The bloody crime committed by Leslie van Houten, the disciple of Charles Manson who has been granted parole
More than 50 years later, the crimes committed by Charles Manson and his followers in southern California, in the United States, are still fresh in the memory of many.
Especially in the memory of the relatives of the victims.
This Tuesday they received the news that a California appeals court ruled that LEslie van Houten, the youngest disciple of the Manson clanYou have the right to probation.
Van Houten, 73, has been recommended for parole five times since 2016, but was denied parole by Gov. Gavin Newsom and his predecessor, Jerry Brown.
With Tuesday's decision from the Second District Court of Appeals, it is the first time ato court Overturns Governor's Parole Denial to a follower of Manson, according to the newspaper Los Angeles Times.
Now Governor Newsom has a 10-day window, starting in 30 days, to ask Attorney General Rob Bonta to ask the California Supreme Court to overturn the decision.
A sociable and popular young woman
“I know that pain is passed down through the generations. I want the victims to know that I am deeply ashamed of what I did.“, declared Leslie van Houten in 2002, in one of the hearings to study his possible release on parole.
By "what I did" Van Houten was referring to the bloody murder of Rosemay LaBiancawho was stabbed to death with her husband in the early morning of August 10, 1969.
Coming from a middle-class family in Southern California, Leslie van Houten was a sociable and athletic young woman who in high school was elected queen of one of the dances typical of US high schools.
However, little by little he was introduced into a less luminous world.
Her parents' divorce caused her friends to put her aside and, according to her lawyer Richard Pfeiffer, that's where her downfall began.
She became pregnant and her mother forced her to have an illegal abortion. The fetus was buried in the backyard of the family home.
the manson family
During this time, Van Houten began experimenting with substances such as marijuana, hashish, and LSD.
In the summer of 1968, the young woman met Bobby Beausoleil and Catherine "Gypsy" Share, and began touring with them.
Share told him about a man named Charles Manson whom he described as a Christ-like being with answers to all his questions.
Months later, Van Houten and his friends were living with Manson at the Spahn ranch outside Los Angeles County. In 1969, Manson's pacifist message changed to calling for revolution and violence.
According to Van Houten herself, "soon all we did was listen to the album White of The Beatles and read the biblical book of Revelations”.
Manson envisioned a race war and had a bizarre plan to incite it, beginning with the murders of the actress Sharon Tate (wife of film director Roman Polanski who was eight months pregnant) and four others in Bel Air, Los Angeles, on August 9, 1969.
The murder of the LaBianca couple
Van Houten did not participate in these crimes, but the following night he assaulted, together with Charles "Tex" Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel, the house of the couple formed by Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, aged 44 and 39 respectively.
Van Houten witnessed Watson kill Leno LaBianca and was subsequently responsible for inflicting 16 of the more than 40 stab wounds his wife, Rosemary, received.
By the end of 1969, all Manson Family members had been arrested and charged with all of these murders.
The corresponding trials became a kind of circus, both because of the peculiar behavior of the defendants and because of the media frenzy around them.
“I took one of the knives, Patricia had another, and we began to stab and cutr to the Mrs"Van Houten testified, detailing that Rosemary LaBianca begged to spare her life and promised she would not call the police.
On March 29, 1971, Van Houten was found guilty and sentenced to death.
California's subsequent ban on the death penalty for a few months caused the sentence to be automatically commuted to life in prison.
An appeals court overturned Van Houten's conviction in 1976, and a second trial the following year ended in a no-contest.
Finally, in the third and final trial held in 1978, Van Houten was convicted of murder in first grade, but the life sentence included the possibility of opting for parole.
Since then, she has been serving time in the women's prison in Chino, California.
Her lawyers say she is a model prisoner. During his stay in prison, he has obtained a bachelor's and master's degree, and has run self-help groups for women prisoners.
But relatives of the LaBianca couple and Governor Newsom continue to view her as a danger to society.
*This article was originally published in July 2016 and was updated with the news that it was granted parole to Leslie van Houten.
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