Leslie Van Houten, a surviving member of the Manson Family, may have another chance at freedom as an appeals court will hear arguments this week regarding her parole.
According to the Associated Press, Van Houten’s case will be presented to California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal, who will decide whether they will uphold a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruling which denied her parole last year.
Van Houten was 19 when she and fellow cult members fatally stabbed Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in 1969. The slayings occurred a day after fellow Manson followers killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others at Tate’s Los Angeles home. Van Houten had no involvement in the Tate murders.
Nearly half a century after the infamous crime spree, Van Houten’s attorney will argue that his convicted murderer client is a changed woman who has taken responsibility for her actions and has been a model inmate while serving her life sentence.
Since 2016, a parole board has consistently endorsed Van Houten’s release. However, in addition to last year’s ruling, then-Governor Jerry Brown has also prevented her release on two instances.
While the parole board’s January 30 determination is currently under a five-month review, AP reported that the decision made by Court of Appeal’s three-judge panel could determine Van Houten’s fate or they could opt to forward the case to Governor Gavin Newsom.
The Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear opening arguments on Wednesday. Van Houten isn’t expected to be present for the hearing.
“This has been the best anything has ever looked since I’ve been on the case,” her attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, told AP. “This is probably the best way out.”
[Featured image: Leslie Van Houten/Stan Lim/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool]