The California college on Wednesday recommended that Charles Manson’s follower Leslie Van Houten be conditionally released after serving more than four decades in prison.
After a hearing at the Women's Prison in Chino, California, members of the Parole Board for the third time found that 69-year-old Van Houten was suitable for release.
If her case passes the 150-day review process, it will be transferred to the hands of the new California Governor Gavin Newsom. Van Houten was twice recommended for parole, but then-Governor Jerry Brown blocked her release.
Van Houten was one of the followers of the murderous cult of Manson, who slaughtered the rich grocer Leno Labyanku and his wife Rosemary in 1969. Van Houten was 19 years old at the time of the killings that occurred the day after other Manson followers killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in Los Angeles.
Tate's sister attended the hearing on Wednesday and subsequently said that she categorically disagreed with the recommendation for parole.
“I just need to hope and pray that the governor makes the right decision,” and keeps Van Houten behind bars, Debra Tate said. The Newsom office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Van Houten's lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, said he was pleased with the way the commissioners focused on making sure she took “full responsibility” for her role in the killings.
“She decided to go with Manson. She decided to listen to him. And she admits that, ”said Pfeiffer. He predicted that “Newsome” would be much harder to block parole than Brown.
In his decision last year, Brown admitted Van Houten's youth at the time of the crime, her more than four decades of good conduct as a prisoner, and her ill-treatment by Manson. But he said that she still places too much blame on Manson for the killings.
At the last hearing, Van Houten spoke about troubled childhood. She said she was devastated when her parents divorced when she was 14 years old. Soon after, she said, she began to hang out with the outcast crowd of her school and use drugs. When she was 17, she and her boyfriend fled to the Haight-Ashbury area in San Francisco during the summer season of love.
She traveled up and down the coast of California when friends brought her to Manson. He was hiding on an abandoned ranch in a movie theater on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where he recruited what he called “family” to survive, as he insisted, in a race that he would begin by performing a series of random, horrific murders.
Van Houten said that she had joined several other members of the group who had killed the labians, who had cut out the body of Leno Labianki and smeared blood on a pair on the walls.
None of those who participated in the Tate LaByanka murders were released from prison.
Manson died in 2017 of natural causes in a California hospital, serving a life sentence.
Earlier this month, the California Parole Board recommended for the first time to release a follower of Manson, Robert Beausoleil. Beausoleil was convicted of killing musician Gary Hinman.