Judge Deals Blow to Former Manson Family Member’s Latest Bid to Win Freedom

For a while earlier in the year, it seemed Leslie Van Houten might get what she wanted: Release from prison on parole. But the youngest disciple of the murderous Manson cult hit another roadblock Thursday in her bid for freedom.

Leslie Van Houten, a former follower of Charles Manson, during a parole hearing in 2002. (Credit: Damian Dovarganes/AFP/Getty Images)

Leslie Van Houten, a former follower of Charles Manson, during a parole hearing in 2002. (Credit: Damian Dovarganes/AFP/Getty Images)

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan issued an 18-page ruling upholding the governor’s reversal earlier in the year of a parole board’s decision to release Van Houten.

There is “some evidence” that Van Houten still presents an unreasonable threat to society, Ryan wrote, adding that he respects Gov. Jerry Brown’s broad discretion in such decisions.

Now 67 and living at a women’s prison in Corona, Van Houten was convicted of first-degree murder in 1978 and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

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