I heard that you wanted MORE Leslie from Nellie's old site. Why would I decline your wishes?
An Editorial by Bill Nelson
The next person to have a parole hearing is Leslie Van Houten and it should take place in May, since she received a one year denial just last May 28, 1998. Having served thirty years for her participation of murder in the LaBianca home, she has the best chance for a parole date. She was charged with one count of murder and one count of conspiracy. She did not physically participate in the brutal stabbing of Leno LaBianca who was tethered in a defenseless position by Manson and Tex Watson. Leslie entered the private home without a weapon but she and Pat immediately obtained knives from the victims kitchen.
Leslie likes to talk about starring into an empty room during the brutal stabbing and claims she only stabbed Rosemary in the lower back some sixteen times after Tex demanded she do something. She whispers softly to the assembled members of the parole board that Rosemary was already dead. It is a moot point.
What Leslie fails to talk about is her willingness to fight, subdue, tie down, wrestle and brutalize Rosemary in the sanctity of her private residence while getting ready for bed around 2:00 A.M. on that fateful August 10, 1969 Sunday morning. She held Rosemary down while Pat tried unsuccessfully to stab the victim. Leslie struggled hard with the victim, she put a pillow case over the victims head, a lamp cord around the neck and when Rosemary was tough enough to get up off the bed at hearing the screams of husband Leno being butchered by a lying Tex Watson, she called for Tex - trustworthy killer - to finish the job the two Slippies were unable to do.
Leslie Van Houten was more than a passive demure little obedient slave. She was an enthusiastic willing thrill seeking killer. After the blood shed, during the quietness of death, Leslie wiped down the house seeking to destroy any prints left by the killers. She did a very good job at that. There were no prints found in the house from Manson, Watson, Van Houten or Krenwinkle. Left in the wake of madness were two brutally stabbed victims, a husband and wife, and the only reason given was to start a race war between the Black and White races of America. That is why Pat took the time to write in blood on the living room wall above the front door "RISE", and over the wall facing that door, "DEATH TO PIGS", then on the refrigerator the misspelled words "HEALTER SKELTER". Oh, while Tex took a shower, Pat took a fork from the kitchen and stabbed the dead corpse of Leno several times. Then, in an expression of total depravity, she wobbled it, left it in the stomach wound, and is said to have remarked something like "This will freak out the children when they come to Sunday dinner tomorrow."
There was one more thing Leslie has not talked about lately, she was angry at not being asked to participate in the massacre at the Tate/Polanski residence the night before.
Fast forward. Thirty years later. Incarceration, three trials, remorse and a little bit of Jesus thrown into the mix, Leslie wants to go home. She has a job waiting. She has offers of financial support. Her life is pretty well together now, she is the beneficiary of a devoted following called "Friends of Leslie".
Leslie has what Rosemary and Leno lost. There is no organization called "Friends of Rosemary" or "Friends of Leno" for they have all but been forgotten. Murdered. Dumped. Their cries for help, their pleas to live fell on deaf ears.
Why did I work with Alice LaBianca last year to present a letter to the Board of Prison Terms opposing the release of Leslie Van Houten? First of all, Alice was not manipulated to do that by me, as some friends of Leslie have suggested, far from it. Alice LaBianca is a very independent woman. She laughed when that suggestion was given to her.
I did it because the LaBianca family needed to get beyond their grief and do something positive. The LaBianca family has been judged for having never spoken out and that changed last year. Alice did the right thing. Do I think she will once again do it this year? I think not. Will we see a LaBianca family member appear before the hearing to oppose the release of Leslie? It is doubtful. The senseless murders inside the LaBianca home thirty years ago froze the family in terror and they have never recovered. Part of that terror is their fear of the daughter of Rosemary, Ms. Suzann LaBerge, and that is a story I have not been fully told.
So what would it take for me to step aside and not oppose the parole date for Leslie Van Houten?
