Home>Articles>Will Gov. Gavin Newsom Grant Parole to Manson Family Killer Leslie Van Houten?

Leslie Van Houten, Patrice Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins, Manson family members. (Photo: Pinterest)

Will Gov. Gavin Newsom Grant Parole to Manson Family Killer Leslie Van Houten?

California Parole Board recommended Van Houten be paroled

By Evan Gahr, July 29, 2020 3:14 pm

The fate of one of murderous cult leader Charles Manson’s accomplices rests in the hands of Governor Gavin Newsom.

The California Parole Board last week recommended that Leslie Van Houten be paroled, but the decision about whether to spring her from the big house will be made by Newsom.

He has already nixed her approved release once and Jerry Brown did it twice when he was governor.

Charles Manson. (Photo: Amazon.com)

Newsom spokeswoman Vicky Waters was non-committal in a statement: “As with any parole suitability recommendation, when the case reaches the governor’s office, it will be carefully reviewed on its merits.”

Rich Pfeiffer, Van Houten’s lawyer, told the California Globe that given her notoriety and the enmity she still elicits–including an online petition with 171,000 signatories demanding she stay imprisoned–he doubted that Newsom would sign off on her release. “No governor is going to want his name on something like that.”

He said his client was “was very nervous going into the hearing, but she responded very well to all the questions” and that she “and her friends and family remain hopeful that she will be released.”

“We all think we are getting closer and closer to release,” he added.

Van Houten is serving a life sentence for helping Manson and other cult members kill a Los Angeles couple, Leno and Rosemary Labanca in 1969.  They stabbed them and smeared their blood in the wall and cut up Rosemary’s body.

This May an appeals court rejected Pfeiffer’s motion to have Van Houten, 70, related because her age put her at particular risk for covid infection.

When he rejected the parole board’s recommendation for release in 2017 then-Governor Jerry Brown said that Van Houten was still dangerous and that she posed an “unreasonable danger to society if released from prison.”

Leslie Van Houten, Manson Family murderer. (Photo: Amazon.com)

In reversing the parole board’s decision last year Gavin Newsom said much the same thing. “I find the evidence as a whole shows that she currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison at this time.”

Apparently both these liberals thought it was too judgmental to just say she deserved to stay in prison because of her heinous deeds.

The present danger argument offered up by Newsom and Brown sounds like a pretext.

When the parole board grants release it is based in part on a determination that the prisoner is no longer a threat to society.

Pfeiffer, said that in 50 years in prison Van Houton never had a “write-up” for bad behavior and that she has been working with rehabilitative programs for other prisoners. “More than 20 prison psychologists” who have examined her over 50 years said she is no longer dangerous, he noted.

Pfeiffer, who is not getting paid to represent Van Houton and is a former drug addict who has done time in the slammer himself, said California law is clear that if parole is approved and a prisoner “is not a current risk to public safety” he or she “shall be released.”

He said the parole board proceeding could be used to challenge Newsom’s expected denial in court. “I’m very optimistic about the results of the hearing going towards relief.”

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13 thoughts on “Will Gov. Gavin Newsom Grant Parole to Manson Family Killer Leslie Van Houten?

  1. Well George Orwell,
    I am going to take your statement as doublespeak in this day and age and translate it to mean, no never, she should rot in jail for the murders she helped commit.

    Forget 1984, it is 2020!😉😅

  2. I remember the murders, I was 14 years old. In the 70’s I read the book “Helter Skelter” by Vincent Bugliosi the LA Deputy DA that prosecuted the Mansion family. The book detailed the murders in horrific detail. How ANYONE could consider granting freedom to any of this scum is beyond my rational imagination. ALL OF THESE FAMILY MEMBERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXECUTED IN THE GAS CHAMBER. If Newsom has any, any decency at all he will let this bitch rot in prison.

  3. Since she was ordered, by the People of the state of California, to die in the gas chamber, she should die in prison; since she lucked out of being executed.

  4. She was sentenced to life WITH the possibility of parole. That’s what the DA thought was appropriate. She was 19 years old, the youngest one in the “family”. She participated in a brutal and senseless act that claimed the lives of two innocent people.
    How did a homecoming queen do something so cold hearted? Her mom and dad split up. Maybe she missed her dad, but back then mothers got custody. She rebelled, and ran away to Height Ashbury. Big deal, I agree. Everyone has a sob story. She took drugs, got pregnant, and returned to her mother to find support and assistance. Instead of comfort she was traumatized when her mother made her abort her unborn baby. A baby far enough along in development that her mom felt “abortion” was the wrong term. She punished Leslie by making her dig a grave in their backyard and burying it.
    I’m not surprised she ran off in search of another family. Unfortunately she was found by people looking to enlarge a criminal patriarchy, the Manson cult. She was 19, dosed with astronomically high levels of LSD and under the spell of a psychopathic pseudo-father.
    After enough time away from the others, she apparently cooperated freely with prosecutors who were convinced she could be rehabilitated and therefore didn’t seek life without parole. She didn’t cause any life ending injuries, those were administered by Tex Watson, a truly evil man, but did stab Rosemary La Bianca over a dozen times in the lower back and buttocks., most post mortem. I don’t intend to diminish the horror of those innocent people’s pain and terror. It’s nightmarish.
    Manson was a manipulative genius and she, the youngest of a group that all freely drank of the psycho Kool-Aid he was serving. How well would you do, retaining your independent thought in that environment? If you were sent to prison, would you have dedicated your life to helping other people better themselves? Earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees? Serve fifty years without a single disciplinary writeup?
    And if you firmly believe a 70 year old woman who has done nothing but atone for her horrible actions when she was a teenager should never be shown mercy and deserves to suffer until her death…you should wonder why YOU are such a cold hearted monster. She’s ashamed of what she did but you seem proud of your ruthlessness. I’d prefer her as a neighbor any day.

      1. I don’t remember anyone ever recommending Richard Speck for parole… And you’re comparing apples to oranges anyway. Yes, they were both convicted of murder but if you really don’t see any difference between Van Houten and Speck then you’re not worth arguing with, and I LOVE to argue. I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other regarding her parole but I’m commenting anyway. That should tell you something about the quality of your logic.

        1. MyGally If you have not read “Helter Skelter” written by the deputy da that prosecuted Mansion and his family I highly recommend that you read it. In it is detailed accounts on how Mansion’s “family members” murdered their victims in particular the murder of Rosemary LaBianca where Leslie Van Houten held her while Patricia Krenwinkel and Tex Watson took turns stabbing her. Van Houten also stabbed LaBianca after them. The victims of Mansion’s family were butchered.

    1. I rarely see truthful comments about Leslie. This is a very good summary of her life. Bottom line is many people have been paroled who did far worse crimes, and less time in prison. Our system needs to be fair. Trained people sit on the parole board, and take their jobs very seriously and leave politics out. Time to let Leslie Van Houten out.

  5. Even if she directly is no threat it doesn’t mean that who and what she did won’t influence other people who are capable of the same murderous actions that she was at that point in her life, she needs to stay in prison..

  6. Never get released, the other members have be approved for parole 7 times with the sitting state governors denying it at the last minute. Just cause you have the boxes check for parole doesn’t mean you actually get out. Releasing them would ruin your political career.

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