Leslie Van Houten, follower of cult leader Charles Manson, released from California prison

by Chloe Baker
Charles Manson

Leslie Van Houten, a former member of Charles Manson’s cult, was released from a California prison on Tuesday after serving over 50 years of a life sentence for her involvement in two notorious murders.

According to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Van Houten was released to parole supervision. Her attorney, Nancy Tetreault, confirmed that she left the California Institution for Women in Corona, located east of Los Angeles, early in the morning and was taken to transitional housing.

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Tetreault informed The Big Big News that Van Houten is still adjusting to the reality of her release. Governor Gavin Newsom had announced a few days earlier that he would not challenge a state appeals court ruling granting Van Houten parole, as it was unlikely that the state Supreme Court would review the case.

Van Houten is expected to spend approximately one year in a halfway house, where she will learn essential skills like driving a car, shopping at a grocery store, and using a debit card, as stated by her attorney. Tetreault mentioned that she will need to adapt to a vastly different world compared to when she was incarcerated, including learning how to use the internet and making cashless purchases.

Van Houten, now in her 70s, intends to find employment as soon as possible, according to Tetreault. She obtained both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree while in prison and worked as a tutor for other incarcerated individuals.

In 1969, Van Houten received a life sentence for her role in the brutal murders of Leno LaBianca, a Los Angeles grocer, and his wife, Rosemary. The LaBiancas were killed in their home, and their blood was smeared on the walls afterwards. Van Houten admitted to holding down Rosemary LaBianca with a pillowcase over her head while others stabbed her. She herself stabbed the woman over a dozen times.

These murders occurred a day after Manson’s followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others. Van Houten, who was 19 at the time, did not participate in the Tate killings.

Van Houten was initially found suitable for parole during a hearing in July 2020, but her release was blocked by Governor Newsom, who believed she still posed a threat to society. She appealed the decision to a trial court, which rejected her appeal. Subsequently, she pursued the appellate courts.

In May, the Second District Court of Appeal overturned Newsom’s earlier denial of parole for Van Houten in 2020. Since 2016, she had been recommended for parole five times, but each recommendation was turned down by either Newsom or former Governor Jerry Brown.

Governor Newsom’s office expressed disappointment regarding the appeals court ruling, stating that more than 50 years after the Manson cult committed these heinous killings, the families of the victims still feel the impact.

Charles Manson himself died in prison in 2017 at the age of 83 from natural causes after spending nearly five decades behind bars.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Charles Manson, Leslie Van Houten, parole, California prison

Q: Who is Leslie Van Houten?

A: Leslie Van Houten is a former member of the Charles Manson cult and was involved in the infamous Manson Family murders in 1969. She participated in the killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Q: How long was Leslie Van Houten in prison?

A: Leslie Van Houten served over 50 years in a California prison. She was sentenced to life imprisonment for her role in the murders.

Q: Why was Leslie Van Houten released?

A: Leslie Van Houten was released on parole after a state appeals court ruling in her favor. The decision was not challenged by Governor Gavin Newsom, who believed it was unlikely that the state Supreme Court would review the case.

Q: What will Leslie Van Houten do after her release?

A: After her release, Leslie Van Houten is expected to spend some time in transitional housing, where she will learn essential skills for reintegration into society. She aims to find employment and has obtained a bachelor’s and a master’s degree while in prison.

Q: What were the Manson Family murders?

A: The Manson Family murders were a series of brutal killings orchestrated by Charles Manson and carried out by his followers in 1969. The most well-known victims were actress Sharon Tate and the LaBianca couple. Leslie Van Houten was involved in the LaBianca murders.

Q: What happened to Charles Manson?

A: Charles Manson died in prison in 2017 from natural causes. He spent almost 50 years behind bars for his involvement in the Manson Family murders.

More about Charles Manson, Leslie Van Houten, parole, California prison

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Alex90 July 12, 2023 - 4:02 am

omg! leslie van houten finally released fr california prison?! itz been soooo long! she wuz a follower of that creep charles manson. i remember those murders. so glad she got parole.

SunnyDaze July 12, 2023 - 7:41 am

Seriously? Van Houten released? She was part of that twisted Manson cult. Can’t believe she’s free after such heinous crimes. Justice system or a big joke?

InquisitiveMind July 12, 2023 - 10:29 am

What a complicated case! Van Houten’s release raises questions about the nature of rehabilitation and the limits of punishment. Will society accept her after all these years?

BookWorm99 July 12, 2023 - 6:50 pm

Leslie Van Houten’s story is both tragic and fascinating. After serving over 50 yrs, she’s out on parole. Can’t help but wonder how she’ll adjust to the world now. Hope she finds a path of redemption.


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