Charles Manson Cult Follower, Murderer, Seeks Release From Prison

Charles Manson has been the boogeyman in the public eye ever since the grisly murders that took place in 1969 following a drug-fueled summer of love and debauchery. One of those people who took part in the Manson killings, Leslie Van Houten, is now up for parole and seeking a release from prison after 46 years behind bars.

What was immediately clear about the Charles Manson murders back in 1969 is that the killings took place in such a heinous and unprovoked way that people all across California and the U.S. were shocked to the core.

The most infamous part about the murders is that one of the people killed was an original Valley Girl and movie star, Sharon Tate. Tate was married to Roman Polanski, who, at the time, was already a famous director for helming the immensely popular and disturbing horror film Rosemary’s Baby.

Although many people remember the Charles Manson murders as the grisly event that took place at Sharon Tate’s residence in the Benedict Canyon home she rented, according to the Los Angeles Times, there was another set of murders that happened after that to the family of grocery entrepreneur Leno LaBianca.

Although Charles Manson did not directly commit the Tate murders, it was his influence and orders that drove his followers to commit the acts that shook the nation. Manson then later ordered another grisly act of murder, which occurred at random, at the LaBianca home. This was also the only crime that Leslie Van Houten committed, as she did not participate in the murders at the Tate-Polanski residence on the previous night.

Therein lies the entire case to be laid out in front of a parole board hearing for Van Houten’s release from prison. There has long been a consideration of Van Houten to have been the “least blameworthy” in the bloody late summer Charles Manson murders in 1969. She has actually been described as a misguided youth who fell under Manson’s prowess at the young age of 19, making her the youngest in the Manson family to commit the murders.

Van Houten testified originally that she had held Rosemary LaBianca down while her co-conspirator in the Manson murders, Tex Watson, stabbed the helpless woman. The knife was then handed over to Van Houten, who also stabbed the woman 14 more times.

In what seemed to be a direct message to the police at the time, Charles Manson had ordered the blood of the victims to be used as a tool to write messages on the wall. This would, in effect, link the Tate murders to the LaBianca murders and show police that the two incidents were connected.

Charles Manson would later be caught by his own arrogance in these two matters and brought to trial as the entire image of the murderous affair in 1969. His antics on and off the stand, in the courtroom, and later in prison would later prove that he is not only a dangerous felon, but he did not seem to have any remorse for what he did. As a matter of fact, Manson seemed to relish his role in the murders and appeared to be quite proud of his influence over the self-described family that he created at Spaulding Ranch.

Leslie Van Houten has been through parole hearings on 19 different occasions for her role in the 1969 Charles Manson killings. Lawyers for the convicted woman have repeatedly argued that Van Houten has been a model inmate at the prison and had even gotten her college degree and participated in self-help groups to assist her peers during their incarceration. They have also argued that she is no longer a public safety threat and, by definition, should be released on for parole that fact alone.

For what it’s worth, another Manson associate, Gary Hinman, who was convicted of murder, had been recommended for release by the parole board last year. But California Governor Jerry Brown rejected the recommendation, forcing him to remain incarcerated.

[Photo by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images]