Charles Manson groupie Leslie Van Houten is released from prison

A display of artifacts related to the Manson Family murders of 1969 are displayed at the Dearly Departed Tours and Artifact Museum in Los Angeles on August 7, 2019. - The gruesome two-day murder spree orchestrated by Charles Manson which left pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people dead still haunts the American psyche as the 50th anniversary of the August 8 and 9, 1969 killings nears. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
A display of artifacts related to the Manson Family murders of 1969 are displayed at the Dearly Departed Tours and Artifact Museum in Los Angeles on August 7, 2019. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Noah Herring
4:26 PM – Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Leslie Van Houten, a former follower and “groupie” of Charles Manson, was released from a California prison on Tuesday after serving more than 50 years of her life sentence behind bars. 


Van Houten, who was involved in two infamous murders planned by Manson, “was released to parole supervision,” according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

She was transported from the California Institution for Women in Corona, which is east of Los Angeles, in the morning and was later driven to transitional housing, according to her attorney Nancy Tetreault. 

“She’s still trying to get used to the idea that this is real,” Tetreault told the press.

Van Houten, 73, who was 19-years-old at the time of the crimes, received a life sentence for her involvement with the infamous 1969 murders of Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary. 

The LaBiancas were stabbed in their home and had their blood smeared on the walls after the incident. Van Houten, described holding Rosemary down with a pillowcase over her head as the others repeatedly stabbed her. Then, after being ordered to “do something” by fellow Manson follower Charles “Tex” Watson, she also picked up a knife and stabbed her more than a dozen times. 

The murder occurred the day after his followers, who referred to themselves as the “Manson family,” killed Valley of the Dolls actress Sharon Tate and four others. However, Van Houten was not involved with that particular murder. 

Van Houten will reportedly be out on parole for three years, and the freed woman says that she hopes to get a job as soon as possible, according to Tetreault.

“She has to learn to use the internet. She has to learn to buy things without cash,” Tetreault said. “It’s a very different world than when she went in.”

Van Houten is expected to spend a year at a halfway house, learning basic skills like driving a car and using the internet and WiFi. 

Van Houten was found suitable for parole after a July 2020 hearing, however, her release was blocked by Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.), who had argued that she was still a threat to society. 

Following the rejection from Newsom, she filed an appeal with a trial court, which rejected it. Van Houten then turned to the Second District Court of Appeal in May which reversed Newsom’s rejection of her parole. 

Despite fighting against her release, Newsom later backed off from fighting the state appeals court. 

Cory LaBianca, Leno LaBianca’s daughter, asserted that the family was heartbroken by the possibility of Van Houten being released. 

Van Houten was recommended for parole five times since 2016. Each of those recommendations were shot down by either former Governor Jerry Brown or current Governor Gavin Newsom. 

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