A state appeals court panel Wednesday rejected a bid to release former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten or her own recognizance or bail after an inmate in her prison housing unit tested positive for coronavirus.
Van Houten’s attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, wrote in a new motion filed Monday that his client is now 70 years old and that “her age makes her a very high risk to succumbing to this life-threatening pandemic” although she is in “relatively good health.”
He noted in the filing that an inmate in Van Houten’s housing unit tested positive for COVID-19 and is being quarantined. He wrote in the motion that Van Houten was “not opposed to home confinement” and that she can arrange for all costs outside of prison.
Van Houten has been recommended for parole three times, but those recommendations have all been reversed — twice by then-Gov. Jerry Brown and once in 2019 by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
In February, the defense had asked the panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal to speed up her appeal of Newsom’s decision.
Van Houten — who is serving a life prison term — was convicted of murder and conspiracy for participating with fellow Manson family members Charles “Tex” Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel in the August 1969 killings of grocer Leno La Bianca, 44, and his 38-year-old wife, Rosemary, who were each stabbed multiple times in their Los Feliz home.
The former Monrovia High School cheerleader did not participate in the Manson family’s killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in a Benedict Canyon mansion the night before.