Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten was granted parole on April 16 during her 21st parole hearing and after 46 years in prison, despite her chilling testimony and pleas from her victims families’ to keep her in prison.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Van Houten was just 19 when she joined Charles Manson’s cult and participated in one of the most gruesome murders of the 20th Century.
Known as the “Helter Skelter” killings, members of Charles Manson’s “family” brutally murdered seven people in 1969, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other people at Tate’s home, as well as Rosemary and Leno LaBianca, who were killed the following day.
According to the New York Post, Van Houten, 66, was sentenced to death by a jury for her role in the deaths of the LaBiancas, but a subsequent law banning the death penalty changed her sentence to life in prison.
Radar Online released excepts from the official transcript of the Manson family member’s unbelievable testimony from the hearing.
— Heads News (@HeadsNews) April 27, 2016
Van Houten said she was not only high on marijuana and LSD when the murders occurred, but was brainwashed and under the influence of cult leader Charles Manson.
“I believe he had an agenda and the agenda was to strip those of us that were with him of our identities and personalities and become indoctrinated to what he wanted.”
Van Houten went into great detail in her testimony about what occurred on that fateful day in 1971, when she and other family members slayed the California couple.
“We took Mrs. LaBianca into the bedroom and put a pillowcase over her head. And she had been pleading, you know, take whatever you want, and we took her into the bedroom. I wrapped the lamp cord around her head to keep the pillowcase on her head. I went to hold her down. When I went to hold her down, we could hear Mr. LaBianca dying. And she jetted forward and started calling his name saying what are you doing.”
Van Houten said under instructions by Charles Manson, she and her fellow murderers followed through in killing the LaBiancas.
“I tried to hold her down more, and Pat went to stab her in the collarbone and the knife bent. And I ran to the door and I told Tex we can’t kill her, it’s not working, or something to that effect. Tex came into the bedroom. At that moment, I stared off into a den and then Tex turned me around, handed me a knife and told me to do something. And I stabbed Mrs. LaBianca in the lower torso with the knife Tex gave me.”
— CieloDrive.com (@Cielodrivecom) May 2, 2016
When the parole board asked why Van Houten killed the LaBiancas, the convicted murderer said she was just following orders, although she claimed that she didn’t go as far as she had been instructed by Charles Manson.
“During the LDS trips, Manson had talked about us doing horrible things to the bodies and I knew I wasn’t capable, so I stabbed her multiple times rather than mutilate her any further than had been told us.”
When Parole Board Commissioner Zarrinnam asked Van Houten if she would have done anything Charles Manson told her to do, including hypothetically killing babies that might have been in the home, Van Houten said she wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know. I think I would have, if he had said.”
Van Houten expressed regret about the murders and said she has been working with therapists to try to turn her life around while in prison.
“I realize that the way I could live with myself was to do as much good as I can in the environment that I’m in.”
— David Eaton (@DavidEaton1980) May 1, 2016
Despite desperate pleas from family members of Charles Manson’s victims to keep her locked up, Van Houten was granted parole.
When announcing the news, the board noted that her actions “were deemed to be atrocious, cruel and monstrous.”
Still, they granted parole to the former Charles Manson family member.
Van Houten’s release is still dependent upon another board approval and final approval by California Governor Jerry Brown.
Charles Manson remains behind bars at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. His next parole hearing won’t be before 2027, when he will be 92-years-old.
[Image via Associated Press]