Manson family killer denied parole in California

Reuters/August 31, 2007

Los Angeles -- A former follower of serial killer Charles Manson has been denied parole for the 18th time for the 1969 slayings of Los Angeles couple Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, officials said on Thursday.

Leslie Van Houten, 58, was told to try again in two years, following a parole board panel meeting at the California Institute for Women in Corona, Calif., 37 miles east of Los Angeles. She was last turned down in 2006.

The former high school cheerleader was convicted of murder and conspiracy for participating with Charles "Tex" Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel in the slayings of the LaBiancas in the couple's suburban Los Angeles home. She was 19 at the time of the murders.

Van Houten and fellow members of the so-called Manson "family" were sentenced to death in 1971, but the penalties were commuted to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole the following year, after the California State Supreme Court voted to abolish the death penalty.

Van Houten said at her 2004 parole hearing that she stabbed Rosemary LaBianca 14 to 16 times after the woman had already been stabbed by Watson and Krenwinkel. She did not participate in the Manson family's slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others the night before.

Manson, 72, was denied parole for another five years in May.

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