Manson Acolyte Van Houten’s Parole Hopes Dashed Again

Convicted murdered and Manson Family cult member Leslie Van Houten has once again been denied parole by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations’s Board of Parole Hearings.

This is the 19th parole hearing for Van Houten, who is incarcerated at the California Institution for Women at Frontera for her role in the 1969 slayings of grocery-chain owner Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary. The pair was stabbed in their home after being tied up by Manson, who then sent Van Houten and several others to kill them. Van Houten confessed during the penalty phase of her trial to stabbing Rosemary LaBianca after she was dead.

The murders, which occurred just one night after those of actress Sharon Tate and four others in a Hollywood home, kept California and the rest of the United States in fear, and then in fascination as details about Manson and his family of devoted followers leaked out.

Van Houten, 60, was just 19 at the time of the murders, for which she has since expressed remorse. She has long been considered the Manson follower most likely to be paroled. Yet the chairman of the parole board, Robert Doyle, said at the end of yesterday’s emotional and lengthy parole hearing that Van Houten was not yet eligible for parole because she has so far failed to gain insight into her crime and motivation.

Along with deputy commissioner Carol Bently, Doyle said that the crimes in which Van Houten participated were so heinous that they must factor into the parole board’s decision. They did, however, commend Van Houten for her adjustment to prison life and her pursuit of education, including a bachelor’s degree. She is currently working on a master’s degree.

Although Van Houten exercised her rights to not be shown on camera, and to not answer questions, she did read a short statement.

“As a rehabilitated woman, I would like to state that the insight I have gained is not meant to excuse any of my acts. Insight is understanding the ‘whys’ of behavior so it won’t be repeated.”

If Van Houten had been granted parole, she nevertheless would not have been immediately released. Both the state parole board and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would have reviewed the case. Schwarzenegger recently rescinded the decision to parole another Manson follower, Bruce Davis, who was convicted of killing

According to prison officials, Van Houten is in good health. She will be up for parole again in three years.

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