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California Appeals Court Denies Parole for Manson Family Member Leslie Van Houten

Daniel Kreps

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A California appeals court rejected Manson family member Leslie Van Houten’s latest bid for release from prison.

In January, a parole board recommended the now-70-year-old Van Houten’s release for a third time. However, California Governor Gavin Newsom denied the parole board’s request in June. That decision was brought to an appeals court Friday, with two of the three appellate judges upholding the governor’s denial.

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“The Governor’s determination that Van Houten has not taken full responsibility for her role in the crimes, and continues to pose a risk to the public, is supported by some evidence in the record,” the court ruled, the Mercury News reports.

However, the lone dissenting appellate judge noted that “there is not a modicum of evidence” to show that Van Houten is still a danger.

Initially sentenced to death for her role in the Manson family murders, Van Houten was given life in prison after California abolished the death penalty. Van Houten – who admitted that she and fellow Manson family member Patricia Krenwinkel held a pillowcase over Rosemary LaBianca’s head, gagged her with a lamp cord, and stabbed her between 14 and 16 times; she did not take part in the murders at Sharon Tate’s home – has had her parole recommendation overturned three times, twice by former California governor Jerry Brown and now once by Newsom.

“Ms. Van Houten and the Manson family committed some of the most notorious and brutal killings in California history,” Newsom previously said in a statement. “When considered as a whole, I find the evidence shows that she currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison at this time.”

“I expected her to go home within a week or two, I really did. And that’s not happening,” Van Houten’s lawyer Rich Pfieffer said after Friday’s ruling. “Two things you can bank on: She’s gonna get out, and I’m not giving up until she does.”