Leslie Van Houten was the youngest member of the Charles Manson’s family. She had grown up as a privileged homecoming princess from a broken home. In previous parole board meetings, the governor had felt she never adequately explained how she went from one extreme to the other. She had never explained what led her to join the cult of Charles Manson.
Van Houten was a participant in the killing of Leno La Bianca and his wife, Rosemary. He was a 44-year-old grocer in Los Angeles. On August 9, 1969, she and two other members of the Manson family entered the couple’s home with the intent of committing murder. She admits that she held down Rosemary with a pillow as others stabbed her. When Charles Manson’s disciple, Tex Watson, gave her the order to join in, she picked up a knife and stabbed Rosemary at least a dozen times. Leslie Van Houten was only 19-years-old when she became a murderer.
She tried to answer what Governor Jerry Brown wanted to know. Leslie Van Houten admits that she has spent most of her life trying to understand how she went to such an extreme after how she had been raised. She explained that she was devastated when her parents divorced. She was 14-years-old and began to hang out with the misfit crowd. Soon she was smoking marijuana and then stepped it up to LSD before her 15th birthday.
When she was 17, Van Houten says she and her boyfriend ran away to San Francisco for the summer. When she returned home, she discovered she was pregnant. Her mother forced her to have an abortion and bury the fetus in their backyard. She left again, this time traveling up and down the California coast looking for a place where she felt accepted. Eventually, an acquaintance introduced her to Charles Manson, and she joined the family.
The family of her victims was there to make it known that they did not want Leslie Van Houten freed. In fact, they feel that no member of the Charles Manson family should ever be paroled for the murders they committed. According to MSN, the La Bianca’s grandson was one that spoke on behalf of the family. He is now 44-years-old, the same age of his grandfather at the time of his death. The family has shown up for every parole hearing and asked the Parole Board to deny parole and put an end to them having to come in year after year to object.
The two-person parole board felt that Leslie Van Houten had successfully answered the concerns of the governor. They also took into consideration how the prisoner had lived while incarcerated. She had gotten a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in counseling, became certified as a counselor, and she runs several programs to help inmates. They warned her that there are “tens of thousands” that will object to her release.
The next step is the office of Governor Brown. He can either allow the parole of Leslie Van Houten, or he can reverse it. Rich Pfeiffer is her attorney and claims he will get her out of prison. It isn’t a matter of if, but it is just a matter of when. He feels confident that his client has proven she is ready for parole and has answered all concerns of the parole board and the governor.
[Featured Image by Stan Lim/Los Angeles Daily News/AP Images]