Van Houten, 70, has been recommended for parole three times after serving more than four decades for her role in a pair of gruesome murders. Her release was blocked twice by former Gov. Jerry Brown, while the third was blocked by Gov. Gavin Newsom in June.
Two of the three appellate judges upheld Brown’s decision to block Van Houten’s release last year.
“The Governor’s determination that Van Houten has not taken full responsibility for her role in the crimes, and continues to pose a risk to the public, is supported by some evidence in the record,” the judges ruled. They did not adopt Brown’s other conclusion that her crimes alone provided enough reason to keep her in prison at age 70.
The third judge said “there is not a modicum of evidence” to support a conclusion that Van Houten is still a danger.
Van Houten’s attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, said he would appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. He argued his client has been rehabilitated and no longer poses a threat.
“I expected her to go home within a week or two, I really did,” he said. “And that’s not happening. Two things you can bank on: She’s gonna get out, and I’m not giving up until she does.”
Van Houten was 19 when she and followers of Charles Manson fatally stabbed Los Angeles grocer Leo LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in August 1969. The slayings were done at the direction of Manson and came a day after other Manson followers killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others inside her home.
Van Houten was not involved in the Tate killings.
In addition to Van Houten, former Manson followers Patricia Krenwinkel, 71; Bobby Beausoleil, 71; Charles “Tex” Watson, 73; and Bruce Davis, 76; remain in prison, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Pfeiffer has a separate appeal of Newsom’s decision to deny Van Houten parole awaiting a lower court’s consideration. He also plans to file a third lawsuit arguing corrections officials are required to recommend that Van Houten be resentenced because of her age at the time of the crime and her age now.
Manson died from natural causes in 2017 at a California hospital while serving a life sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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