Sister of Manson victim Sharon Tate condemns parole board recommendation to release former cult member Leslie Van Houten after 40 years inside

Daily Mail and Associated Press/February 1, 2019

By Michael Nam

Debra Tate, the sister of Manson victim Sharon Tate, is pleading on behalf of other victims of the 1969 cult slayings to make sure Manson follower Leslie Van Houten remains in a California prison.

After commissioners on the Board of Parole Hearings on Wednesday found for the third time that the 69-year-old Van Houten was suitable for release, Debra Tate, 66, spoke on behalf of the LaBianca family, attending the hearing with nephews of the murder victims, according to FOX News.

'None of those children have been able to come to terms with this and be able to face their father's killers even to this day,' said Tate regarding the LaBiancas four children who did not attend.

Van Houten, the youngest among the followers in Manson's murderous cult, was with the group who stabbed to death wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.

'Leslie Van Houten has admitted to stabbing Rosemary LaBianca over 17 times,' said Debra Tate, stunned at the parole board's decision, and went on to point out that Van Houten has long maintained only stabbing her victim after she was already dead. 

It was reported at the time of the murders that Charles 'Tex' Watson' stabbed Leno LaBianca, while another woman and Van Houten restrained Rosemary. Watson handed a bayonet over to Van Houten after he had already stabbed Rosemary. 

Van Houten previously testified to stabbing her at least 14 more times in the back. She was 19 during the killings, which came a day after other Manson followers killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate, Debra's sister, and four others in Los Angeles. 

'The public seems to think that this woman made these stabbings postmortem,' Tate said, incredulous at Van Houten's changing story. 

In his decision last year, former California Gov. Brown acknowledged Van Houten's youth at the time of the crime, her more than four decades of good behavior as a prisoner and her abuse at the hands of Manson. But he said she still laid too much blame on Manson for the murders. 

'She chose to go with Manson,' said lawyer Rich Pfeiffer, defending the parole commissioners taking into account Van Houten's remorse. 'She chose to listen to him. And she acknowledges that.'

Debra Tate, however, responded that Van Houten's newly admitted eagerness to be part of Charles Manson's murderous plans for a race war hardly qualifies her to go free.

'You never recover from this,' said Tate, even after acknowledging Van Houten's good behavior in prison. 'You may find a new level of function, but things will never be as they were before the hugely traumatic incident.'

Tate continued to plead with Gov. Gavin Newsom of California to keep not only Van Houten behind bars, but 'all of these types of people.'

No one who took part in the Tate-LaBianca murders has been released from prison.

Manson died in 2017 of natural causes at a California hospital while serving a life sentence.

Earlier this month, a California parole panel recommended for the first time that Manson follower Robert Beausoleil, 71, be freed. Beausoleil was convicted of killing musician Gary Hinman, who was tortured for three days before his death.

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