• Appellate Court to Hear Van Houten Case

Appellate Court to Hear Van Houten Case

Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Jan. 26 –An appellate court panel has granted Leslie Van Houten a hearing regarding Governor Gavin Newsom’s reversal of her July 2020 parole recommendation. The hearing will take place in Los Angeles on March 16, with a three-justice panel hearing arguments from Van Houten’s attorneys and the Attorney General.

The California Board of Parole Hearings found Van Houten suitable for parole on July 23, 2020. Governor Gavin Newsom reversed the decision four months later, stating:

“Given the extreme nature of the crime in which she was involved, I do not believe she has sufficiently demonstrated that she has come to terms with the totality of the factors that led her to participate in the vicious Manson Family killings.”

Van Houten’s attorneys petitioned the Superior Court to throw out Newsom’s reversal, arguing the Governor failed to prove Van Houten currently posed an unreasonable risk.

Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen denied Van Houten’s petition and upheld Newsom’s reversal, saying the record contained some evidence to support Newsom’s decision; the nature of the commitment offense, an unsupportive psychological evaluation, lack of insight and minimization.

Van Houten’s attorneys took the matter to the appellate court, filing a petition arguing that Newsom’s reversal violated her due process; failed to assess her overall record; relied heavily on the gravity of the commitment offense; and that it established a parole standard that Van Houten could never meet, turning her sentence into a de facto sentence of life without parole.

According to Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Heinisch, Van Houten is asking the court to discount the Governor’s conclusions while giving greater weight to the positive aspects of her record.

“The Governor’s decision is the result of his independent assessment of Van Houten’s individual public safety risk and his determination that her inconsistent responses to the Board and evaluators, even decades after the Manson Family murders and significant efforts in rehabilitation, demonstrate ‘gaps in [her] insight or candor, or both.’” wrote Heinisch, in a brief filed with the court on January 20. “The Governor’s findings are reasonably supported by some evidence in the record.”

Van Houten, was sentenced to death in 1971 for her part in the August 10, 1969 murder deaths 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, stating it was unconstitutional. In 1976, an appeals court ruled Van Houten was denied a fair trial because her attorney, Ronald Hughes, disappeared while the trial was in progress.

Van Houten was retried in 1977, resulting in a hung jury. She was retried the following year and again convicted, this time sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. Because of time served on her original sentence, Van Houten was already eligible for parole when she returned to prison in August of 1978.

Since then, she has been denied parole 19 times. She has been recommended for parole in her last five consecutive parole hearings. All five of Van Houten’s parole recommendations have been reversed by the Governor.

Last November, Van Houten elected to waive her parole hearing for one year, deciding to wait for the courts to rule on her 4th and 5th reversals.

Her next parole hearing is tentatively scheduled for May of 2024.

Updated 2/3/23 – The People’s 1/30/23 Supplemental Return: In Re Palmer
Updated 2/24/23 – Van Houten’s 2/17/23 Traverse to Respondent’s Reply to the Order to Show Cause
Updated 3/8/23 – Van Houten’s 3/2/23 Supplemental Return Reply: In Re Palmer
Updated 3/13/23 – With instructions on how you can watch the hearing.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to Appellate Court to Hear Van Houten Case

  1. Kathy says:

    It’s about time!! Praying she finally gets parole!!

  2. Wolf's Stare says:

    Pray every day Leslie gets released, it will happen if the law is followed.

  3. Chris Andersen says:

    Leslie Van Houten has more than served her time and proven herself through her workings within the system . Examples of a stellar behavior record and a willingness to help new inmates coupled with multiple educational achievements make her a suitable candidate for release . She has shown true remorse and nothing can be gained by keeping her locked up . Let her pay the rest of her debts to society in society although at this stage in the process I believe she already has . We must recognize that Leslie is an educated senior citizen who is not a threat to the public at large . Politics and vengeance can’t be allowed to trump reason in the rehabilitation process or we’re all in trouble .

  4. Chris Andersen says:

    Leslie Van Houten has more than served her time and proven herself through her workings within the system . Examples of a stellar behavior record and a willingness to help new inmates coupled with multiple educational achievements make her a suitable candidate for release . She has shown true remorse and nothing can be gained by keeping her locked up . Let her pay the rest of her debts to society in society although at this stage in the process I believe she already has . We must recognize that Leslie is an educated senior citizen who is not a threat to the public at large . Politics and vengeance can’t be allowed to trump reason in the rehabilitation process or we’re all in trouble .

  5. Pam says:

    LVH should never be released from prison. The fact that she has been housed, fed and educated by a system she tried to destroy shows how compassionate the system has been to her. The purpose of the judicial system is not just to rehabilitate but to punish for heinous crimes. The family of RL and LL oppose her release and I think their wishes should be respected. They’re the ones who have suffered, it’s very easy for people to say release her when her crimes had no impact on them.

  6. Billy Esquire says:

    We know there truly is such a thing as meeting all conditions to be paroled because numerous inmates have been paroled. With a perfect record since she was imprisoned many decades ago, surely this woman has earned her parole. That is simply not debatable. Thus, it’s not at all hard to determine how the court should rule. If they disallow her parole, it will severely damage the overall credibility of California Courts.

  7. CybeleMoon says:

    The overall credibility of California legal system must have come into question decades ago when the death penalty they all received became life with a chance of parole after seven years!
    Whatever I think about that I admit it’s possible LVH will finally get out. At 74 or 75 she has been incarcerated for most of her life. I can’t imagine it will ever be easy for her at this age. Most people that age are retired, have children and grandchildren, a home, a nest egg. Being freed from prison doesn’t necessarily mean freedom. She will still carry the burden of her choices -and- it’s a totally different world from 1969.

  8. Pam says:

    LVH, “It’s not like cutting a piece of meat, it’s much tougher. I just completely lid out on that woman’s back.” LVH went into the kitchen, open the refrigerator and drank the chocolate milk of the woman she had just slaughtered. RL was stabbed 41 times, her spinal cord was completely severed. LVH, “it was the right thing to do.” LVH’s perfect record and long stay in prison doesn’t give her the right to be free.

