Category Archives: Uncategorized
Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Sept. 17 – On Wednesday, April 24, 2002, a California parole board found Charles Manson unsuitable for parole for the 10th time, at a hearing held at Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, California. Manson, reportedly refused to attend the hearing because he would’ve been required to appear handcuffed.
A review of Manon’s prison record showed he had 17 serious infractions in the five years since his last hearing. Some of the infractions listed were, failure to participate, disrespect, noncompliance with grooming standards, possession of a weapon, and setting a mattress on fire.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Stephen Kay told the board that “finding Charles Manson unsuitable for parole and giving him a five year denial will be the easiest decision you’ll have to make all year.”
The short hearing was the attended by Sharon Tate’s younger sister, Debra Tate, who became the first member of her family to appear at one of Charlie’s parole reviews.
“He is totally unsuitable for release into society in my opinion,” said Tate, “and I implore you to please keep him in so that society can have peace for at least five more years.”
Manson was denied the maximum 5 years.
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
Aug 26 – A U.S. District Judge has granted the disclosure of President Gerald Ford’s video testimony from United States of America vs. Lynette Alice Fromme, according to a report by the Sacramento Bee.
On July 24, 2013 the Eastern District Historical Society along with the Sacramento Bee filed a motion requesting the court unseal the taped deposition in order to “preserve events of historical significance in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.”
Last Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller granted the motion, ordering the original VHS tape be transferred to DVD and copies be provided to the Eastern District Historical Society, The Sacramento Bee, the Clerk’s office and the National Archives.
The taped deposition, which was unsealed by a prior court order in April of 1987, runs about a half hour long and shows President Ford answering questions about the events of September 5, 1975, when Fromme pointed a loaded .45 caliber handgun at him before being wrestled to ground by Secret Service agents.
Saturday, August 17th, 2013
Dean Allen Moorehouse in 1971
Aug. 17 – Dean Allen Moorehouse (born 2/13/20 in Minnesota, male Caucasian, 5-5, 157 lbs., gray hair and blue eyes) grew up in the Minneapolis area and had at least two older siblings – one brother, two sisters. In 1939, at the age of 19, Dean married Audrey Lucile Sirpless and during the course of the couple’s 28-year marriage, they produced four children; Kathleen Adair (1940), Deane Thomas (1941), Sharon Lee (1945) and Ruth Ann (sometimes 1951/1952/1953)
In 1967, the then 47-year-old Moorehouse reportedly was employed, or formerly employed as a protestant minister and was residing in San Jose, California with his family. Around this time, Dean befriended Charlie Manson after picking up the ex-con hitchhiking through the area. Manson had recently been paroled from federal prison after serving almost six years of a ten year sentence for forging a $37.50 check in May of 1959.
Moorehouse invited Manson to dinner at his home and Charlie ended up staying the night. Manson and Moorehouse discussed the Bible, sang religious songs and when Charlie admired an old piano at the house, Dean told him he was welcome to have it. Moorehouse told Charlie he was always welcome in his home and Manson became a frequent visitor, taking a special interest in Dean’s youngest daughter, Ruth Ann.
Sometime that summer, Manson found a Volkswagen Microbus for sale in Moorehouse’s neighborhood and negotiated a deal with the owner to trade it for Dean’s piano. Shortly after acquiring the Microbus, Charlie took Ruth Ann on a trip up the coast which prompted her parents to report her as a runaway. The pair were eventually apprehended by Sheriff’s deputies on Friday, July 28, 1967. Ruth Ann was returned home and Charlie was arrested for trying to interfere with the police. The following month, Dean and Audrey officially ended their marriage, filing for divorce in Sonoma County.
Dean was arrested on Thursday, March 21, 1968 and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, after he was found in a Redwood Valley home that Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies raided for marijuana. Sheriff’s deputies arrested 11 individuals on a range of charges and Dean was slapped with the delinquency charge because the majority of those in the home were not of age.
