Youngest Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten denied parole in California

Leslie Van Houten © Damian Dovarganes
A former follower of serial killer Charles Manson, who’s serving a life sentence for killing a grocer and his wife in their home over 40 years ago, has been denied parole by Californian Governor Jerry Brown.

Leslie Van Houten was 19 when she held down one of her victims, Rosemary La Bianca, while someone else stabbed her. Van Houten later admitted she also took the knife and stabbed the woman after she was dead.

Now 66, the former ‘Manson Family’ adherent has been denied parole 20 times since her conviction over the 1969 killings. She has completed college degrees along with demonstrating exemplary behavior while imprisoned, according to the BBC.

Brown acknowledged her good behavior in prison, but wrote in his decision that the prisoner still hadn’t expressed how she had transformed from an average teenage girl to a killer.

“Both her role in these extraordinarily brutal crimes and her willing participation in such horrific violence cannot be overlooked and lead me to believe she remains an unacceptable risk to society if released,” the governor wrote.

Van Houten was the youngest member of the Manson Family, a commune of people led by murderer Charles Manson.

A day before she was involved in the murders of the La Bianca couple, members of the group had killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others at the home Tate shared with husband Roman Polanski.

Relatives of Van Houten’s victims had opposed the prisoner’s release and garnered over 140,000 signatures for a petition to block it.

Lou Smaldino, nephew of the La Biancas said he was relieved with the outcome.

“Governor Brown has done a good thing here and I think he sees what we see, that this was an unrepentant killer,” he said as reported by NBC.

Van Houten’s lawyer said he will challenge the parole decision in the Los Angeles County Superior Court and was insistent another parole hearing could arise in a year, according to NBC.

Manson became a figurehead of popular culture at the time of the trials and was even featured on the front cover over Rolling Stone magazine.

READ MORE: ‘Terrorists, albeit homegrown’: Charles Manson cult follower recommended for parole

His actions were designed to trigger what he believed was an inevitable race war in America, which he referred to as “Helter Skelter” after a Beatles song he claimed contained hidden messages and directions.

Last year, it was revealed that a 26-year-old woman who sought to wed the convicted murderer wanted to do so to claim profits by putting Manson’s corpse on display after he died.

Afton Elaine Burton, also known as ‘Star’, reportedly conceived of the wild scheme with a friend, according to the New York Post.

READ MORE: Charles Manson receives marriage license while serving life sentence for murder