After serving more than 50 years of a lifelong sentence for her part in two gruesome murders, Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten was released from prison today.
At age 19, Van Houten, now in her 70s, was the youngest member of the Manson "family." She went to prison for her part in murdering Leno and Rosemary LaBianca after breaking into their Los Angeles home in 1969. After pinning Rosemary's head down with a pillowcase, she and her fellow cult members stabbed Rosemary a total of 41 times.
From AP News:
Van Houten "was released to parole supervision," the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.
She left the California Institution for Women in Corona, east of Los Angeles, in the early morning hours and was driven to transitional housing, her attorney Nancy Tetreault said.
Days earlier Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would not fight a state appeals court ruling that Van Houten should be granted parole. He said it was unlikely the state Supreme Court would consider an appeal.
She is expected to spend about a year at a halfway house, learning basic skills such as how to drive a car, go to the grocery store and get a debit card, according to her attorney.
Van Houten, who will likely be on parole for about three years, hopes to get a job as soon as possible, Tetreault said. She earned a bachelors and a masters degree while in prison and worked as a tutor for other incarcerated people.
"She's still trying to get used to the idea that this real," her attorney Nancy Tetreault told AP News. "She has to learn to use to the internet. She has to learn to buy things without cash. … It's a very different world than when she went in."