Thursday, April 14, 2016

Parole approved for Charles Manson cult member Leslie Van Houten

Associated Press

CHINO, Calif. --
A California panel recommended parole Thursday for former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten more than four decades after she went to prison for the notorious killings of a wealthy grocer and his wife.

The decision will now undergo administrative review by the Board of Parole Hearings. If upheld it goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has the final word on whether the now-66-year-old Van Houten is released from the California Institution for Women in Chino.

Brown previously blocked the parole of former Manson follower Bruce Davis, citing the gravity of his offenses and his refusal to fully accept responsibility for his role in the murders of a stunt man and a musician.

Van Houten was "numb" after the parole board decision was made at the California Institution for Women, said her attorney Rich Pfeiffer.

Van Houten, a one-time homecoming princess, participated in the killings of Leno La Bianca and his wife Rosemary a day after other so-called "Manson family" members murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in 1969.

The killings were the start of what Manson believed was a coming race war. He dubbed it "Helter Skelter" after a Beatles song.

Van Houten was the youngest Manson follower to take part in one of the nation's most notorious killings after she descended into a life of drugs and joined Manson's cult in the 1960s.

Since then, she has completed college degrees and been commended for her behavior as a model prisoner.

Earlier Thursday, she described in graphic detail how she helped secure a pillow over the head of Rosemary La Bianca with a lamp cord and hold her down while someone else stabbed the woman in her home in 1969.

Van Houten recounted the killing during her 21st parole hearing at the California Institution for Women, saying she had looked off into the distance until another Manson follower told her to do something and she joined in the stabbing.

"I don't let myself off the hook. I don't find parts in any of this that makes me feel the slightest bit good about myself," she told the parole board panel.

The La Biancas were stabbed numerous times and the word "WAR" was carved on the stomach of Leno La Bianca.

Van Houten's lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, said in an earlier interview that she presents no danger to the public and should be freed.

"The only violent thing she has ever done in her entire life was this crime and that was under the control of Charles Manson," he said. "She is just not a public safety risk, and when you are not a public safety risk, the law says you shall be released."

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office declined to comment ahead of Thursday's hearing.

Former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten is seen during a hearing before the California Board of Parole Hearings at the California Institution for Women in Chino, Calif., on Thursday. (Nick Ut / AP)


Matt said...


Patty is Dead said...

Brown will of course veto.

sasha11papers said...

Does it matter that the police suspect Bruce in other murders and that he is holding back information whereas with Leslie I don't think this is an issue. Did Tex Watson a long time ago said he did the major part of the killing? I think Leslie has a good record for behavior in prison, will that count? I'm not advocating for Leslie--it just seems to me that of all the people involved in Manson crimes, she played the most minimal part. Don't all hose me at once.

Zelda Formaldehyde said...

I had a strange feeling today would be the day. This Board showed courage to make an unpopular decision, which impresses me.
3 disparate things come to mind:
1. This is Leslie's first parole attempt since becoming a snipe citizen, maybe it was now or never.
2. This is the first hearing for any of the Tate-LaBianca murderers since the passing of Bugliosi. Coincidence?
3. It's possible information on the Tex Tapes came into play here in the Board's consciousness.

Zelda Formaldehyde said...

Sorry, meant senior citizen. Damn iPhone.

Patty is Dead said...

Cool name Zelda

Farflung said...

As for senior citizens molting into harmless creatures, one may want to do a search on Dorothea Puente, and Lawrence Singleton.

Kasabian was likely the least vicious of the group, but it was Atkins who was first offered a deal for State's evidence, so evil intent does not appear to be a factor.

Several phrases get well minced, like parole, and freed being synonymous words. Parole is basically prison at home.

Zelda Formaldehyde said...

Thank you, Patty. It's certainly a personal cross to bear.

AustinAnn74 said...


Patty is Dead said...

Ann are u in shock?

Manson Mythos said...

Leslie was offered immunity too by the DA ;)

Before it goes to brown, it's going to undergo administrative review. They can make the decision not to uphold it in which case it's over and done with. He won't have to even look at it.

DebS said...

I've read a few different articles on Leslie being granted parole and not one of them mentioned Debra Tate. Was she not there? That would be a departure from all of the other hearings. Leslie was tried three times with one trial ending in a hung jury. In the end she was convicted and given a sentence of Life with the possibility of parole. I saw a video recently on the release of Steve Grogan, filmed three month after the fact, and Steven Kay said he expected that Leslie would be the next to be paroled. That was almost 30 years ago! said...

No, Dennis, that's not what goes on during the admin review. They go through some metrics to determine your date based on case. It's moot for all of the Manson crew because they've been in so long. It's just a matter of waiting the mandatory 120 days.

But Brown will reverse it. Look for his ruling late on Sept 9

orwhut said...

I think Leslie was one of the prettiest of the girls and not bad as an old lady. I also smile when thinking about the time someone put up a terrible picture of her and asked the readers to supply their own caption. I wish I could remember who said, "Wilburrrr". Come on, who was it? Fess up and be proud.

Robert Hendrickson said...

When someone is up for parole I try to re-educate myself as to THEIR specific situation and Leslie really presents a unique one. BUT even more significant here, is the fact that the parole board must evaluate the subject person individually. So how can this be accomplished truthfully IF all the Manson Family soldiers were merely carrying-out their leader Charles Manson's ORDERS to ignite a race WAR miss-spelled "Healter Skelter'?

In other words, how did HER "personal" issues come into play at the LaBianca Massacre to the extent the parole board individually?

Matt said...

Orwhut, I believe that was an Eviliz funny.

Suze said...

Looks like she got a lifetime gift from all of that Spahn Ranch pole smoking.

orwhut said...

It was a good one Matt and the picrure did look kind of horsey. Were you the one who put it up?

AustinAnn74 said...

Yes, actually I am in shock, Miss Patty.

Matt said...

I found it. Adam (miss that guy) was the culprit.

This was an oldie but goodie:

hippichick40 said...

I am shocked at how much she has aged in just the last few years. Yeah, I know she's an old girl now, but she held on to her looks for so long. She is now almost totally unrecognizable. But on the issue of parole.. yeah, I agree it's time to let Leslie out.

hippichick40 said...

And what's with the chancre on the upper lip?

orwhut said...

