• Mrs. Van Houten testifies Leslie ‘Free of Manson’

Mrs. Van Houten testifies Leslie ‘Free of Manson’

LOS ANGELES, May 19 – Leslie Van Houten’s mother fought back tears in Los Angeles Wednesday as she told a jury of her daughter’s journey back from Charles Manson’s cult of death.

Jane Van Houten, of Monrovia, recalling her personal crusade to save her daughter with love, said, “I believe she’s very nearly the person she would have been had this horrible thing not happened.”

“Do you feel she is free of Manson?” asked defense attorney Maxwell Keith.

“Oh, yes, I do,” said Mrs. Van Houten.

Under cross-examination by Prosecutor Stephen Kay, Mrs. Van Houten solemnly denied that she “would say anything to help Leslie.”

“I want Les to be rehabilitated,” Mrs. Van Houten said softly, her head bowed and her eyes downcast.

“I want her to take up a good place in society. I would never do anything that would keep her from realizing her full potential.”

Asked if she wanted to get her daughter out of prison, the mother sighed deeply. “I don’t want her to be in prison any more,” she said firmly.

In the silence, Keith arose and asked if she was making up anything to help her daughter.

“I’ve been telling the truth,” said the white-haired mother. “And I don’t want her to be in prison any more.”

The 27-year old Miss Van Houten, seated at the council table, smiled at her mother as she left the witness stand. Seated in the front row of the courtroom were Leslie’s stepsister and stepbrother, the Korean war orphans adopted by the Van Houten family when Leslie was a child.

Miss Van Houten, a convicted murderess, is being retried for the 1969 slayings of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca and for conspiracy in the Sharon Tate murders.

Her 57-year-old mother, a teacher of retarded children, told jurors of her daughter’s transformation from a happy, teen-aged homecoming princess into a disturbed follower of mass murderer Manson.

Mrs. Van Houten spoke of her own divorce, which’ upset Leslie, and her daughter’s disastrous love affair with a boy who introduced her to drugs.

At 16, Leslie had an abortion. “I arranged it for her,” Mrs. Van Houten said. “…That was a very sobering experience for us all.”

The mother said she never realized that her daughter was involved with drugs and was stunned when Leslie called one day in 1968 to say “she was going to drop out.”

She came home only once more in the spring of 1969, Mrs. Van Houten recalled and was spouting Manson’s philosophy.

“She said. ‘Momma, do you know there’s going to be a revolution and all the black people will kill the white people?’” Mrs. Van Houten recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, Leslie, I don’t believe that’

“She said, ‘Then you will be killed, too’”

The next time she saw her daughter, Mrs. Van Houten said, she was in prison under arrest for the Tate-LaBianca murders. Since her daughter’s conviction in 1971, Mrs. Van Houten said she has visited Leslie frequently, trying to break the spell of the Manson “family.”

“It seemed to me that what I had to do was resume the loving relationship with her previously,” she said. “I tried to help her become part of my family again.”

This entry was posted in Archived News. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *