Manson Family Member Leslie Van Houten Denied Parole

She was only 19 when she joined her fellow hippie cult members in the bloody 1969 murders of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca, and it looks like Leslie Van Houten is going to die in prison. The youngest of LSD guru Charles Manson‘s followers to have been convicted in the so-called “Helter Skelter” murder spree, Van Houten was denied parole for the 20th time Wednesday by a California Parole Hearing Commission.

The commissioners said the August 1969 murders were so “heinous and atrocious” there was no way that Van Houten’s claims of rehabilitation could counterbalance them. ”The crimes will always be a factor,” said Board of Parole Hearings Commissioner Jeffrey Ferguson. “The question is whether the good will ever outweigh the bad. It certainly didn’t today.”

During her parole hearing, 63-year-old Van Houten went into more detail about her role in the Manson Family’s crimes than ever before. She said that after the first night of murders — where actress Sharon Tate and four others were stabbed to death — she “felt left out” and insisted on going along the second night,  when they more or less randomly chose the LaBianca home as their target. Slogans about “pigs” and “Helter Skelter” were written on the walls in the victims’ blood, as part of Manson’s bizarre plan to provoke a violent race war. Asked during Wednesday’s hearing if she would have hesitated to kill had there been children involved, Van Houten answered: ”I can’t say I wouldn’t have done that. I’d like to say I wouldn’t, but I don’t know.”

Her lawyer Michael Satris told the commission that his client has changed since she was part of Manson’s cult, when “she was following the teachings of a false prophet.” A former homecoming princess, Van Houten said during the hearing “she was traumatized by her parents’ divorce when she was 14, her pregnancy soon after and her mother’s insistence that she have an abortion.”



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