Van Houten, a member of the infamous Charles Manson cult, is set to be released on parole in the coming weeks, according to her attorney. The 73-year-old woman was convicted for her role in two brutal murders during Manson’s reign of terror in 1969.
Van Houten has spent over half a century behind bars for her involvement in the stabbing deaths of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, under the orders of Charles Manson. Her attorney, Nancy Tetreault, confirmed her impending release, stating that Van Houten is not only thrilled but also appreciative that her efforts towards rehabilitation have been recognized by the board and court. They have concluded that she no longer poses a threat to public safety.
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office confirmed that they would not oppose Van Houten’s release. Despite successfully reversing the decision to grant her parole three times since taking office, Newsom will not challenge it this time around. Erin Mellon, a spokeswoman for Newsom, expressed the government’s disappointment at the Court of Appeal’s decision but acknowledged that further attempts to appeal are unlikely to succeed.
The Manson Family murders of 1969 continue to cast a long shadow over California. The cult, led by Charles Manson, committed at least nine horrifying murders in the Los Angeles area in July and August of that year, instilling fear across southern California. Among their victims was actress and model Sharon Tate, who was married to director Roman Polanski.
Van Houten’s initial conviction led to a death sentence, which was later overturned. This resulted in a second trial that ended in a deadlock, followed by a third trial. She was eventually sentenced to seven years to life in prison. The Board of Parole Hearings deemed Van Houten suitable for parole in 2016, 2017, and 2019, but her release was consistently blocked in court.
A psychological evaluation submitted as part of Van Houten’s petition for parole noted her nearly flawless disciplinary record while in prison. However, it also highlighted potential stress upon her release due to her notorious past.