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Leslie Van Houten Stabbed a Woman 14 Times for Charlie Manson – Now She’s Free After 53 Years in Prison

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In the summer of 1969, the “Manson Family” gang, led by infamous criminal Charles Manson, launched a brutal killing spree that terrorized Southern California. Among the nine victims were Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary. The murderers stabbed the couple to death, and smeared their blood on the walls of their own home. Now, one of the convicted killers – Leslie Van Houten – has been paroled after serving 53 years in prison for the crimes.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced previously that he wouldn’t ask the state Supreme Court to block the parole process, setting the stage for Van Houten to be released. She was sent on Tuesday to a half-way house to spend a year learning how ordinary Americans function inside society.

After Van Houten was arrested for her part in killing the LaBiancas, she described holding down Rosemary LaBianca with a pillowcase over her head while others repeatedly stabbed her, and then joining in to bayonet the helpless woman more than a dozen times.

The New York Times in 1970 described the gruesome murder scene.

“Mrs. LaBianca’s body, clad in a peignoir and bathrobe, was found on the floor of the master bedroom of her home in a wealthy neighborhood in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles. A pillowcase was pulled over her head and tied loosely with an electric cord from a lamp,” the outlet reported.

“The body of her 44‐year‐old husband, the owner of four Los Angeles supermarkets, was discovered on the floor beside a living room couch,” the article continued. “He was wearing pajamas and his head had also been covered by a pillowcase held in place by a knotted lamp cord. He had been stabbed 12 times.

“A carving fork was stuck in his abdomen, a kitchen knife in his throat and the word ‘war’ had been cut on his abdomen. He also had 14 puncture wounds in his abdomen, apparently from having been stabbed seven times with the fork.”

A doctor who testified at the murder trial used a diagram of a human body to demonstrate that Rosemary LaBianca’s spinal cord was partially severed, and that her lungs, stomach, and spleen had been punctured.

Leno LaBianca’s daughter, Louise LaBianca, asked in June that Van Houten not be granted parole.

The very thought “brings back the painful memories of long ago in 1969,” Louise LaBianca wrote in an essay last month for the Sacramento Bee.

Van Houten, now in her 70s, was recommended for parole five times since 2016, but Newsom and former Gov. Jerry Brown rejected the recommendations.

About Susan Katz Keating

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