California Governor Brown overturns parole for Manson follower

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Leslie Van Houten Denied Parole

July 22 (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday overturned the parole recommendation of Leslie Van Houten, who as a follower of cult leader Charles Manson, took part in one of the most notorious mass murders of the 20th century.

A two-member panel of California's Board of Parole Hearings in April recommended parole for Van Houten, 66, who is serving a life sentence for stabbing to death Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Angeles home on Aug. 10, 1969.

Manson, also serving a life sentence, directed Van Houten and his other mostly young, female followers - known as the Manson Family - to murder seven people that month in what prosecutors said was part of a plan to incite a race war between whites and blacks.

"I find the evidence shows that she currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison," Brown wrote in his decision.

A look back at Sharon Tate and the Manson Family murders:

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Sharon Tate, Charles Manson family murders
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Sharon Tate, Charles Manson family murders
American actress Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969), circa 1968. The wife of film director Roman Polanski, Tate was murdered by followers of Charles Manson on 8th August 1969. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Sharon Tate (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Headshot of Sharon Tate (1943-1969), US actress, circa 1965. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Sharon Tate (1943-1969), US actress, wearing metallic disc sleeveless top, with a scoop neckline, in an exterior portrait, circa 1965. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actor Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969), wearing a nightgown, faces herself in a mirror while pouring prescription pills into the palm of her hand in a still from the film, 'Valley of the Dolls,' directed by Mark Robson, 1967. (Photo by 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1967: Photo of Sharon Tate Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
A contact sheet of portraits of American actress Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969), circa 1968. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: The American Actress Sharon Tate, Wife Of The French Film Director Roman Polanski, In 1969. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Pregnant film star Sharon Tate in the back of a taxi in London with baby's booties on her hands, 6th August 1969. This picture was taken three days before she was murdered.(Photo by Terry O'Neill/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Sharon Tate Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
This is a general view of the 500-acre Spahn Movie Ranch in the Santa Susana Mountains of southern California, seen 1969. The ranch was where Charles Manson and his "family" lived at the time of the Tate-LaBianca murders. (AP Photo)
File - (AP) Front entrace to Tate Home - Bloodstains are still on the flagstone porch at the front door of the home af actress Sharon Tate in Los Angeles today. Police believe one of the victims of the multiple killing at the home 11 days ago staggered out the door after being shot or stabbed. The actress and four others were mysteriously slain. (AP-Photo/Peter Banks , Valley Times) 1969
Linda Kasabian, cult member involved in the Tate-LaBianca murder case is seen in custody, 1969. (AP Photo)
Cult leader Charles Manson, who is linked to the Sharon Tate murders, is seen 1969. (AP Photo)
The body of actress Sharon Tate is taken from her rented house on Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Aug. 9, 1969. Tate, who was eight months pregnant, and four other persons were found murdered by American cult-leader Charles Manson and his followers. Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was born in 1943. (AP Photo)
Charles Manson is shown, 1969. (AP Photo)
Charles Manson is escorted by officers while en route to court in Independence, Calif., Dec. 3, 1969. Manson and three women co-defendants were convicted and sentenced to death after the 10-month trial that involved the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in the hills near Hollywood, Calif. Their sentences were later commuted to life when the death penalty was briefly outlawed. (AP Photo)
Cult leader Charles Manson looks back and smiles as his attorney, public defender Fred Schaefer, talks to him in Independence, Calif., on Dec. 4, 1969. Manson and his followers are charged with eight murders. (AP Photo)
Trash litters the breezeway at Barker Ranch House, refuge of Charles Manson and his so-called "family," Dec. 5, 1969. (AP photo)
Charles Manson is escorted to and from Los Angeles Court December 11, 1969 for arraignment on conspiracy charges in connection with the slayings of Sharon Tate and seven others. (AP Photo)
Leslie Van Houten, 19, a member of Charles Manson's "family" who is charged with the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, is escorted by two deputy sheriffs as she leaves the courtroom in Los Angeles, Dec. 19, 1969 after a brief hearing at which time she was appointed a new attorney. The court appointed Marvin Part to represented Ms. Van Houten after her previous attorney said she and her family could not pay his fees. (AP Photo/George Brich)
Charles M. Manson, leader of a hippie cult accused of multiple murders, leaves a Los Angeles courtroom, Dec. 22, 1969 after telling a judge "lies have been told" about him. His followers say the 35-year-old ex-convict has hypnotic powers. (AP Photo/Wally Fong)
Members of Charles Manson's "family" are shown outside the courtroom in the Los Angeles Hall of Justice after the hearing, Jan. 27, 1970. Identifiable are Lynette Fromme, left, and Catherine "Gypsy" Share, speaking at right. (AP Photo/David F. Smith)
Charles M. Manson, the hippie-style cult leader charged with the killings of actress Sharon Tate and six others, leaves a Los Angeles courtroom with his pencils and paper after the judge ordered a plea of innocent, Jan. 29, 1970. Manson, acting as his own lawyer, responded with questions of his own each time the judge asked for a plea. It was his first court appearance since shaving his beard and mustache. (AP Photo)
Members of Charles Manson's "family" congregate in Los Angeles Hall of Justice, Feb. 24, 1970, for arraignment of Patricia Krenwinkel, a defendant in the Sharon Tate murder case. None of these is accused. From left: Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, Sandra Good, Mark Ross, Paul Watkins and Catherine "Gypsy" Share holding Catherine Good's son Ivan. Two men partially hidden in back are unidentified. (AP Photo/Wally Fong)