    • T says:

      Well that just proves she was out of touch back then she was indeed under influence and brainwashed, otherwise a wise person would never admit such things

    • T says:

      Over 50 years in prison for stabbing a dead body, reversed parole 4 times, 0 value to human lives,
      Sometimes I feel like the Americans justice system is worse than Iran’s

      • Dr Ken says:

        LVH did not know at the time her victim was dead at the time she attacked her. That defense is pure nonsense and meant only to minimize her responsibility. It is her ongoing minimization of her culpability that California governors have referenced in denying her parole. She is a cold blooded killer and has proved one thing, that being she can function quite well in a heavily structured setting such as prison. LVH is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder on two counts, not one.

      • Lee says:

        Rosemary wasn’t a “dead body.” A dead body means a corpse with no life in it and a spirit inside of it. Rosemary was alive & well and Leslie saw & interacted with her before they killed her! You make it sound as if she was like “Weekend At Bernie’s” or something. It is a vile, preposterous description and way in left field. Why do you care so much? Are you somehow going to profit or come out ahead in your life if Leslie Van Houten gets out? How is Leslie getting out going to change your life?

  9. Michael says:

    Gov. Newsome may be secretly glad if he’s let off the hook and can finally walk away from this. He must realize it’s a political liability to release LVH, yet he must also realize there are good legal arguments for confirming parole. If the courts say “She’s out” he can say, “Hey, it’s not my fault, they overrode me!”

    No matter how strongly some of us oppose her parole (me included) it gets tiring seeing this deadlock. The Courts may finally break it.

  10. Mariannne lynch says:

    Why isn’t this in the news? Not even on cielodrive.com?
    Maybe they was to keep quiet until she is safely out of prison. Also no harassment to all who set her free; if she is freed?
    Less media might be a good thing.

  11. Lee says:

    It’s revolting that so many people want her out. How come nobody cares for the victims?

    • Billy Esquire says:

      Pam: “LVH’s perfect record and long stay in prison doesn’t give her the right to be free.”

      Lee: “It’s revolting that so many people want her out. How come nobody cares for the victims?”

      Good Lord! What is it about “meeting parole conditions” and the law is so confusing? It’s all very simple. If someone is eligible for parole and they meet those conditions, according to the way they are written, and as judged by members of the parole board, then they are to be paroled. What is hard to understand about that? Yes, the Governor can overrule the parole board, but there has to be a legit reason. But in this case, there IS no good reason, and the reasons he has cited are all clearly bogus and outright wrong. I’m wondering if that’s why the Appellate Court agreed to hear the case.

      As I said above, I think it has reached the point where the very credibility of the California Court system is on the line. The governor can’t just keep saying no….for no valid reason. Everyone knows she’s not a danger to society, and for the Governor to keep saying she is is laughable. It’s reached the point where either the Governor is outright lying and making things up, or he’s demented and not competent. The reasons he’s cited for keeping her in prison are literally as if he doesn’t know the facts and hasn’t bothered to read them. It’s as if he pulls a reason out of the “no parole granted” box and throws it out there, hoping that no one notices that it makes him look like a fool.

      Regarding Pam and Lee’s statements above, it has nothing to do with “caring for the victims” or whether she SHOULD be paroled! And I know it sounds silly, but it doesn’t even have anything to do with Leslie’s crime and what she did. Nor is it helpful to say “Allowing her parole would be a travesty of justice!” because that has nothing to do with anything. It’s simply following her conditions for parole, as written. She WAS NOT given life without parole, so she IS eligible for parole! Many will not agree with it, but she is. It’s as simple as that.

      She’s eligible for parole, she has met the conditions of parole many times over, so she should be paroled! Please stop entering other variables into this simple process…..because they simply are not applicable. It’s a simple “if/then” situation.

      Sure, if the clock could be turned back and her sentence could be changed to “Life without parole,” that’s probably what she would receive. But that’s not possible. The facts are…..she IS eligible for parole, and has met conditions for parole for 50+ years.

  12. happydaysarehereagain says:

    LVH has done nothing BUT try to get out and absolve herself of her responsibility for two gruesome murders. Just because this murderer is eligible for parole doesn’t mean she should be paroled. 50+ years of incarcerated notoriety is nothing compared to what was taken from the victims and their loved ones. 50+ years of playing the victim of her mother, her older sister, her forced abortion, the 60’s, drugs, Manson cult- ad infinitum excuses for her own behavioral choices that changed as her legal needs dictated to increase her chances to obtain freedom. And here we are again, her nth legal maneuver at taxpayer expense to show how remorseful, how old and infirm and how she has been politicized.
    It’s. All. About. Her.

    Victims are lost to the process of allowing her legal rights to supersede the very rights of the ones she slain.

    If she is released there is no justice for victims of violent crime, and I truly believe that.

    • Billy Esquire says:

      If you go by your logic HDAHA, then NO prisoner would EVER receive parole. But plenty of people do…..yes, even murderers. And there is probably NO murderer in California who has received parole that met the qualifications for their parole more than LVH. LVH has a perfect record since being incarcerated over 50 years ago. If she wasn’t tied to Manson, she would have gotten out of prison decades ago. Even the prosecutors predicted that. What even they didn’t know, and couldn’t have predicted, was just how corrupt and cowardly the Governors would be to keep her wrongfully in prison after she earned the right to her release long ago.

      It’s laughable how people who say she should never be released, continually repeat the same things over and over, yet never deal with the real (and only important issue), and that is…..has she met the criteria for parole? Nothing else matters. You know she has met the criteria……everybody knows she has. But you won’t speak to THAT issue. You completely ignore it and state your opinions on non-applicable matters instead of dealing with the facts of her parole. If you can’t deal realistically about her parole (which is the only issue), then you’re being intellectually dishonest.

      Your ONLY task, if you think she shouldn’t be paroled, is to state what she’s done to NOT be eligible for parole, because that’s the only issue. Her crimes, you say? The victims, you say? None of that is applicable to whether she has met the criteria for parole. It’s two completely separate issues.

      The parole board has said she has met the criteria for parole how many years now? Now, are you going to say bad things about the members of the parole board, too? At some point you need to deal with the central issue instead of trying to change the conversation to matters which have no relevance to that issue.