Dean was arrested again in May, after Roger Tholan and Gertrude Romanski told authorities that the $50 of LSD they were found in possession of, was sold to them by Moorehouse. Dean was charged with a violation of Section 11912 of the Health & Safety Code.
A few weeks later, Ruth Ann married 23-year-old Edward L. Heuvelhorst in Santa Cruz, California in an effort to become emancipated. According to Ruth Ann, the marriage only lasted one day, and she soon headed to the Los Angeles area where Charlie and the family had relocated months earlier. Soon to follow her was an angry Dean, reportedly hell bent on getting Ruth back. When Dean arrived in Los Angeles, he met up with Charlie at Dennis Wilson’s house where Manson immediately diffused the situation by kneeling down and kissing the preacher’s toes, welcoming him to the party.
Dean spent the rest of the summer at Dennis’ house living in the guesthouse in exchange for taking care of the landscaping duties. He reportedly became a devout follower of Charlie and championed his lifestyle and philosophies. In August, Dean headed back to Mendocino in order to face trial for the LSD arrest back in May. The trial resulted in a hung jury and was set to be re-tried in December. In the meantime, Dean returned to L.A. and reconnected briefly with the family at Spahn Ranch.
Dean’s second trial began on December 17, and this time he was found guilty. He returned for sentencing on January 2, 1969, when Judge Wayne Burke sentenced Dean to 6 months at the Vacaville Medical Facility. Records show he was received the following day and that he was transferred several times during his incarceration, serving his sentence in multiple facilities, including Folsom and San Quentin.
After the Tate-LaBianca murders were connected to the Manson family, LAPD sent detectives to visit Dean in prison. According to the officers that made the trip, Moorehouse offered little to help their case.
Dean was denied parole on May 7, 1969, March 3, 1970, and August 26, 1970, before he was finally granted parole on March 23, 1971.
Little has been documented about Moorehouse’s activities in the years that followed. Records indicate he lived for a long time in the Redding, California area. In May of 1991, Dean was convicted on charges of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 and given a 8-year term in state prison. He served 52 months of the 8-year term and was paroled on Saturday, September 2, 1995. He violated parole less than two years later and was returned to prison on May 29, 1997. Dean was re-released on parole on May 22, 1998 and discharged from parole supervision on Sept. 9, 1999.
Dean Allen Moorehouse passed away on Saturday, May 22, 2010 in Shasta Lake, California.
Friday, June 21st, 2013
Bill Vance drinking in the Longhorn Saloon in the film Linda and Abilene
Jun. 21 – The Lost Films of Herschell Gorden Lewis, a 2-disc BluRay/DVD combo pack released in January, features three recently restored sexploitation films including the erotic western Linda and Abilene. Filmed at the Spahn Movie Ranch in 1969, Linda and Abilene tells the story two siblings, Abilene and Tod, who after being orphaned on their western farm, become attracted to each other. The confused Tod fleas to a nearby town where he meets Linda, a local bar girl, and begins a sexual relationship with her, while a rough cowboy, named Rawhide, sexually assaults Abilene leading Tod wanting revenge despite Linda’s wariness and growing compassion for Abilene.
The movie, which features fantastic color footage of Spahn’s Ranch, was filmed while the Manson Family was living there. According to liner notes, “Lewis claims that he and the crew ‘thought little or nothing of’ the unusual people hanging around the location, even when seemingly the entire Family showed up on set to peep on the lesbian sex scene as it was being filmed. They were just a bunch of ‘goofy kids…stoned out of their heads,’ according to Lewis.”
But perhaps the most interesting thing about the film is that it stars the Manson family associate, Bill Vance. Although he has no lines, Vance is a prominent extra within the film and there are several close ups of him.
