Leslie Van Houten has been released from prison at the age of 73 after serving more than five decades for two notorious Manson Family murders.
Leslie Van Houten was 19 when she joined the murderous cult and helped kill Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in 1969.
She was released after California Governor Gavin Newsom dropped his opposition to a state appeals court ruling that recommended her parole, against the wishes of surviving family members.
Van Houten’s attorney Nancy Tetreault said she was released early on Tuesday and taken to transitional housing, according to the Associated Press.
There she will receive training on basic life skills like how to grocery shop, use a cell phone and a computer, her attorney said.
“She’s still trying to get used to the idea that this real,” Ms Tetreault told the AP.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed in a statement that Van Houten “was released to parole supervision.”
In May, a California appeals court ruled Van Houten should be released from prison after committing the infamous 1969 murders with five others at the direction of Manson.
Last week, Governor Newsom issued a statement saying he was disappointed with the court’s decision but it was unlikely to be overturned by a higher court.
“More than 50 years after the Manson cult committed these brutal killings, the victims’ families still feel the impact,” the statement said.
At her first trial in 1971, Van Houten described holding Rosemary LaBianca down with a pillowcase over her head inside her home while other Manson followers viciously stabbed her.
She then grabbed a knife and inflicted more than a dozen stab wounds on LaBianca, severing her spine. The group smeared blood across the walls of the home.
Van Houten was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, becoming at 21 the youngest condemned woman in California history.
In 1977, she was granted a retrial which ended in a hung jury after her defence argued she had diminished responsibility due to being under the influences of both LSD and Manson.
She was convicted at a second retrial, and given a life sentence.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, the LiBianca’s daughter Cory said they were being retruamatised by the prospect of Van Houten’s imminent release.
“My family and I are heartbroken because we’re once again reminded of all the years that we have not had my father and my stepmother with us,” Cory LiBianca told the AP.
Manson, who was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, died in prison in 2017 at the age of 83.
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