Parole was denied for Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten for the 19th time.
Van Houten, who is behind bars at the California Institution for Women at Frontera, was convicted of murder and
conspiracy in the August 1969 slayings of wealthy grocers Leno and
Rosemary La Bianca.
A model prisoner, Van Houten had been considered the most likely to be paroled of any Manson cult members serving life sentences.
Fox News breaks the news of the parole denial.
Van Houten, who some consider the most repentant of the Manson followers, carried out her crimes one night after actress Sharon Tate and four others were killed. Van Houten did not participate in those slayings.
She has had an uneventful prison record, although in 1981 she married and then quickly divorced an ex-convict who was subsequently found to be in possession of a uniform used by pregnant prison employees.
Van Houten claimed to know nothing about any plans her ex- may have had to spring her.
Gross-out filmmaker John Waters is among those who championed for 60-year-old Van Houten's release.
She has also been praised by Murrieta-based minister Victor Marx, who was approached by Van Houten while he preached to female prisoners in October. He writes on his All Things Possible Ministries website:
I was caught a little off guard when a
lady came up to me after I spoke and thanked me for sharing. She wanted
one of my books for herself and one for a friend. This gal told me how
important it is for me to share my story with humor to help others out.
She has been locked up for 40 years, serving a life sentence. This
woman has been all over the media, her name, Leslie Van Houten. She was
known for the murders related to Charles Manson back
in 1969. The chaplain told me that she had never come to one of her
special outreach events, this was her first time. So, please pray for
Leslie, that she will come to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
Closer to home was a depiction of Van Houten in the Canadian-made dark comedy Leslie, My Name is Evil, which rolled at last April's Newport Beach Film Festival. It depicts a young man (Gregory Smith) falling in love with Van Houten (Kristen Hager)–from the jury box he sat in at her murder trial.
The real Van Houten was tried alongside Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins, who had more connections to Orange County.
A couple weeks before she died of brain cancer on Sept. 24, 2009, at the Central California
Women's facility in Chowchilla, Atkins had sought a compassionate release.
Seven years before that, R. Scott Moxley reported in the Weekly that Atkins wanted to leave prison someday and live in Laguna Beach. Arguing vehemently against her release then, or any time, was Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
However, the prosecutor who helped put Atkins behind bars, Vincent Bugliosi, argued for showing her mercy.
Van Houten's Atkins' lawyers over the years was Laguna Beach-based
attorney Eric P. Lampel. She was also represented in later years
by her husband, James Whitehouse, who attended UC Irvine before getting
his law degree at Harvard. He now practices in San Juan Capistrano and
often represents those behind bars.
“Susan passed away peacefully surrounded by friends and
loved ones and the incredible staff at the Skilled Nursing Facility at
the Central California Women's Facility,” Whitehouse announced when she died. “Her last whispered word was
'Amen.' No one (on) the face of the Earth worked as hard as Susan did
to right an unrightable wrong.”