Cousin of Manson Family murder victim slams paroled cult member Leslie Van Houten as a 'psychopath' with a 'joyless coldness that cannot be cured'

Daily Mail, UK/July 13, 2023

By Alex Hammer

The cousin of the Manson Family's first victim has slammed the release of cult member Leslie Van Houten, branding her a 'psychopath' beyond rehabilitation.

Kay Hinman, cousin of Gary Hinman, poured scorn on the idea that Leslie Van Houten had shown herself to be a 'model prisoner' after parole was granted Tuesday.

Van Houten, now 73, served 53 years of a life sentence for her participation in two of the infamous murders - including the brutal stabbing of Gary Hinman.

She became the youngest member of the 'Family' cult after meeting Manson as a lonely and mentally scarred 19-year-old in Los Angeles.

Kay Hinman told NewsNation: 'The psychiatrist at one of her trials said she is a schizotype who represses her emotions, and demonstrates a joyless coldness and sense of alienation and psychopaths cannot be cured.'

Mason 'was released to parole supervision', the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed, after escaping a death sentence back in the 70s - when the state's Supreme Court did away with capital punishment.

Aside from seeing Van Houten and several other killers spared, the move was bolstered by the fact officials decided to keep parole on the table for death penalty recipients - a decision now being felt by victims' family more than 50 years later.

'Do you buy any of the argument that Leslie Van Houten has been a model prisoner and is fully rehabilitated and isn't a danger to society?' NewsNation' Ashleigh Banfield at one point asks Hinman during the five-minute sitdown.

'No, I don't,' the California senior goes on to respond, before providing what she billed as proof of Van Houten's lack of humanity - citing a jailhouse interview in which she was asked if she felt sorrow or shame for the death of one of her two victims, Rosemary LaBianca.

'In 1976, Leslie was asked if she was remorseful,' the senior recalls, visibly emotional.

'Her answer was "sorry is just a five-letter word."'

'Leslie is a psychopath'.

At another point, Hinman cites other characteristics of Van Houten that she viewed as damning - such as how during her trial in 1971, she appeared unrepentant, as well her now notorious giggling during testimony covering her part in the 1969 killings of 44-year-old LA man and his wife.

'The psychiatrist at one of her trials said she is a schizotype who represses her emotions, and demonstrates a joyless coldness and sense of alienation,' Hinman says, adding, 'and Psychopaths cannot be cured.'

The interview - Hinman's first televised appearance since a California court approved Van Houten's fifth parole review - comes less than a day after Hinman told that Van Houten's release could open the door for the future release of four other cons currently doing time for Manson-related killings.

Speaking exclusively to, she said: 'This is opening the door for the other four. I can't believe the courts would do that – how can they override the governor? '

That statement came shortly after California Governor Gavin Newsom - who in the past contested prospective paroles for Manson family members - voiced his intent to not appeal the state Supreme Court's sensation decision in a brief statement.

The statement expressed Newsom's apparent disappointment over the decision.

Released July 7, it read: 'More than 50 years after the Manson cult committed these brutal killings, the victims' families still feel the impact.'

Speaking to Banfield Wednesday, Hinman - whose cousin was the one to introduce Manson, then an aspiring musician, to Brian Wilson and other members of the Beach Boys in 1968 - called the decision 'devastating to friends and family.'

She laments: 'I've worked so hard to keep the Manson killers in jail, so it's very discouraging.

'They all got the death penalty, and they left off two words when they took the death penalty away: 'Without parole'.'

She adds: 'Many states put 'Without parole' on there when they did away with the death penalty, but not California.'

Van Houten was found guilty of first degree murder in 1971, and initially given a death sentence, however, after the Californian Supreme Court deemed the penalty unconstitutional in 1972, this was reduced to a life sentence with eligibility for parole.

After her 13th parole rejection, already in 2008, Van Houten took legal action on the basis that the decision was made purely on evidence from her crimes.

However, she continued to not be recommended for parole until 2016.

Her fifth recommendation, in November 2021, was overruled like the previous four, and a request for review was rejected the following year.

But on May 30 2023, an appeal court set aside the parole denial, ruling in Van Houten's favor.

The decision was made based on her 'extraordinary rehabilitative efforts, insight, remorse, realistic parole plans, support from family and friends, favorable institutional reports, and, at the time of the Governor's decision, had received four successive grants of parole.'

Meanwhile, Hinman's murderer, Bobby Beausoleil, remains locked up at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville for the 1969 killing, which came two weeks he headline slaughter of actress Sharon Tate and six others in a pair of home invasions.

The murders would unfortunately overshadow Hinman's death, despite the musician's unique link to the mastermind behind the depraved cult, who he once called a friend.

A native of Denver, Hinman moved to L.A. in the early 60s and was working toward a Ph.D. in sociology. A quiet intellectual and artist type, he got aquanted with the Manson Family through his presence in the now notorious commune scene in the hills above LA.

Hinman provided both Manson and his future killer - and onetime roommate -Beausoleil  with guitar lessons, and even  declined an invitation to join the Family.

In 1969 at age 34, he was committed to Buddhism and was planning a religious pilgrimage to Japan, but found himself in the Family's sights after they erroneously believed he inherited $30,000 from a dead family member.

Manson, then in the midst of building his shortlived empire, needed money to fulfill his mission of moving his cult to an underground Death Valley hideout for a forecast race war, after which he would emerge as the world's leader.

He chose ex-roommate Beausoleil and two women he knew to carry other the deed, Mary Brunner, Manson's first follower, and Susan Atkins.

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