The youngest Manson follower is facing her 20th parole hearing, and Leslie Van Houten was just 19 when she was convicted for her role in the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders in the 60s.
Now the youngest Manson follower is 63 and grey-haired, and facing a California parole board in the hopes her latest bid at eventual freedom is successful.
Van Houten stabbed Rosemary LaBianca, one of the victims, 16 times during the course of the crime — one she believed initially would be a robbery and not expected to escalate to several murders. But during the trial, the then-teen was frequently “disruptive” and even laughed as the murders were described in court, causing the jury to lose sympathy for the young Manson follower.
At the trial’s conclusion, Van Houten and her co-defendants were sentenced to death but later spared execution. In the 70s, Van Houten was granted a retrial due to ineffective counsel, and allowed to remain free on bond before she was convicted again and sentenced to life in prison.
Now as the youngest Manson follower again faces the prospect of freedom, her lawyer Michael Satris claims that the murderous teen Van Houten appeared as during her first trial is a vestige of a long-ago past, and says:
“She is living a life of amends for her crime on a daily basis… Everything she does now is to be of service and benefit to the world.”
Satris adds that Van Houten was “following the teachings of a false prophet,” and states that she hopes to salvage the remaining years of her life to do good works:
“She just wants to be as good of a person as she can be… And it would be a matter of grace if the parole board would bestow on her the chance to accomplish this on the outside.”
If successful, the youngest Manson follower would be the first of the Manson family members to be granted parole.