Los Angeles’ attorney demanded on Tuesday California’s governor to decline parole for former Manson cult member.
Los Angeles County District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, wrote in a letter that Leslie Van Houten, former Charles Manson follower, should be denied parole because she represents a threat to public safety. Lacey sent the letter on Tuesday to California Governor Jerry Brown.
“She clearly lacks insight, genuine remorse, and an understanding of the magnitude of her crimes. The viciousness of the murders, the relationship of those murders to the effort to incite the ‘Helter Skelter’ race war, and Van Houten’s attempts to minimize her criminal responsibility, make her an unreasonable risk of danger to society,” wrote Lacey in the six-page letter.
According to Lacey’s letter, Van Houten keeps maintaining the “disturbingly distorted” view of Charles Manson.
However, this is not the first time Van Houten had been denied parole. After being charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, she has been denied parole 19 times. It was in April of the current year that a two-member review of California’s Board of Parole Hearings recommended probation for Van Houten.
The process of the parole recommendation is still under consideration and it can take up to four months. In the case of upholding the chance of parole for Van Houten, it will be forwarded to Brown. California’s governor who has until mid-September to either accept, reverse or overturn the parole board’s decision for further hearings.
Lacey’s request has been supported by others, including the sister of Sharon Tate, who has also pressed Governor Brown to keep Van Houten in prison.
In turn, Van Houten’s attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, said his client is suitable for a parole release. Pfeiffer added that Van Houten had taken advantage of her time in prison to work on personal accomplishments and recovery. He listed Van Houten’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as her active participation in self-help programs.
“The opposition to parole has always been the name Manson. A lot of people who oppose parole don’t know anything about Leslie’s conduct. Her role was bad. Everyone’s was. But they don’t know what she’s done since then and all of the good she’s done,” said Pfeiffer.
In 1971, Van Houten was convicted to life in prison after founding guilty for LaBianca murders. Manson directed the crime in an attempt to incite a race war involving blacks and whites. Leslie Van Houten, along with other members of the cult, killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in 1969.
The LaBiancas were stabbed to death. The cult’s plan included the use of their blood to write on the walls what seemed to be a misspelled reference to a Beatles song.
The sentence for Van Houten for her role on August 9, 1969, stabbing murders was ruled in 1971. She was convicted to life in prison and sent to the state prison in Corona, California, where she is currently serving her sentence at the age of 66.