The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to hear the case of former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, who was denied parole in July by Gov. Jerry Brown for her involvement in the 1969 killings of grocers Leno and Rosemary La Bianca at their Los Feliz home.
The state’s highest court denied a defense petition seeking its review of the case against Van Houten, now 67.
Van Houten’s appellate attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, said he was “not at all” surprised by the denial.
“I’m not going to give up,” he told City News Service shortly after learning of the California Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case.
In the defense’s petition, Pfeiffer contended that the governor did not focus on Van Houten’s “current dangerousness,” but instead on “a crime committed by a youthful offender almost 47 years ago, and a factor that can never change regardless of any amount of rehabilitation that is accomplished.”
“Ms. Van Houten has a personal due process issue in that the governor did not have some evidence to support his finding that Ms. Van Houten remains an unreasonable risk to public safety if placed on supervised parole,” Pfeiffer wrote on her behalf.
In their response, attorneys from the California Attorney General’s Office countered that the governor “properly considered the aggravated nature of Van Houten’s crimes” to assess her “current dangerousness,” and that the governor’s findings are “reasonably supported by ample evidence in the record.”
“Van Houten eagerly carried out some of the most infamous crimes in history with her fellow Manson Family members and she continues to downplay her participation in the murders,” according to the response from the Attorney General’s Office.
A state parole board had recommended in April that Van Houten — who had previously been denied parole 19 times between 1979 and 2013 — be paroled.
“When considered as a whole, I find the evidence shows that she currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison,” the governor wrote in his decision to reject parole for Van Houten.
Van Houten was convicted of murder and conspiracy for participating with fellow Manson family members Charles “Tex” Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel in the Aug. 9, 1969, killings of Leno La Bianca, 44, and his 38-year-old wife, Rosemary, who were each stabbed multiple times.
The former Monrovia High School cheerleader and homecoming princess did not participate in the Manson family’s killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in a Benedict Canyon mansion the night before.
Manson and many of his other former followers have repeatedly been denied parole.
–City News Service
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