January 20, 2018 / 7:34 AM / 3 months ago

Ex-Manson Family follower denied parole by California Governor

(Reuters) - For the second year in a row California Gov. Jerry Brown overturned the parole recommendation to free Leslie Van Houten, who as a follower of cult leader Charles Manson took part in a notorious murder spree in 1969, media reports said late Friday.

In September, a California parole board recommended that Van Houten, 68, be freed. At age 19, she was the youngest member of the so-called Manson Family and was convicted of taking part in the brutal stabbing deaths of two of the seven homicides attributed to the cult.

California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement that Van Houten still lays too much of the blame of the killings on Manson, who died in prison last year at age 83, the Los Angeles Times reported.

While noting that Van Houten has been a model inmate for more than four decades, Brown said “The aggravated nature of the crime alone can provide a valid basis for denying parole, even when there is strong evidence of rehabilitation and no other evidence of current dangerousness,” the newspaper reported.

Brown’s office was not immediately available for comment on the decision.

Manson, who served a life sentence, directed Van Houten and his other followers to slay people in August 1969 in what prosecutors said was part of a plan to incite a race war.

Van Houten was convicted of the stabbing deaths of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Angeles home. She was sentenced to death in 1971, but that conviction and sentence were overturned on appeal. She was retried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1978.

The Manson Family victims included actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski. The words “pig” and “Healter-Skelter”, a misspelled reference to a Beatles song, were written on the walls in blood.

Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Michael Perry

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