Good Job, Matt. We definately need Adam back. I'd forgotten about the pictures at the second link.

Matt said...

Wow, a hippichick appearance...

MHN said...

This whole multi-stage parole procedure seems unnatural and cruel, offering hope, then snatching it away, offering hope, snatching it away. Cruel and unusual punishment.

(Kinda like tying someone up and reassuring them you only want to rob them and if they do as they're told you won't hurt them. And then they hear their husband being cut to death in the next room, and then the knives come for them too.)

None of us can claim to know what truly constitutes "justice", so for me it comes down to one thing: is the prisoner being treated by the system any differently than others who did time for similar offenses? If so then Leslie is not quite a political prisoner, but a prisoner because of politics.

(And not even real politics like boldly lifting the curtain to reveal the grand operatics of an impending racial war, but mere parochial politics that is little more than a short-lived personal popularity contest.)

AustinAnn74 said...

I've read over the years that several people totally disagree about the Helter Skelter motive, etc., yet, LVH constantly has told parole boards over the last several decades that she did, indeed participate because of HS. From her 2013 parole hearing:
"Early at my going to the ranch, Pat was the one that kept an eye on me. And she was kind of like, I guess placed like a big sister to me. And I was devoted to her. And I knew that she had crossed the line on her commitment to beginning the race war. And it was important to me that I cross that line too. So I wanted to go. I wanted to show my commitment to this belief system."

Thoughts? Sounds to me like HS was in the thoughts of at least one of the killers.

ENGLAND said...

She wasn't under the control of Manson, she volunteered to go knowing what was going to happen.

Patty is Dead said...

Deb Tate on the news this morning whoring around and saying she had a right to be there because the families are still "scared to death of these people"

Logan said...

I totally agree with MHN. Cruel and unusual punishment. I find the plight of all the people associated with TLB who are stuck in prison forever based on horrible crimes they committed when they were kids, barely older, really honestly heartbreaking. These poor people. It makes me sad to think about it. It must be hard as hell to wake up behind bars every day and try to remain a positive, kind and spiritual person.
As far as Leslie being involved in HS/the veracity of the Helter Skelter theory...I feel like there's so much there, and the people who actually were present at the murders (a good handful of them at least) got behind HS...there's probably some kind of truth there, in some way or another.
I remember at some point on this blog someone posted some John Waters interview (or something) where he talks about how Leslie went to the Oscars in the late '80s while she was awaiting some kind of new trial?
Anyway, I wish the best for Leslie Van Houten. Bruce and Bobby, too, for that matter. They're just people. I really don't think any of them, even Tex or Charlie, would be "a threat to society" if they were released. So are they just their as punishment for the victims' families? Or, like MHN said...a prisoner because of politics...a prisoner because of the massive media shitstorm after the brutal murders of innocent people that spawned books, movies, and a huge internet presence 40, almost 50 years later...

Unknown said...

They should shave the old hag bald right before she leaves the prison property.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Wow! I hope she finally gets out. C'mon Brown. said...

Whoring around?

Patty is Dead said...

Yes she is a shameless attention grabber

Robert Hendrickson said...

This may be relevant: On the last day of Schwarzeneddar's term as governor of California HE "commuted" the sentence of Esteban Nunez (young son of HIS best political buddy for MURDER.)

The father Fabian Nunez was California's MOST powerful Democrat and ally to governor Arnold."

NOW get this: The subject "murder" was the result of a late night stabbing where Esteban and another gang banger went out to do THEIR own brand of a "Helter Skelter" massacre.

ALSO remember "Arnold" vetoed the parole of Bruce Davis and Susan Atkins.

So the Nunez KILLER is going to be released ANY day now and of course most aware Californians are asking: "Just what the Fuck is going on here." Yup, it's kind'a like the current Presidential Race: "Just what the Fuck is going on there" ?

So just watch as the VanHouton Parole becomes a HOT button political issue.

AND I'm now thinking, maybe the Nunez KILLER is really another one of Arnold's kids.

Then it ALL makes sense ! said...

Did you think Doris was?

MHN said...

Hi Logan, I have to clarify something my friend. When I said it was cruel and unusual punishment I hoped my second paragraph might convey the fact that to me there's a kind of karma in that. And a very gentle one at that. I'd way sooner be denied parole for a murder I admit having jointly committed than be the victim of that very violent, terrifying, and painful murder. The justice system might be unfair, but there's a simple way to avoid getting tangled up in it: don't volunteer to join a gang that sets out to enter a couple's home with the intention of murdering them, don't help restrain innocent people so that your friend can stab them to death, don't join in with the stabbing (however tentatively you may later claim you joined in). Follow those simple rules and - voila - you don't end up where she's ended up.

I think the system should treat her case like any other similar case, ie, on its own merits, not according to popular opinion or notoriety.

But I can't agree with the 'they were just kids' line. We're all just kids, aren't we? Our bodies may shrivel and warp but we're all of us kids. And THOSE kids made an explicit cultural / political / spiritual decision to REMAIN kids. They were the babies who wanted to throw their parents out with the bathwater, they wanted to murder the entire social and cultural fabric their parents' generation had built. They were at war with the world of their parents.

I don't care whether they constitute a danger now. They ended the lives of others. What is a life worth? How can we weigh the loss of the LaBianca's lives? Who can presume to stand before the universe and say that that debt is paid? I don't know the answer, but I feel in my core that the answer cannot be "they were just kids, they are too old to kill again, they're just people". Nobody disputes that they're people, that they were once young, and now they are old.

Some would argue that far from being an argument for showing them compassion, the fact that they've survived to BE old is an undeserved blessing for which they should thank the gods every minute of every day.

ColScott said...

Orca Tate is not a whore since no one would pay to touch her. She is a pig, a hog, a whale, a liar, someone who still refuses to bury her father properly next to his wife. She is a piece of human excrement. Clear?

Why does Orca show up for LVH when LVH never even met her sister?

Vis Leslie Van Houten, I am too far out of this racket to remember or look up but I know she had two retrials and finally...ah fuck it I looked it up. She is serving time on a life sentence. The others had the death penalty which was then altered to life. Personally fine to let her out.

Patty is Dead said...

No Doris was a dignified lady

Myna said...

