Leslie Van Houten, who was 19 when she joined other followers of Charles Manson on a 1969 murder spree, is asking the state of California to release her on parole. Over the past five decades, the convict, now 69, has made nearly two dozen attempts to be freed from the California Institute for Women, according to Reuters.
The California Board of Parole Hearings has twice recommended to the governor that he release her, but Jerry Brown has twice refused. The most recent attempt was last January. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger similarly barred the release of people associated with Manson. In 2016, Rolling Stone reported that, following the release of a petition that garnered 140,000 signatures, Brown called Van Houten’s release an “unacceptable risk to society.”
If her current bid goes through, newly elected Governor Gavin Newsom would make the decision. Reuters reports that the review process could take up to 150 days.
Earlier this month, the board recommended that Manson follower Robert Beausoleil should be paroled. Newsom has not indicated yet what he thinks about it.
Van Houten was originally sentenced to death but the ruling was overturned on appeal. She was retried and sentenced to life in prison in 1978.
On August 10th, 1969, she killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Angeles home. Manson’s followers, known as the Manson Family, also murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others the night before. Charles Manson had planted the seed in their minds that these murders would start a race war, what he called “Helter Skelter,” that would bring about Armageddon.
Prior to the murders, Van Houten was a two-time homecoming queen. She met Manson, who died in prison in 2017 at the age of 83, less than a year before the murders. She has said that she was under the influence of LSD at the time and was parsing emotional problems.