Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Leslie Van Houten - California

  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    31,603
    Leslie Van Houten faces 20th parole hearing since the summer of notorious murders

    She was the youngest Charles Manson follower convicted in the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders — a girl of 19 who seemed the one most likely to win parole one day

    But 44 years after she went to prison, Leslie Van Houten has gray hair and wrinkles and is facing her 20th parole hearing Wednesday with multiple forces arrayed against her bid for a chance at freedom.

    A prosecutor plans to oppose her release as he has before, citing the heinous nature of the murders that shocked the world in the summer of 1969 and continue to occupy a unique place in the annals of American crime. Survivors of victims planned to travel to the California Institution for Women to speak out against letting Van Houten go free.

    Unlike a previous hearing where Van Houten said little, her attorney, Michael Satris, said she plans to speak to the parole board on her own behalf this time, explaining that she has become a different person dedicated to doing good works.

    “She is living a life of amends for her crime on a daily basis,” Satris said. “Everything she does now is to be of service and benefit to the world.”

    He said Van Houten’s value system is the complete opposite of 1969 when “she was following the teachings of a false prophet.”

    Satris said that Van Houten wants to be released but her actions in prison are not designed for that alone.

    “She just wants to be as good of a person as she can be,” he said. “And it would be a matter of grace if the parole board would bestow on her the chance to accomplish this on the outside.”

    Van Houten has been commended before for her work helping elderly women inmates at the California Institution for Women where she and other Manson women have been incarcerated. She earned two college degrees while in custody.

    If paroled, she would be reversing a trend. Other members of Manson’s murderous “family” have lost bids for parole.

    One former Manson follower, Bruce Davis, actually was approved for parole last year only to have Gov. Jerry Brown veto the plan in March, saying he wanted the 70-year-old Davis to reveal more details about the killings of a stunt man and a musician. Davis was not involved in the slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

    The Tate-La Bianca killings became among the most notorious murders of the 20th century and continue to rivet public attention.

    Van Houten was convicted of murder and conspiracy for her role in the slayings of wealthy grocers Leno and Rosemary La Bianca. They were stabbed to death in August 1969, one night after Manson’s followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others including celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, filmmaker Voityck Frykowksi and Steven Parent, a friend of the Tate estate’s caretaker.

    Van Houten did not participate in the Tate killings but went along the next night when the La Biancas were slain in their home. During the penalty phase of her trial she confessed to joining in stabbing Mrs. La Bianca after she was dead.

    She was portrayed by her defense lawyers as the youngest and least culpable of those convicted with Manson, a young woman from a good family who had been a homecoming princess and showed promise until she became involved with drugs and was recruited into Manson’s murderous cult.

    She was convicted along with Manson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkle. Van Houten was sentenced to death along with them but their sentences were reduced to life in prison with the possibility of parole when the death penalty was briefly outlawed in the 1970s.

    Atkins died of cancer in prison. Krenwinkle has been denied parole repeatedly and Manson, now 78, has stopped coming to parole hearings sending word that prison is his home and he wants to stay there.

    Manson’s onetime lieutenant, Charles “Tex” Watson, was convicted separately and has been denied parole many times.

    Decades ago, one of the original prosecutors in the case, Stephen Kay, said there would come a time when Van Houten would be ready for parole.

    But parole officials, while giving her high marks for her accomplishments in prison, have refused her bids for freedom 19 times. Her last hearing was in 2010 at which she said, “I apologize for the pain I caused.”

    Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Patrick Sequeira focused then on the details of the deadly summer of 1969 when Manson and his followers set out to foment a race war with a senseless killing spree. He declined to comment in advance on his planned argument Wednesday against her release.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...647_story.html
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    31,603
    California parole board denies release of Manson family member Leslie Van Houten

    Former Charles Manson follower and convicted murderer Leslie Van Houten has been denied parole once again.

    A California panel rejected Van Houten's bid for release from state prison Wednesday at her 20th parole hearing.

    The 63-year-old was convicted of murder and conspiracy for her role in the August 1969 slayings of a wealthy Los Angeles couple, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. They were stabbed to death the night after Manson's followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others.

    The killings are among the most notorious murders of the 20th century.

    Former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten told a parole board on Wednesday in unprecedented detail how committed she was to the murders Manson ordered, but asserted that she has changed and is trying to live a life for healing.

