Monday 29 May 2017

Manson Family member granted parole 46 years after notorious murders

Leslie Van Houten listens during her parole hearing in Corona,California, in this file pool photo taken June 28, 2002
Leslie Van Houten listens during her parole hearing in Corona,California, in this file pool photo taken June 28, 2002

Leslie Van Houten, a former follower of Charles Manson, was recommended for parole on Thursday, officials said.

The full Board of Parole Hearings will review the decision during the next four months, then could send the case to California Gov. Jerry Brown, according to corrections spokesman Luis Patino.

Brown will have 30 days to decide whether to approve or deny the recommendation.

Van Houten and others were convicted for the 1969 murders of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary. Van Houten was sentenced to death in 1971 but one year later the death penalty was overturned. Her first conviction was overturned, too, because her lawyer died before that trial ended.

She was tried twice more (one ended in a hung jury) and in 1978 was sentenced to life in prison.

In 1994, Van Houten described her part in the killings in a prison interview with CNN's Larry King.

"I went in and Mrs. LaBianca was laying on the floor and I stabbed her," said Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the murders. "In the lower back, around 16 times."

Van Houten reportedly has apologized to the LaBianca family.

She was not directly involved in the killings of five people at the home of film director Roman Polanski, near Hollywood.

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