Leslie Van Houten: Release After 53 Years in Prison – The Story of Charles Manson’s Sect Member

2023-07-11 21:32:10

She was 19 when she was arrested. Leslie Van Houten, sentenced for her participation in a double while she was a member of Charles Manson’s sect in 1969, was released on Tuesday after more than five decades in prison, said her lawyer Nancy Tetreault. At 73, Van Houten will initially reside in a rehabilitation center and will have to “learn to live in the world after 53 years in prison”, his lawyer told the New York Times.

Leslie Van Houten was released on parole, which California Governor Gavin Newsom did not oppose.

First sentenced to death

In the summer of 1969, members of the satanic sect of Charles Manson had sown terror in California where they had committed at least nine murders of great savagery. Among their victims was actress and model Sharon Tate, then married to filmmaker Roman Polanski.

Leslie Van Houten and 1971. – Anonymous/AP/SIPA

Follower of the “Manson Family”, Leslie Van Houten had been convicted of having participated in the murder of a couple, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, at their home in Los Angeles in August 1969. She had first been sentenced to death , a sentence that was later overturned giving rise to two further trials at the end of which she was sentenced to life in prison.

“Hard work of reintegration”

His lawyer had welcomed his upcoming release last week. “She is of course delighted but beyond that, she is happy that her hard work of rehabilitation has been recognized by the (prison) administration and the court, who have concluded that she does not currently represent a risk for the public safety,” detailed Me Tetreault.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who had obtained the rejection in court of the three previous requests for release, will not oppose this time to his release, said his spokesman: “The governor is disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeal to release Ms. Van Houten but will not take any further action given the little chance that they will succeed. Victims’ families “still feel the brutal impact” of the killings by the Manson Family, she added, however.

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A psychological evaluation of Van Houten, carried out as part of her request for freedom, pointed out that her behavior in prison had been “virtually without fault” but that she could be subject to anxieties at the time because of her notoriety. Once out of prison, she “plans to continue her work as an educator, after obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees in prison,” said her lawyer.

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