    The 63-year-old Van Houten addressed the board during her 20th parole hearing.

    The panel was also set to hear from relatives of the victims opposed to parole. A decision could be made later in the day.

    "I know I did something that is unforgiveable, but I can create a world where I make amends," Van Houten said. "I'm trying to be someone who lives a life for healing rather than destruction."

    Van Houten was convicted of murder and conspiracy for her role in the slayings of wealthy Los Angeles grocers Leno and Rosemary La Bianca. They were stabbed to death in August 1969, one night after Manson's followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others.

    Van Houten did not participate in the Tate killings but went along the next night when the La Biancas were slain in their home. During the penalty phase of her trial she confessed to joining in stabbing Mrs. La Bianca after she was dead.

    With survivors of the LaBiancas sitting behind her at the California Institution for Women, Van Houten acknowledged participating in the killings ordered by Manson.

    "He could never have done what he did without people like me," said Van Houten, who has been in custody for 44 years.

    After years of therapy and self-examination, she said, she realizes that what she did was "like a pebble falling in a pond which affected so many people."

    "Mr. and Mrs. La Bianca died the worst possible deaths a human being can," she said.

    Arguing to the board, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Sequiera said some crimes may be an exception to the law guaranteeing the possibility of parole.

    "There are certain crimes that are so heinous, so atrocious, so horrible that it should cause denial of parole," he said, elaborating on Van Houten's contradictions over the years.

    In response, Van Houten's lawyer, Michael Satris, said his client "sank to the depths of Dante's inferno and she put herself there by consorting with the devil himself, Charles Manson."

    However, Satris said his client has totally reformed herself.

    "Leslie committed a great sin, a great crime in 1969, and in that time (in prison) she has developed into the equal of a saint," he said. "Everything she does is for humanity."

    Van Houten was portrayed at trial by her defense lawyers as the youngest and least culpable of those convicted with Manson, a young woman from a good family who had been a homecoming princess and showed promise until she became involved with drugs and was recruited into Manson's murderous cult.

    Now deeply wrinkled with long gray hair tied back in a ponytail, Van Houten at times seemed near tears but did not break down at the Wednesday hearing.

    She said that when she heard the Manson family had killed Tate and others, she felt left out and asked to go along the second night.

    Asked if she would have done the same had children been involved, she answered, "I can't say I wouldn't have done that. I'd like to say I wouldn't, but I don't know."

    Asked to explain her actions, she said, "I feel that at that point I had really lost my humanity and I can't know how far I would have gone. I had no regard for life and no measurement of my limitations."

    Van Houten has previously been commended for her work helping elderly women inmates at the California Institution for Women. She earned two college degrees while in custody.

    Other members of Manson's murderous "family" have lost bids for parole.

    One former follower, Bruce Davis, actually was approved for parole last year only to have Gov. Jerry Brown veto the plan in March, saying he wanted the 70-year-old Davis to reveal more details about the killings of a stunt man and a musician. Davis was not involved in the slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

    Van Houten and others were given death sentences that were later reduced to life in prison with the possibility of parole when the death penalty was briefly outlawed in the 1970s.

    Manson, now 78, has stopped coming to parole hearings, sending word that prison is his home and he wants to stay there.

    http://www.newser.com/article/da6ntl...an-houten.html
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  3. #3
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    9,417



    The Latest: Parole recommended for Ex-Manson family member

    The youngest of Charles Manson's followers to take part in one of the nation's most notorious killings is trying again for parole.

    Homecoming princess-turned-Manson-follower Leslie Van Houten is scheduled for her 21st hearing before a parole board panel on Thursday at a women's prison in Chino, California.

    The now-66-year-old Van Houten was convicted in the 1969 murders of wealthy grocer Leno La Bianca and his wife Rosemary in their Los Angeles home.

    The couple was stabbed to death a day after other so-called "Manson family" members killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others.

    While in prison Van Houten has completed college degrees and been commended for her model behavior.

    Her lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, says she presents no danger to the public but has remained jailed because of her former ties to the cult leader.

    Former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten has described in graphic detail how she and other Manson family members went to the Los Angeles home of victims Leno and Rosemary La Bianca in 1969.

    Van Houten spoke Thursday to a California parole board in her latest bid for release after more than four decades in prison for participating in one of the nation's most notorious killings.