      • happydaysarehereagain says:

        Obviously, you’d love nothing more than a pissing contest about the virtues of LVH’s rights. In your opinion you insinuate the victims play no relevance in parole. The entire reason LVH has been in prison is due to her choices during her life. As much as you disregard the victims’ rights and their rights to live, you give my nothing but validation to my opinion. Get it? Opinion.

        However, you did ask a question in all that vitriol. Which I already answered in my OP:
        “Just because this murderer is eligible for parole doesn’t mean she should be paroled.”

        Intellectually dishonest, am I? Back at ya babes.

        • Billy Esquire says:

          HDAHR: “However, you did ask a question in all that vitriol. Which I already answered in my OP: “Just because this murderer is eligible for parole doesn’t mean she should be paroled.”

          Lol….and I rest my case. You have nothing to say. You have nothing to offer. You refuse to answer my questions because you know I’m right. If crimes and victims made any difference regarding parole, there would not even be such a thing as parole. Think about that, please.

          No, being eligible for parole certainly doesn’t mean she should be paroled. There is no “right” to being paroled. Parole is earned….based on one’s BEHAVIOR while incarcerated. Don’t know why that is such a challenging issue for you. Why does the parole board recommended LVH for parole over and over again? It’s because her behavior and current functioning warrants it. She has literally been perfect for over half a century. What you are wanting is for there to not be parole for anyone, and that ain’t going to happen. You’ve got to be realistic.

          HDAHR: “Intellectually dishonest, am I?”

          Judging from your lack of relevant responses to my questions, maybe “deficient” would have been a better term. 😀

          • happydaysarehereagain says:

            Billy said, “If crimes and victims made any difference regarding parole, there would not even be such a thing as parole. Think about that, please.”

            Repentance is not focused on what other criminals got away with, so there’s that. Steps taken to redress bad behavior while incarcerated is a legal argument. It’s my understanding that the Governor must use the same factors the parole board uses when granting parole. That’s in the state constitution: Article V, Sec. 8.b Then again, so is Marsy’s Law Article I, Section 28(b) 16. Victims do have rights, perhaps you should familiarize yourself.

            Victims of crime have no voice-the state argues for them. Thanks for shoring up my opinion there is/will be no justice if LVH is free. And yes, some do deserve parole. IMO, LVH isn’t one of them. If you find fault in my response, perhaps that’s something you need to work on.

          • Billy Esquire says:

            HDAHR said: “Thanks for shoring up my opinion there is/will be no justice if LVH is free. And yes, some do deserve parole. IMO, LVH isn’t one of them.”

            There you go…..getting off into the weeds again. Citing something that has nothing to do with the issue of parole. You just can’t stay on the subject, or answer direct questions. You try to have it both ways, and your opinions change like the wind, depending on your personal feelings, and/or knowledge of the prisoner.

            When the parole board deems her eligible for parole year after year, do you think the members of the Board know nothing about their job? Are you saying the governors of California know more about whether she should be paroled than the members of the parole board……who know her case (and her) inside out? Do you see how absurd that is? You know as well as anyone that the only reason she’s still in prison is because of possible political ramifications for the governor that allows her to be paroled. In other words, you care nothing about the law or the rules of parole, you just want the Governor to continue NOT playing by the rules and continue ignoring his responsibilities. You want him to continue citing bogus reasons for keeping her imprisoned.

            You say “some deserve parole, but not LVH”. There you go again, trying to tie her parole only to her crime and not at all to her parole requirements. Surely you realize that tons of murderers have been paroled in California. Do you think none were as bad as what LVH did? If so, then maybe YOU need to work on that, because you’ll find that’s not the case at all.

            If you think some deserve parole, but not Leslie, are you saying someone who has zero violations in 50+ years of being in prison isn’t someone who “deserves parole”? Obviously, if anyone deserves it, it would be Leslie. You can’t get better than perfect behavior.

            You’re simply wanting Leslie to be treated differently because you personally disagree with her sentence and the fact that parole is an even a possibility for her. You think she should have received life without parole, and since you think that SO strongly, you’re willing to disregard written parole eligibility requirements. You’re fine with OTHERS getting parole, but not Leslie because of your personal feelings. You want it both ways. Sorry, but you can’t have that. You have to play by the rules.

            Contrary to the way you (and many others) want things to be, here’s reality…..

            1. Some murderers are eligible for parole in California.
            2. Some murderers meet the criteria for parole, so they HAVE been paroled. (Yes, even some really bad ones!)
            3. Leslie is a murderer who is eligible for parole.
            4. Leslie has been perfect for 50+ years in prison and the State’s Parole Board members continually say, year after year, that she has met all conditions for parole.
            5. Two different governors of California have decided they DISAGREE with their own State’s Parole Board year after year and deny Leslie parole because they are afraid they might make voters mad and they might not win the next election if they don’t.
            6. You (and others) don’t want Leslie paroled under any circumstances. Why? Were all those other paroled murderers kinder and gentler?
            7. All prisoners should be treated fairly when determining whether they meet the qualifications for parole…..yes, EVEN those who were part of sensationalized trials that made headlines around the world.

  13. Pam says:

    Brilliant HDAHA!. Rubbish that she should be released. Bloody butcher!

    • happydaysarehereagain says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence Pam, very much appreciated. Some people can’t discern opinion and legalese however, to ignore the victim is as you eloquently stated: rubbish! When presented with weeds, there’s a snake in the grass.

      • Stephen Craig says:

        This is off topic, but it does involve LVH: I recently read that LVH has a net worth of 12 million dollars, and was wondering if someone could elaborate/explain/refute.

        • happydaysarehereagain says:

          Interesting if true. I’ve no idea about LVH’s “earnings” but would love to see a forensic financial audit.

  14. peter says:

    Stephen, you have your facts mixed up. The total is $120 million. And it’s Nancy Pelosi not LVH. But I too would like someone to elaborate and explain.

  15. Mariannne lynch says:

    Why is there nothing about this anywhere but this site? I believe it’s true, but while no coverage anywhere I can find but here? 🤔
    I think this bodes well for Van Houten; more likely if decision is made in her favor she can dye her hair and quietly away.

