Leslie Van Houten, the youngest of Charles Manson’s followers, is up for parole for the 20th time today at a California hearing.
Van Houten played a part in the vicious killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca during the summer of 1969, just one day after the slaying of pregnant Sharon Tate and four of her friends. The murders stunned the community, then the country as everyone watched the story of Manson and his disciples unfold on television. It was later recounted in the enormously successful book “Helter Skelter”.
At just 19, Van Houten was the youngest in the group. Now, after 44 years in prison, she says she takes responsibility for what she did but has changed from the girl she was.
“She is living a life of amends for her crime on a daily basis,” attorney Michael Satris said. “Everything she does now is to be of service and benefit to the world. She just wants to be as good of a person as she can be. And it would be a matter of grace if the parole board would bestow on her the chance to accomplish this on the outside.”
However, after being denied parole 19 times before, many don’t hold expect that Van Houten will ever see freedom again, and that’s the way they want it. Members of the victims’ families are expected to travel to California to oppose her parole.