California Gov. Gavin Newsom has blocked Charles Manson supporter Leslie Van Houten’s parole and reversed a panel’s recommendation that she be released after half a century in prison.
An Houten, 72, “presents an unacceptable threat to society at this time if he is released from prison at this time,” Newsom said in his parole test Tuesday. It was the fifth time a California governor opposed her release.
Her attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, disputed that view and said the decision would be appealed in court. He accused Mr Newsom of refusing parole because he was worried about “his political future” and noted Van Houten has an immaculate disciplinary record in prison.
“We’re not fighting for Leslie to be a good person. She has proven that through her actions for half a century,” he said.
Van Houten is serving a life sentence for helping Manson and others kill Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in August 1969. Van Houten was 19 when she and other cult members fatally stabbed the LaBiancas and smeared the pair’s blood on the walls.
The day before, other Manson supporters, not including Van Houten, killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others.
In his rejection letter, Mr Newsom noted that Van Houten had undergone therapy, obtained educational degrees and attended self-help courses while in prison and had shown “increased maturity and rehabilitation”.
But Van Houten also has “insight gaps” that continue to make her a danger to society, he said.
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Van Houten has had 21 parole hearings since 1982. Most parole boards denied her request for freedom. But five panels have recommended her release since 2016, saying she has expressed remorse and is no longer a threat to public safety.
Mr Newsom rejected a recommendation made last November.
He previously reversed parole recommendations in 2019 and 2020. In February, the California Supreme Court refused to hear Van Houten’s appeal of the 2020 denial.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown denied Van Houten’s parole in 2016 and 2018.
Manson died of natural causes in a California hospital in 2017 while serving a life sentence.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/california-governor-rejects-parole-for-manson-family-member-leslie-van-houten-41502232.html California governor refuses to parole Manson’s family member Leslie Van Houten