    The one-time homecoming princess, described how she helped secure a pillow over Rosemary La Bianca's head with a lamp cord and hold her down while someone else started stabbing the woman.

    Van Houten says she looked off into the distance and then another Manson follower told her to do something, and she joined in the stabbing.

    The La Biancas were slain the night after other members of the so-called Manson family murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others.

    Van Houten, who did not participate in those killings, has been turned down for parole 20 times previously. Her latest hearing was continuing.

    The decision will now undergo administrative review by the board. If upheld it goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has final say on whether the now-66-year-old Van Houten is released.

    Van Houten, a one-time homecoming princess, participated in the killings of Leno La Bianca and his wife Rosemary a day after other so-called "Manson family" members murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in 1969.

    Van Houten was the youngest Manson follower to take part in one of the nation's most notorious killings after descending into a life of drugs and joining Manson's cult.

    While in prison she has completed college degrees and been commended for her behavior as a model prisoner.

    A California panel has recommended parole for former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten more than four decades after she went to prison for the killings of a wealthy grocer and his wife.

    A panel of the California Board of Parole Hearings made the decision Thursday after Leslie Van Houten's 20th parole hearing.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/0005a...-night-murders
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "I found a big story of murder"
    - Charles Martel

  4. #4
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    9,417
    Manson follower Leslie Van Houten faces fight from victim's family to gain freedom

    By Shelby Grad and Matt Hamilton
    The Los Angeles Times

    Opposition is forming for the release of Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, whom a state board last week recommended for parole.

    Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has vowed to fight against the release of Van Houten, and several family members of her victim, Rosemary LaBianca, have also spoken out.

    Van Houten has repeatedly sought release from prison, arguing she was a model prisoner and expressing remorse for the 1969 killing.

    In recommending release, one parole board member said: “Your behavior in prison speaks for itself. Forty-six years and not a single serious rule violation.”

    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.

    Last summer, a review board recommended parole for Manson associate Bruce Davis, who was convicted in the 1969 slayings of Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea. He was not involved in the Tate-LaBianca murders.

    In January, Brown rejected parole for the 73-year-old, stating that “Davis' own actions demonstrate that he had fully bought into the depraved Manson family beliefs.”

    LaBianca's family members hope Brown will make the same decision in Van Houten's case. Rosemary LaBianca was killed alongside her husband, Leno LaBianca, in their Los Feliz home.

    “Maybe Leslie Van Houten has been a model prisoner,” said Cory LaBianca, Rosemary LaBianca's stepdaughter. “But you know what? We still suffer our loss. My father will never be paroled. My stepmother will never get her life back. There’s no way I can agree with the ruling today.”

    "What type of decision has the parole board actually made? They're making a decision to allow a murderer to come back into your neighborhood, my neighborhood. Last time they were in my neighborhood, they killed my family," the LaBiancas' grandson,

    Tony LaMontagne, told CBS News.

    Louis Smaldino, another family member, echoed that view.

    "The Manson family are terrorists, albeit homegrown," he told the Associated Press. "They're long before their time. What we're seeing today, these people were back in the '60s."

    In 1971, Van Houten spoke in chilling detail about the killings during her trial. She was not involved in the first of the two Manson murder rampages, in which Sharon Tate and her friends were killed in Bel Air. But the then 19-year-old was one of the

    Manson family members who invaded the Leno and Rosemary LaBianca's home.

    Van Houten testified that she held down Rosemary LaBianca as Charles “Tex” Watson stabbed her husband. After Watson stabbed Rosemary LaBianca in her bedroom, he handed Van Houten a knife. She testified to stabbing the woman at least 14 more times.

    “And I took one of the knives, and Patricia had one knife, and we started stabbing and cutting up the lady,” Van Houten testified in 1971. (Patricia Krenwinkle was a co-defendant and a Manson family member).

    Van Houten described the killing of Rosemary LaBianca, who offered anything to have her life spared.

    She said she got into a fight with LaBianca, prompting Krenwinkle to go the kitchen and return to the bedroom with “a whole bunch of kitchen utensils,” including knives.

    She said LaBianca kept promising not to call the police and pleaded for her life.

    “And it seemed like the more she said ‘police,’ the more panicked I got,” Van Houten testified.

    Supporters describe Van Houten as a misguided teen under the influence of LSD on the night of the killings. They also say she was a victim of Manson’s “mind control.”

