The Manson family cult’s youngest member, Leslie Van Houten, was tentatively approved for parole on Thursday, April 14, after having been rejected 19 times. Van Houten is perhaps best known for scrawling bloody messages of revolution on walls in the horrifying 1969 murders of married couple Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
She, along with others, have been incarcerated for nearly five decades. On Thursday, a panel at the California Institution for Women in Chino came up with a preliminary conclusion that Van Houten, 66, should be recommended for parole.
“I don’t let myself off the hook,” Van Houten said before the panel, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t find parts in any of this that makes me feel the slightest bit good about myself.”
Van Houten, unlike Charles Manson, has been dubbed a model inmate during her incarceration. Van Houten has edited the prison newspaper as well as counseled her fellow prisoners. She’s also expressed remorse for partaking in the brutal stabbing murders and said, according to NBC News, that she was “deeply ashamed” for her role. The inmate was just 19 years old when she joined Manson’s infamous cult.
In August 1969, Manson members murdered actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, and four other people in a Benedict Canyon home. (Van Houten was not involved in the first murders.) The day after Tate was killed, Van Houten and her fellow accomplices killed the LaBiancas. Van Houten, who was on drugs at the time, stabbed Rosemary 14 times. The word “WAR” was also found carved on Leno LaBianca’s stomach.
Van Houten’s lawyer, Richard Pfeiffer, told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that she’s been evaluated by 18 psychiatrists, all of whom found that his client was OK for parole. “The opposition to parole has always been the name Manson,” Pfeiffer told the LA Times. “A lot of people who oppose parole don’t know anything about Leslie’s conduct. Her role was bad. Everyone’s was. But they don’t know what she’s done since then and all of the good she’s done.”
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has continually opposed her release.
Manson, 81, is serving life in prison. The other cult members also remain behind bars.
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