California governor blocks release of Manson’s follower Leslie Van Houghton

A Charles Manson follower who is serving life imprisonment for his role in the vicious double murder of a Los Angeles couple more than 50 years ago, his latest bid on his independence after the California governor issued a parole board ruling Is lost

The convicted murderer, Leslie Van Houghton, was 19 when he and other members of the so-called Manson family barged into the house of Rosemary and Leno La Bianca and assaulted them dozens of times on August 10, 1969.

LaBiancas murdered a night later Five people were murdered At the Benedict Canyon home of film director Roman Polanski – including his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate. The bloodshed, under the direction of Mr. Manson, terrorized Los Angeles and beyond.

Ms. Van Haughton, 71, is eligible for release from a state prison in July, but California law gives the governor a final say on whether an inmate is fit for parole.

And on Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, overrides the decision of the parole board, marking Ms. van Houghton as a “threat” in a release review document.

“Ms. Van Houten’s explanation of Mr Manson’s permission to be sensitive to the effect is unsatisfactory,” Mr Newsom said. “She described herself as a ‘very vulnerable person at the time of her involvement in the Manson family, who took advantage of someone who wanted to take control of my life, and I handed her over.”

This is the second time that Mr. Newsom has done so with Ms. van Houton’s parole and the fourth time a governor has done so.

Ms. Van Houten’s lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, said in an interview Sunday that he planned to appeal the governor’s decision in Superior Court in Los Angeles and that the case would likely end in an appellate court.

“There is no evidence supporting the reversal of the governor,” Mr. Pfeiffer said.

Mr. Fifer said that the stigma of being associated with Mr. Manson, one of the most notorious murderers of the 20th century, influenced Mr. Newsom. Mr. Manson, who spent most of his life behind bars, Died in 2017 At 83.

“A lot of murderers get out of prison and recover, but they are not high-profile cases,” he said.

On a 2002 Parole Board Hearing, Ms. van Houton admitted that she had pinned Ms. La Bianca, the owner of a clothing store, while another Manson family member, Patricia Cranwinkle, stabbed her in the collar bone. Ms. La Bianca tried unsuccessfully to free herself by listening to her husband, a supermarket executive, in another room in the couple’s home in Los Angeles’s Los Feliz section.

Officials said the knife of the kitchen knife, which was another central figure in the attack, Ms. D. Was used on Watson, having attacked Ms. La Bienca eight times. Ms. van Houten told the Parole Board in 2002 that she hit Ms. La Biyanka 14 to 16 times in the abdomen.

Investigators said the phrase “Death to Pigs,” Rise “and other references to Helter Skelter, the names given by Mr. Manson for his apocalyptic race war, were strewn in the walls and refrigerators with the victims’ blood.”

At the crime scene, according to parole review records, Ms. Van Haughton wiped the surfaces for fingerprints, changed clothes and drank chocolate milk from the couple’s refrigerator. Three months after the murder, he was arrested and jailed for nearly 50 years.

“I remain intrigued by Mr. Van Houten’s characterization of his involvement in this gruesome double homicide, part of a series of crimes that rank among the most notorious and fear-mongering in California history,” Mr. Newsom said.

At the same time, Mr. Newsom stated that Ms. van Houten had an exemplary disciplinary record, had participated in self-help programming and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees while remaining disorganized.

“When considered as a whole,” he said, “I think the evidence suggests that he is an unreasonable threat to society at the moment when he is released from prison.”

Ms. Van Houghton’s lawyer, Mr. Pfeiffer, said Sunday night that if she stays in jail, her client may be exposed to coronovirus.

“At his age, he is at a high risk,” he said.

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