The film also provides possible answers as to why some at Spahn would later say that Sharon Tate had visited the ranch. Shortly after the Tate-LaBianca murders were tied to the Manson family in December of 1969, there were reports that an actress named Sharon had visited the ranch earlier that year. This led to the speculation that the actress was Sharon Tate. Perhaps Linda and Abilene was the cause of the confusion, because the part of Abilene is played by the actress Sharon Matt. Could she have been the actress that some at Spahn would later confuse to be Sharon Tate?
Special thanks to BlueJay for finding this.
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
Jun 5 – Leslie Van Houten was denied parole for the 19th time today in a hearing at the California Institute for Women in Corona, California. She will not be allowed another hearing for five years.
Van Houten, the youngest of those responsible for the Tate-LaBianca murders, was sentenced to death in 1971 for her part in the August 10, 1969 murder of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. The following year, Van Houten saw her sentence commuted to life after the California supreme court outlawed the death penalty.
On Friday, August 13, 1976, a California court of appeals ruled that Van Houten was denied a fair trial because her attorney Ronald Hughes had disappeared while the trial was in progress. The appeals court reversed Van Houten’s conviction and ordered her to be retried.
“She’s older — a mature woman now. People change their minds even when not in prison, and she’s changed hers,” said her attorney Maxwell Keith in January of 1977. “She’s forsaken the Manson Family. She’s back with her own now.”
That same month, Keith attempted to get a temporary restraining order issued against the CBS Television Network that would’ve prevented the network from airing the movie Helter Skelter.
“It depicts her as a very depraved, malevolent young lady, an unrepentant murderer,” said Keith. “That’s not fair. She is back here for retrial and she is presumed innocent.”
In February of that year, Leslie told journalist William Farr that the Manson family was never as big as the media made it to be.
“There really were only about 10 girls and three guys although people came and went,” said Van Houten.
“He used to be good with cards, you know, play tricks with cards. Charlie would put something in our mind and because he was quick with his hands and wit, we would sort of think we had seen a miracle.”
Van Houten told Farr she was embarrassed to admit she actually believed in Charlie’s Helter Skelter and that she continued to have nightmares about the murders.
“I know that I did something horrible…I don’t expect people to forgive me but I hope eventually they will give me a chance.”
The retrial began on Monday, April 18, 1977 at the new courthouse across the street from the Hall of Justice. The mood was completely different than it had been seven years earlier. Van Houten did not arrive to court smiling or singing as she had in 1970. There were no vigils on the street corners below.
Testimony began the following day, with Deputy District Attorney Stephen Kay first calling Susan Wolk to the stand. Wolk, the 28 year-old daughter of Rosemary LaBianca testified that upon arriving home from a water skiing trip, her brother Frank phoned her, concerned about something at their parents house.
Along with her then-boyfriend Joe Dorgan, Wolk met with Frank and went to the house.
“Joe and Frank went in first,” continued Wolk. “I walked into the kitchen and dining area.” Her brother and Dorgan stopped suddenly and wouldn’t let her continue into the living room. The two turned Wolk around towards the kitchen and out the back door.
Leslie Van Houten sat motionless behind a counsel table, trying her best not to make eye contact with the physical evidence or Wolk. Dorgan took the stand next and told the jury what he had seen in the living room at 3301 Waverly Drive.
“Newspapers were strewn around,” said Dorgan, “Leno was lying between the coffee table and the couch with something protruding from his chest.”
By days end, the jury had also heard testimony from the first officer to arrive at the residence, William Rodriguez, as well as the last person to see the LaBiancas alive, newspaper vendor John Fokianos.
The following week, Linda Kasabian returned and gave an unemotional account of the Tate murders “as if she were describing a traffic accident for which she had no responsibility,” wrote one journalist.
“[Leslie] is being tried for the Sharon Tate murders and she wasn’t even there,” an angry Maxwell Keith told reporters outside of court.
Leslie, dressed in a pink blouse and plaid pant suit, took the stand on Thursday, May 5. She testified that LSD had been smuggled into jail and she took acid throughout her original trial. According to Van Houten, Manson had thrown a razor blade across the table and instructed the girls to carve Xs into their foreheads.