  16. peter says:

    If she got paid $10 an hour to work in the prison laundry and worked a standard 40 hour week for 50 years, with proper investing, she could easily amass $12 million. For example, a modest investment in General Housewares the maker of Chicago Cutlery (invest in what you know) made in 1970 would have rewarded her quite handsomely.

    Analysis: TRUE

    • Stephen Craig says:

      I appreciate the input. The only thing I can add to the discussion is that I read the info. on different websites, but each of the these sites noted that she was (to quote one of them) “not forthcoming with the nature of her income and source(s) of earnings”. One would think that there would be checks/balances/forms of accountability within the system to account for any earnings of an inmate (how one could/would amass a small fortune , for example, while incarcerated) and even if she was not forthcoming with the sources of her alleged monies, that the “system” would. I have read that Manson’s estate was valued at somewhere over $400,000, but in his case, they were able to list how these assets were accrued. Not so here.

  17. CybeleMoon says:

    Are prisoners allowed to invest? If that is the case they should have to pay back the government and their victims.
    Is this an American thing? However, her family may have left her something in the hopes she would get out one day.
    Although I agree with Pam and HDAHA, it is out of our hands.

  18. Michael says:

    Cybele, I thought there was a civil judgment against Manson, Watson, Krenwinkle, Atkins, and Van Houten. I also think it applied to Kasabian. I know Frykowski’s son got a judgment against Manson’s royalties. Anybody else heard about the civil suit against these five?

  19. Debbie says:

    Possibility of parole,does not guarantee parole! Leslie, should not be released ever.. Truth be told all of them should have gotten life without parole. Slight change of subject, I just read that Linda Kasabian died,any thoughts anyone?

    • Stephen Craig says:

      To put it mildly was never of “fan” of Ms. Kasabian, and never thought of her as the “human being” that VB had depicted her during the trial. I was never comfortable with her immunity deal, and although I understand that the prosecution was gunning for Manson, the fact that she was present at the Tate house and faced no prosecution for her participation in that event never sat well with me. I f Manson did indeed “order” the killings, than I would agree that he has a level of accountability and should be prosecuted. However, Kasabian was present at the crime scene, did not seek help as she ran down the hill on her way back to the car, admitted years later going the SP’s wallet as she passed his vehicle, and did nothing the next day in terms of trying to contact the authorities. She only came forward months later when she realized that there was warrant out of her arrest. IMO, Ms. Kasabian’s not seeking help the night of the Tate murders contributed to the death of the LaBiancas. If she had sought help the night of the Tate slayings, most likely it would not have made any difference to those victims, but police may have had an opportunity to arrest TW, PK, and SA. either at the residence itself or tracing them back to the ranch, which most likely would have been raided, arrests made, etc.., and the second nights of murders foiled. By seeking help on the first night of murders she mat very well have prevented the second. By doing nothing, she guaranteed them. For me, her “hands are not clean”, and she should have been prosecuted.

      • Michael says:

        I have mixed feelings about Kasabian. She’s legally guilty of 7 murders, actively participated both nights, left her infant daughter with a batch of monsters when she made her getaway, and seems to have led a pretty checkered life these past 50 years. Yet she did make an attempt to stop the Tate killings , however feeble it was, when the others were butchering the victims. She showed real sorrow over the crimes when the others were laughing about them. And I think her performance on the stand was pretty impressive, considering the cross examination she was under from 4 defense attorneys, and the threats from the Family. She was no saint, but I still think she was a cut above the others. (Yeah, I know, that’s not raising the bar very high)

      • Billy Esquire says:

        I agree completely with everything you said, Stephen. Bugliosi needed her testimony and was simply willing to play games with Linda Kasabian in order to convict the others. He knew she was an accomplice to murder and should have been punished also. But instead, he said “She wasn’t like the others.”

        Clearly, more people died because of her failure to inform, so she’s as responsible for the deaths as much as the rest.

  20. Debbie says:

    Possibility of parole,does not guarantee parole! Leslie, should not be released ever.. Truth be told all of them should have gotten life without parole. Slight change of subject, I just read that Linda Kasabian died,any thoughts anyone?

  21. Pam says:

    My condolences to her family. I believe that LK was very different from the others. I don’t believe she was capable of murder. She led Manson to the wrong apartments when he wanted to kill the actor. May she rest in peace.

  22. Wayne Guild says:

    I think Leslie will have a victory here .

  23. peter says:

    Well. How did the hearing go ?

  24. peter says:

    Well. How did the hearing go ?

  25. Rich Pfeiffer says:

    The hearing went very well. Before the hearing, Leslie was one vote short of parole and it looks like she now has that vote. Justice Bendix kept asking the attorney general for ANY evidence of current dangerousness or a lack of insight and the attorney general could not come up with anything.

  26. peter says:

    Thank’s Rich. Good luck. I think you have done an excellent job.

  27. Pam says:

    I think it will be a sad day for justice if she’s ever released.

    • happydaysarehereagain says:

      I agree with you Pam. By her choice she denied Leno and Rosemary LaBianca their right to live and grow old; she cruelly, gleefully butchered them in cold blood and now uses that very reason to argue for freedom: she’s old, she’s no longer a threat, it’s cruel and unusual punishment to reverse her granted parole, etc. Irony is dead along with justice if she is released.

  28. CybeleMoon says:

    Hi Pam, I know how you feel. A lot of people today get life sentences without parole and I can’t bear all the rubbish about how Gavin Newsom releases pedophiles etc but keeps poor Leslie incarcerated. I believe the Manson crimes were heinous enough to warrant a full life sentence. For some reason the legal system erred (in my opinion) after the death penalty was taken away. They gave them a chance at parole!! However, the Manson members basically have not been paroled all these years. Rich Pfeiffer believes in what he is doing and according to his knowledge of the law she may well be released because of her advanced years. I’m just wondering how this will effect the other Mansonites in their petitions for release. At least they have not been released during their most fruitful years. I think that because of today’s poor economy jails today don’t want to bear the burden of elderly and ill inmates. God grant us all peace especially the victims .

