California review board recommen-ded parole Thursday for former Charles Manson “family” member Leslie Van Houten, who was convicted along with other members of the cult in the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
Van Houten, 66, had been denied parole 19 times by the state parole board since being convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. After the two commissioners on the panel issued their decision at a hearing at the California Institution for Women in Chino, Van Houten said she felt “numb,” according to her attorney, Richard Pfeiffer.
“The opposition to parole has always been the name Manson,” Pfeiffer said. “A lot of people who oppose parole don’t know anything about Leslie’s conduct. Her role was bad. Everyone’s was. But they don’t know what she’s done since then and all of the good she’s done.”
The ruling will be reviewed by the parole board’s legal team. If upheld, it will be forwarded to Gov. Jerry Brown, who could decide to block Van Houten’s release. A spokesman for the governor said Thursday that it would be premature for his office to comment.