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Famous Prisoners: Leslie Van Houten of Charles Manson Cult Finally Granted Parole

California Governor Jerry Brown has 30 days to decide whether or not to honor the parole of Leslie Van Houten.
California Governor Jerry Brown has 30 days to decide whether or not to honor the parole of Leslie Van Houten.

Famous prisoner Leslie Van Houten of the Charles Manson cult fame has been granted parole to return home by the California Board of Parole Hearings.

The parole was granted on Wednesday after a hearing by a panel of state commissioners in Chino, CA. But, Houten will not leave prison until Governor Jerry Brown approves of her parole.

We reported Houten would go before the parole board, on Wednesday.

Leslie Van Houten was a member of the Charles Manson cult that executed a series of murders in Los Angeles, CA in the summer of 1969. Manson was regarded as a religious leader and his followers killed for him.

Houten was a 19-year-old homecoming queen from Monrovia, CA when she joined the group. She joined the cult following pressure from other female followers.

The Manson Cult Killings of 1969

Victims of the Manson Cult Killings of 1969
Victims of the Manson Cult Killings of 1969

The Manson cult killed couple Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Feliz, CA home on August 9, 1969. Houten and another woman pinned Rosemary LaBianca to the ground while Charles “Tex” Watson bayoneted her husband to death.

Watson then handed a knife to Houten. She stabbed Rosemary up to 14 times in the back until she died. The gang then scrawled messages on walls with their victims’ blood.

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A day before the LaBianca couple was murdered, the cult had also murdered Sharon Tate and her four friends in her Benedict Canyon home. A Hollywood actress, Tate was pregnant and the wife of film director Roman Polanski. Houten did not participate in this particular killing spree.

Will Gov. Jerry Brown Approve Parole of Leslie Van Houten?

Leslie Van Houten's Mugshot
Leslie Van Houten’s Mugshot

Whether Gov. Brown will approve the parole of Leslie Van Houten is not clear. This is not the first time Houten would appear before a parole hearing. In fact, this is the 21st time.

Leslie was granted parole last year but Gov. Brown would not approve it, stating the famous prisoner still posed a security risk to members of the public.

Victims’ Families Against Houten’s Parole

Gov. Brown is not the only person opposing Houten’s release from prison. Families of the victims as well as prosecutors would prefer Houten to rot in jail. But Houten’s attorneys have sworn to go to any length to see that she is released on parole.

Following the Parole Board’s decision for Houten, California officials have 120 days to legally review the recommendation. When they are done, the buck will be passed to Gov. Brown’s table for action.

“If he rejects it, we’ll go back to court,” vowed Rich Pfeiffer, Houten’s attorney. “I’m not going away, and she’s going home.”

Governor Brown’s Options for Houten’s Parole

The governor has 30 days to act by doing one of five things:

  1. Uphold the parole decision
  2. Reverse the decision
  3. Modify it with other terms
  4. Refer the decision to the state board of parole
  5. Do nothing, thereby ratifying the decision
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Houten is now 68 years old and has earned degrees in prison. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a master’s degree in Humanities. The famous prisoner has been described as a model inmate and runs several support groups for females in the CIW correctional facility.

Famous prisoner Leslie Van Houten has expressed deep regrets for her roles in the Manson killings. Only time will tell.

Interesting Read: The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Houten: Life Beyond the Cult 

Do You Think Gov. Brown Will Grant Parole to Houten This Time?

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Charles Omedo
Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes prison news for loved ones of inmates on the Prison Rideshare Network.