Out of them all, I'm least surprised it is Van Houten who comes to this juncture, yet the element of surprise remains. But to walk through a door young, beautiful and insane and to walk out withered and to all intent and purpose, sane, that would be a strange thing, indeed. It's damn difficult to grow old under the best of circumstance, but to be thrust into this drastically changed world as an elderly will she navigate? The dream of release, if the dream comes to fruition, may be found to have simply arrived too late. There is a mysterious justice in that.

Farflung said...

MHN and Myna,

That's some profound prose right there.

Maisie13 said...

I bet if Leslie gets out and gets her hair colored, puts some make up on, and dresses up, she will no longer look haggard. said...

Doris got this all started with LVH. I don't see any difference in what Debra is doing now, compared with what her mother once did.

Patty is Dead said...

Patty doesn't think Debra should be involved with Leslie's case because Leslie has nothing to do with Sharon's murder.

Robert Hendrickson said...

YES, except ALL of the comments here make profound sense.

The other night I saw Oliver Stone's "Platoon" on TV and they actually BLEEPED a soldier say the "gook," BUT left in ALL the visual KILLING of women and children.

On the news the other night they announced that a "Judge" banned a mother from naming her daughter "Cyanide."

DONALD ! you're going to fit right in to this "new and improved" government. said...

My point is Doris was involved with LVH and praised for it.

Patty is Dead said...

Point taken, Bo.

MHN said...

Maisie13, so funny you should say that. When I read the news this morning I had an image of a frail old Leslie emerging from the penitentiary, shuffling and grey, smiling weakly at the cameras, before peeling off the rubber mask of her age to reveal the miraculously unchanged homecoming queen, the full defiant bloom of her smiling 1969 lips, her hair dark again and sleek, and those undimmed beautiful petulant eyes.

Maybe that's the moment Charlie realizes he was the moth and not the flame all along. Played and owned. Maybe finally he can see the horns that are hidden from the rest of us by the glamour (to use the word in its original sense) of her smile.

The callous aesthete in me curses the State for wasting her beauty behind bars. Beauty is one of the divine attributes. If Bugliosi weren't such a librarian he would've realised that the world needed her to be free. She could've been ....*drumroll* .... a goddess.

The most beautiful solution to the riddle would've been to recognize her divinity and beauty and execute her in some grand public spectacle, let her enter eternity and folklore in the fullest flush of her demonic, impenitent youth.

Men would never, ever stop jacking-off to that.

Archbishop le Rok said...

Leslie's the only one with a real chance of getting out. There's a few aspects in her favor. I don't think any of the Cielo participants will ever taste freedom again, but since I became interested in this "saga" years ago now I always thought Leslie was the only one of the entire group in prison (besides Bruce and Bobby to an extent) with a chance and arguably the best of the lot. Frankly, I think Brown will block release since this is getting relatively large media exposure as its her first time winning parole, but I think she will get out the next time as there won't be as much noise around the next hearing unless the release actually occurs.

My personal opinion is that if she is released, its not something to be championed nor is it to be vilified. Her life is largely over and 40+ years in prison is enough. At the same time, I wouldn't waste much thought on her plight if she never got out. The handful of Family members that have been inside and have gotten out, from those who never committed heinous crimes to others who are more culpable (i.e. Grogan) have largely kept their noses clean and all were out at younger ages than Leslie when released.

Krenwinkel, Tex, and Charlie are the only nevers as far as I'm concerned and the only one whose release would concern me of even these 3 would be Tex.

Unknown said...

MHM.....That horse faced skank never was a beauty or a goddess.

MHN said...

Sam Smith you are an agent.

Logan said... my bad! I missed your parenthetical paragraph...I gotta stop replying before I have coffee...I understand your argument & the reason why "just kids" isn't a valid excuse for forgiveness of such painful crimes...but me personally, I feel a great deal of sympathy for everybody involved. 40+ years in prison, starting when you're barely 20...the world changes so much without you. Friends & family on the outside die without you, you can't smoke weed or drink or go to restaurants or the grocery store...just basic shit like that is heartbreaking. I dunno...I don't have any answers either.

MHN said...

Logan believe me, part of my head agrees with every word of that. Another part can't. It's insoluble.

It's Old Testament and New Testament... It's how to find grace without compromising law and justice. You're right, every part of it is heartbreaking.

We sure agree on the powers of coffee. I've gotta stop replying after too much of the stuff :)

Maisie13 said...

I saw a picture of Leslie smiling against when of those prison photo walls, I believe in 2014. She was smiling with a full mouth of dentures. New teeth, if not done well, can cause your face to collapse, and really change what a person looks like. I am sure that prison dentures leave a lot to be desired, and in my opinion they are the cause of the drastic change in Leslie's appearance.

J-Dog said...

I'm shocked. And encouraged.
There's a lot of Leslie haters on here who usually resort to some misogynistic diatribes about her looks etc. Please.
She's done her time well. Serving a life sentence (not life without parole) she has been more morally upright and helpful to other people than almost everyone I know, for 45 years, and most folks I know are "good" people.
Sadly, Mrs LaBianca was probably already dead, Leslie was pressured into stabbing her, the time served already is excessive.
A lot of politicians these days are more of a menace to society than she is.
my 2 cents

Sunshine69 said...

We all know how this is going to end. Refusal.

The boy wonder said...

We had a similar case in the UK with the Kray twins,Ronnie (the "psychotic" one died before finishing his 30 year minimum term.Reggae was released for the last few weeks of his life after doing more than his 30 years basically on the grounds they pissed the establishment right of.Yet there's a recent case in Manchester of a concert pianist being brutally murdered and her husband got 14 years minimum,yet some young dick of a lad runs a policeman over and kills him he's got 20 years minimum? It's almost like double standards ha ha, anyhoos my two pence worth says let her out,she's contrite done way over her time for comparable crimes and it would free up a cell for someone a lot sicker who needs banging up IMHO.

Matt said...

Maisie13 said...

New teeth, if not done well, can cause your face to collapse, and really change what a person looks like.

Good point. I never thought of that.

starviego said...

They should have let her go 30 years ago.

Anonymous said...

When did Horselie turn into Granny Clampett?

🎶 "Come listen to my story about a man named Charlie, a poor hillbilly, barely kept his family fed" 🎶

Surgio said...

As someone mentioned, the 120 day review is administrative. Probably a check on all the legalities. I don't see admin reversing the Board's decision.

