Gov. Brown rightly rejects parole for Manson family murderer

By Michele Hanisee

The ADDA commends Gov. Jerry Brown for denying parole to brutal murderer Leslie Van Houten.

Brown on Friday rejected the state parole board’s recommendation to grant parole to the Manson family member.

Van Houten originally was  sentenced to death for holding down Rosemary LaBianca on Aug. 10, 1969 so fellow Manson-follower Tex Watson could skewer her with a bayonet. Then, she took a knife and stabbed the helpless woman 14 more times in the back. Her sentence was commuted to life in prison only because the California Supreme Court struck down the death penalty.

The parole board turned down Van Houten’s requests to be freed 19 times before a two-member panel in April inexplicably recommended to free her.

Brown, however, correctly ruled that Van Houten posed “an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In his five-page decision, Brown cited the brutality of the crime itself, the mark that the Manson followers’ crimes left on society, their motive to trigger a race war by randomly slaughtering innocent people, and Van Houten’s admission more than two years after the murders that she would have no difficulty killing someone again.

However, Brown’s unequivocal ruling is not the end of the line for Van Houten. She will have future parole hearings, and her lawyer said he will challenge Brown’s decision in court.

The ADDA will keep you updated on the status of Van Houten’s case.