Friday, April 15, 2016

Parole for Van Houten?

The Los Angeles Times reports that the California "review board" has recommended parole for former Charles Manson “family” member Leslie Van Houten. She was convicted of first degree murder (along others) as a participant in the 1969 "cult" killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca (stabbing them 14 times). Van Houten, a former home-coming queen, is 66-years old, today, and, according to the Times, has been denied parole 19 times over the years.

Van Houten's lawyer says that, over the years, opposition to her parole has really amounted to opposition to "the name Manson” (go figure).  People, she says, "Don’t know anything about Leslie’s conduct [or] what she’s done since then and all of the good she’s done.” She has been "a model inmate," earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees and run "self-help groups" for incarcerated women. She has also said that she is "deeply ashamed” of what she did. As the board's Commissioner put it, "Your behavior in prison speaks for itself. Forty-six years and not a single serious rule violation.”

A spokesman for the Governor said what any spokesperson with half a brain would say - nothing at all ! Why do the media even place such stupid, ill-timed inquiries?

Cory LaBianca (daughter of the victims) is said to be "disappointed" board’s decision, noting:
“Maybe Leslie Van Houten has been a model prisoner. But you know what? We still suffer our loss. My father will never be paroled. My stepmother will never get her life back. There’s no way I can agree with the ruling today."
An L.A. County Dist. Atty also disagrees and will "evaluate" how he will "plan to proceed.”

Van Houten, who was 19 years-old at the time of the murders, was the youngest "family" member and, according to the Times, "has been considered the least blameworthy." She was convicted after three trials, and actually sentenced to death, but benefited from a commutation of sentence when the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death penalty, as then constructed, unconstitutional. See story here.

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