    At a 2002 parole board hearing, Van Houten said she was “deeply ashamed” of what she had done, adding: “I take very seriously not just the murders, but what made me make myself available to someone like Manson.”

    Van Houten’s attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, has said his client was long overdue for release, listing her accomplishments behind bars: earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees, running self-help groups and facilitating victim-offender reconciliation sessions.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/l...417-story.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "I found a big story of murder"
    - Charles Martel

  5. #5
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    10,661
    Governor rejects parole for ex-Manson family member

    By Madison Park
    CNN

    California Gov. Jerry Brown denied parole to former Manson family member Leslie Van Houten, saying that the murder convict "currently poses an unreasonable danger to society."

    Earlier this year, the Board of Parole Hearings had recommended her release.

    Van Houten and other followers of Charles Manson were convicted for the 1969 murders of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.

    In 1994, Van Houten described her part in the killings in a prison interview with CNN's Larry King.

    "I went in and Mrs. LaBianca was laying on the floor and I stabbed her in the lower back around 16 times," said Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the murders.

    After the killing, Van Houten changed into the victim's clothes and drank chocolate milk from the couple's refrigerator, according to the statement of facts regarding her case. She was the youngest of the Charles Manson followers.

    Gov. Brown expressed dismay over Van Houten's actions: "Both her role in these extraordinarily brutal crimes and her inability to explain her willing participation in such horrific violence cannot be overlooked and lead me to believe she remains an unreasonable risk to society if released."

    Van Houten, 66, had been described as a model prisoner who worked with other inmates and earned a college degree.

    Manson family murder plot

    Charles Manson had sought to plant Mrs. LaBianca's wallet in an African-American neighborhood, so they would be blamed for the murders in order to start a race war, according to the statement of facts pertaining to Van Houten's case.

    She was sentenced to death in 1971, but one year later, the death penalty was overturned.

    Her first conviction was overturned, too, because her lawyer died before that trial ended. She was tried twice more (one ended in a hung jury) and in 1978 was sentenced to life in prison.

    Van Houten reportedly has apologized to the LaBianca family.

    Prior to this year, she had been denied parole 19 times.

    "It remains unclear how and why Van Houten drastically transformed from an exceptionally smart, driven young woman, class secretary and homecoming princess, to a member of one of the most notorious cults in history," Brown wrote in his decision.

    What happened to the rest of the Manson family

    Charles Manson -- The 81-year-old remains at a California state prison in Corcoran. He, like Van Houten, had received the death penalty, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison.

    Charles "Tex" Watson -- He, along with Van Houten, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, murdered the LaBiancas. At age 70, Watson remains at Mule Creek State Prison. He has been denied parole 16 times.

    Susan "Sadie" Denise Atkins -- She was implicated in the Tate and LaBianca murders. She died in prison in 2009.

    Patricia Krenwinkel -- She also had her death penalty commuted. The 68-year-old remains at the California Institution for Women. She has been denied parole 13 times.

    Bobby Beausoleil -- He was convicted of the murder of Gary Hinman. He is serving a life sentence and currently at a Vacaville, California, medical facility.

    Bruce Davis -- He was convicted of the murders of Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea. He is serving a life sentence and had his parole reversed by Gov. Brown in 2014.

    Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme -- She was convicted in 1975 of pointing a gun at then-President Gerald Ford. She was sentenced to life in prison and was released on parole after serving 34 years in 2009.

    Steven "Clem" Grogan -- He was released on parole in 1985 after revealing the location of the body of ranch-hand Donald "Shorty" Shea, who was killed in 1969.

    http://www.ktvz.com/news/governor-re...ember/40847864

  6. #6
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    9,417




    Manson follower denied hearing by California Supreme Court


    By Toni McCallister
    mynewsLA.com

    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.

    http://mynewsla.com/crime/2016/12/21...supreme-court/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "I found a big story of murder"
    - Charles Martel

  7. #7
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    9,417
    Manson follower Leslie Van Houten granted parole by CA board

    Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten has been granted parole by the California board.

    Van Houten was 19 when she and fellow cult members stabbed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca to death in 1969. The killings took place a day after other so-called Manson family members murdered Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, and four others in crimes that shocked the world.