I'm not so sure Brown will reject the parole recommendation. There are considerable differences between Bruce and Leslie concerning their crimes. Davis was in his late twenties while Leslie only near twenty. Leslie was not a leader in the gang, Bruce was to a certain extent, or wanted to be anyway. These factors and more will figure in Brown's calculations which will operate in Leslie's favor.

If Brown rejects, it'll be on the heinous nature of the crime, the race war aspect, and perhaps Leslie's minimizing of her part, although she stopped doing that years ago and acknowledged all her actions (as far as we know anyway). Leslie was one of the few who bought the race war line of BS .

Brown can modify the parole recommendation instead of rejecting it. I don't know what ,modify means. Maybe he can change Leslie's status and place her in minimum confinement or allow a work-release arrangement if California has such animals.

Anyway by the coming September Brown will be in a full campaign for president as the Democrat nominee. When Hillary is indicted that leaves the old commie who is not even a Democrat. Gov. Brown is the Demoncrat alternative. He'll have other things to think about,not Leslie's parole.


Listen up people because the facts are the facts - and the fact is as long as Jerry Brown is the governor of California , no member associated with the Manson Family will ever be released from prison . Period The end. This is an absolute fact!

orwhut said...

The first time Jerry Brown was governor I had the idea he was pretty liberal and so figured he would be the one most likely to release members of the Mansion family. Either he's changed or I was mistaken.

Fiddy 8 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fiddy 8 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fiddy 8 said...

Jerry IS Hollywood. I am as certain as everyone else that Jerry will not go down in history as having approved parole for anyone at Bugliosi's trial. Clem is so lucky.

orwhut said...

Bugliosi says Leslie was once a homecoming princess and I think this more likely than her having been queen of the entire homecoming court, even though some article occasionally promotes her to queen.
A friend in England who'd heard "Daydream Believer" once asked for a definition of homecoming queen. All the crime buffs, not familiar with American football, probably looked it up long ago so there's no need to define it here.

Robert Hendrickson said...

NEWS UPdate: Last Sunday morning the KILLER Esteban Nunez was released from HIS original 16 year prison sentence after ONLY 6 years for the MURDER of another young man - thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger and JERRY "the Governor" BROWN.

What makes this case so interesting is: "Political Prejudice" is at the very heart of the matter.

SO for JERRY "the Weasel" to now veto VanHouten's parole will most surely ignite a new kind of political firestorm.

Remember, it's an election year JERRY and the Democrats would be smart to dump YOU as soon as possible. The parole board just served YOU with a plate of the Eika Virus.

BTW: Today is the anniversary of the 1974 SLA Army hold-up of the Hibernia Bank in SF. And remember one Patty Hearst who supposedly was "brainwashed" by that Cult. Gee, did RICH Daddy have anything to do with HER "pardon."

Seems like money really does do the talking, especially when it comes to walking.

orwhut said...

Your comments about money talking come right after my reading about the aflfuenza teen. Those poor,poor, filthy rich people.

Robert C said...

I don't think Jerry is going to find anything on LVH to hang his hat on and deny. Nothing like she's still in denial, covering up, withholding evidence.

And he's not the type to just wave his hand and say he doesn't like the person or other whatever reasons -- he has to come up with some socially convincing arguments for denial and I don't think he'll find any.

If the reviewing board gives a green light I'd say she's outta there. But as some have suggested, I'm not so sure at this point this will be best for her given all the attention and stalkers but that's up to her.

On the other hand there would have to be some amazing other forces at work for him to push the red button.

MamaPoohBear said...

Let LVH out to spend whatever time she has left in some kind of peace and quiet. She participated in the killing of one too many, I agree. But that affluenza brat kills 4 people and gets 2 years in jail?

Living with that she has done is a prison she will never escape. Keeping LVH in a physical prison now is pointless.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Last night on ABC News they played part of Diane Sawyer's old interview with Leslie and they also kind'a promoted Leslie's "parole" like it could spark the beginning of a new era. AND for a moment I tasted a breath of fresh air. Like the door was maybe finally opening-up to some kind of closure.

BUT it didn't take long for ME to realize that Helter Skelter will actually live-on FOREVER.

Almost 50 years ago, machine-gun armed Dune Buggies roamed the deserts of California and NOW Toyota pick-ups (armed with machine guns) roam the deserts of the Middle East.

Don't ya just love ALL the exciting entertainment.

mrgroove said...

1. Wasted away most of her years, and her best ones in prison. Check.
2. Will have to live with her complicity in a sadistic double murder forever. Check.
3. Is not a danger to anyone but herself. Check.
4. Will have to find some means to live out the rest of her years on someone else's dime. Check.

I really don't have any large objections to her leaving her publicly supported (including by my tax dollars) prison cell. She'll never get away from the hideousness of what she did whether in jail or not at this point. She'll be forever branded by it.

CarolMR said...

This is why I'm in favor of the death penalty - because life without parole never seems to really mean life without parole. Kitty Genovese's rapist/murderer died this past week. After Kitty's murder he escaped from prison and committed more crimes. He should have gotten the chair in the first place.

Zelda Formaldehyde said...

And this is a big part of the problem. Debra's fear ought to play no part in this. It's been 47 years since Sharon's death, I think Debra would be doing herself a big favor by stop being afraid and to face the situation rationally. Debra and Barbara Hoyt come off looking like a couple of schoolgirls at a slumber party daring each other to look under the bed to see what's hiding there.

orwhut said...

Several times each year someone serving a life term is exonerated by DNA evidence. The trouble with the death penalty is that once paid, you can't take it back.

Matt said...

orwhut said...

The trouble with the death penalty is that once paid, you can't take it back.

That is precisely why I oppose the DP.

Robert Hendrickson said...

The most important question I would have for Leslie is:
In ALL the years of your public education, in which class did YOU first learn and have it explained to YOU that it was NOT OK, cool, legal, etc. to MURDER people ? OR was it in a book of required reading ?

For ME, I could never understand how Ms. Grabtree got all the credit when a student was successful, BUT some mysterious gangster in a movie was responsible when things went wrong.

Decades later it was discovered that "guns" drove people over the edge. Something about the smell of gun powder. In the sixties there was something about the smell of napalm mixed with the aroma of hot coffee in the morning. Then NO body was spared - not even women and children.

