addressed those factors through many years of therapy, substance abuse programming, and other efforts.”
Newsom maintains Van Houten’s threat to the society is not diminished by his age. He was 19 years old at the time the crimes were committed. Part of what he said that he rejected her parole because she isn’t able to provide an adequate explanation for her involvement with the Manson family and her role in the murders.
“Given the extreme nature of the crime in which she was involved, I do not believe she has sufficiently demonstrated that she has come to terms with the totality of the factors that led her to participate in the vicious Manson Family killings,” Newsom said when he vetoed her most recent parole recommendation in 2022. “Before she can be safely released, Ms. Van Houten must do more to develop her understanding of the factors that caused her to seek acceptance from such a negative, violent influence, and perpetrate extreme acts of wanton violence.”
In the meantime, Van Houten’s legal team will still have some work to do before their client could be released. Nancy Tetreault, her attorney, says that she anticipates California Attorney-General Rob Bonta requesting the State Supreme Court to review this ruling. This could take many years.