Monday, November 25, 2013

LESLIE VAN HOUTEN, Political Prisoner

This article was sent to mansonblog.com by Jude Camillone, a freelance writer. We are grateful for his generous input. Camillone is a native of New Rochelle, NY. He attended Florida Atlantic University on a full academic scholarship. He graduated with full academic honors, BA in Communication (specialty Print Journalism) then an MA in Communication.

He was a newspaper journalist for South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel for total of 9 years. He is followed by Freelance Journalist for national magazines. His most recent articles are published in Palm Springs Life.

His views are his own and not necessarily shared by the authors of mansonblog.com

I know of a woman who, as an underage girl, ran away from home. She joined a cult led by an evil manipulative man. This man was twice her age. He brainwashed her with daily doses of LSD. This twisted, demented cult leader manipulated her, exploited her and eventually coerced her into “joining in” on the second of two nights of cult violence and mayhem. This girl at this time was 19. More than two years of brainwashing had its effect, sadly. Although this girl participated the very least of any of the older cultists who committed far more heinous mayhem, she received the same exact death sentence as the others.

She was tried and tried again in her early 20s, but has essentially been in jail for the past 40 years. Her name is Leslie Van Houten. She is nearly 65 years old. And although she has apologized a million times over, and has worked as a mentor to prisoners who were released decades ago – for committing far worse crimes – Leslie Van Houten remains incarcerated. For the past decade she has most definitely been what is only defined as a POLITICAL PRISONER of the State of California. And Leslie Van Houten must be paroled.

Leslie Van Houten cannot escape the name of the evil, sick cult leader she is sadly forever associated with. His name is Manson and I despise him. I must say this: Occasionally a stranger or a friend will write me or ask me, “Oh, you must be ‘into’ Manson then?”

This query makes my skin crawl whenever I hear an uninformed person ask such a question. These are my thoughts on that awful man: He was and IS still a crazed megalomaniacal dangerous manipulative pedophile who preyed on the most vulnerable of teens and in the worst possible ways. I write many things here about unfairness of our justice system, etc., but I have to blame that utter egomaniac. His awful name is the anchor, the albatross, the true “jailer” which Leslie must forever be associated.

Every single time that awful manson, that subhuman excuse for a person, spouts his gibberish for the world to hear, it keeps Leslie Van Houten behind bars for another year or so. I wonder, had that awful man simply perished in his sleep say, oh, two or three decades ago when he was 60 0r 50, perhaps LVH would today be free. It is unfair to Leslie that the Bearded Idiot continues to be given a forum. HE is keeping Leslie in jail. As much as anything or anyone else. Lest we forget, Leslie was a child, half the age of that awful Manson who essentially put her in jail, and put her in jail again. And again. Time and time again, he keeps her in jail. So NO, I am not “into” Manson. Any more than I would be “into” sending any of our daughters to go live with him on his sick twisted ranch. And that is the battle Leslie fights daily, and I am fighting on her behalf too, trying to explain to many people that we are not “into” Manson. I hate that man, and I wish he would have “gone away” many decades ago, before the Geraldo Riveras of the world made him a sick star. I hate Manson, because of what he did to this girl especially. he has made her suffer the most. and that is where I stand on that.

And now I shall reprint the comments of ANOTHER of Leslie van Houten’s other advocates and supporters, film director John Waters. I certainly agree with John’s words:

“I have a really good friend who was convicted of killing two innocent people when she was nineteen years old on a horrible night of 1969 cult madness. Her name is Leslie Van Houten and I think you would like her as much as I do. She was one of those notorious “Manson girls” who shaved their heads, carved X’s in their foreheads and laughed, joked, and sang their way through the courthouse straight to death row forty years ago. Leslie is hardly a “Manson girl” today.

Now 65 years old, she looks back from prison on her involvement in the La Bianca murders (the night after the Tate massacre) in utter horror, shame, and guilt and takes full responsibility for her part in the crimes. I think it’s time to parole her.

In 1985 I was doing some journalistic pieces for Rolling Stone and they asked me to interview Manson. I had little curiosity and was still much more interested in the followers who had come to their senses and were now definitely ex-followers. Leslie Van Houten always seemed the one that could have somehow ended up making movies with us instead of running with the killer dune-buggy crowd. She was pretty, out of her mind, rebellious, with fashion-daring, a good haircut…just like the girls in my movies. If Leslie had met me instead of Charlie, could she have gone to the Cannes Film Festival instead of the California Institute for Women? Actually, I think if Leslie hadn’t met either of us she might have ended up as a studio executive in the movie business in Los Angeles. A good one, too.

So I pleaded with Jann Wenner, the editor of Rolling Stone, to let me interview Leslie, “the only one who has a chance of ever getting out”, the one I could tell from press reports had broken from Manson’s control and was beginning to see that the apocalyptical scenario Manson had preached was complete bullshit.

In 1972, Leslie’s death sentence (and those of her co-defendants) had been abolished by the California State Supreme Court and like all death penalty prisoners at the time, her sentence had been changed to life in prison. Not life without parole. The two other female death-penalty cases at the time besides the three “Manson girls”, also murderesses with very serious cases, were paroled eight or nine years later with little fanfare or outrage.

In 1976, Leslie’s original conviction was thrown out due to “ineffectual counsel” (her original lawyer drowned in the middle of her trial and was replaced) and she was given a new trial in 1977. This time, she was all by herself as a defendant in the courtroom. Remorse had started to creep in soon after she was imprisoned away from Manson. Locked away forever, Leslie, Susan, and Patricia were of no further use to Charlie and he dropped them quickly. The outsider voices of reason from the prison social workers started to seep in and Leslie began to see the holes in Manson’s brainwashing. “When I’d be questioned,” she later told author Karlene Faith for her very insightful and intelligent but little known book The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten, “I’d go blank and become frustrated like when a machine jams and just sits there making noise. In my head nothing was functioning. I was trying to understand, breaking down stiff little slogans that had been drilled into me.” When two other “Manson girls”, Mary Brunner and Catherine Shaw, were sent to jail and placed with Leslie, Susan and Patricia, Leslie grew tired of listening to their Manson talk and confided to Patricia that “I’ve changed. I’m not into this.” “It took three years to understand” and five or six years of therapy to “take responsibility” for the terrible crime she had helped commit.

Leslie finally had a good lawyer for her second trial. Taking the witness stand truthfully for the first time, she tried to explain her state of mind through the Manson madness and his control techniques. And the jury listened, too. After about twenty-five days of deliberation there was a hung jury; seven voted for guilty of first-degree murder, and five for manslaughter due to her cult domination and uncertain mental health at the time of the crime.

Refusing to offer a plea bargain, the prosecutor took her to trial for a third time in 1978 and added a felony robbery motive (clothes, a wallet and a few coins had been taken from the La Bianca home), a crime that now couldn’t legally be excused by state of mind. But this time Leslie made bail and was released from prison. She found employment as a law clerk and lived in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. She was free for six months and lived quietly, unnoticed by the press. When a few of her new neighbors found out who she really was, after they already thought they knew her, all were “supportive” and “protective” of her anonymity.

When Leslie’s third trial finally began, she came to court every day on her own. Long gone was the shaved head, and the X on her forehead was covered by bangs. No more trippy little riot-on-Sunset-Strip, satin miniskirt outfits either, like the ones she and her female co-defendants wore to the first trial. This time she was dressed tastefully and looked lovely, something that obviously didn’t sit well with Stephen Kay, the prosecutor who had inherited all the Manson-related cases from Vincent Bugliosi. “All dolled up”, Mr. Kay cracked to the press, giving Leslie one of her first, but definitely not last, opinionated fashion reviews. When she was finally convicted of first-degree murder at the end of the trial, life imprisonment suddenly became very real.

Rolling Stone gave me the go-ahead to pursue the Leslie Van Houten interview so, in 1985, seven years after her final conviction, I wrote to “The Friends of Leslie”, a now-disbanded, loose-knit support group made up of Leslie’s real family (Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters — all glad to have her back from Manson even if it was in prison) and her jail-house teachers and counselors who had seen how this teenage girl had been completely dominated by one of the most notorious madmen of our time.” (Excerpted from the book Role Models by John Waters.)

John Waters said it, and I will say it: It is time to FREE LESLIE VAN HOUTEN. And for the record, I utterly despise Manson. Leslie is NOT that evil man, who brainwashed her when she was a mere child. Free Leslie. She is nearly 65, and has been incarcerated for 45 years for a crime she committed as a child. Let her go and let her be free.





35 comments:

beauders said...

For those of you interested in what is enough time for someone to spend in prison look up the Pauline Parker/Juliette Hulme murder in New Zealand in 1954. A great movie about the case came out in 1994 called "Heavenly Creatures. These two girls, one was sixteen, the other about to turn sixteen brutally murdered Parkers mother because the girls did not want to be separated. They beat Mrs. Parker with a brick in a stalking 45 times on the head and face. These two were found guilty and sent to prison. Each served only five years! Today they live good lives (Juliet Hulme goes by the name Anne Perry and is a famous British author of mysteries). Is this kind of sentencing the more humane? Van Houten was only three years older than these girls and her participation in the murder of Mrs. LaBianca in my opinion was a lot less than these girls.

leary7 said...

I don't consider Leslie a political prisoner. I think she is more a prisoner of notoriety. We live in a celebrity culture and fair or not Leslie is a Manson Family murderer. Do you think Sirhan Sirhan is ever going to get paroled? If you committed a high profile crime then the simple reality is it is going to be ten times harder to get paroled.
And while Leslie may indeed now be a nice person, genuinely remorseful and deserving of some sympathy...one still has to remember that Leslie begged to go along on that second night and talked for a few years afterwards about how much she enjoyed stabbing Rosemary 16 times.
Leslie put herself where she is today. Yes, Manson manipulated and bears some responsibility, but Leslie could have said no like Ella Jo Bailey did.
Leslie made certain horrible choices and unfortunately for her those choices were part of a high profile crime. It may not be fair - being a prisoner of notoriety - but it is what it is.
New Zealand and Canada and other countries do not have a celebrity culture - they don't make someone like Kin Kadashian famous. Leslie would have been out in like seven years up in Canada. But America is different. She is infamous, or her crime is. Right or wrong, she is going to pay the price of infamy.

sherm maniac said...


I initially agreed when I read your post, leary, regarding using the term 'political prisoner' to describe Family members. That label implies (to me, anyway) that their continued imprisonment is due to their posing a structural threat to the foundations of the US state, or to the power-base of governmental administrators/representatives. Maybe you could use the term in that context to describe Manson, but that is a long bow to draw and buys into the narrative he spun (mostly post-Tate/LaBianca, I think) about ATWA etc., which has always seemed to me like cynical manipulative bullshit he used to try and add political justification to what were apolitical crimes. Leslie (hell, most other Family members, with the exception of other ATWArriors like Squeaky and Sandy) really doesn't fit that description. 'Prisoner of notoriety' is honestly a much better term for such people, since their continued imprisonment is due to their past association with America's No. 1 Symbol of Hippy Evil rather than any threat they might post to the state.

I think the problem though is that there /was/ a political element to the sentencing- I wasn't alive at the time, but it does seem from what I've read that there was a degree of 'levelling retribution on the degenerate counterculture, with Manson as a surrogate' going on; this probably applied to his followers too, and was also reflected in the ways the court system treated people like (Timothy) Leary. If Manson and his Family had been fundamentalist Christians with short haircuts and Bibles instead of acid, would they still be in jail? Probably, but it's still an interesting question. So I'm unsure about whether their continued imprisonment is 'political' or not, but I doubt whether anyone in power still thinks hippies are a threat (even Jerry Rubin sold out, maaaaan!); 'prisoner of notoriety' is a much better term- thanks for that one, leary.

Anyway, I'm quibbling(dribbling) over semantics. I don't really have an opinion on Leslie's incarceration, as with that of most other Family members (except Tex, no question he should stay locked up). I'll leave that to the other more informed Mansophiliacs (i.e. every other EviLiz commenter) to pontificate on.

beauders said...

If you look up the Parker/Hulme murders you will see that if there was/is a celebrity crime in New Zealand it is this one. I go back and forth on Leslie Van Houten I really do feel that she would be somewhat productive now if released now and certainly would have been fifteen or twenty years ago. I guess it's the old argument are prison's for rehabilitation or punishment or a combination of both.

sherm maniac said...

Also, another disagreement: I am an Australian- which isn't New Zealand, but damn close. Trust me, we (and our Kiwi siblings) do have a celebrity culture that celebrates vacuous morons and immortalises violent criminal vagabonds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ned_kelly). Whether that means Leslie would have been more leniently treated here is another issue I'll defer focusing my General Ignorance on.

sherm maniac said...

One last (unrelated) comment- my library has a copy of 'Satan's Power', the anthropological examination of the Process Church. I recently finished reading it and it has a short section devoted to the cult's reaction and relations to the Manson and the killings. I couldn't find any record of this having been submitted to EviLiz before, so would anyone be interested in me typing it up and sharing it? It's not filled with any particularly earth-shattering info, but does provide an examination of the Manson/Process link from the Process' POV, which is interesting.

beauders said...

In one regard the Manson murderers are political prisoners. They will never be released because any governor who did release any of them would never hold a political office again.
Also if Van Houten was not convicted of first degree murder in her third trial and was released instead I believe she would of done just fine and most likely would have never gotten into any trouble again.

brownrice said...

"He brainwashed her with daily doses of LSD"... bullshit.
All other reports state pretty categorically that the "family's" acid sessions were at most weekly not daily.

Weekly was pretty "normal" back then in the counterculture... almost de rigueur. Anyone that was silly enough to try daily doses found that the acid didn't actually work the second day. Ya had to allow about a week between trips to lose your tolerance.

As for the guy's other points, I think it's pretty well undeniable that (rightly or wrongly)if the case wasn't so notorious they would've all been released a long, long time ago.

brownrice said...

Oh... and hiya Sherm from another Aussie.

Good post, my only quibble would be calling dear ol' Ned Kelly (the only real hero we've got in Oz) a "violent criminal vagabond" is very unfair.

To my way of thinking (and many others) he was a very definite Robin Hood type. Most accounts agree he was quite the gentleman and robbed banks not people. He certainly shared his wealth amongst the impoverished rural community he came from.

To this day, most of the locals in that part of Oz (other than descendants of the cops & ruling class of the time) will tell you that he was actually attempting to stage a revolution when they finally caught & hung him.

Sorry to everybody else, that was definitely off-topic :-)

AustinAnn74 said...

I guess nobody will share my opinion, but didn't LVH help murder a human being in an extremely cruel way? She heard that poor woman screaming in terror, and having to listen to her husband being butchered. Do people forget how scared the LaBiancas were when they broke into their home? Why does someone who caused so much pain get to go free? These people did not give a shit about how bad the victims suffered. Do you realize how painful it would be to be stabbed??? People forget about the victims, and just feel sorry for one of the perpertrators, because she was young when she did it, and was under Manson's control. Think for a moment if your parents, or siblings, or even yourself were at home, asleep, or fixing to go to sleep, and strangers appear in your living room, tie your hands up, and then seperate you, and your loved one. You start screaming when you hear your loved one being gutted in the other room, then your death begins to happen. They plunge a knife into your body again and again.....think about that, people.
Listen, I know LVH was young, and doing a lot of drugs back then, but so were a lot of other hippies. Most of them did not end up knifing people in the middle of the night. LVH is paying for, not only the crime itself, but how she acted afterwards.

Cindy Lee said...

Well said AustinAnn.

Dear Mr. Camillone,
I respect your thoughts on Leslie Van Houten, but I feel the need to counter them for the very reason that the essence of your thoughts are the same reasoning that keeps Miss Van Houten from being released. Ninety percent of your article blames Manson for Van Houten’s actions and (unbelievably) even her continued incarceration. And, 45 years after the murders, Van Houten does the same; she herself refuses take full responsibility for her actions and continues to blame Manson.