She continued, saying that Manson had told her she would need to testify. Van Houten said that she was visited in jail with instructions for her to say that Manson hadn’t been around at the time of the murders and didn’t have any knowledge of them.
On Thursday, June 9, Leslie Van Houten was back on the stand, talking about life with the Manson family.
“It was a mellow situation,” said Van Houten. “It was an easy, slow life. No one had any goals they were trying to accomplish other than to tune in…to try to get rid of old thoughts, to live only for the moment.”
Leslie’s testimony continued the following week when she told the jury she that at the LaBianca residence, Charles “Tex” Watson had handed her a knife and told her to do something, and that she stabbed Rosemary LaBianca about 14 times in the lower back.
“I know I just kept doing it over and over again,” said Van Houten.
Asked by her attorney how she felt. Van Houten said, “I felt like the shark, like a primitive animal some kind of wild cat that had caught a deer.”
When court resumed the following day, Leslie testify she had been offered and turned down immunity while in Inyo County in November of 1969. The deal according to Van Houten was offered to her by LAPD Sgt. Michael McGann and included immunity, around the clock security and possibly even the $25,000 of reward money. When asked why she didn’t accept the offer, Van Houten responded, “I felt kind of like I was sitting in the seat of Judas.”
Later in the trial McGann testified that when he discussed immunity with Van Houten, he was talking about arson charges, not murder.
Throughout the trial, Maxwell Keith called five psychiatrists to the stand. All testified that Van Houten was mentally ill at the time of the murders and incapable of premeditation, the requirement for first degree murder.
Their testimony was however contradicted on June 21, when Stephen Kay called Dr. Joel Fort.
“She did harbor malice and did manifest an intent to kill another human being,” said Dr. Fort.
Dr. Fort explained his opinion based on that fact that Van Houten had discussed killing before the murders and then made efforts to hide them after they had be committed.
On June 27, Maxwell Keith played a tape recorded interview Charles Manson did with Dr. Fort. Manson continued to claim he did not direct Van Houten and the others to kill the LaBiancas. However, Manson did admit somewhat that he had influence on her.
“Certainly I had influence over her,” said Manson on the tape. “I have influence over everybody I meet. If I showed her the way to herself, and she decided she wanted to do something, no one’s going to wind her up and make her do it
“Man, I’ve seen the broad only a few times,” he continued “I never paid that much attention to her. I’m telling you the truth. I never had that much effect on Leslie because I never — how can one guy have effect over 30 to 50 broads?”
The recording also somewhat contradicted the defense’s contention that excessive drug use had led to Van Houten’s diminished capacity.
“We were not all that much into drugs,” said Manson. “Everybody said we were but that’s not true. The truth was we took acid whenever it was around. Sometimes it would be maybe once a week, sometimes once a month, sometimes three times a month.
“We weren’t into speed or hard drugs. A little hash and a little grass. Just a blaze kind of get-loaded social thing.”
After 10 weeks and 38 total witnesses, testimony had ended.
“The people of the state of California have not only proved Leslie van Houten participated in two of the most brutal murders in American crime,” Stephen Kay said in his final argument, “but we have proved those are murders of the first degree.”
The following day Maxwell Keith told the jury that members of the Manson family were sick and argued that Leslie was guilty of manslaughter not first degree murder.
The jury began their deliberations on Friday, July 10.
After a week of deliberations the jury asked to listen to the 4 hour recording of Leslie and Sgt. McGann, as well as Dr. Fort’s May 1976 interview with Charles Manson. A week later the jury appeared in court to ask legal questions about diminished mental capacity.
On Monday, July 25, after two weeks of deliberations, a male juror had to be replaced because of illness. Judge Edward Hinz instructed the jury that they would need to disregard their previous 13 days of deliberations and start over.
A mistrial was declared on Saturday, August 6, when after 25 days of deliberations the jury was still deadlocked. The split, according to foreman Bill Albee, was seven for first degree murder and five for manslaughter.