Charles Manson replies "It all depends on your point of view," after a newsman asked him "Are you insane, Charlie?", March 19, 1970 in Los Angeles. The exchange came as Manson left court where he won permission to hire a new attorney, replacing one who had sought to have Manson examined by psychiatrists. (AP Photo/George Brich)
** FILE ** In this Aug. 1970 file photo, Charles Manson followers, from left: Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten walk to court to appear for their roles in the 1969 cult killings of seven people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate, in Los Angeles, Calif. California parole officials on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 considered releasing Atkins, who is dying of brain cancer, from prison, but the governor and others said her decades-old crimes were too brutal for her to be shown such mercy. (AP Photo)
Unsuccessful in his attempts to obtain a mistrial, Charles Manson heads for court in Los Angeles on Aug. 6, 1970 to listen to further cross-examination of the state's star witness, Linda Kasabian, in his trial for murder in the slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others. (AP Photo)
Charles Manson walks into the courtroom in Santa Monica, Ca. on Oct. 13, 1970. Manson and Susan Atkins, seated, a member of his family of followers, are to plead on charges of murdering a Malibu musician, Gary Hinman. When his name was called, Manson stood, folded his arms, and turned his back on the judge. Atkins did the same. The court then entered pleas of innocent. Both are on trial in Los Angeles for killings that included actress Sharon Tate. (AP Photo)
Charles Manson, accused murderer in the Sharon Tate murder case in Los Angeles, is shown clean-shaven and with a haircut, Nov. 10, 1970. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Dec. 21, 1970 file photo, a smiling Charles Manson goes to lunch after an outbreak in court that resulted in his ejection, along with three women co-defendants, from the his murder trial in Los Angeles. Manson was convicted in 1971 after jurors deliberated for 42 hours over nine days. He and the three co-defendants were convicted of a series of killings in the Los Angeles area, including that of actress Sharon Tate. (AP Photo/George Brich, File)
FILE - This March 1, 1971, file photo shows Charles Tex Watson, right, arriving for court in Los Angeles, Calif. A Texas judge is expected to decide Tuesday, May 29, 2012, whether eight hours of audio recordings of conversations between a the former Manson family member and his attorney should be given to Los Angeles police. Watson is serving a life sentence for his role in the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. (AP Photo/Wally Fong, File)
Charles Manson during his trial in an undated photo. (AP Photo)
Sandra Good, a disciple of mass murderer Charles Manson, arrives at the Federal Court in Sacramento with a friend to attend an arraignment of her roommate Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, who was charged with attempting to assassinate President Ford, Sept. 11, 1975. Ms. Good said a "People's Court" has marked for assassination business executives whose firms pollute the environment. (AP Photo)
Charles Manson, Convicted killer. (AP-Photo) 1986
Convicted murderer Charles Manson is shown during an interview with television talk show host Tom Snyder in a medical facility in Vacaville, Ca. on June 10, 1981. (AP Photo)
Leslie Van Houten, a member of the Charles Manson cult family, argues her case during her parole hearing in Frontera, Ca., Friday, July 11, 1986. Charles Sinatra, van Houten's correctional counselor, takes notes at right. Van Houten was denied parole. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
Combo image shows the five victims slain the night of Aug. 9, 1969 at the Benedict Canyon Estate of Roman Polanski. From left, Voityck Frykowski, Sharon Tate, Stephen Parent, Jay Sebring, and Abigail Folger. The next night, it happened again. Rosemary and Leno LaBianca, a wealthy couple who lived across town, were stabbed to death in their home. Thirty years later, the ghosts of the Tate-La Bianca murders will not rest. The Charles Manson cult that carried them out haunts the Internet and a new generation is oddly fixated on the nation's most bizarre and notorious killings. (AP Photo/File)
Investigators Christian Ray, left, Kelvin Johnston, center in green, Jeff Hollwel, center in black, and Juan Martinez , at right kneeling, with the Inyo County Sheriffs Dept., dig for evidence at Barker Ranch in the Panamint Mountains west of Death Valley National Park, Calif., Wednesday, May 21, 2008. After two days of digging for evidence, investigators where not able to find human remains in the property formerly occupied by Charles Manson and his followers. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, Pool)
FILE - This Oct. 8, 2014 file photo provided by the California Department of Corrections shows 80-year-old serial killer Charles Manson. State prison officials say mass murderer Charles Manson has yet to marry a 26-year-old devotee, who insists the 1960s cult leader was wrongly convicted. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson said Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, that weekend visiting for inmates passed without any nuptials for Manson; the couple’s 90-day marriage license expires Thursday. (AP Photos/California Department of Corrections)
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Van Houten was found guilty of the LaBianca murders in 1971 and sentenced to death but that conviction and sentence were overturned on appeal. She was retried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1978.

The La Biancas were stabbed to death, after which the killers used their blood to write "Rise," "Death to Pigs" and "Healter-Skelter," a misspelled reference to a Beatles song, on the walls and a refrigerator door.

Among the victims of the Manson Family in August of 1969 was actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski. She was stabbed 16 times by cult members.

Four other people were stabbed or shot to death at Tate's home on Aug. 9, 1969, by Manson's followers, who scrawled the word "Pig" in blood on the front door before leaving. Van Houten was not involved in the Tate murders.

Manson is serving a life sentence at Corcoran State Prison in California for the seven Tate-LaBianca killings and the murder of another man, Gary Hinman, in July 1969.

Van Houten, who has been incarcerated for 46 years, has "developed greater maturity, independence and responsibility" and has "led a pro-social lifestyle," Brown noted in his decision. She also earned bachelor's and master's degrees while in prison, where she has received positive commendations from staff, Brown wrote.

However, Van Houten has said she committed the crime because she was manipulated by Manson and that she was following his orders, claims that were refuted by Brown in his decision.

"Van Houten's statements give the false impression that she was a victim who was forced into participating in the Family without any way out," Brown wrote.

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