The family of a Manson cult victim criticized the decision to release cult member Leslie Van Houten, following her release from prison on Tuesday.
Anthony DiMaria, nephew of hairstylist Jay Sebring, who was murdered by the sect in 1969, called out California Governor Newsom’s decision not to appeal yesterday.
He told CNN: ‘I certainly have respect for Governor Newsom and the Attorney General. But our families strongly and vehemently disagree with your decision not to file an appeal.
He warned that the 73-year-old Van Houten’s release set a “dangerous and pernicious precedent” and called her a “cold-blooded murderer in one of the most notorious murders in United States history.”
Van Houten was released from a California prison Tuesday after serving 53 years of a life sentence for his role in two of the infamous Manson murders.
Charles Manson supporter Leslie Van Houten walked out of a California prison on Tuesday after serving 53 years of a life sentence for her role in two infamous murders.
Jay Sebring, hairstylist to the stars and developer of men’s hair care products. He was murdered along with Sharon Tate and others by the Manson family.
The 73-year-old was serving a life sentence for helping supporters of Charles Manson carry out the 1969 murders of Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary. Manson is pictured above
Van Houten was convicted of the 1969 murders of Leno LaBianca, a grocer in Los Angeles, and his wife, Rosemary.
Several relatives of Manson’s victims have also spoken out against Van Houten’s release.
Cory LaBianca, the daughter of victim Leno LaBianca, told The Associated Press: “My family and I are heartbroken as we once again remember all the years that we haven’t had my father and stepmother with us.”
“My children and my grandchildren never had the opportunity to meet them, which has been a huge void for my family.”
Van Houten was serving a life sentence for helping supporters of Charles Manson carry out the 1969 murders of Leno LaBianca, a Los Angeles grocer, and his wife, Rosemary.
Over the years, Van Houten has said that she regrets the murders, claiming that she is mentally ill and went insane after using LSD, believing Manson to be ‘Jesus Christ’.
She was first sentenced to death for her crimes, but her sentence was reduced to life in prison after capital punishment was outlawed in California in 1972.
Van Houten was “released under probation supervision” Tuesday and taken to transitional housing, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The 73-year-old convicted murderer is expected to spend about a year learning basic skills, such as going to the grocery store and getting a debit card, according to his attorney Nancy Tetreault.
His release comes just four days after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would not challenge a state appeals court ruling that Van Houten should receive probation.
He said the state Supreme Court was unlikely to consider an appeal.
Newsom had previously denied Van Houten’s parole three times, but a state appeals court in May rejected his most recent parole denial.
A disappointed Newsom said in a statement: “More than 50 years after the Manson cult committed these brutal murders, the families of the victims are still feeling the impact.”
“He’s still trying to get used to the idea that this is real,” his lawyer said. He has been in prison for 53 years. …he just needs to learn how to use an ATM, let alone a cell phone, let alone a computer.’
Van Houten was 19 when she and other members of the cult stabbed the couple to death as part of Manson’s deranged plan to incite a race war by terrorizing Los Angeles with a wave of murder.
He has shared how he held Rosemary down as she was murdered before stabbing her in the stomach 16 times and how he helped Patricia Krenwinkel, Tex Watson and Clem Grogan dismember Leno’s body before smearing the couple’s blood on the walls.
The killer also wiped fingerprints off surfaces and drank chocolate milk from the couple’s refrigerator.
The murders occurred the day after Manson supporters killed actress Sharon Tate and four other people. Van Houten was not involved in the Tate murders.
California Governor Gavin Newsom sits in the State Assembly at the State Capitol, June 30, 2023
Leslie Van Houten, seen being transported to jail in 1977, had originally been sentenced to death before being re-sentenced to life in prison after California briefly ended the death penalty.
Susan Atkins, left, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten pictured.
A police officer in the driveway of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca’s Los Angeles home.
The murders occurred the day after Manson supporters killed actress Sharon Tate (pictured) and four other people. Van Houten was not involved in the Tate murders
Kay Hinman Martley, 85, whose cousin Gary Hinman was savagely murdered in July 1969 by members of the Manson cult, said she fears the release could lead to the freedom of the other four surviving Manson killers.
Krenwinkel is currently locked up in the same prison that Van Houten just got out of. Manson’s ‘right-hand man’, Bruce, is at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, Watson is at the RJ Donovan Correctional Center in San Diego, and Bobby Beausoleil at the California Medical Center in Vacaville.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, he said: ‘I can’t believe California would do this, let a killer torture multiple people… I mean, the Manson family has a terrible reputation.
‘I don’t care what this woman says, if she says she’s sorry.
They gave him a death sentence and then changed it to life in prison and forgot [to add] that damn ‘no parole’ thing.
I’m furious. I do not know what else to do.’
A state appeals court ruled in May that Van Houten should be released, noting what it called her “extraordinary efforts at rehabilitation, insight, remorse, realistic parole plans, support from family and friends” and favorable behavioral reports while he was in prison.
Tetreault, Van Houten’s attorney, said her client was “excited and overwhelmed.”
“She is grateful that people recognize that she is not the same person she was when she committed the murders,” he added.
The Manson Family claimed at least seven victims, including pregnant actress Tate and cafe heiress Abigail Folger.
Manson died in prison in 2017 of natural causes at age 83 after nearly half a century behind bars.