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Charles Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten Released From California Prison After 53 Years

19-year-old Leslie Van Houten became associated with Charles Manson, a notorious cult leader, at a young age. Manson led a cult group known as the Manson Family in the late 1960s. Van Houten was one of his followers and played a role in the criminal activities carried out by the Manson Family.

In 1969, Van Houten and other members of the Manson Family committed a double homicide in Los Angeles. The victims were Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, a wealthy couple who were brutally murdered in their home. 

During the act, which happened shortly after the murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others, Van Houten played a part in holding down the late Rosemary LaBianca while another person stabbed her. She later confessed that she also stabbed the woman after she had already lost her life. Van Houten was the youngest Mason follower to be convicted for her involvement in these heinous crimes and subsequently sentenced to prison. 

In the past, five attempts to grant her parole were denied by the governors of California. The last time her recommendation for parole was rejected was in 2020. However, California’s appeal court later overruled that decision and allowed her the opportunity for parole.

After serving over 50 years behind bars, Van Houten, now 73 years old, has recently been released from prison and is now under parole supervision, according to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Her attorney, Nancy Tetreault, confirmed that in the early hours of the day, Van Houten left the prison at California Institution for Women in Corona, which is located east of Los Angeles, in the early morning. The former homecoming princess was taken to a temporary place to stay called ‘transitional housing”. “She’s still trying to get used to the idea that this is real,” Tetreault told The Associated Press.

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Her release has sparked public outrage and debate due to the notoriety of the Manson Family and the heinous nature of the crimes they committed. On this, her lawyer explained that Van Huouten was truly repentant for her naive actions. “She had a long job of detaching herself from the cult mentality and accepting responsibility for her crimes,” Tetreault said. “It took her a long time. She had decades of therapy. So she felt guilt and deep remorse.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement that he was disappointed at her release. “More than 50 years after the Manson cult committed these brutal crimes, the victims’ families still feel the impact,” he said.

Now that the ex-convict has been released from prison, it is expected that she will spend approximately one year at a halfway house. According to her lawyer, during this time, Van Houten will learn to familiarize herself with today’s reality which is quite different from when she was behind bars. “She has to learn to use the internet. She has to learn to buy things without cash,” Finally, the former Mason member has repeatedly expressed, during her parole hearings, her regrets in her involvement of the gruesome crimes.

Lauren Wurth
Written By Lauren Wurth

Lauren Wurth is a content team member who is passionate about sharing engaging content! She has a history of writing content for retail, lifestyle, and entertainment verticals. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, stopping by Dunkin Donuts for a coffee, and exploring other parts of the world.


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