Leslie van Houten: Charles Manson follower released from prison

MMore than half a century after a series of murders in Los Angeles, a former supporter of cult leader Charles Manson has been released. Lesley Van Houten, 73, was released on Tuesday under “probationary supervision,” correctional authorities said. Earlier, an appeals court ruled that Van Houten was allowed to leave prison. California Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his disappointment. However, he stated that he would not appeal the decision.

In 1969, members of the so-called Manson family murdered seven people on behalf of their leader, Charles Manson. The most famous victim was the pregnant actress Sharon Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski. Van Houten was not involved in this act, but was involved in the murder of businessman Leno LaBianca and his wife.

Governors vetoed

Van Houten was initially sentenced to death, but after several trials, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. The US judiciary repeatedly voted for her parole, but California governors, first Jerry Brown and then Gavin Newsom, vetoed it.

When Newsom last denied a pardon request in 2022, Newsom said Van Houten was still “too much of a danger to society.” His veto was overturned by an appeals court at the end of May. The judges cited the exemplary behavior of the prisoners and “decades of therapy”. The governor then stated that he would not appeal the decision.

A Newsom spokeswoman said on Saturday that the governor is “disappointed with the appeals court’s decision” but will not file an appeal due to no chance of success. “The families of the victims ‘still feel the brutal force, as do all Californians,'” she said, referring to the 1969 murders.

Van Houten’s attorney, Nancy Tetro, said she was “very lucky” that the release came “so quickly” after the governor’s refusal to appeal. Van Houten will now live for a year in an institution where she will be ready to return to a world “that has changed a lot in the past five decades,” the lawyer told the AFP news agency.

Accomplice Susan Atkins died of cancer in 2009 after 38 years behind bars. Charles Manson also died in prison in 2017 at the age of 83. Patricia Krenwinkel (75) is still in detention.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts