Leslie Van Houten, a former follower of cult leader Charles Manson, was released from prison on Tuesday after serving more than 50 years for her role in the murders of two people in 1969. Van Houten, now 73, was convicted of first-degree murder in the killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, a wealthy couple who were stabbed to death in their Los Angeles home.
Leslie Van Houten, Charles Manson follower
Van Houten was 19 years old when she participated in the murders, which were part of a series of killings committed by Manson’s followers. She was sentenced to death, but her sentence was later commuted to life in prison.
Van Houten has spent the past several decades in prison, where she has earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. She has also worked as a tutor and mentor to other inmates.
Van Houten’s release was met with mixed reactions. Some people believe that she has served her time and deserves to be released, while others believe that she is still a danger to society.
Van Houten’s release was approved by California Governor Gavin Newsom in April 2023. Newsom’s decision was based on a recommendation from the state’s parole board, which found that Van Houten had demonstrated good behavior in prison and was no longer a threat to public safety.
Van Houten’s release was controversial, with some people arguing that she should not be released because of the severity of her crimes. However, others argued that she had served her time and had shown that she was a changed person.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to release Van Houten was up to Governor Newsom. Newsom made the decision based on the recommendation of the parole board, as well as his own assessment of Van Houten’s case.
Van Houten’s release is likely to have a significant impact on the families of her victims. The LaBianca family has said that they are “deeply disappointed” by Van Houten’s release, and they believe that she is still a threat to society.
However, Van Houten’s release is also likely to be seen as a victory by those who believe that people can change and be rehabilitated. Van Houten’s case is a reminder that even the most heinous crimes do not necessarily define a person’s life.
Leslie Van Houten’s release from prison is a complex and controversial issue. There are strong arguments to be made on both sides of the debate. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they believe that Van Houten should have been released.