California Supreme Court denies cult leader Charles Manson follower’s petition

California Governor Jerry Brown overturned a California Board of Parole recommendation to release Van Houten in July, saying she was an "unreasonable danger to society".

By: Reuters | Milwaukee | Published: December 22, 2016 12:36 pm
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The California Supreme Court denied a request on Wednesday to hold a hearing in the parole case of Leslie Van Houten who, as a follower of cult leader Charles Manson, took part in one of the most notorious mass murders of the 20th century. California Governor Jerry Brown overturned a California Board of Parole recommendation to release Van Houten in July, saying she was an “unreasonable danger to society,” four decades after she was convicted and sentenced to life for the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

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In a petition to the state’s Supreme Court, her attorney Rich Pfeiffer said Van Houten believed the governor did not have evidence that she remained a risk to the public, the City News Service in Los Angeles reported.

The Supreme Court denied the petition for review, according to an entry on the court’s online case database.

Pfeiffer was not immediately available for comment.

Manson, who is also serving a life sentence, directed Van Houten and his other mostly young, female followers – known as the Manson Family – to murder seven people in August 1969 in what prosecutors said was part of a plan to incite a race war between whites and blacks.

Van Houten was found guilty of the LaBianca murders in 1971 and sentenced to death, but that conviction and sentence were overturned on appeal. She was retried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1978.

The La Biancas were stabbed to death in their Los Angeles home on Aug. 10, 1969, after which the killers used their blood to write “Rise”, “Death to Pigs” and “Healter-Skelter”, a misspelled reference to a Beatles song, on the walls and a refrigerator door.

Among the victims of the Manson Family was actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski. She was stabbed 16 times by cult members.

Four other people were stabbed or shot to death at Tate’s home on Aug. 9, 1969, by Manson’s followers, who scrawled the word “Pig” in blood on the front door before leaving. Van Houten was not involved in the Tate murders.

Manson is serving out his sentence at Corcoran State Prison in California for the seven Tate-LaBianca killings and the murder of another man, Gary Hinman, in July 1969.

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