    Share was not involved in the killings, but served prison time later for armed robberies. Police said she also was involved in a plot to break Manson and other family members out of prison, though Share denied that. She said the plan was to help a boyfriend's brother get out of jail.

    Last year, a parole panel recommended Van Houten be released after she had completed college degrees and been commended for her behavior as a model prisoner. But Gov. Jerry Brown denied her parole, saying she failed to explain how she transformed from an upstanding teen to a killer.

    http://abc7.com/manson-follower-lesl...board/2384543/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "I found a big story of murder"
    - Charles Martel

  8. #8
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    9,417
    Editorial:

    Leslie Van Houten committed an act of terrorism. She should stay behind bars


    By The Times Editorial Board
    Los Angeles Times

    Leslie Van Houten of Monrovia was just a teenager when she helped kill Rosemary LaBianca on Aug. 9, 1969. Her mind was arguably muddled by drug use, as well as by the hold that Charles Manson and his cult-like “family” exerted over her. Her death sentence was thrown out more than 40 years ago, and she has spent most of her life eligible for parole yet still in prison. She has repeatedly expressed remorse for her crime. There is no evidence that she would pose a danger to anyone. Isn’t it time that California released her?

    No.

    Inexplicably, some find the call to be an easy one. Hard-liners will argue that brutal murderers like Van Houten forever give up any right to liberty or even life. Others express outrage that the state would keep a person locked up decades after the crime merely to satisfy some inchoate societal urge for retribution, long after the other reasons we put people in prison — to prevent them from committing new crimes, to deter others from following their bad example, to rehabilitate them — no longer apply.

    But for most people who sincerely grapple with the question, it is a very difficult, emotionally wrenching and intellectually vexing call indeed. Now that Van Houten has for the second time been found suitable for parole by a state parole panel, it falls to Gov. Jerry Brown — also for the second time — to decide whether to uphold that decision. A year ago, he said no. He was right then, and he should say no again. But it’s complicated.

    Van Houten joined other Manson family murderers on the second night of a killing spree, invading the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca and terrorizing the couple before killing them. Van Houten held down Rosemary LaBianca as others stabbed her. Then Van Houten herself plunged a knife into the victim more than a dozen times. The killers wrote messages on the walls using their victims’ blood.

    It was a particularly gruesome and horrific murder, but it was also an act of terrorism. Manson intended to wage a race war, and he wanted the murders to get the project underway by putting the city in a state of panic.

    To an extent, he and his followers succeeded. Unsolved for weeks, the killings frightened Los Angeles in the late summer of 1969. In rejecting parole last year, Brown noted that the “shocking nature of the crimes left an indelible mark on society.”

    It did — yet we are given pause. A sentence and subsequent parole decisions should take into account the fact that the criminals hoped to instigate terror, but that doesn’t mean that the punishment should depend on how much attention a particular crime generated, whether the victims included movie stars or whether the assailants were a headline-magnet like Manson and his young, mostly female spellbound hangers-on. Crimes should not be punished because they were among the defining horrors of a particular generation, but rather because they were crimes.

    Van Houten’s crime resulted in a sentence of death in 1971. This page opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and would oppose such a sentence for Van Houten were she facing it today.

    But just because we are morally opposed to execution does not automatically mean we reject any form of retribution — as opposed to mere deterrence — for crimes with a particularly corrosive effect on society. Retribution should be meted out sparingly and should be balanced with mercy. But it has a valid role.

    As it happens, court rulings in 1972 declared the state’s process for imposing the death penalty unconstitutional, leaving Van Houten and other death-row inmates with sentences of life in prison with the possibility of parole. Even quirkier circumstances complicate her case. Her lawyer died during trial, causing an appeals court to grant her a new trial in 1977, resulting in her being sentenced to seven years to life.

    We don’t argue that Van Houten should be denied any chance at parole, or that her youth or her drug-impaired brain should never be taken into account. But although she may have been unclear on the details of Manson’s insane plot to foment terror, stitched together from various Beatles lyrics, she knew what she was doing. Although she was a teenager when she killed, she was legally an adult. There necessarily is an element of randomness in any line-drawing exercise.

    It would be fair to ask when Van Houten should be released if not now. Never? We don’t say never. But we look at her crime and its role in a plan to destabilize society and we must say — not yet.

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/edito...907-story.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "I found a big story of murder"
    - Charles Martel

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •