CA Governor Jerry Brown Denies Parole for Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten

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Leslie Van Houten

It is the second time Brown has blocked parole for Van Houten after a state parole panel recommended that she be freed.

The governor of California has again denied parole for Leslie Van Houten, the youngest follower of murderous cult leader Charles Manson.

Gov. Jerry Brown said in his decision announced Friday night that Van Houten still lays too much of the blame on Manson, who died two months ago at age 83.

Brown's determination came even though Van Houten said at her parole hearing that she accepts full responsibility for her crimes.

The 68-year-old Van Houten is serving life for the murders of wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, when Van Houten was 19.

They were stabbed a day after other Manson followers killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others.

It is the second time Brown has blocked parole for Van Houten after a state parole panel recommended that she be freed.

Van Houten has long been considered among the most likely candidates among Manson "family" members to be paroled, But Brown, like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger before him, has steadfastly refused to let anyone associated with Manson's killings go free.

Brown wrote in his decision Friday that he acknowledges Van Houten's youth at the time of the crime, her more than four decades as a model prisoner and her abuse at the hands of Manson make it worth considering her release.

"However," he wrote, "these factors are outweighed by negative factors that demonstrate she remains unsuitable for parole."

Brown said Van Houten "played a vital part in the LaBianca murders, one of the most notorious of the Manson family crimes. The devastation and loss experienced by the LaBianca family and all the victims' families continues today."

And though Van Houten said at her September parole hearing that she accepts full responsibility for her role, she "still shifted blame for her own actions onto Manson to some extent," he continued.

Brown recalled Van Houten saying at her parole hearing that she takes responsibility for "Manson being able to do what he did to all of us. I allowed it. I accept responsibility that I allowed him to conduct my life in that way."

Van Houten appeared frail at the parole hearing with her silver hair pulled back in a bun, almost unrecognizable as the young woman who pledged her allegiance to Manson.