Will she finally walk free? Nearly 50 years after committing some of the murders that saw her put behind bars, Charles Manson‘s youngest follower, Leslie Van Houten, is once again up for parole. This time, it seems likely that she may actually get it. The inmate has a parole hearing scheduled for Wednesday, January 30 at the California Institute for Women, and with a new governor in charge, her attorney is hopeful that she will be able to be released. In the past, Van Houten, now 69, was approved for parole twice — but both times it was blocked by California Governor Jerry Brown. Gavin Newsom is the new governor, however, and if her parole is granted, it’ll be up to him to decide her fate.
“It is very unlikely that she would be denied parole,” said Van Houten’s lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, according to Radar Online. After all, she was previously granted parole in 2016 and 2017. Again, though, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll be released. In the past, Governor Brown vetoed her parole on the grounds that he believed she had not taken enough responsibility for her role in the crimes, the brutal 1969 stabbing murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. The “aggravated nature of the crime can provide a valid basis for denying parole,” he said in January 2018 according to a statement shared on LeslieVanHouten.com, but that wasn’t his only reasoning.
“She has long downplayed her role in these murders and in the Manson Family, and her minimization of her role continues today … Van Houten’s statements show that she still has not come to terms with her central role in these murders and in the Manson Family … By her own account, she idolized Manson and wanted to please him … Even today, almost five decades later, Van Houten has not wholly accepted responsibility for the part she played in these crimes.”
The statements Brown was referring to include what she shared at her 2017 parole hearing. “I take responsibility for the entire crime,” she said at the time. “I take responsibility going back to Manson being able to do what he did to all of us. I allowed it … I accept responsibility that I allowed [Manson] to conduct my life in that way.” If she changes her tune now, she may stand a chance at release. But while her lawyer seems optimistic about parole being granted, he seems to expect that it will also be vetoed.
“The new governor is not likely to let her out,” Pfeiffer said according to a January 7 statement on LeslieVanHouten.com. “He is young and has a political future; he doesn’t want this on his record either.”
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