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Parole Denied For 19th Time To Manson Follower

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Former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten seen at a parole hearing in 2002. (credit: Damian Dovarganes/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten seen at a parole hearing in 2002. (credit: Damian Dovarganes/AFP/Getty Images)

CORONA (CBSLA.com) — Parole was denied Wednesday for the 19th time for one-time Charles Manson disciple Leslie Van Houten.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) denied parole for Van Houten, 63, during a hearing at the California Institution for Women.

Van Houten was sentenced to death in 1971 for two counts of first-degree murder in the Aug. 10, 1969, homicides of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

She was also found guilty for the murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Aug. 9, 1969, deaths of Sharon Tate-Polanski and four others (including Folger heiress Abigail Folger) at the Tate-Polanski home in Los Angeles.

Her original 1971 conviction and death sentence were reversed on appeal. She was re-tried in 1976, but the jury could not reach a verdict.

Van Houten was released on bail from Dec. 27, 1977, to July 5, 1978, but was convicted in her 1978 trial and sentenced to life in prison.

Following today’s decision, DA Jackie Lacey released a statement that read, “Given the brutality of the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca and Van Houten’s willing and active participation in this evil, pre-planned and violent crime, we are pleased with the parole board’s decision to continue to hold Van Houten accountable for her heinous actions.”

Debra Tate, Sharon’s younger sister, told reporters, “Ms. Van Houten is still a monster.”

Reporting for KCAL9, Thomas Wait said Tate was relieved Van Houten was denied parole yet again. “I want you all to know the tears you see on my face right now — that’s empathy. There was no empathy on Mr. Van Houten’s face.”

The LaBianca’s grandson,  Tony Lamontagne, spoke before the parole board Wednesday  for the first time. “Being here today makes this real – it’s not stories.  I find it very satisfying that she was denied parole.”

During the closed door hearing, Van Houten reportedly blamed her involvement in the murders on her upbringing — which included her parents’ divorce and her own teenage pregnancy. In her final statement, she apologized to anyone she might have hurt. Those apologies were ignored said victim’s attorney Todd Spitzer.

“She had every intent to commit the murders. It was important to her to show she was committed to Charles Manson,” said Spitzer.

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