Of course, it has always been somewhat acceptable to murder for $$ money $$, BUT what's with NOT formally "teaching" the young'uns NOT to do BAD things ?

orwhut said...

Miss Crabtree was hot! I don't know about Ms. Grabtree.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Exactly ORWHUT: Just look at the Mary Kay Letourneau CASE.

She was HOT and her student was 13 - That's it, JAIL for the SLUT.

Well, They ended up getting married and SOLD the wedding photos to a TV magazine show for $750,000.

Apparently, that "teacher" had a brain for business and was HOT. Seems to ME that's a quality Ms. Grabtree lacked, BUT I bet SHE racked-up so much student loan debt, becoming a teacher, SHE could never afford a make-over.

IF you read the PRESS carefully about Leslie, HER mistake was messing with a "wealthy businessman."

AND for the others THEIR mistake was messing with a "movie starlet." Of course, that's what gave the Manson Family the notoriety

Unknown said...

The prison should remove all of the hair on her head by electrolysis and tattoo in her X so everyone on the outside will know to stay away from the murdering bitch.

Farflung said...

Leslie has had more chances than anybody. Perhaps a brief review would refresh some memories.

After serving enough time to reflect, she is granted a new trial because her lawyer decided to play the happy wanderer, the weekend before closings, in a remote area, during record storms. Well played Leslie.

Now she could tell the court she is a new person, and plead guilty, as a symbol of contrition. Nope... I'm innocent and will roll the dice again.

Enter the second trial which produced a hung jury. Hung over guilt or innocence? Nope, they deadlocked over murder in the first vs. Manslaughter. The DA offered and was refused SEVERAL plea deals, in order to avoid a third trial. Roll those dice again Leslie.

The third trial produced a conviction for first degree murder, with the punishment being life with potential parole, the most severe punishment available at that time.

Knowing my involvment, I would have entered a plea of guilt and utilized the mercy of the court, considering how 7 years had already been served. Or taken one of the plea deals offered from the second trial. I don't see any responsibility being taken here, and she was no longer "young", on LSD, or under the influence of Manson.

Matt said...

Farflung said...

...deadlocked over murder in the first vs. Manslaughter. The DA offered and was refused SEVERAL plea deals, in order to avoid a third trial. Roll those dice again Leslie.

Life sure is full of regretful hindsight, isn't it?

Robert Hendrickson said...

AND they still call it a judicial "system" ?

On their death beds, only some will finally realize: EVERYTHING in LIFE is but a "gamble."

Leslie could have taken a plea deal, entered prison and could have been stabbed to death the next day.

IF you think about, Manson is the only real WINNER here.

Farflung said...


It is a "system", but poorly played by the criminal. I believe that 95-97 percent of cases are resolved via plea bargains.

This indicates two things: the state has the goods on you, thus accepting the bargain, and the courts are overwhelmed. Less than 10 percent of crimes go to trial, and the system is slow.

Imagine if 20 percent of the criminals unified and choose a jury trial? By default.

Now a collision of a right to a speedy trial (72 days in California) occurs with a now hopelessly flooded docket which could never meet the speedy requirement.

Case after case would be dismissed. But some would go to trial, and I imagine no criminal is willing to take a chance of being that guy.

Leslie taunted the system thrice by not taking a deal. Never anger or taunt the "system".

orwhut said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
orwhut said...

I wasn't familiar with plea barganing until a relative went to a Bob Dylan concert and was arrested for DUI as he drove away from the auditorium. He went to a pretrial hearing and returned home to try and scrape up enough money for an attorney. He couldn't get the money and figured he'd tell the judge he needed a court appointed attorney before the trial. There was a meeting between the judge, the arresting officer, and he defendant before the trial to consider a plea bargan. My relative told the judge that he needed a court appointed attorney. The judge replied that it was too late that should have been done at the pretrial hearing and that he could plead guilty and pay a fine or go to court. The judge told him that if he made him hold a jury trial and lost, he'd fine him $1,000 and 30 days in jail. Not having a thousand dollars or being able to get off work to serve thirty days, he pled guilty and now has a DUI conviction on his record. The moral other than don't drink and drive must be, if you can't afford an attorney you're in a whole heap of trouble.

Chris B said...

I am not aware the LVH turned down a deal in 1978.

My understanding is that the DA refused to deal.

LVH had her charge amended for the final trial to include robbery.

By doing this, it demonstrated murder during the commission of a robbery, which removed the opportunity for the defendant to plead diminished responsibility.

The problem at her first trial was that the jury were hung between whether or not she had a reduced capacity. For the final trial this was not an option for them because of the robbery charge showing premeditation to commit a felony and something bad happening during it.

So, my understanding of what happened was that the DA wanted the conviction to remain and was prepared to amend the original charge, despite DA (Bugliosi) during the first trial stating that the murders were not about robbery.

Shorty's pistols said...

I know of no pleas that were offered Leslie in any of the 3 trials. The idea that she was offered a plea before the 3rd trial is a bit of an urban legend. Kay was adamant that no pleas would be offered in Leslie's or any of the Manson cases.

There is the option of pleading guilty and accepting the mercy of the court, but that wouldn't be a good strategy in this case.

Farflung said...

21 Feb 1978, Bangor Daily News:

"Defense attorney Maxwell Keith in a plea bargaining session with the district attorney's office, offered to plead guilty to manslaughter."

This may appear magnanimous, but since VanHouten had already served 8 years, and the penalty for manslaughter is less.... She would go free. That zealot Kay wouldn't take that?

Keith claimed he wanted Leslie to have a chance at parole. Strange considering that murder in the first (at that time) allowed for parole. Kay wanted Murder 1, but VanHouten refused.

Kay augmented the third trial with a felony robbery addition, which ratchets the severity of the charge.

Of all the Manson murders, they managed to commit robbery at each one.

Hinman - money and cars

Shea - guns and footlocker

Tate - money (Folger)

LaBianca - wallet

Kay, Bug, or any DA could have augmented those murder charges, since the robbery alone would land one in prison for years. Poorly played by Leslie.

With the added evidence of robbery, the jury's decision was much less complex.

Ironically, had she plead guilty to murder 1, and had a single judge sentence her, before a second trial, she may well have long been paroled.

Farflung said...