  29. Michael says:

    Cybele, I have often thought the same about the precedent this will set. It will be hard to justify keeping the others in if Leslie is freed, even though they killed more people than she. All of them are elderly, and all (except Booby) seem to have pretty good records. Paroling her may be legally valid, and she seems to have grown into a worthwhile person. But this will be awfully hard on surviving family members who live with the misery she and the others inflicted on them.

  30. Michael says:

    ….. I didn’t mean to call Bobby “Booby!” Freudian slip?

  31. John C says:

    Ask yourself one question. Are the dead suddenly going to get up and walk out of heir graves if LVH gets paroled? All the deceased are serving a lifetime sentence. We are not talking about a bunch of kids raising some hell on a Saturday night. We are talking about people who knowingly and willingly went out to commit as much mayhem and destruction of life as possible. Keep in mind we’re not only talking about the victims of the murders here but the families of those victims as well. This is a sentence they too have served since 1969. I’m not trying to be glib but I say give LVH parole when those victims walk out of their prisons for the last 54 years

  32. Rich Pfeiffer says:

    When Leslie was sentenced to seven years to life after her third trial, why didn’t those of you who want her to never be paroled complain then? That sentence could have been appealed and it wasn’t. Maybe the most important thing now is whether or not the law should be followed?

    “‘[W]e must rely on our prosecutors to carry out their fiduciary obligation to exercise their discretionary duties fairly and justly—to afford every defendant, whether suspected of crimes high or petty, equal treatment under the law.’ (Citation omitted.) ‘The first, best, and most effective shield against injustice for an individual accused, or society in general, must be found not in the persons of defense counsel, trial judge, or appellate jurist, but in the integrity of the prosecutor.’ (Citation omitted.)” (People v. Dekraai (2016) ___ Cal.App.5th ___ [2016 WL 6879317 at p. 2.].)

    • CybeleMoon says:

      That’s a good point. I wonder if the families of the victims tried. I think people did vote the death penalty back on the books in California not long after it was abolished. Yes, we need to follow the laws or try to change them. What is actual “justice” depends on your perspective I suppose and is not always to do with the legal system. The case and story is very compelling even to non Americans like me.

      I am inclined to think that “Booby” (lol) though talented is a psychopathic personality

    • happydaysarehereagain says:

      RICH PFEIFFER says:
      March 20, 2023 at 9:09 am
      When Leslie was sentenced to seven years to life after her third trial, why didn’t those of you who want her to never be paroled complain then?

      Putting the onus of law on civilians’ opinion is gratuitous. Why didn’t we complain after her third trial? Some of us were not even born yet and those that were, like me, was using footprints on the floor learning to dance to Chic Le Freak. LVH wasn’t even a blip in the road let alone the rearview. Armchair quarterbacks as it were, the perpetual Rubic cube never solved, the bad penny that keeps showing up for 50+ years. The Manson gum on the shoe of justice.

      Despite my obvious misuse of metaphors, I’ll always have the opinion that this case in particular warrants no parole. Maybe when I grow up I can argue for that with legislature change. Until then I’ll work on my footwork.

  33. Peter says:

    A fair and impartial jury already decided that it didn’t warrant life without parole about 40 years ago.

  34. Peter says:

    A fair and impartial jury already decided that it didn’t warrant life without parole about 40 years ago.

    • Stephen Craig says:

      “Life with out parole” was not an option at the time of LVH’s trials (nor any others/trials during that time frame). It (LWOP) was put on the books years later.

  35. CybeleMoon says:

    Stephen, I wondered about that. I had read that LVH was given the death penalty before being granted a new trial on the grounds that her lawyer had died mysteriously before her first trial was over.
    However, in light of the full story of the crimes I don’t feel her less culpable Who she is now of course comes into play and it wil be interesting to see if this sets a precedent for the other manson inmates. As for the changing laws, they don’t always equate with justice in every case.

    • Stephen Craig says:

      Yes, it is true that the only reason LVH was granted a new trial back in 76-77 was because her attorney at the time, Ronald Hughes, ended up going missing (eventually found dead) during the trial and she later claimed in an appeal that her conviction should be overturned on the grounds that the attorney who took Hughes’s place was unable to render appropriate counsel since, having entered the proceedings mid-trial, he had not (it was claimed) had adequate opportunities to be “brought up to speed”, placing her position as a defendant at risk. Her being granted a new trial had nothing to due with any new evidence to illustrate innocence or question her culpability in this/these crimes. An interesting “footnote” to Hughes’s disappearance is the allegation that at the end of the last day that Hughes was in court, Manson turned to him and said (loud enough for those around to hear) that he (Manson, and I’m paraphrasing here), “didn’t want to see you (Hughes) in the courtroom again. And was the last time Ronald Hughes was ever seen in the Halls of Justice.

  36. Pam says:

    LVH’s crimes were so offensive and heinous that she should never be paroled. It was one of the crimes of the century which caused massive panic and fear throughout the country. I would urge you to read HDAHA ‘s post which was eloquent and expressed a very reasonable reply to your criticism of those who oppose her release. Rich,I’ve read your posts for years. Never once have you mentioned her victims. Their lives MATTER!!

  37. Pam says:


  38. Peter says:

    She was sentenced to 7 years to life. Even Bugliosi thought she would be out in 10.

    Her culpability is somewhat less than Katie’s so I can see Lulu being released and Katie kept in as not inconsistent.

    The others Bruce and Bobby weren’t youthful offenders and don’t have the prison records Lulu has.

    Follow the law. Why have a parole board if the Governor can just arbitrarily keep people locked up.

  39. Fred Bloggs says:

    Stephen Craig says:
    To put it mildly was never of “fan” of Ms. Kasabian

    And to put it mildly, not only does it always show, it colours anything you say about her.

    and never thought of her as the “human being” that VB had depicted her during the trial

    When Bugliosi referred to her as “one human being,” it was from a sentence in which he is contrasting her with 3 murderers that Manson sent out with instructions to kill who, at the very least, stabbed and whose victims actually died as a result of their stabbing by that person. Even Susan Atkins, of whom it is sometimes thought didn’t kill by her own hand, stabbed Wojiciech Frykowski in a place that was later shown to be in and of itself fatal.

