Leslie Van Houten, a convicted killer and erstwhile follower of Charles Manson, was released from a California jail on Tuesday, a prison spokesperson told.
Leslie Van Houten released from prison
According to Mary Xjimenez, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Van Houten was freed under parole supervision. According to Xjimenez, Van Houten’s maximum parole period will be three years, with a reassessment of his parole eligibility taking place after the first year.
Leslie Van Houten first met Manson when she was 19 years old. She is now in her 70s. She then became a member of the murderous cult known as the “Manson family.”
She was sentenced to concurrent terms of seven years to life in prison after being found guilty in 1971 of murdering supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, at their Los Angeles home. She was finally freed on Tuesday.
The office of California Governor Gavin Newsom stated on Friday that it would not appeal a state appellate court panel’s decision from May that allowed Van Houten to be considered for parole, paving the way for her release.
“Over 50 years after the Manson family perpetrated these heinous crimes, all of California, along with the kin of the victims, are still grieving. Governor Newsom has three times revoked Ms. Van Houten’s parole since taking office, and he has defended those actions against her court challenges, according to Erin Mellon, a spokeswoman for the governor.
The Court of Appeal’s choice to release Ms. Van Houten displeased the Governor, but he or she chose not to pursue further action because a successful appeal was unlikely. Melton noted that the California Supreme Court rarely accepts appeals and often does not choose cases based on this kind of fact-specific analysis.
The family of famous hairstylist Jay Sebring, who was murdered by the Manson cult in 1969, expressed disagreement with the governor’s office’s choice to not oppose Van Houten’s parole.
Anthony DiMaria, Sebring’s nephew, told CNN’s Laura Coates on Tuesday night, “I have respect for Governor Newsom and the attorney general. But our families adamantly and profoundly disagree with their choice not to appeal.
In one of the most notorious murder sprees in American history, DiMaria referred to Van Houten as a “cold-blooded killer,” and she claimed that her release sets a “dangerous, pernicious precedent.”
Nancy Tetreault, Van Houten’s attorney, told CNN’s John Berman on Tuesday night that her client has undergone “40 years of psych evaluation” to be granted release, as well as “courses to face her actions and accept responsibility for them.”
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“I understand why. The families of the victims are enraged by this and want to take revenge, but it is against the law, Tetreault told Berman. According to the law, she is entitled to parole if she satisfies the requirement that she no longer represents a danger to society.
Tetreault asserted that she is not attempting to establish Van Houten’s innocence but rather focuses on the fact that Van Houten “has to, and has, accepted full responsibility for the crime.”
Leslie Van Houten will take part in a program for transitional living after serving 53 years in prison to assist her with job training and teach her how to find a career and support herself, Tetreault said last week.
Tetreault said last week, “If you think about it, she’s never used an ATM or had a cell phone.” The lawyer told CNN that she and her client have talked about the possibility of her feeling overburdened as she returns to regular everyday tasks like going to the grocery store.
According to her lawyer, Van Houten will look for employment that builds on her humanities bachelor’s and master’s degrees, which she obtained while serving a prison sentence. She is currently only adjusting, though.
Van Houten was found guilty and given a death sentence; however, after California abolished the death penalty, the death sentence was reversed and her sentence was reduced to life in prison. She originally qualified for parole in 1977, and after 22 hearings before the board, a California parole board panel first recommended her release in 2016, according to CNN.
The state’s governors, however, overturned that judgment five times: three times by Gov. Gavin Newsom and twice by former Gov. Jerry Brown, who emphasized the horrifying nature of the murders and Van Houten’s willing participation.
In a 1994 jail interview with CNN’s Larry King, Van Houten discussed her involvement in the deaths.
Leslie Van Houten, who was 19 years old when the killings occurred, claimed, “Mrs. LaBianca was lying on the floor as I entered, and I stabbed her.” “About 16 times in the lower back.”