After 21 hearings, Leslie Van Houten, a former member of the Manson family, has been granted her wish after 40 years. As the youngest follower of Charles Manson’s cult in the 60s, a drugged Van Houten helped to commit one of the most shocking crimes of the century and she was only 19 years old.
After being convicted of the killings of the La Biancas, who were wealthy grocery store owners, Van Houten spent the last 40 years of her life behind bars. Her lawyer insists she is not a risk to the public and has earned college degrees while incarcerated. To this day, she swears she did not use the knife that stabbed Rosemary La Bianca to death. Instead, she opted to follow orders and hold a pillow over Rosemary’s face while another Manson family member did the stabbing.
Manson is now 81 years old and Van Houten is 66 years old. On April 14, 2016, she reflected on her actions and shared what happened with the parole board, once again, that fateful day after the Sharon Tate murders. It was evident that time had taken its toll, she was not proud of her participation or association with the Manson family.
Gov. Jerry Brown has the difficult decision of finally releasing Van Houten, much to the chagrin of Debra, who is Sharon Tate’s sister. She believes this woman has no regrets about her actions and should not be paroled. Manson is still behind bars, as are the other family members that are still alive. Van Houten has been a model prisoner and all of her team insists she is not a threat to the public. However, Debra disagrees and has started a petition to keep her behind bars for the rest of her life.
By Sylvia Harris
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Associated Press: Parole Approved For Ex-Manson Family Member
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