A California panel on Wednesday recommended that Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten be paroled after serving more than four decades in prison.
After a hearing at the women’s prison in Corona, California, commissioners of the Board of Parole Hearings found for the third time that the 69-year-old Van Houten was suitable for release.
If her case withstands a 150-day review process, it will rest in the hands of California’s new Gov. Gavin Newsom. Van Houten was recommended for parole twice previously, but then-Gov. Jerry Brown blocked her release.
Van Houten was among the followers in Manson’s murderous cult who stabbed to death wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in 1969. Van Houten was 19 during the killings, which came a day after other Manson followers killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in Los Angeles.
Tate’s sister attended Wednesday’s proceedings and said afterward that she vehemently disagrees with the parole recommendation.
“I just have to hope and pray that the governor comes to the right decision” and keeps Van Houten behind bars, Debra Tate said. Newsom’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Los Angeles Police Department disclosed Thursday that it has open investigations on a dozen unsolved homicides that occurred near places where the Manson family operated during its slew of murders four decades ago.
The Police Department made the revelation amid a legal battle to obtain hours of audio tapes recorded in 1969 between Charles Manson follower Charles “Tex” Watson and his attorney. The LAPD has said detectives believe tapes could shed more light on the activities of Manson’s group.
Watson has been fighting to limit the LAPD’s access to the tapes. This month, a federal judge in Texas granted an emergency order preventing the police from executing a search warrant at an office where the tapes are kept.
LAPD officials did not disclose details of the cases and said the department is examining the murders because they occurred near known Manson hangouts around the city.
“These cases have circumstances that are similar to some of the Manson killings,” Cmdr. Andy Smith said. “We are hoping that these Tex Watson tapes can provide us further clues on these cases… We are doing this for the families of these victims.”
Manson and his followers were convicted of killing eight people in a notorious plot to incite a race war that he believed was prophesied in the Beatles song “Helter Skelter.”
Here is a video report from KNBC, Channel 4, Los Angeles:
The federal bankruptcy court should speedily consider Charles “Tex” Watson’s appeal and rule that the police have the ability to search the tapes.
Perhaps and the bankruptcy hearing of Charles “Tex” Watson’s former attorneys is today.
North Texas attorney Bill Boyd made a name for himself defending one of the Charles Manson family members in the murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others. The Collin County resident died in 2009 – but he’s back in the news in Los Angeles.
L.A. police want audio recordings Boyd made of conversations with Manson family member Charles “Tex” Watson, to see if they will shed light on any unsolved slayings. A hearing on the police request is scheduled for Tuesday, according to media reports. Watson, of Copeville, Texas, orchestrated the 1969 Manson slayings. He is still in prison and the recordings came to light when he tried sell them to an author to help pay legal bills.
Here is a video report from Channel 4 (NBC) in Los Angeles:
A prison panel denied parole Wednesday to mass murderer Charles Manson in his 12th and probably final bid for freedom.
Manson, now a gray-bearded, 77-year-old, did not attend the hearing where the parole board ruled he had shown no efforts to rehabilitate himself and would not be eligible for parole for another 15 years.
“This panel can find nothing good as far as suitability factors go,” said John Peck, a member of the panel that met at Corcoran State Prison in Central California.
Also playing heavily into the board’s decision was something Manson had said recently to one of his prison psychologists that Peck read aloud.
“‘I’m special. I’m not like the average inmate,”‘ Peck said. “‘I have spent my life in prison. I have put five people in the grave. I am a very dangerous man.”‘
Peck then spoke for the record directly to Manson, who will receive a transcription of the proceedings: “This panel agrees with that statement.”
The panel deliberated for 20 minutes before making its decision.
Here is the video:
There will probably be no more parole hearings for Charles Manson which is just fine with me and most Californans.
Manson is lucky to be alive, as he really should have been executed decades ago, except for a legal loophole.