As Doris Tate once said, “Oh, they’ll say they take responsibility, only it’s followed by ‘but.’” In Van Houten’s case she stated this to a parole board: “One of the hardest things I have to deal with in contributing to murder is that there is no restitution. There’s no making it right.”

Well she’s correct about “there’s no making it right”, but what she says here is that she contributed to murdering Mrs. LaBianca. And when asked by the board: “You said a moment ago that you contributed to murder. Now, did you murder Mrs. LaBianca or contribute to her death?” Van Houten responded: “I feel I contributed to her death. It’s difficult to answer that because the autopsy reports have shown that it was Tex that wielded the fatal wounds, but I contributed. I attempted to hold her down for Pat, and I called Tex because we couldn’t kill her. Morally, I feel as though I did.”

You see, Mr. Camillone, when a killer “participates” in murder, it’s not a contribution to murder, it’s just plain murder. And, until Van Houten takes full responsibility for her actions and stops using the blame game of her childhood, Manson’s brainwashing, the fact that “Tex wielded the fatal wounds”, or that Rosemary LaBianca was already dead when she stabbed her, she will remain in prison.

You note in your article: “She has apologized a million times over.” But has she really apologized? I think not. She side-steps a true apology with comments like: “My heart aches with words, but there don’t seem to be any that can really convey living with the amount of pain caused.” How about a simple, “I’m sorry”?

Van Houten once said: “It’s hard for me sometimes to accept the fact that people choose to believe that I absolutely cannot change. That I was something at nineteen, and what I am at thirty-three is irrelevant because the life of the one they loved ended when I was nineteen. And though I understand it, it’s very difficult because life goes on. And I go on.”

The problem, Mr. Camillone is that while Van Houten’s life does go on, those that she murdered, Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca, will forever remain in their graves. And while Van Houten will continue to ask for release, those that still grieve the loss of Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca will continue to fight her because there’s a price to be paid for taking a life and that’s paying for it with your own.

orwhut said...

It's OK, Brownrice. I imagine most people who are interested in Charlie, are intersted in Ned Kelly too.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Let's examine some FACTS:

1) At the time of the MANSON Fanily, the CIA was heavely involved in Project MK-Ultra (brainwashing via LSD)

2) At the time of the CIA's MK-Utra Project, Manson suceeded in brainwashing (with LSD) young boys and girls to kill for him)

3) The CIA (with ALL its BEST college graduates in chemisry, mental power, inventiveness, etc. FAILLED, and eventually abandoned their project.

SO, is Charles Manson just EVIL while government employees are just plain incompetant?

ANOTHER FACT: Because ALL of the original defense attorneys (in the Tate/LaBianca Murder trail) FAILED to even put on a "defense," the defendants were NOT provided with adequate legal representation under Constitutional LAW. That the esteemed Judge Older did NOT recognize and ACT upon this blantant FACT (at the time the defense attorneys refused to put on a defense--calling witnesses, etc.) -- Judge Older intentionally joined the Manson Trial Circus as its Ringmaster.

Sometimes the TRUTH can make US feel just like being stupid - and who wants to be stupid?


christopher butche said...

As far as I am aware Californian law would now catagorize Van Houten's conviction as a murder with special circumstances (home invasion, torture, suffering, etc) and it would automatically call for the imposition of a sentence of life without parole.

She was originally sentenced to death, this was commuted to an indeterminate sentence without a benchmark of necessary time to be served before being granted for parole or release.

When reconvicted she was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. The charge had been altered from murder to murder commited during the commission of a felony, add to this the aggravating circumstances.

From the CRCR website: These (life sentence) inmates are sentenced to the possibility of parole, not the assurance of it, recognizing that their maximum potential sentence is life.

leary7 said...

