|Van Houten in 1970|
Vincent Bugliosi predicted this, although he believed it would happen many years ago. He did think that the Manson "girls" would be granted parole, paving the way for Tex Watson, Bruce Davis, Bobby Beausoleil and eventually Manson himself. So this shouldn't be all that surprising.
The Manson "girls" aren't girls any longer. Only two remain - - Patricia Krenwinkle and Leslie Van Houten - - and both are in their sixties. (The third, Susan Atkins, died where she should have - - still incarcerated and a guest of the State of California.)
Van Houten had her twenty-first parole appearance and the Board recommended that parole be granted.
This makes me angry. I'm a resident of California and I don't want to see Leslie Van Houten (or any of the Merry Manson Band of Murderers) at my grocery store or in my neighborhood. I know that some have said that she is the least culpable in the group of killers but killing is killing in my book. She can whine all she wants about how Rosemary LaBianca was already dead when Leslie took a knife repeatedly to her back and it makes little difference to me. Leslie held her down, Leslie aided and abetted Watson and Krenwinkle at the very least. At most, she stabbed a woman who was still alive at the time. Coroner Thomas Noguchi said that a number of Mrs. LaBianca's wounds were antemortem, meaning they occurred before death. There is no way to say which wounds Van Houten delivered and which were delivered at the hands of Krenwinkle and/or Watson so I think it's best to err on the side of caution and assume that Mrs. LaBianca was still breathing when Van Houten attacked her.
|Van Houten today|
This is a woman who laughed and joked during the criminal trial, when witnesses were talking about the brutalization of the victims, their pleas for mercy and when her own life was on the line (she and her co-defendants received the death penalty.) She admitted she felt no remorse for the victims' deaths, their pain or their loved ones' pain. She admitted she only thought about Rosemary LaBianca while in the courtroom. Within her first few years of incarceration, she was found to have a woman's prison guard uniform in her cell. Until last month, she never admitted responsibility for her actions nor any remorse. She blamed her actions on Charles Manson, on drugs, on her parents' divorce and on an abortion she had as a teenager.
To the finger pointing, I say this - - bitch, please. We all deal with various shit in our lives. Some of us have more to deal with than others. Some of us handle that shit better than others. None of it - - no matter how much or on what level - - justifies breaking into someone's house and slaughtering them.
I don't buy Van Houten's remorse. I think she's a sociopath and this is just a calculated act in order to leave prison in something other than a pine box.
Something else about Van Houten scares me and that's this. Bugliosi said himself that she was the least devoted of Manson's followers (and he should know.) Think about that. She was the least devoted out of this ragtag group and she was willing to kill strangers on his orders? That's frightening. What would she have done if she was utterly devoted to him?
If you don't believe that Manson ordered those murders, that would mean that Van Houten simply thrilled in killing. Or maybe it's both.
Her attorney claims that this "violent act" was the only one of her life. Not only would I hope so but isn't it enough? Her "act" resulted in the violent and horrific deaths of two people that can never again live. She has been given more compassion and mercy than the victims were. They begged for their lives and were met with laughter, insults and the business end of a knife. She and the others have been given the gift of parole hearings, of education, of families and of life. Now she wants to beg and plead? I say let's respond to her pleas with the same denial she gave her victims. No business end of a knife but with a resounding "no."
While it's true that no amount of punishment will ever bring back the persons that were killed, punishment is punishment, justice is justice and life should mean life.
If she is granted parole, how long before Patricia Krenwinkle follows suit? If Krenwinkle is granted parole, the clock will be ticking on the men.
|Rosemary and Leno LaBianca|
Sharon Tate's sister Debra started a petition to keep Van Houten in prison. Add your name as a supporter here.
Let me know what you think. Has Leslie Van Houten served her time? Should she be paroled? If so, why? If you think she should remain in prison, give me your thoughts on that.