Charles Manson supporter Leslie Van Houten was re-elected on Wednesday after being sentenced to life in 1969 for more than four decades for his role in the gruesome murders of the cult. This was the first chance of newly formed California Governor Gavin Newsom to decide on her fate.
Van Houten, 69, had previously been found twice eligible for publication by the California Board of Parole Hearings. Each of these times then-Gov. Jerry Brown blocked her release after realizing that she had still blamed Manson too much.
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Van Houten's fate will rest in Newsom's hands if her case withstands a 150-day review process. Since being blocked by Brown, Van Houten has taken "full responsibility" for the crime, which could help her get probation, according to her lawyer Richard Pfeiffer.
Van Houten, the youngest of Manson's "family," was one of the followers of Manson's killer cult, who stabbed rich grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary to death in 1969. She said she stabbed LaBianca at least 14 times in the back. The Los Angeles Times reported that she smeared messages on the walls of her home with the couple's blood.
Van Houten was 19 during the killings that killed the pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others Angeles the day after the death of the other Manson supporters in Los Angeles.
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Tate's sister attended the hearing on Wednesday, hoping that Governor Van Houten's freedom would deny freedom.
"I just have to hope and pray that the governor is making the right decision" and keeps Van Houten behind bars, Debra Tate said. Newsom's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Nobody who played a direct role in the Tate LaBianca murders was released from prison. Manson died of natural causes in a California hospital in 2017 while serving a life sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.