California’s governor won’t appeal parole of former Manson follower Leslie Van Houten

California Governor won’t block parole for Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, a participant in the infamous 1969 Manson murders, allowing a path for her release after 53 years in prison.

No Appeal Coming: The governor’s office announced that it will not appeal a lower court ruling granting parole for Van Houten, viewing it unlikely that the state’s high court would consider such an appeal.
* While expressing disappointment, the governor’s office noted the enduring impact of the brutal Manson cult killings on the victims’ families.
* She was recommended for parole five times since 2016, but all those recommendations were rejected by Newsom and former Governor Jerry Brown.

Van Houten’s Journey: Now in her 70s, Van Houten could be freed in about two weeks once the parole board reviews her record and processes her release paperwork.
* Van Houten has been serving a life sentence for her role in the 1969 killings of Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.
* Once released, Van Houten will spend about a year in a halfway house, learning basic life skills.

Court Ruling: A state appeals court ruled in May that Van Houten should be released, acknowledging her “extraordinary rehabilitative efforts, insight, remorse, realistic parole plans, support from family, friends” and good prison behavior.
* Attorney Nancy Tetreault stated that Van Houten was “thrilled and overwhelmed”, and was grateful for recognition of her transformation.

Victim’s Perspective: Cory LaBianca, the daughter of one of Van Houten’s murder victims, expressed her family’s emotional pain upon hearing the news.
* Cory described a “huge void” in her family, as her children and grandchildren never had a chance to know her father and stepmother.

Crimes Recounted: In 1969, Van Houten participated in the murder of the LaBiancas, with her later admitting to holding Rosemary as others stabbed her before doing so herself.
* Van Houten, however, did not participate in the Manson cult’s killing of actress Sharon Tate and four others.
* Manson, the cult leader, died of natural causes in prison in 2017 after nearly half a century behind bars.

View original article on NPR

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