I can see where it could be claimed that the sentencing and prolonged incarceration have a political basis. But clearly TLB was not a political act and I don't see the trial as a political trial. It was more cultural.
Looking back though, I do firmly believe that not just Leslie but Pat, Tex and Susan were all 'fully crazed" at the time of the murders. The legal question is whether 'fully crazed' equates with temporary insanity. The courts still struggle with that one even today.
And it seems abundantly clear that neither the parole board of our culture at large want to accept that equation.
Yet they did with Grogan. Go figure.

1nonbeliever said...

Ok so if you are a short ugly smelly bearded guy you can't fool anyone, but yet if you are a pretty slim girl you get a pass? A killer is a killer regardless on how they look or whatever excuses you want to make for them.
Leslie was there and did some stabbing and this makes her no better than the rest of the clan.

Cindy Lee said...

Hey Leary, define “fully crazed”.

Was it when Susan Atkins, during her grand jury testimony to save her life used attorney jargon such as: “Tex told him to get back by the fireplace and lay down -- no, he didn't say -- strike-that -- he didn't say lie down”. Or when she used eloquent language such as: “With the rope -- that is not correct, excuse me -- Abigail was standing and Sharon was sitting. Tex went over to Jay Sebring and bent down and viciously stabbed Jay Sebring in the back many times.”?

Is fully crazed when Van Houten responded to Mike McGann’s question: "Would you want to see these people, for no reason at all, go up there and kill your parents or brothers or sisters? Do you think that’s right?” And Van Houten responded: “No.” Or when he asked her about the murders: “Kind of vicious, huh?”
And Van Houten responded: “I’ll say. Yeah. Overdoing it a little. Anyway, that’s about all I know.”

Or is fully crazed when Tex Watson played crazy for an insanity plea during his trial after he had already proven that he understood that what he’d done was wrong with his actions after the murders to avoid detection such as throwing away evidence, washing blood from his body, and then fleeing the state? Obviously a jury didn’t believe his insanity plea and neither do I.

See, in order to be “fully crazed”, these killers would not have been able to decipher between right and wrong. And each one of these killers has independently proven that they understood at the time that what they did was wrong.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jude Camillone said...

I wrote "brainwashed with daily doses of LSD" as I might state it if I WERE a defense attorney of an LVH-type "child defendant" TODAY.
Yes, she was a willing LSD taker/dabbler. So was I throughout the '70s myself.

I was just making a point. Today, in nearly 2014, any defense attorney would argue the points: "she was BULLIED, she was manipulated, etc, etc, etc. she was a victim."

I stand by every word I wrote, I am more than happy to play devil's advocate and always will be.....but I argue as one would argue before a jury in 2014. In this age of "bullying" she might get off on a "bullied" defense. Tex Watson = Richie Incognito, etc. Tex "bullied" this teen girl, etc.

Soon, I will write something here comparing Leslie with Patty Hearst. Must be nice to be a politically-connected newspaper heiress. Patty got off on the "I was brainwashed and drugged" defense so much so, that she did TWO years actual time, before her sentence was commuted by one President, then fully pardoned by a second President. Hearst's crimes were severe, as we will recall. And she did two years, not four decades and counting....

leary7 said...

I am not sure about the timelines in their evolution of awareness, Cindy Lee. I do know that during the trial Leslie told her father she wanted holes cut in the back of the jacket he brought her for her angel wings. And she was serious.
Just like the author of the article, I did my share of LSD back in the day and I do believe someone can be "fully crazed" from the effects of it and then be lucid even a few weeks later.

Can I ask Jude if he ever spoke to Star's parents?
I hope for your sake, Jude, Richie Incognito doesn't find out you equated him to Tex Watson.
The Hearst/Leslie comparison is going to be a tough one. Even though there are common elements I don't see many people buying it. You ought to run it by Vince first. And Charlie of course. I can't imagine that the reformed Patty will be to pleased with being equated with a Manson Family killer.

Cindy Lee said...

Mr. Camillone, in your comment you use the word bullied as a reason for Van Houten’s decision to murder two innocent victims. But I don’t see how the word bullied or bullying applies to her case.

The definition of a bully: “A blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.”

