Parole was recommended Tuesday for former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, who is serving a life prison sentence for taking part in the killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Feliz home more than 50 years ago.
This is the fifth time the Board of Parole Hearings has recommended parole for Van Houten, now 72.
Four earlier parole recommendations for Van Houten were rejected by governors, most recently last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The parole recommendation will undergo a 150-day review process and Van Houten’s fate will once again rest with Newsom.
Van Houten was convicted of murder and conspiracy for participating with fellow Manson family members Charles “Tex” Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel in the August 1969 killings of grocer Leno La Bianca, 44, and his 38-year-old wife, Rosemary, who were each stabbed multiple times in their Los Feliz home.
The former Monrovia High School cheerleader — who was 19 at the time — 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.
A request in May 2020 to release Van Houten, who was then 70, on bail or her own recognizance due to her high risk of contracting COVID-19 was denied.
In 2019, a state appellate court panel declined to reverse Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2017 rejection of her release.
In that ruling in which Associate Justice Victoria Gerrard Chaney dissented, the panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal found that Brown’s “conclusion that Van Houten lacks insight into her commitment offenses, and thus remains a threat to public safety, is supported by some evidence in the record. As the governor noted in his reversal, the record has several instances in which Van Houten appears to qualify the responsibility she feels for the crimes by emphasizing Manson’s role.”