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California high court won't hear Manson follower parole case

Manson Follower Parole
Stan Lim / Associated Press
/
Pool The Orange County Register
Leslie Van Houten attends her parole hearing at the California Institution for Women Sept. 6, 2017 in Corona, Calif. The California Supreme Court has denied a potential bid for freedom by Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten following Gov. Gavin Newsom's rejection of her parole. The court on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022 refused to hear Van Houten's appeal of a lower court ruling last December that denied her petition for a review.

The California Supreme Court has denied a potential bid for freedom by Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten following Gov. Gavin Newsom's rejection of her parole.

The court on Wednesday refused to hear Van Houten's appeal of a lower court ruling last December that denied her petition for a review.

That petition challenged what it termed a denial of due process by Newsom in reversing a 2020 parole board recommendation. It also said Newsom had refused to provide documents indicating when the board referred the case to him and argued that there was a “strong possibility"" that he exceeded a 30-day time limit for review.

An email to Van Houten's attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, seeking comment wasn't immediately returned Thursday night.

Van Houten, 72, is serving a life sentence for helping Manson and other cult members kill Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in August 1969. She was 19 when she and other followers fatally stabbed the LaBiancas and smeared their blood on the walls.

The slayings came the day after other Manson followers, but not Van Houten, killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others.

In 2020, the parole panel recommended that Van Houten be freed from prison, saying that she “does not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety” and had shown remorse for her crimes. Newsom, however reversed the decision, saying she did pose an “unreasonable danger" if released.

Since 2016, parole boards have recommended five times that Van Houten be freed from prison. Then-Gov. Jerry Brown and Newsom have blocked her parole four times. The fifth recommendation came last November and remains under procedural review.