There is nothing Leslie Van Houten can do. I will never support her release. The motive for the murders, and the brutality of the killing should close the door to that prison entrance for ever. The only way Van Houten, Atkins or Krenwinkle should ever come out of CIW is in a pine box.
Leslie Van Houten has the right to request a parole date, she does not have a guarantee that the state is obligated to give her one. The state has the responsibility to hear her appeal each time the Board of Prison Terms assembles at the California Institute for Women for a Van Houten hearing. Each time I listen to the words of Leslie and study her demeanor during the hearing, I ask myself about the cries of the victims. But then, my mind returns to the present and I watch to see if the panel is listening or sympathetic towards the matured woman before them.
Yes, the panel has listened and they have shown interest in her progress. It gives caution to the Deputy District Attorney representing the people of the great state of California.
There are some things that I would like to see Leslie Van Houten clear up before the parole board gives her a date though. It would illustrate remorse, understanding and rehabilitation.
Did Manson and Watson enter the home together?
What does Leslie know about the claims of Gypsy that the Manson family creepy crawled the LaBianca house within two weeks of the murders?
Did she hear any questions from Tex about Leno giving him a little black book?
Does she know anything about the brass door handle ending up in the refrigerator some two weeks after the murders in the LaBianca kitchen?
What, if anything, does she know about the arrangement of logs before the fire place some two weeks after the murders?
Did Leslie know Joe Dorgan, the boyfriend of the daughter of Rosemary? Dorgan rode with Manson with other bikers.
Where did Tex hide that bayonet? My first book proved he did not throw it into the Hyperion water as he claimed.
Were the bushes they slept in near the steps leading to the freeway?
Did Leslie know Marina Habe, a female murder victim known to have visited the Spahn Ranch?
Did Leslie actually participate in the burial of the remains of Shorty Shea following his murder, as I have been told?
These are fair and logical questions for the lady anxious for a parole date. These are some of the questions I personally would like to ask Ms. Van Houten. But, I am not on the board and I am not the one to decide if she is granted her wishes for a release date.
I plan to video tape the hearing in May once again. I will be there to document and record the events as they transpire. If she receives a date I will not be surprised. If she is denied because of the new Governor Gray Davis I will not be shocked. The board who grants her a date will have to be strong and the Governor who signs off on it will have to have some rather large shoulders. The outcry would be much louder than the joy from the Friends of Leslie.
Is Leslie Van Houten a threat to society? Maybe not. But then again, neither are Rosemary and Leno LaBianca.
- VAN HOUTEN, LESLIE LOUISE F/W 5'6 brn brn 8-23-49/48 POB: Iowa
Nicknames: Leslie DL# DD 436893 (temp)
aka's: Sankston, Leslie Mary,
Owens, Leslie Sue; Alexandria,
Louella Maxwell; Alexander, Louise
Arrested with Manson family
Convicted of the murders of Rosemary & Leno LaBianca.
- One more comment from the Editorial above...3/2/99
The parole board is allowed to ask questions about the commitment offense, the record of the inmate prior to the life crimes, the progress inside the institution, the psychological evaluation, plans for a parole date, and questions about things relating to the crimes.
Bruce Davis was questioned about the fact he did not inform law enforcement of the burial site of Shorty Shea. Bruce Davis was asked about his opinion as to the suitability of Charles Denton "Tex" Watson to get a parole date, even though the question had nothing to do with the main line of questioning. Davis was asked about the shooting of Bernard Crow. He was not involved in the crime.
Van Houten may be asked questions showing her suitability for a release date and that may be determined in part, by her willingness to answer related questions. These questions were raised outside the prison last year and they may be asked of Leslie at the hearing this year.
Her defenders at any cost will have to pray Leslie is truthful, forth coming, and receptive to whatever related questions the panel decides to ask. Certainly, questions about members of the Manson family being inside the LaBianca residence within two weeks of the murders and the letters from Leno to his daughter documenting the facts are reasonable.
To the Friends Of Leslie and other sympathetic supporters of the murderers I ask, What have you done for the victim's families in your life time? Absolutely nothing!