Leslie Van Houten

State Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten’s Parole Appeal

On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court refused to hear Manson family follower Leslie Van Houten’s appeal which stems from Governor Gavin Newsom’s rejection of her parole.

According to the Associated Press, Van Houten, 72, asserted that Newsom denied her Fifth Amendment right due process by reversing the Board of Parole Hearings’ 2020 recommendation to grant her parole. Her petition stated there is a “strong possibility” that the governor missed the 30-day deadline to review the recommendation, and that the governor has not provided documentation detailing when the board referred the case to him.

In November 2021, the Board of Parole Hearings recommended parole for Van Houten, who has been jailed since 1971. 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 other 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.

Van Houten was initially convicted to death for the LaBianca slayings, but her sentence was commuted to life in prison after California outlawed the death penalty.

The state board has recommended parole five times. However, former and current Governors Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom have both denied Houten’s bid for parole on two instances. Newsom has maintained that the convicted killer still poses a danger to the public.

The Associated Press reported that the parole board’s 2021 decision remains under review.

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[Featured image: Leslie Van Houten/Stan Lim/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool]