Leslie Van Houten, a former Charles Manson follower and convicted murderer, was released from a California prison on Tuesday, a prison spokeswoman told CNN.
Van Houten Released to parole supervision, said Mary Jimenez, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Van Houten will have a maximum parole period of three years, with a parole discharge review occurring after one year, Xjimenez said.
Van Houten, now 70, was 19 when she met Manson and joined the murderous cult known as the “Manson Family.”
Before his release on Tuesday, he was serving a concurrent sentence of seven years to life after being convicted in 1971 for his role in the murders of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary at their Los Angeles home.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced Friday that it will not challenge a state appeals court panel ruling in May that opened the possibility of parole for Van Houten and cleared the path to his release.
“More than 50 years after the Monson cult committed these brutal crimes, the victims’ families still feel the impact, as do all Californians. Governor Newsom has commuted Ms. Van Houten’s parole grant three times and has defended challenges to those decisions in court,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Erin Mellon, said Friday.
“Mrs. The governor is disappointed by the appeals court’s decision to free Van Houten, but will not pursue further action because further appeals are unlikely to succeed. “The California Supreme Court accepts appeals in very few cases and generally does not choose cases based on this type of fact-specific determination,” Melton said.
Family member of famous hair stylist Jay Sebring were killed In 1969, the Manson cult said he disagreed with the governor’s office’s decision not to challenge Van Houten’s parole.
“I certainly have respect for Governor Newsom and the attorney general,” Sebring’s son-in-law, Anthony DeMaria, told CNN’s Laura Coates on Tuesday night. “But our families strongly, strongly disagree with their decision not to appeal.”
DeMaria called Van Houten “the worst serial killer in the history of the United States” and said his release sets a “dangerous, dangerous precedent.”
Van Houten’s attorney, Nancy Detrault, told CNN’s John Berman Tuesday night that her client had entered a “40-year psychiatric evaluation” in order to be paroled “to face what she did — to take responsibility for what she did.”
“I understand why … the family members of the victims would be emotional about this and retaliating, but that’s not the law,” Detrault told Berman. “The law says she is entitled to parole if she meets the standard, and the standard is that she no longer poses a danger to society.”
Detrault said he was not trying to prove van Houten’s innocence, but instead insists that van Houten “must take and accept full responsibility for the crime.”
Following 53 years in custody, Van Houten will participate in a transitional housing program that will give her job training and teach her how to get a job and support herself, Detrault told CNN last week.
“If you think about it, she didn’t use an ATM and didn’t have a cell phone,” Detrault said last week. The attorney told CNN that she and her client discussed the possibility that she, too, would overdose as she returned to normal daily activities, such as going to the supermarket.
The attorney said Van Houten will look for a job with the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in humanities he earned while in prison. But for now she is getting used to it.
“After all these decades he’s trying to get used to the idea of not being in prison, and trying to get used to his new life outside of prison,” Tederault said Tuesday.
Following his conviction, Van Houten was sentenced to death, but the death penalty was overturned after California repealed the death penalty, and his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He first became eligible for parole in 1977 and a California parole board panel recommended his release in 2016 after 22 appearances before the board, CNN reported.
However that decision Changed five times by state governors – Former two-term governor Jerry Brown cited the brutal nature of the murders and Van Houten’s enthusiastic participation, and three-term governor Kevin Newsom.
In 1994, Van Houten described his role in the prison murders Interview with CNN’s Larry King.
“I went in and Ms. LaBianca was lying on the floor and I stabbed her,” said Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the murders. “Lower back, about 16 times.”