According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten has been recommended for parole. However, there is a 150-day waiting period that includes a period of review for board staff. Furthermore, her parole must still be approved by the governor. The parole board also recommended her release in 2016 and 2018, but the decision was reversed by the governor at the time.
Van Houten is serving a life sentence for the 1969 murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Although she was not present at the murder of actress Sharon Tate and her house guests the night before, she was also convicted of conspiracy to murder them. Originally, she was sentenced to the death penalty, but the death penalty was subsequently overturned. With the death of her first lawyer, her conviction was overturned as well. Another trial ended in a hung jury before she was sentenced to life in prison in 1978.
Van Houten is reportedly a model prisoner who has earned two college degrees and taught her fellow inmates. Although she has apologized to the family, in rejecting her parole in the past, the governor said she had still not accepted full responsibility for her actions. Five other former Manson family members have been denied parole since 2016.
People who are facing charges for murder or other violent crimes may want to consult an attorney about defense. If the case goes to trial, the reliability of evidence might be questioned. For example, eyewitness accounts may be inaccurate, and lab samples might not be conclusive or may have been mishandled. If evidence was seized illegally, it might be dismissed. A plea bargain is an option that bypasses a trial but may result in a shorter sentence.
Source: CNN, “Manson family murderer recommended for parole in 22nd attempt,” Eliott C. McLaughlin, 1/31/2019