Leslie Van Houten, a follower of Charles Manson who was convicted in two killings, will be paroled in weeks, her attorney said Friday after California’s governor said he would not challenge it at the State Supreme Court.
“She’s thrilled,” Van Houten’s attorney Nancy Tetreault said.
Van Houten, now 73, will be paroled in the next several weeks after spending more than five decades in prison, Tetreault said.
An appeals court ruled in May that Van Houten is eligible for parole, reversing a decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom to reject parole.
Newsom, who has repeatedly blocked efforts for Van Houten to be paroled, had until Monday to file a challenge with the state Supreme Court.
Newsom, a Democrat, said Friday he would not do so.
“The Governor is disappointed by the Court of Appeal’s decision to release Ms. Van Houten but will not pursue further action as efforts to further appeal are unlikely to succeed,” Erin Mellon, spokesperson for the governor’s office, said in a statement.
“The California Supreme Court accepts appeals in very few cases, and generally does not select cases based on this type of fact-specific determination,” the governor’s office said.
Van Houten is serving a life sentence after being convicted along with other cult members of the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in Los Angeles.
A jury convicted Van Houten in 1971 of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. She was initially sentenced to death, but that was overturned and she has spent 52 years in state prison.
Van Houten has had 23 hearings before the Board of Parole. The panel has recommended Van Houten be paroled five times since 2016, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Newsom had reversed Van Houten’s parole grant three times.