    I was never comfortable with her immunity deal

    Aaron Stovitz said something very interesting when she was flown to LA. He said that she seemed keen to talk to him. Now, the reality is that the only reason she was there was because of Susan Atkins implicating her to the grand jury. So she already knew that immunity wasn’t on the table. It was the prosecution that came running after her when Susan recanted her statement and her lawyer did the only thing any half-decent lawyer could do; he negotiated on behalf of his client.
    Whether he would have done so if she had actually stabbed or killed, we will never know. It is worth pointing out that Susan Atkins’ immunity while it lasted was only immunity from the death penalty. Mary Brunner’s immunity from prosecution in the Hinman case was predicated on the fact that Bobby had done the stabbing, not her. And Leslie was initially offered immunity before it was known she had stabbed someone.

    If Manson did indeed “order” the killings, than I would agree that he has a level of accountability and should be prosecuted

    A level of accountability ? That’s a bit like saying that Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Bin laden, among others, only had a level of accountability for the mass deaths that they oversaw. None of them killed with their own hand, as far as is known.
    However, Manson would never have been prosecuted without Kasabian, especially with Atkins recanting.

  40. Fred Bloggs says:

    Stephen Craig says:

    However, Kasabian was present at the crime scene, did not seek help as she ran down the hill on her way back to the car

    As I’ve pointed out many times, battle-hardened soldiers with years of training and combat experience have cracked at seeing people killed and maimed. Linda Kasabian was a 20-year-old acid head and mother whose husband had left her and who was currently pregnant. Think for a moment about a woman in the first trimester of a pregnancy. Overly tired, possibly pretty sick, definitely hormonal, ultra-sensitive. And she has witnessed a murder, seen a major stabbing in commission, watched someone being chased with a knife and has tried to stop what she has seen by saying that people were coming……and her confederate tells her point-blank that it’s too late ! She actually tried to stop their activity, people in the midst of murder, by lying to them !
    That took guts.
    Consider something else ¬> she had not done any of the driving that night. She wouldn’t have known until she got in the car that Tex didn’t have the keys. I mean, who goes off to commit murder and leaves the keys in the ignition of the getaway car while they’re killing !!!??? She was hiding in fear and when she got in the car she says it was then that the others appeared ~ so they couldn’t have been far behind her. Remember, Van Houten in ‘69 said that Pat had told her that the whole thing happened really quickly, which accounts for some of the mistakes they made, like leaving knives and prints.
    Aside from other considerations like not knowing where she was {they’d got lost on the way there, so she couldn’t re-trace the route} and fear for her child, think on this; the following night, when Rosemary LaBianca’s children had discovered Leno was dead and were trying to rouse a neighbour so they could use the neighbour’s phone, they were rebuffed. People just didn’t open doors to youngsters in the middle of the night. It was, by all the killers’ recollections {think Rudolf Weber, being awoken out of sleep or the people who heard things at various points} really quiet and the dead of night. The person next door to 10050 Cielo, Mrs Kott, was woken out of a sleep when she said she heard what sounded like 4 shots. She went right back to sleep. My point is, imagine if anyone did get up and went to the door and found a dirty looking barefoot hippie looking at them.
    If three respectable neighbours were rebuffed the following night what chance Linda, upset and possibly babbling hysterically ?
    I think you are way too harsh on Kasabian.
    Can you think of any examples of cases where a group of people are in the commission of murdering someone and one of the group splits away and goes and informs the police ?

  41. Fred Bloggs says:

    Stephen Craig says:
    admitted years later going through SP’s wallet as she passed his vehicle

    What’s that got to do with anything ?
    Firstly, it is one of those revelations that no one on earth would ever have known if she herself had not revealed it ~ 40 years after it happened.
    Secondly, she didn’t take any money or cards or anything from the wallet. She merely looked at it and put it back. We know this because it was found when the bodies were discovered; it had money and his cards in it.
    Thirdly, she had been ordered by Watson to do this. Having just seen Watson blow the young man away, she did what most of us would have done ~ she obeyed the murderer with the gun.

    and did nothing the next day in terms of trying to contact the authorities

    And how could she have done that ?
    Sometimes, we need to take a realistic look at people’s mindsets and the environment they were in before we pass judgment.
    None of the killers left the ranch during the day following. All of them would have been afraid of talking to the police, even if it had been on their radar. They would all suspect that they’d be putting themselves bang in trouble.
    But having witnessed at least one murder and heard about 4 others, I can see very clearly that going to the police would have been pretty low on anyone’s radar. Sometimes, one simply doesn’t know what to do in a given situation. Linda didn’t get a chance to leave the ranch, and was explicitly told by Manson to not even talk about it with the other murderers.

    Ms. Kasabian’s not seeking help the night of the Tate murders contributed to the death of the LaBiancas

    In a sense, there is some truth in this, but it is rather nuanced, and it’s worth having a look at some aspects of this nuance.
    One cannot blame Linda for what happened to the LaBiancas. No one knew that there were going to be more killings the following night. Manson didn’t target the LaBiancas. It’s not like they were on his list, whereas whosoever was living at Cielo was targetted. It matters not that he didn’t know the individuals ~ he had reason to be pissed with that house, whoever was in it. It’s commonly mooted that he was angry because of Terry Melcher but it has been overlooked that actually, the cause of his ire may well have been the actual house owner, Rudy Altobelli. Altobelli is the one that actively rebuffed Charlie in a rather gruff manner when he came to the house. When Rudy said he didn’t want his tenants being bothered in the future {because Charlie said they’d sent him to Altobelli’s guest house}, I can almost picture Manson filing that away in his head and some months later, acting on it.
    But to return to the LaBiancas for a moment, the stop off at their road and even the choosing of their house {Manson maintained he was looking for Harold True, the next door neighbour at one time} were all completely random. A dog alerted Manson to the LaBianca house, and it stoked his curiosity because he’d always known the house as being empty. The dog is also, in a nuanced way, a contributory factor to their deaths. But it’s hardly the fault of the dog.

    If she had sought help the night of the Tate slayings, most likely it would not have made any difference to those victims

    It would not have made the slightest difference to any of the Cielo victims. They were already dead or dying, and they would have all been dead by the time any help arrived.

