Leslie Van Houten, a former member of the notorious “Manson family” murderers, has officially been approved for parole by the state of California. Van Houten was convicted in 1971 for the murders of Leno La Bianca and his wife Rosemary—events she recounted detail during a hearing this Thursday.
“The only violent thing she has ever done in her entire life was this crime and that was under the control of Charles Manson,” Van Houten’s lawyer, Rich Pfiffer, said in a previous interview arguing for her release. “She is just not a public safety risk, and when you are not a public safety risk, the law says you shall be released.”
The families of Manson’s victims seem to disagree. Two weeks ago, Debra Tate—the sister of Manson victim Sharon Tate—launched an online campaign protesting Van Hoten’s parole, referring to Van Houten as “remorseless,” with regards to the horrible events of August 10th, 1969:
Ms. Van Houten broke into the home of Leno & Rosemary LaBianca on August 10, 1969- after Charles Manson had gone into their home & tied the couple up. She placed a pillowcase over Mrs. LaBianca’s head & tied it with a lamp chord. She held Mrs. LaBianca down so Patricia Krenwinkel could stab her to death. When the knife bent stabbing Mrs. LaBianca in the collar bone, Ms. Van Houten held Mrs. LaBianca down so Tex Watson could come in & stab her. She stabbed Mrs. LaBianca in the lower back several times. Mrs. LaBianca was stabbed a total of 41 times. Words were written in blood on two walls & a refrigerator door. Ms. Van Houten then took a shower, stole one of her dresses to wear, & ate food from the refrigerator before leaving.
Van Houten, who was 20 at the time of her conviction and is now 66, was originally sentenced to death, along with Manson and two other members of the “family”—making her the youngest woman in the state of California to get sent to death row. The ruling was eventually thrown out, and Van Houten has spent her life since then on the receiving end of more than 20 failed parole hearings.