Crime & Justice

Parole board approves Manson follower Leslie Van Houten's release

DAMIAN DOVARGANES/AFP/Getty Images

The 21st time's a charm for former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten.

After 20 previous attempts, a state review board recommended parole for Van Houten, the Associated Press reports. Van Houten participated in the killings of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca.

At the hearing Thursday, Van Houten, now 66, described in graphic detail how she and other Manson family members murdered the La Biancas in their Los Angeles home. The former Monrovia beauty queen admitted to stabbing Rosemary La Bianca 14 times.

Van Houten, who was 19 years old at the time of the 1969 killings, has maintained that she was emotionally troubled and under the sway of LSD and Manson's charismatic personality.

Her attorney argued that she is not a public safety risk and has been a model inmate during her more than four decades of incarceration. Van Houten is in prison at the California Institution for Women in Chino.

The ruling doesn't automatically mean that she will be released. The board's recommendation goes to California Governor Jerry Brown, who has the power to deny her parole — as he did with fellow Manson family member Bruce Davis's bid for parole in 2015.