    • Sean K. says:

      Fred, your command of the facts in this case is admirable and you routinely make cogent and astute observations in your oratory. I tend to agree with your arguments a good deal of the time as you skillfully parse the assertions of the many contributors to this dialogue and then eloquently argue your position. That’s exactly why I was somewhat baffled by your opinion that “no one knew that there were going to be more killings the following night”. I’m not sure how you can arrive at that conclusion when the testimony of so many of those involved in these crimes directly contradicts that assumption.

      For one thing, I highly doubt that the seven people who piled into the car that night, with their full complement of weapons, dark clothing and leather thongs, had little question about the mission they were embarking upon. Especially when you take into account the bloodbath of just a few hours before and the reconvening of the same cast of characters.

      When Manson approached Sadie and told her to prepare herself for another outing she stated that she “gave a kind of sigh” and then obediently followed his orders. It’s as if she knew exactly what was on the agenda and was subtly voicing her reluctance about having to kill again (she was still exhausted from the previous night). And lest we forget Leslie’s prophetic admission “I knew people were going to die”? She was obviously envious of Manson’s more established trustees and was eager to prove her mettle.

      But it was perhaps Linda Kasabian, who you’ve supported in these posts (with good reason, I opine), that offers the most telling and damming appraisal of the second night. “Charlie said that the first night was too messy and that he was going to have to show us how to do it “.

      • Sean K. says:

        Hey Fred! I reread your post and realized that I misinterpreted the point you were trying to make. I see now that you were referring to the killers on the actual night of the Tate murders not yet knowing that they were going to be called upon again the following night. Very true indeed! And I think this once again harkens to the notion that Manson was pissed that his squad had not followed through on his directive to hit more houses after the bloodbath at 10050. Hence the need to “show them how to do it”.

        This particular thread has made for some very stimulating consumption as I always enjoy indulging in your interpretive analyses. There’s frequently something new to be learned or some new approach to disseminating the information or the given facts in this case. Your skillful writings would lead me to believe that you have been a student of law and certainly of the English language.

        The next time I presume to challenge your acumen, I will make damn sure I have my ducks in a row!

  42. Fred Bloggs says:

    Stephen Craig says:

    but police may have had an opportunity to arrest TW, PK, and SA. either at the residence itself or tracing them back to the ranch, which most likely would have been raided, arrests made, etc

    This is the most contentious aspect of the nuance.
    The police were used to dealing with cranks when a murder was committed. For such a high-profile murder as this, it would have been expected that the cranks would have been coming out of the woodwork. There was one woman that reported her husband to the police regarding the murders because he was apparently evasive about his whereabouts that night !
    So can you imagine the police getting a call stating that these Hippies on a ranch killed Sharon Tate ? The Hippies were known to law-enforcement, their movements and suspected crimes had them under a certain amount of surveillance and reportage but they were generally thought of as harmless, if criminally oriented, Hippies, dealing in pretty low-level crime, not 5 person horrendous slaughter.
    Once the cops found drugs at the scene of the Cielo crime, they assumed that this was a drug crime of some sort {the irony is that drugs played their part ~ just not how they thought} and closed off certain avenues of investigation.
    You say that Linda’s words could have influenced the police into raiding the ranch and arresting 3 of the perps. Well, let’s examine that.
    Less than 2 days after the murders, before the LaBiancas were even discovered, two detectives from the Sheriff’s office, LASO, went to LAPD and told a detective, Jess Buckles, about the murder of Gary Hinman. They pointed out that the similarities were pretty eye-opening, ¬> victim stabbed, messages written in the victim’s blood, the word ‘PIG’ involved….They said they had a suspect called Bobby Beausoleil that lived on this ranch with a bunch of Hippies whose leader had convinced them that he was Jesus. Although he’d been in custody at the time of the Cielo killings, maybe others had been involved {turned out to be true in Atkins’ case}. And what was the police response ? No way. It’s not Hippies, it’s drugs.
    3 months later a guy called Steve Zabriske walked into a cop shop in Portland, Oregon, and told the officer there that a “Charlie” and a “Clem” had committed the murders. Police response ? They didn’t even write up a report, let alone follow up the claims.
    In November, one of the LaBianca detectives went all the way to Independence and spoke to Charlie Manson and asked him if he was involved in the Tate/LaBianca murders. Manson said ‘no.’ The detective, Sergeant Patchett, didn’t even tell his superior of this.
    The simple truth of the matter is that the police were not taking anything to do with Hippies and what seemed like cranks, in any way seriously.

    and the second nights of murders foiled

    Logically, this should be right. By real life isn’t often logical, not when you’re dealing with people.

  43. Fred Bloggs says:

    Stephen Craig says:

    By seeking help on the first night of murders she may very well have prevented the second. By doing nothing, she guaranteed them

    That is simply untrue. Nothing was guaranteed that second night. It’s interesting gauging the reaction of every one of the perps at being told they were going out again that night. Only Leslie greeted the news with a warm heart. The others, whether one loves them or hates them and thinks they should all rot in Hell, were anything but thrilled. We know from as early as 1969 that Susan didn’t want to, Pat certainly didn’t want to, I think it’s fair to assume Linda didn’t want to. You’ve only got to look at how Linda, Susan and Clem responded to the order to murder Saladin Nader, to see what they thought.
    And I’ll say it again, where Linda Kasabian had the opportunity to prevent murders happening, in the face of the fiercest pressure, she did so.
    But not one, not one that I have encountered in 46 years of interest in this case and 8 years of in-depth debating on the various blogs, of her detractors, can bring themselves to acknowledge this. Instead, there is mass rewriting of history of what she wasn’t able to do in the circumstances presented to her at the time.
    She actively prevented 2 murders ~ one being Saladin Nader, the other being the guy of the apartment she wrongly led them to. The simple reality is that on both nights, she did what she could to prevent murders. On the first night, it didn’t work.
    Hardly her fault.
    On the second night it worked. There is a consistency of thought and action in Linda Kasabian on both nights that speak loudly and clearly to anyone that wants to listen.
    That her ideas didn’t work on Cielo night did not prevent her from trying to scotch murder plans the following night when presented with the opportunity. You can see her logic ¬> this time, she knew where she was because she’d been to Ocean Front Walk before. This time, she was in a position to actively thwart the plans, even though Clem had a gun. She had even less time to think than she had at Cielo, but this time around, she was a little more resolute than the night before. Not only did she point-blank refuse to kill, and told Manson this, to his face, when he insisted that she kill and how, she did not do it. She disobeyed, knowing she had to go back to Spahn Ranch with two of Charlie’s trusted people. But she took the risk and gambled that they too did not want to kill, and it paid off. Result ? A day later, Manson sends her off on errands into LA, does the same thing the next day and she skips. She fronted it out and won through.
    Jesus used to say that wisdom was justified by its children.
    I agree.

