California governor denies parole of Manson family member Leslie Van Houten for fourth time

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Leslie Van Houten, a follower of Charles Manson convicted in a series of murders in 1969, was denied parole for the fourth time in four years on Friday.

The California parole board recommended Van Houten’s parole in January. California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a parole review obtained by CNN that he believed Van Houten “currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison at this time.” ”

“Given the extreme nature of the crime in which she was involved, I do not think she has sufficiently demonstrated that she accepted all of the factors that led her to participate in the vicious murders of the Manson family” , Newsom wrote in its ruling.

Newsom added that despite Van Houten’s productive time in prison – she obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree and completed an “extended” self-help program – the negative factors of her involvement in the murders outweighed the positive factors.

Van Houten, 71, is serving a life sentence at the California Institute for Women in Corona after being convicted of two murders in 1969 and conspiracy to kill five more.

She was 19 when she met Charles Manson and became part of his murderous cult that came to be called the “Manson family,” according to parole documents.

On August 10, 1969, she and other members of the Manson family brutally stabbed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca to death at their Los Angeles home. Van Houten was arrested on November 25, 1969.

Van Houten was sentenced to death in 1971, but a year later the death penalty was overturned. His first conviction was also overturned because his lawyer died before the end of the trial. She was tried two more times – one ending with a suspended jury – and was sentenced to life in prison after a guilty verdict in 1978.

Newsom said he understood Van Houten was 19 at the time of the crime and that a psychologist who assessed her said it was likely that her involvement in the murders was “significantly affected” by related factors. to youth, such as his impulsiveness and inability to deal with his emotions.

“Before she can be safely released, Ms. Van Houten must do more to develop her understanding of the factors that led her to seek acceptance by such a negative and violent influence, and to perpetrate extreme acts of wanton violence.” , Newsom said.

This is his 23rd appeal and the fourth time that the council has found Van Houten fit for release. His previous three approvals for release have been blocked twice by former Gov. Jerry Brown and once by Newsom.

Since 2016, Manson family members Charles Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Bobby Beausoleil and Bruce Davis have been denied offers of parole.

Manson died of natural causes in 2017. He was 83 years old.

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