Former Manson Family Member Leslie Van Houten Released From Prison Nearly 54 Years After Shocking LaBianca Murders

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Leslie Van Houten, who served more than 50 years in prison on murder and conspiracy convictions in the Charles Manson “family” 1969 killings of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca that shocked Hollywood and the nation, was released from a California prison today, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The CDCR said in a statement that the 73-year-old Van Houten was released “to parole supervision.” Van Houten reportedly was taken to a transitional housing facility.

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“Van Houten will have a three-year maximum parole term with a parole discharge review occurring after one year,” according to CDCR. “For safety and security reasons, CDCR does not provide information on a person’s time or location of parole release.”

The release comes four days after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said it would no longer challenge the parole. A state appeals court in May rejected Newsom’s most recent of three parole rejections.

Van Houten, along with fellow Manson followers Charles “Tex” Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel were convicted in 1971 for the gruesome, Manson-ordered August 10, 1969, stabbing deaths of 44-year-old grocer Leno and wife Rosemary, 38, in their Los Feliz home. Van Houten, then 19, did not take part in the previous night’s Manson Family murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, hair stylist Jay Sebring and three others.

In the May ruling overturning Newsom’s third parole rejection, Associate Justice Helen I. Bendix wrote, “Van Houten has shown extraordinary rehabilitative efforts, insight, remorse, realistic parole plans, support from family and friends, favorable institutional reports, and, at the time of the governor’s decision, had received four successive grants of parole.” Bendix continued that there is no evidence to suggest Van Houten “is currently dangerous and unsuitable for parole.”

Despite Newsom’s conclusion that his continued opposition to parole would not likely succeed in court, the governor’s communications director Erin Mellon said in a written statement that Newsom is “disappointed” by Van Houten’s release, noting, “More than 50 years after the Manson cult committed these brutal offenses, the victims’ families still feel the impact, as do all Californians.”

City News Service contributed to this report.

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