In what part of any testimony—including Van Houten’s own, is it noted that she was bullied, harassed, or coerced into murder?

In her own words at a parole hearing, Van Houten states that she was a very willing participant: “I found out the next day what had happened [at Cielo] and leading up to that point, Manson spoke a lot about sacrificing ourselves to the beginning of the Helter Skelter war. My loyalty and need to please him made me want to go the second night. Also, I kept very close to Patricia Krenwinkel. So when I realized that she had gone [the night before] it was important that I also go.”

Your 2014 bullying defense, sir, would fall apart with that single paragraph.

You should also be reminded, Mr. Camillone, that Van Houten has had ample opportunity with psychologists, trials, and now parole hearings to prove your/her case and yet she fails every single time because there is no leverage to her claims.

And, lets remember back to what the prosecutor said about her after her psychiatric evaluations: “At the time, I sensed that of the three female defendants, Leslie was the least committed to Manson. And lo and behold, Dr. Hochman came to the same opinion. That increases her personal responsibility and her moral culpability.”

AustinAnn74 said...

LVH's worst enemy is herself. She just about horrified the last parole board she appeared in front of when asked how she felt after Pat had described to her what had happened to the Tate victims. They asked her "didn't Pat's behavior influence you that what they did was wrong?"
LVH's answer was "No, whether it felt that way or not, it was something that had to be done!"
This was said at her last parole hearing, which was in JUNE of 2013!!!
We can all argue till we are blue in the face. This woman is not getting out, even if she has celebrity friends on the outside.

Matt said...

AustinAnn, in all fairness she was describing what she thought and felt in August of 1969 as accurately as she remembers it. She wasn't describing what she thinks and feels now.

leary7 said...

damn, I was on the highway to doc appointment when I realized I had mixed up Jude with the author of the Rolling Stone article. How embarrassing. I blame my meds. I was fully crazed.

leary7 said...

great last post, Cindy Lee. Bullying does not apply here. Even Manson's manipulations were more subtle than bullying.

Sadie was never going to get out, even on her deathbed. Pat is never going to get out. And Leslie, mostly through her antics during the trial, will always be linked with her co-defendants. So her defenders can howl at the moon about her lesser culpability and so on, but she's going to die on the inside. It is what it is.

ColScott said...

Charles Manson was not 38 at the time of the murders.

After that the piece has no facts, logic or inner truth.

Sun King said...

Since they all received the death penalty they all really should be thankful their lives were spared.

I thought Leslie had a shot at parole but it is looking like that won't happen.

AustinAnn74 said...

I know that, but it makes her so cold. She, of course, it not the same person she was when she was 19. She has changed a lot, but she is being punished for the home invasion/murder she participated in. I have no doubt that LVH would not kill again, but it is too late. Her life was ruined, because of her "loyalty" in 1969.

AustinAnn74 said...

I meant, it makes her sound so cold. Sorry. I forgot to type SOUND.

hippiekiller said...

"I wrote "brainwashed with daily doses of LSD" as I might state it if I WERE a defense attorney of an LVH-type "child defendant" TODAY."

So you've essentially adjusted Leslie's average acid intake for inflation. Interesting spin there dude... but still complete bullshit, as brownrice puts it.

Classifying LVH as a political prisoner is also bullshit, as Hippie Killer puts it.

Max Frost said...

I don't care one way or another about Leslie but she is a political prisoner in that the ONLY reason she is still in prison is because of her association with Manson.

People have done far worse than she did and have done half the time or less.

christopher butche said...

It's always a moral quandary to know that people have committed far worse atrocities than Leslie van Houten and served far less time.

For example Albert Speer, Hitler's armaments minister towards the end of WWII used slave labour besides being a senior minister in the notorious Nazi government.

He was tried around 1946ish and was released in 1966. Serving around 20 years.

Van Houten has now been in custody (minus 6 months) since mid October 1969, 44 years ago.

Legally, she is of course serving a legitimate lawful sentence, but unfortunately her release is at the sole discretion of a single elected official (governor of california). This official also selects the parole board commissioners.

