SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) — A California parole panel Wednesday recommended that Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten be granted parole after serving more than four decades in prison.
After the required 150-day review process, Leslie Van Houten’s fate will be in the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom who needs to either approve or deny the request.READ MORE: COVID: California To Set Aside 40% Of Vaccine Doses For State's Most Vulnerable Neighborhoods
Twice previously the board has reached the same recommendation but former Gov. Jerry Brown denied it both times.
Van Houten was among the followers in Manson’s murderous cult who stabbed to death wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in 1969. Van Houten was 19 during the killings, which came a day after other Manson followers killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in Los Angeles.
Tate’s sister attended Wednesday’s proceedings and said afterward that she vehemently disagrees with the parole recommendation.
“I just have to hope and pray that the governor comes to the right decision” and keeps Van Houten behind bars, Debra Tate said. Newsom’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In his decision last year, Brown acknowledged Van Houten’s youth at the time of the crime, her more than four decades of good behavior as a prisoner and her abuse at the hands of Manson. But he said she still laid too much blame on Manson for the murders.READ MORE: Sharks Give Up 3 Goals In 3rd, Fall To Avs In Shutout
At her last hearing, Van Houten described a troubled childhood. She said she was devastated when her parents divorced when she was 14. Soon after, she said, she began hanging out with her school’s outcast crowd and using drugs. When she was 17, she and her boyfriend ran away to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District during the city’s Summer of Love.
She was traveling up and down the California coast when acquaintances led her to Manson. He was holed up at an abandoned movie ranch on the outskirts of Los Angeles where he had recruited what he called a “family” to survive what he insisted would be a race war he would launch by committing a series of random, horrifying murders.
Van Houten said she joined several other members of the group in killing the LaBiancas, carving up Leno LaBianca’s body and smearing the couple’s blood on the walls.
No one who took part in the Tate-LaBianca murders has been released from prison.
Van Houten’s lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, said before the hearing that he expected a parole recommendation. He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment after the decision.
Manson died in 2017 of natural causes at a California hospital while serving a life sentence.MORE NEWS: Curry Scores 35, But Warriors Fall To Blazers After Late 3 By Lillard
Earlier this month, a California parole panel recommended for the first time that Manson follower Robert Beausoleil be freed. Beausoleil was convicted of killing musician Gary Hinman.