RE: Leslie Van Houten CDC#-W13378 Parole
Dear Governor Newsom,
My name is Anthony DiMaria, nephew of Jay Sebring who was killed August 8, 1969 at the hands of the Manson clan.
On behalf of all the victims families, I ask that you determine Manson “family” Leslie Van Houten CDC#- W13378 unsuitable for parole for reasons illustrated below.
As Manson “family” killer Leslie Van Houten conspired, targeted, held hostage, butchered, mutilated and terrorized society collectively with her partners in crime- so too our families suffer collective pain and loss resulting from her unspeakable and wanton actions.
I appreciate the opportunity to address statements made at inmate Van Houten’s latest hearing (1/30/2019) regarding minimization, In Re Lawrence, dangerousness to society and suitability.
Ms. Van Houten and her attorney Richard Pfeiffer claim responsibility for her offences yet continually minimize her involvement and role in these crimes blaming cult influence and Manson control. The attorney states, “Without Manson, none of these murders would have happened”(p.122 line 20) and describes the petitioner as “one of the lower players in the Manson cult”(p124 ll. 6-7).
This was no cult. It was a very violent crime organization. In the months leading to Ms. Van Houten’s murders on August 10, 1969 Leslie Van Houten and her accomplices committed extensive crimes involving:
credit card fraud
grand auto theft
the torture murder of Gary Hinman
the drug deal burn of Bernard Crowe
the attempted murder of Mr. Crowe after he was shot in the chest
August 8 – the murders of six individuals on Cielo Drive.
To reiterate, this is no “cult”. Leslie Van Houten is no “lower player”. She is a prime criminal and sadistic killer in the Manson family.
Yet in her own words, “I don’t minimize. I feel like if I minimized I would find easy ways to live with the guilt of WHAT HAPPENED because I’m passing the buck onto somebody else so my conscience doesn’t have to deal with it. But that’s who I am and it’s not what I do with my life. Knowing him has never eased the shame and how I attempt to make right WHAT HAPPENED.”(p. 87 ll. 6-13).
WHAT HAPPENED is a helluva way to describe these crimes. At a past hearing on April 14, 2016 the inmate said “I hope you’re not understanding that I know it’s my responsibility that I allowed this to HAPPEN to ME.”(p.65 ll. 22-24)
-Her descriptions as passive participant is a consistent pattern, hearing after hearing, revealing a disconnect and minimization of her actions…even after decades of reflection and rehabilitation.
IN RE LAWRENCE
At the last hearing, Richard Pfeiffer posited “Since Lawrence, there’s been not one single published opinion that has described a crime that is sufficiently bad to deny parole.”(p.122 ll. 14-16)
I submit to you Mr. Governor, that the severe and egregious nature of Leslie Van Houten’s crimes is “sufficiently bad to deny parole.”
Leslie Van Houten committed the organized home invasion of a married couple. The victims were misled to believe it was only a home robbery, and restrained. Then, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were butchered with a bayonet, carving fork and a butcher knife. The spouses were forced to endure each other’s slaughter. As Leno LaBianca was stabbed repeatedly, Rosemary panicked and struggled. Upon Ms. Van Houten’s demand:
Inmate Van Houten: “I ran to the doorway of the bedroom and I called out ‘We can’t kill her’ and Tex came in.”
Commissioner Ground: ” Now when you said ‘we can’t kill her’, it’s not cause you’re having doubts. You’re basically are saying you need help.”
Inmate Van Houten: “Yes.” (p. 67 ll. 24-25, p. 68 ll. 1-2)
The 3 cohorts stabbed Rosemary LaBianca 41 times. Leno was still alive. After Rosemary was dead, the killers returned to Mr. LaBianca carving tools in hand stabbing him dozens of times finally plunging the instruments to the hilt in Mr. LaBianca’s thorax and abdomen.
WAR XX was carved on his stomach.
Messages in blood were splattered on the walls. Leslie ate from the victim’s refrigerator and adorned herself in Rosemary’s clothes.
Many months free of Manson “control”, Ms. Van Houten spit on the memory of her victims, taunted her victim’s families and terrorized society at large with her horrific behavior during the trial as she sang, giggled and performed for news cameras… for almost a year’s period of time.
Mr. Pfeiffer goes on, “If you’re going to use Ms. Van Houten’s crimes to try to get to this level (Lawrence) that nobody else has gotten to, you have to look at what she did and what her actions were…what Leslie Van Houten actually did.”(p.122 ll.21-25)
Governor Newsom, please look precisely at what Leslie Van Houten actually did.
DANGER TO SOCIETY
It is undeniable that the crimes of Leslie Van Houten and the Manson “family” have dealt profound historical and cultural impact even today. It’s never waned. I point to the endless “family” T Shirts, memorabilia for sale online, books, TV and film projects…LESLIE, MY NAME IS EVIL (2009), for example.
I echo Deputy District Attorney Donna Lebowitz’s statement at the last hearing, “Just recently before the last hearing in 2017, I drove into a commercial parking lot and I saw a man with a tattoo with Charles Manson up his arm. That is the kind of impact these crimes had upon society. You don’t have random people with tattoos of other random inmates on their arms. As the sentencing judge said, ‘This case is a special one. It will burn in the public consciousness for a long period of time.'”(p.121 ll. 17-25)
On May 30, 2003 16-year-old Jason Sweeny was killed by four teenagers, ages 15-17. The weapons used to massacre the young man were a hammer and hatchet.
During the trial, the teenaged killers testified listening to “Helter Skelter” over and over for several hours before committing the murder. “Helter Skelter”. The same words written in blood on a wall at the LaBianca crime scene.
3 of the 4 teenagers were sentenced to life without possibility of parole.
Mr. Pfeiffer shockingly suggests that the societal destruction of his client’s crimes occurred in a vacuum completely void of Charles Manson, “Charles Manson ended that Movement. Leslie Van Houten didn’t.”(p.124 ll.1-2)
Let there be no confusion- there would be no Manson mystique without the horrific behavior of Leslie Van Houten. The “family” killed and terrorized collectively and collectively they share culpability for the societal destruction pervasive today.
The current threat of Leslie Van Houten to society- direct and repercussive – is lethal and corrosive.
While Leslie Van Houten and her attorney maintain she has served her time and is a changed person- Leno and Rosemary La Bianca remain unchanged. Unparoled.
They will remain so for eternity. They are just as dead as you read this since the night Leslie Van Houten slaughtered them.
Governor Newsom, please consider parole for Leslie Van Houten- once you’ve paroled Rosemary and Leno LaBianca from their graves.