17 July 1977 - Ocala Star-Banner:

"The jury spent most of the previous day listening to a tape recording made eight years ago in which Miss Van Houten was offered immunity from prosecution for her testimony against other Manson followers."

I think reports of Leslie not being offered a deal may be erroneously crafted. I could be wrong, but here's an example complete with attribution.

DebS could probably get a copy of that recording, then post it for all to behold.

Shorty's pistols said...

Leslie didn't steal the famed wallet. LVH's robbery charge consisted of one of RL's dresses and some $8 in loose change. That seems pretty skimpy for a robbery charge, but Kay made it stick.

The cite you make above is immunity from prosecution, not a plea agreement.

Do you know what was offered in exchange for the immunity?

That can really vary.

SA was offered Life, Kasabian complete immunity.

Chris B said...

Isn't that particular interview the one recently posted on cielodrive?

From Nov 1969, the immunity offer comes early on. Gotta love the end when she is told that to not co-operate and make it all her own beef is foolish and she replies something like 'then i'm a fool'.

So there is confirmation of immunity offered and refused, a death sentence commuted, the only one of the group to have her verdict overturned, a second trial and then a third trial, not to mention some 20 plus parole hearings.

Chris B said...

With gratitude to cielodrive...
ON NOVEMBER 26, 1969 and NOVEMBER 28, 1969
SERGEANT McGANN: So, hoping that you can fill in some of the details for me, if you will. Ah — I can say, if you were involved — actually involved in the crime — took part in the crimes yourself — the District Attorney has authorized me to give you immunity:In other words, if you tell me everything and you implicate yourself in, actually, even one of the murders you still can’t be prosecuted.
You understand that?

grimtraveller said...

christopher butche said...

ON NOVEMBER 26, 1969 and NOVEMBER 28, 1969
SERGEANT McGANN: So, hoping that you can fill in some of the details for me, if you will. Ah — I can say, if you were involved — actually involved in the crime — took part in the crimes yourself — the District Attorney has authorized me to give you immunity:In other words, if you tell me everything and you implicate yourself in, actually, even one of the murders you still can’t be prosecuted.
You understand that?

Though frustrating in parts, it's an incredible, must hear/read interview.
But it's really surfing the golden streets of hindsight to say she was foolish for not taking the immunity back in November'69. Because although Mike McGann says that even if she was involved in the murders she'd get immunity, going through the interview, it's rather obvious that he had no idea that she was actually involved and particularly as one of the murderers. Neither did he think she was. He had in mind three women, he knew one was Sadie, one was Katie and Leslie dropped in the name 'Linda' before saying she wasn't sure and McGann keeps trying to get her to confirm Linda is the other one.
There are some interesting things to bear in mind from Leslie's viewpoint: firstly, she's amazed that the crimes were connected with the Family. Secondly, she's amazed that Sadie has been blabbing and thirdly, she tries hard to find out exactly what Sadie said and it comes very clearly that Leslie is not implicated. So why would Leslie implicate herself at that time ? No one else was. Pat never did. Diane Lake who eventually landed her well in the shit with her corroboration wasn't talking then.
The irony is that everything had changed within a week and she found herself indicted for murder. But even then, part of the deal Atkins made was that whatever she told the Grand Jury couldn't be used in a trial against herself, Leslie or the others.

grimtraveller said...

orwhut said...

a relative went to a Bob Dylan concert and was arrested for DUI as he drove away from the auditorium....The judge told him that if he made him hold a jury trial and lost, he'd fine him $1,000 and 30 days in jail. Not having a thousand dollars or being able to get off work to serve thirty days, he pled guilty and now has a DUI conviction on his record

Yeah, but was he guilty of DUI ?
Knowing the answer to that could put an entirely different spin on how one perceives the plea in that particular case.

orwhut said...

I don't know the answer to that question and I don't think my relative does either.

Farflung said...

Leslie was granted a new trial because new evidence was found? A witness recanted? Her rights were violated? Nope. Her lawyer managed to drown himself on the very weekend before closing arguments. Out of an abundance of caution, she was granted a new trial to avoid an ineffective defense claim.

Sooooo.... What's different about the second trial? 20-20 Hindsight!

The same evidence is going to be pulled out of the closet, same court system, and tha same DA's office will assemble and produce... The same result. Me so shocked.

The difference, or opportunity in the second trial was Van Houten. She should suspect (expect) the same outcome since a drowned defense lawyer does not facilitate innocence.

Bruce, Bobby, Grogan, Manson, Atkins, and Pat could have served as some sort of tea leaves, to divine your future. It's no going to turn out well.

With the death penalty suspended, a previous conviction, and having already served an average amount of time for murder; why not plea guilty and punt?

I simply don't see a "strategy" behind doing the same failed process with an expectation of a different outcome.

Either way, it's been 38 years since that last decision, and one would hope there is a lesson learned somewhere in there.

Robert Hendrickson said...

YES Farflung, Leslie had a mental disconnect with reality, BUT isn't part of a Judge's duty to keep an eye out for "Incompetency" in HIS courtroom. Obviously HER lawyer also fell into that category or HE was just another judicial gangster like the ALL the others.

grimtraveller said...

Farflung said...

I simply don't see a "strategy" behind doing the same failed process with an expectation of a different outcome

Put the way you did in that post, your reasoning is pretty irresistible. The only difference is that whereas Leslie was firmly Charlie's girl first time round, by '78 she'd come to her senses and I guess, wanted the rest of the world to know it too.
One of Leslie's problems is and was that even though the argument that she would possibly never have murdered had she not been in with Charlie definitely has legs, she's the only one of all of the killers in all the crimes that professed a desire to go out and kill. In advance. She was adamant that she wasn't mentally ill in '69/70 {even though Marvin Part clearly thought she was}. The irony is that the women's attempts to normalize murder worked so well {interestingly, none of the guys sought to normalize it} that it became almost impossible for them years down the line to go down the route of diminished responsibility. Or more precisely, to be believed in that realm. And Tex's attempts to fake it only to be found guilty put the kibosh on them ever being believed.
Scuppered from both angles of entry.
But we are the masters of hindsight. Under the pressure of the moment and with a supportive lawyer, one can see why she went down the road she did.

orwhut said...

One hundred.:-)

Chris B said...


Strangely enough the supportive lawyer who couldnt swim supported her to the gas chamber. Marvin Part appeared to be acting more on her behalf and she sacked him.

