Manson family killer Leslie Van Houten denied parole again by Calif. governor

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California Governor Gavin Newsom has denied parole for former Manson family member Leslie Van Houten.

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Van Houten, who is serving a life sentence behind bars for her role in the Manson family murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in August 1969, was recommended for parole by a panel in July, but Newsom has reversed that decision, just as he did last year.

Newsom insisted the evidence “shows that she currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison.”

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This is the 71-year-old’s fourth parole reversal.

Van Houten, who did not take part in the infamous murders at actress Sharon Tate’s home, testified at her trial that she and fellow Manson family member Patricia Krenwinkel held a pillowcase over Rosemary LaBianca’s head, gagged her with a lamp cord, and stabbed her to death.

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This March 29, 1971, file photo shows three female defendants in the Manson murder trial, from left, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. All three, plus Charles Manson, were convicted of murder.
This March 29, 1971, file photo shows three female defendants in the Manson murder trial, from left, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. All three, plus Charles Manson, were convicted of murder. Photo by file photo /AP Photo

She was sentenced to death in 1971 but the decision was overturned when the state abolished the death penalty and instead she was sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole in 1978. She has since applied for parole 23 times. A parole board first recommended Van Houten’s release in 2016, when then-California Governor Jerry Brown denied the request. He did so again in 2018.

Van Houten’s lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, insists he will appeal Newsom’s decision.

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