Leslie Van Houten was freed on a $200,000 bond on Tuesday, December 27, 1977. Her freedom was spent with friends and family who helped her get reacquainted with the world outside prison walls. Leslie lived a low-key life and got a job working as a legal secretary.
Her third trial began in the spring of 1978. This time Deputy District Attorney Stephen Kay changed his strategy, attempting to get Van Houten convicted on murder committed in the act of robbery because she had taken coins and clothes from the LaBianca residence.
On Wednesday, July 5, 1978 a jury found Leslie Van Houten guilty on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder and she was sentenced to three concurrent life terms a month later.
Van Houten was returned back to prison on August 17, 1978 and with a credit of eight years and 20 days time served, she was immediately eligible for parole. Her first hearing was in January of 1979 and although she was denied, she received favorable reviews from prison psychologists and prison staff.
Leslie’s third parole hearing was held on Wednesday, April 22, 1981. The three member board commended Van Houten on her positive adjustment, but felt she needed to serve more time due to the nature of the crime. Leslie’s attorney, Paul Fitzgerald, told the panel that they ought to be ashamed of themselves.
“I find your decision intellectually dishonest and the worst kind of pandering to public sentiment,” said Fitzgerald.
“I feel in a lot of ways I’m being undermined by popular anger. I feel like I’ve become a political commodity,” said the 31 year-old Van Houten. “The name Leslie Van Houten next to Charles Manson’s name can get people elected or not elected. I know that.”
In Fullerton, California, Rosemary LaBianca’s brother, H. Russell Harmon, was happy to hear the news.
“It makes me feel that our justice system is turning around,” said Harmon. “I think criminals are going to have to serve some time and are not going to get off so easy.”
Hearing after hearing, years became decades and nothing seemed to change. Panel after panel praised Van Houten’s progress behind bars but ultimately denied her release because of the nature of the crime and Van Houten’s unstable social history. For decades it seemed as though her release was just one or two years away. But that day never came.
Van Houten’s release had been opposed by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office since she became eligible for parole in 1978. Deputy District Attorney Stephen Kay – who assisted in her original prosecution, and was the lead in her two retrials – attended her parole hearings until he left the D.A.’s office in 2004.
When friends of Leslie began collecting signatures petitioning for her release, Kay enlisted the help of Sharon Tate’s mother Doris Tate. Kay and Tate together worked on their own campaign collecting several hundred thousand signatures from people opposing Van Houten’s release. Doris Tate went on to become a powerful victim’s rights advocate and campaigned the cause up until her death.
The LaBianca family has opposed Van Houten’s release as well. Leno LaBianca’s nieces and nephews have regularly attended Van Houten’s hearings making victims impact speeches.
In 2006, Leno LaBianca’s nephew John DeSantis read a letter from Leno’s eldest daughter Cory. In the letter, Cory LaBianca related to the board fond recollections she had from time spent with her family at 3301 Waverly Drive and how those memories were fractured by the murders.
“Can you imagine how we must feel having that nightmare interwoven with our most cheeriest childhood memories? We can do nothing to change the events of 37 years ago or to erase those horrible memories from our hearts and minds,” wrote LaBianca. “I ask you, please, do not make a mockery of what we love with your decision here today.”
Van Houten, now 63, has been a model prisoner excelling in countless prison programs during her lengthy incarceration. Her one and only rules infraction occurred in 1976 and is no longer even in her file. Her many supporters both in and outside of prison have argued that Leslie should’ve been released decades ago. Leslie lost her closest supporter in 2012 when her father, Paul Van Houten, passed away at the age of 93.
While Van Houten has an exemplary post-conviction record, she like many others associated with the Manson murders remain unsuccessful in separating themselves from the everlasting impression left by the murders and unforgettable trial that followed.
Leslie Van Houten will not be allowed another hearing until 2018.