I lose track of all of her lawyers, in the McGann interview I guess it's not Part? But when the immunity deal is mentioned she does confirm her lawyer has broached the subject with her already. So I take it she had time to mull it over before rejecting it.

You mention golden hindsight and Leslie not being foolish, but at that time she was being held to keep her available at least for questioning with regard to nine murders, two of which she knew she had participated in. With a sober lawyer beside her, her turning down the get outta jail free option does seem to me lacking in objectivity on her part.

Personally I can't see why Leslie is any different from Tex in the diminished capacity stakes. Everyone always seems to have a downer on the drug-addled farmboy. Perhaps if he hadn't killed pretty much everyone he would be viewed more favourably.

Had Leslie had her defense separated from the others she may well have chosen a similar strategy to Tex.

Robert Hendrickson said...

IF Leslie turned down a plea deal AFTER she was granted a new trial that gave her life with the possibility of parole AND her lawyer did NOT take the issue to the Judge, HE was "incompetent" or corrupt.

Because SHE then subjected herself to the reinstated Death Penalty ANY competent Judge would understand that SHE was "incompetent" to stand trial OR the Judge would be corrupt or incompetent.

grimtraveller said...

christopher butche said...

Marvin Part appeared to be acting more on her behalf and she sacked him

I personally think that was a bad move on her part {no pun intended} and I think he was acting on her behalf.

I lose track of all of her lawyers, in the McGann interview I guess it's not Part?

I recall Donald Barnett {actually, I'd forgotten him !}, Marvin Part, Ira Reiner, Ronald Hughes and Max Keith.

But when the immunity deal is mentioned she does confirm her lawyer has broached the subject with her already. So I take it she had time to mull it over before rejecting it

I was wondering who the lawyer was at that time. Maybe it was Barnett. He's the first guy mentioned in the book HS and all we know about him was that he tried to get a psychiatrist to examine her and she refused to see the trick cyclist. It was getting rid of him that brought Marvin Part into the picture. But this was over three weeks after the McGann interviews. I've never found anything that suggests that Leslie told him {this original lawyer} she was involved in the LaBianca murder so although whoever her lawyer was had discussed immunity with her, it wasn't until the Atkins tape made with Caballero a week later that it became known that Leslie was among the killers.

Had Leslie had her defense separated from the others she may well have chosen a similar strategy to Tex

I think you could be right. During the McGann interview, I get the feeling {with plenty of hindsight !} that she was kind of conflicted. I've noticed for a while now that whenever the co defendants were apart from Charlie, they dropped him in it so she may well have acquiesced to the lawyers going the psych route.

Farflung said...

Should one find themselves talking to the police about a murder you participated in, and immunity is mentioned; you're holding a royal straight flush of legal hands. This is universal.

In the tradition of the 'Twilight Zone' series... The cards of that hand are made out of un-refrigerated pork. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Zoom out... End scene.

Chris B said...

I was just having a looksee through Goodbye Helter Skelter and in the Manson and the law chapter Stimson quotes Kay from Leslie's 1993 parole hearing hearing as '...what happened at the LaBianca residence was not a robbery'.

Fascinates me in a legal sense how the law bends to accommodate the DAs. Her charge was specifically amended to include robbery by the same guy who would later not mention the robbery charge to emphasise how unrobbery the murders were.

Of course, the robbery charge was merely a means to prevent the possibilty of any conviction other than murder in the first degree. That achieved the retelling at parole hearings goes back to the legend of Helter Skelter.

I am reminded of how Stimson regards the so-called torture murder of Hinman as a means for negating various key legal components for proving first degree murder. This I believe was also the case in Leslie's 1978 trial. In 1977 she was accused of murder, with all its 1st, 2nd degree, manslaughter voluntary and involuntary, etc verdicts all a possibilty. In 1978 the felony charge added meant in California law if convicted she was automatically guilty of first degree murder.

Hats off to the DAs for coming up with a legal way to win the 1978 trial after the 1977 jury was split on murder or manslaughter verdict but it strikes me as a legal trick rather than an evidentiary one.

Chris B said...

Grim, Leslie tells McGann that regarding fessing up she will tell Mr Patchett if she changes her mind.

Ps. You gotta love Terry Melcher being called Terry Marshmallow.

Chris B said...

Oh, and Paul Watkins went from prosecution witness (1977) to defense witness (1978) something Hoyt still gets uppity about as it occured after Leslie visited him when she was out on bail. I believe Hoyt and Watkins lived close by to each other and she may have ran into her (bearing in mind Hoyt remained on the prosecution side).

Farflung said...

The legal system is like a chinese finger trap... You can only go deeper. Robbery at the LaBiancas... How about trespassing, vandalism, kidnapping, defiling a corpse, B&E, animal cruelty, or knowingly polluting a food storage device with bio hazard? Just keep tweaking the nose of justice, and test just how smart you think you are.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Here's the BIG question for ME: WHY don't THEY teach about these Criminal / Prosecution Matters in the public schools ? Instead they mention that Abe Lincoln walked through the snow for 5 miles, at night, to return 2 cents to someone. AND that Old George Washington chopped down a fuck'in TREE.

YES Farflung: The Chinese Finger Trap is a perfect example, so WHY doesn't the "establishment" TEACH the young'uns about the tricky "system" they MUST face in REAL life.

I would put it this way. There is a 50 gal barrel full of water and we are ALL born into it. The object is to get OUT of the barrel, so YOU can be one of the fortunate ones who shoot at the rest of the FISH remaining in the barrel.

Apparently Leslie had a choise to get out of the "barrel," BUT was uninformed as to the barrel system. Maybe, a significant part of the system is to make sure there is ALWAYS enough fish for the more fortunate.

Can YOU imagine a "system" where the more fortunate don't have a barrel FULL of FISH to shoot at ?

Chris B said...

MR Hendrickson, there's a cheap book out there called Beyond Reasonable Doubt. One of those anthologies featuring everyone from both sides (inc the Bug, Atkins and Tex).

As the Bug writes, even lawyers and judges can't get out of the habit of guilty or innocent. It is guilty or not guilty, and not guilty and innocent arent necessarily the same thing.

Farflung said...

Immunity is any defense lawyer's dream come true. Your client is legally bullet-proof, and he scores an automatic win. After reading the interview on, Leslie seemed almost non-plussed.

