Charles Manson Follower Leslie Van Houton, 66, Should Not Be Released From Prison, Prosecutor Urges

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey wrote that Leslie Van Houten does not see Charles Manson for the "brutal megalomaniac that he is"

Photo: Nick Ut/AP

The Los Angeles County District Attorney is urging Gov. Jerry Brown to keep Charles Manson’s alleged former follower Leslie Van Houten behind bars.

District Attorney Jackie Lacey penned a five-page letter to the governor, asking that he deny parole to the former follower because she “poses an unreasonable risk to public safety.”

In April, a Board of Parole Hearings panel found Van Houten suitable for parole. Now, Lacey is urging Gov. Brown to reverse the panel’s decision.

“She clearly lacks insight, genuine remorse, and an understanding of the magnitude of her crimes,” Lacey wrote in the letter obtained by multiple outlets.

“The viciousness of the murders, the relationship of those murders to the effort to incite the ‘Helter Skelter’ race war, and Van Houten’s attempts to minimize her criminal responsibility, make her an unreasonable risk of danger to society.”

In 1969, Van Houten, along with several members of the Manson Family, went on a two-day killing spree that left seven people dead, including actress Sharon Tate.

She was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca and sentenced to life in prison. She has been denied parole 19 times.

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After being found suitable for parole, her case was forwarded to the Staff of the Board of Parole Hearings. They have until August 12 to submit their review to the governor, who will have another 30 days to make his decision about whether to grant her parole, officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told PEOPLE.

In her letter, Lacey described the gruesome murders and wrote that the now 66-year-old has a “disturbingly distorted” view of Manson.

“She simply does not see him for the brutal megalomaniac that he is,” she wrote, noting that Van Houten described Manson as a “myth” and a “caricature of horror.”

Van Houten’s lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, told the Los Angeles Times that Lacey’s letter was dishonest and that it took Van Houten’s words out of context.

Pfeiffer told the Times that Lacey’s letter conflated Van Houten’s description of the killings with the way she views her crimes now.


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