  44. Fred Bloggs says:

    Stephen Craig says:

    For me, her “hands are not clean”, and she should have been prosecuted

    Prosecution is about what can be proven. There are many cases that never even get to a court because the prosecutorial depts know that there is virtually zero chance of getting a conviction. Cases have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and in order to do that, there must be evidence. Sometimes actual, physical evidence, sometimes circumstantial.
    There was no evidence of Linda Kasabian’s involvement in the events of Cielo Drive, beyond that of her co-defendant Susan Atkins’ say-so and without corroboration, that was beyond useless. Read up on the Aranda case {I think it was from 1965} which established in California law that unless there was corroborating evidence, the statement of an accomplice could not be used. Otherwise, anyone could just say anything.
    Saying that she should have been prosecuted doesn’t go anywhere. Prosecuted for what ? The only reason it was known by the time of the trial that she’d been involved was because Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten had said so, and both were abundantly clear that she’d run away and hadn’t killed anyone. Neither was admitting to murder in the guilt phase of the trial, indeed, they pled ‘not guilty’, so what could she have been prosecuted with ? Anyone involving her would be admitting their own guilt.
    With every one of the others, the prosecution had independent evidence linking them to the murders. It is crucially important to remember this; in every instance, before any evidence was found linking any of the participants, the police/LE had already been told that they were involved by Susan Atkins, Virginia Graham and Ronnie Howard, while Al Springer and Danny DeCarlo had already mentioned their names as suspects.
    So Atkins herself was damned by her own mouth, but there was additional evidence from Graham and Howard.
    Manson was damned by Atkins, Howard and Graham, and Springer & DeCarlo. But there was physical evidence linking him, for example, the gun was his. He’d bought the rope. The wire cutters were his. The “Helter Skelter” philosophy was his and this had been written at one of the murder scenes. These corroborated Atkin’s words.
    Pat and Tex were damned by Atkins and their fingerprints at the scene of the Cielo crime corroborated her words.
    Leslie was damned by Dianne Lake’s statement that she’d been told by Leslie that she’d stabbed a dead body and there were post-mortem stab wounds at the LaBiancas. Independent corroboration.
    So you can see how the law works ~ you don’t just say “they were there” you have to prove it. All Linda Kasabian had to do was say nothing and deny being there and there was no case against her. None whatsoever. Bugliosi even acknowledged that she would have been better off risking a trial and being acquitted than to risk the Family’s ire by going up against them as a witness.
    Yet, that is the route she took.
    Her lawyer, Gary Fleischmann, was no slouch and he advised her to fight extradition from New Hampshire in the first place, when news of her turning herself in and arrest came through.
    She went against his advice and came to California.
    The simple fact is that there was nothing to tie Linda to either crime scene. No footprint, no fingerprint, no confession afterwards…….
    No one is pretending Linda Kasabian was all sweetness and light, a wonderfully moral upstanding paragon of virtue and fine example to young ladies everywhere. She wasn’t. But within her world of lawlessness and aimless drug-sapped thinking, she stands tall as someone who, for the next 7 years would put her neck on the block in helping to convict 5 murderers, while herself remaining a mess.
    The choice was always stark. Linda talks and Linda walks and 5 murderers are possibly put away. Or Linda says nothing, and realistically, only Susan and Leslie are good bets for conviction ~ all the others are eminently fightable.
    But you don’t get all of them. Some of them, particularly Manson and Watson could walk. A fingerprint and a gun and weird philosophy aren’t necessarily enough.
    Take your pick.

  45. Pam says:

    Hi Fred,
    How are you?Good to see you back commenting.

  46. Fred Bloggs says:

    Hi Pam,
    fighting a cold at the moment, and hopefully winning.
    I agree with everything you said about Linda. Not many have, over the years.
    Hope you’re well.

    • Stephen Craig says:

      This off topic, but I was in Los Angeles recently and driving through Benedict Canyon /Cielo Drive I noted what has to be one of the largest homes imaginable being built on top of the hill that had flanked the Tate/Polanski residence (which was torn down in 1994). This soon-to-be completed house is mammoth, truly, and it dwarfs the home that sits below it, the 21,000 square foot residence that replaced the Polanski home. To me, this new home looks like an airport terminal, or an office complex, and when I asked about it, I was told that it could be as large as 80,000 square feet of living space when completed. The builders actually had to extend the hillside out in order to accommodate the houses enormous size (something that was done when constructing the house that replaced Tate’s, only on a much “grander” scale”. At present, the home that replaced Tate’s is for sale; the asking price is $54,000,000 down from $85,000,000. I know that “nothing stays the same/everything changes” , but boy! what a change! The original Cielo house at 4,200 square feet would look like a storage shed compared to these two behemoths.

  47. Michael says:

    Stephen, I always felt the house that replaced the Polanski home was a lousy, over-opulent dinosaur. The original Cielo property had a ton of charm and fit the locale so much better. This new one you’re describing sounds even worse.

  48. Sean K. says:

    I had heard once that TWO houses have actually been built on the 10050 property since the Tate house was torn down in 1994, the first one actually being torn down to make room for the second! Does anybody know if this is true? If so, what a sickeningly capricious and wasteful society we live in! I agree with the last two posts regarding how disgustingly gaudy these behemoth structures are. The original property was such an architectural gem that blended beautifully with the natural terrain. Altobelli should have sold it to someone who would pledge to preserve its original integrity. As for the new vulgar colossus hovering over it that you have mentioned? Shame on them!

Leave a Reply

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