Atkins, Brunner, Leslie, and Linda were all offered immunity with wildly variable outcomes.

Leslie ignored it. She must have held back on telling her lawyer her full involvement. Otherwise I would imagine him climbing the walls with an immunity offer, lashed to a double murder.

Atkins took the deal, then recanted, thus nullifying her immunity.

Brunner took immunity, then lied on the stand. Kay filed first degree murder charges, but the judge dismissed since Kay didn't specify truthful testimony as part of Brunner's deal. So she lucked out, until that bright idea to rob a gun shop crapped the bed.

Linda took the deal, played by the rules, and avoided life in the clink.

grimtraveller said...

christopher butche said...

Leslie tells McGann that regarding fessing up she will tell Mr Patchett if she changes her mind

I didn't get the impression that she was talking about confessing to her own part in the crimes. The police in Independence were trying to get the young women and girls to talk. Leslie was the first one to let things slip. Her complicity wasn't known at the time.
An interesting theme throughout the McGann interviews is that of him trying to get her to tell him who was involved as opposed to whether she was and what she might have done. At one point, this little dialogue takes place:

SERGEANT McGANN:If I tell you one of the girls that was there, will you tell me the other two ?

MISS VAN HOUTEN: Uh-uh, cause I don’t know

SERGEANT McGANN: Yes, you do, Leslie

MISS VAN HOUTEN: See, now this is where I don’t see why I come into the picture, if one of the girls was there, that was there, told you that Charlie was there, certainly she told you who all the others were, too

SERGEANT McGANN:No, she didn’t

MISS VAN HOUTEN: She didn’t ? That seems pretty one-sided on her part


The LaBianca murders seem to have assumed something of a back seat in the mind of the detectives because most of the questioning is in regards to Cielo. McGann wants to know who went to Cielo and is convinced Charlie is one of them. It seems that he assumes the same group were in on LaBianca so perhaps he assumed also that by knowing who went to Cielo, he'd know who went to Waverley.
The more I look at it, is the more it seems that in McGann's mind, the offer of immunity is for Leslie's "protection," to get her to talk and to confirm what he already suspects:

SERGEANT McGANN: Well, I know you know who was up there, Leslie and I know you know how it went down. You don’t think they did the right thing up there. I don’t think they did the right thing up there

MISS VAN HOUTEN: If I know how much — so much, why aren’t I down as one of the girls ?

SERGEANT McGANN: Well, because I don’t think you were there


SERGEANT McGANN: Okay. I offered you immunity although I didn’t think it was necessary because I didn’t think you were there

Ironically, Leslie wasn't lying about not being there because she obviously understands the thrust of his questioning to be about Cielo.
It occurs to me that the backdrop against which the McGann interviews fall are that of LVH lying and her trying to find out exactly what is known in relation to her because at one point she says:

MISS VAN HOUTEN: Yeah. Well, ah, can you explain to me about the grand jury ?

SERGEANT McGANN: Well, the grand jury is a secret proceedings

MISS VAN HOUTEN: What do you mean secret proceedings ?

SERGEANT McGANN: In other ~ no one knows about it, no one knows what is said in there. It’s not open to the public about the people that are going to testify

MISS VAN HOUTEN: Do you have all the suspects now ?

and she also states:

MISS VAN HOUTEN: I don’t have anything to say that I could claim immunity for.

LVH later turned on Sadie for being the snitch but at that point when she was offered immunity, Sadie hadn't mentioned her. She gave clues about various participants, but not Leslie.
I suspect Leslie thought she was going to beat the rap.
Within a week, everything had changed.
LVH later told Karlene Faith that she would have felt like Judas had she taken immunity but later she sort of did a "Judas" of sorts { if you're on the Charlie side of things} anyway. I'd not be surprised if she looks back on that Nov '69 interview and wants to kick herself.
In retrospect though, it took prison to bring her back to her right mind. said...

grimtraveller said...

"The LaBianca murders seem to have assumed something of a back seat in the mind of the detectives because most of the questioning is in regards to Cielo."

Grim you have to remember McGann is investigating Tate and not assigned to the LaBianca case at all.

Farflung said...

Ripped from today's headlines (cue suspenseful music bumper)

Fox News 20 Apr 2016:

A McDonald's customer asked for a water cup (free), then filled it with soda (flavor unknown).

The manager asked him to dump the contents. He fled in a car, with the soda, and converted a petty theft into a robbery.

"Police arrested the driver... It's unclear whether he'll face any additional charges aside from FELONY robbery."

McDonald's soda prices:

Small $1

Medium $1.29

Large $1.49

Would you like sodomy with your malfeasance?

Robert Hendrickson said...

Obviously, FARFLUNG has chosen to illustrate, with a PERFECT example, the great NEED for "Education" at the Grammer School through High School LEVEL.

BUT in America we have evolved to the point where "teachers" must actually be college trained on how to provide a readable blue-print for minorities and poor WHITES in order for THEM to ENTER the hallowed under-world of PIGS and judicial gangsters - with limitless ambition in THEIR bellies.

BTW: The commercial world has easily made more $$$$ off of Prince's DEATH than Prince EVER made in HIS lifetime. AND that is the GREAT American success Story. "Progress thru DEATH."

Farflung said...

Will Rogers (who lived in the Sunset Blvd home where Manson hung with Dennis Wilson) said America is where people will drive themselves to the poor house. More or less.

How does a person drive a car, which is going to burn at least $1 of gasoline, to a restaurant to steal a $1 soda?

The mind simply boggles. And that's assuming no moral compass or ethics.

He was caught, but still fought the forces, just like Leslie did through her trials. Why?

grimtraveller said... said...

grimtraveller said...

"The LaBianca murders seem to have assumed something of a back seat in the mind of the detectives because most of the questioning is in regards to Cielo."

Grim you have to remember McGann is investigating Tate and not assigned to the LaBianca case at all

Good point.
I wondered if by that point McGann was connecting the two crimes, particularly given what he said to Leslie about what Sadie said about her supposed participation in the LaBianca murders.
Was it only after speaking to Ronnie Howard & Virginia Graham that the Tate detectives began to consider the possibility that both crimes were in fact related ? The LaBianca detectives were seemingly a lot more on the ball in that dept.