Financially it is costing Californians huge amounts. The original trial was $900,000+ (in old money), van Houten's re-trials each were around the $250,000+ (in old money), and I heard a figure of $1.5 million dollars for Atkins health care.

sherm maniac said...

Hi brownrice. I agree with you that Kelly is a folk hero here, and I wouldn't argue that he shouldn't be- symbols are important. But, in reality, the guy was a thug; even a little reading will tell you the rosy glow he's held in is a little groundless. He and his family had been involved in theft (particularly cattle and horses) for years, as well as general trouble-making (brawls, etc.). A lot of their legal problems did have to do with the way the Irish were treated by the establishment at that time, but I can't really agree with people who try to extrapolate these tensions into Kelly being a full-blown republican political activist. Nothing he ever said or did ever showed any evidence of a political motive to his crimes, as nice as the idea is.

Interestingly, the first time I ever encountered this theory was in the book 'The ANM Story', by Australian Neo-Nazi Jack van Tongeren. van Tongeren essentially saw Kelly as Australia's first revolutionary nationalist, and made his Australian Nationalist Movement follow Kelly's example by going 'underground' and staging robberies to fund their 'revolutionary activities'. Which is an interesting take on things!

LuluLuv said...

AustinAnn74 says: I guess nobody will share my opinion, but didn't LVH help murder a human being in an extremely cruel way? She heard that poor woman screaming in terror, and having to listen to her husband being butchered. Do people forget how scared the LaBiancas were when they broke into their home? Why does someone who caused so much pain get to go free? These people did not give a shit about how bad the victims suffered. Do you realize how painful it would be to be stabbed???

Wth ofcourse a knife weildind into your body would hurt. Would it had been better if they had strangled them, drowned them, or perhaps one would prefer to be set on fire. Yes obviously some are more heinous or painful than others but murder is murder and since you claim to understand so much about how a person of any age much less a teenager can be influenced by a cultleader nutcase manson plus and drugs, then you should also research and understand what the definition of rehabilitation means and parole suitability. I feel bad for all victims of loved ones who's been murdered or passed away but there is such a thing as forgiveness. And when someone is clearly not a threat and clearly remorseful, and that little matter of it being 44 years ago it's time to let it go and give her a chance. It's no wonder people who don't understand or open their mind enough because they been fortunate enough to never have to struggle with addiction or how it can completely control your every thought and action and turn you into something you're not. But since she cannot bring a life back to living she can only be a better person and that she has been this is what we in America call parole suitability and rehabilitated therefore She has paid her debt for her part in the crime and her part is not near as bad as all the very WRONG comments I read throughout this site people claiming she said this or did that come on now don't believe all you hear and see in the movies the bottom line is , she should be set free and should have only done 8 to 15 years if that Had the same except crime happen today any lawyer would never get murder one under the cult circumstances/&drugs. That's why it is true 100% about her being a political prisoner. I would hope my child wouldn't get mixed up in such a crowd and do something they wouldn't otherwise be capable of and you be thankful you not had that Burden if you look at it from the other point of view because it can happen. But no open mind here maybe you won't ever have to endure anything other then life on your silver platter

Kathy Thomas said...

I was going on 12 years old at the time of the murders. The thing is this people....a total of 9 people were killed over a 2 day period. Have anyone forgotten that Tate was very much pregnant and they killed an almost full term baby?
That baby would be about 47 today. No she was not at the Tate murders, but knew of the murders, and was actually jealous because she had not participated. She elected to go the next night people, she wanted to become involved. LSD ...ACID? Who the heck was not dropping acid back then? Since when do the United States of America free serial killers? If that is the case, why fry Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy? Heck like them all do 25 to 40 and call it a day, especially if they are good in prison. Because of course, everyone becomes the model prisoner, it's a miracle!!!!!! Leslie Van Houten is no political prisoner, and as long as she sees herself as one, she not getting out. As dude said, you can howl at the moon, she aint getting out. She do not even take responsibility, which shows how, yes, she was stupid then, and she stupid now. Duh.