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California Governor Ends Opposition to Parole for Manson Follower

California Governor Gavin Newsom just threw in the towel on his fight against granting parole to one of Charles Manson’s deranged “family” members. After more than five decades behind bars, Leslie Van Houten might finally see the light of day, thanks to Newsom’s decision.

In a ruling back in May, a California appeals court overturned Newsom’s parole denial, stating that the 73-year-old Van Houten had the right to be released from her life sentence. Instead of pursuing further legal action and taking the case to the California Supreme Court, the governor has chosen to back down.

Erin Mellon, the governor’s communications director, expressed Newsom’s disappointment with the Court of Appeal’s verdict, saying, “Although the governor is let down by the Court of Appeal’s choice to set Ms. Van Houten free, he won’t be pursuing additional measures because chances of succeeding with an appeal are slim.”

According to Van Houten’s attorney, Nancy Tetreault, her client could be paroled within a matter of weeks. This news marks a significant turning point in the life of Van Houten, who was just 19 years old at the time of the Manson family’s gruesome crimes. Out of all Manson’s devoted followers, she was the youngest.

The parole board had already recommended Van Houten for early release on five separate occasions since 2016. However, Newsom, along with his predecessor, fellow Democrat Jerry Brown, denied her parole three times and twice, respectively.

Manson, the mastermind behind a series of heinous acts that terrorized Los Angeles during the summer of 1969, met his end behind prison bars in 2017 at the age of 83. He will forever remain one of the most infamous criminals of the 20th Century, having directed a spree of killings.

Under Manson’s twisted command, a predominantly young and female group of followers carried out the murder of seven individuals, including actress Sharon Tate. Prosecutors argued that these horrific acts were part of Manson’s plan to ignite a race war.

On August 10, 1969, Van Houten was found guilty of brutally stabbing Leno LaBianca, the owner of a grocery store, and his wife Rosemary in their Los Angeles residence. The victims’ blood adorned the walls and refrigerator, bearing chilling messages such as “Death to Pigs” and a misspelled reference to a Beatles song, “Healter Skelter.”

The previous night, members of Manson’s cult invaded the Los Angeles hillside home shared by Tate and her husband, filmmaker Roman Polanski. At the time, Polanski was away in Europe. Tate, eight months pregnant and only 26 years old, fell victim to the savage attack alongside four friends of the famous couple, including coffee heiress Abigail Folger and hairstylist Jay Sebring.

Reporting from Carlsbad, California, this is Daniel Trotta, bringing you the latest updates. With Kim Coghill at the editing desk, stay tuned for more developments in this gripping story.

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