Just when you think California officials can’ t get any worse, they go ahead and vote to let one of the most violent, remorseless and deranged Manson family killers out of prison. The bloodthirsty m…
Just when you think California officials can’ t get any worse, they go ahead and vote to let one of the most violent, remorseless and deranged Manson family killers out of prison.
The bloodthirsty monster that I’ m referring to is Leslie Van Houten, who was granted parole last week by a panel of state commissioners in Chino.
This is the second time — out of 21 attempts — the parole board has voted to release the now grandmotherly-looking, 68-year-old murderer from the pokey.
The lack of logic, common sense or decency for the victims and their families is astounding.
Sure, she was an active participant in one of the most gruesome series of murders California has ever seen, but now she looks like she carries peppermints in her purse. What could go wrong?
Where’s “Black Lives Matter” to blow the whistle on “white privilege” when you need them?
Since so much time has passed between the Manson family murders and today, I think it’s time we took a stroll down memory lane.
In the summer of 1969, Van Houten was joined by Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles “Tex” Watson at the Los Feliz home of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.
According to prosecutors, Van Houten and Krenwinkel held down Rosemary LaBianca and forced her to watch Watson stab her husband to death.
Watson then started stabbing Rosemary, who was frantically pleading for her life. That’s when he handed the knife to Van Houten, who testified to stabbing Rosemary 14 times.
In her 1971 trial, Van Houten chillingly said, “And I took one of the knives, and Patricia had a knife, and we started stabbing and cutting up the lady.”
In a 1994 interview with CNN’s Larry King, Van Houten expanded on her role in the murders: “I went in, and Mrs. LaBianca was laying on the floor, and I stabbed her… in the lower back, around 16 times.”
Van Houten was convicted and sentenced to death in 1971, but was spared when the Supreme Court overturned the state’s death penalty a year later. Not long after that, her first conviction was also overturned because her lawyer died before the trial was completed.
Van Houten was retried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1978.
Debra Tate, whose sister Sharon Tate was also murdered by the Manson family, has selflessly assumed the responsibility of speaking out on behalf of the victims, despite herself battling an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Tate told the Register that there is no question that Van Houten still poses a risk to public safety. “She is still in association with previous crime partners. The week prior to her parole hearing there was a Franklin hearing in the Los Angeles criminal courthouse where [fellow Manson Family cult member] Catherine “Gypsy” Share testified for her ‘best friend,’ ” Tate noted.
Tate also said, “On another occasion it was brought to my attention that Leslie had a 16-year sexual pen-pal relationship with a man who was serving prison time for a double homicide. She is still drawn to these reckless individuals that could influence her actions. We simply can’ t take that chance again. To this very day she is blaming her actions on others and not taking accountability for herself. Although she displays a remorseful face during parole hearings, she has never once reached out and written a letter of apology to any of her victims’ family members.”
And now California, in our rush to empty the jails, has voted to allow this predator to go free.
Gov. Jerry Brown has the constitutional power to overrule his bone-headed parole board. Smacking them down should be a no-brainer.
John Phillips is a CNN political commentator and can be heard weekdays at 3 p.m. on “The Drive Home with Jillian Barberie and John Phillips” on KABC/AM 790.