Wednesday, August 25, 2004



In the matter of the Life Term Parole Consideration Hearing of:
CDC Number: W-13378

AUGUST 25, 2004
1:25 P.M.

AL ANGELE, Presiding Commissioner
DIANE LUSHBOUGH, Deputy Commissioner

CHRISTIE WEBB, Attorney for Inmate
STEVEN KAY, Head Deputy District Attorney
PATRICK SEQUEIRA, Deputy District Attorney
TIP KINDEL, Communications Director, BPT
JOHN DESANTIS, Victim’s Next of Kin
LOUIS SMALDINO, Victim’s Next of Kin
ANTHONY DIMARIA, Victim’s Next of Kin Support
DEBRA TATE, Victim’s Next of Kin Support
JUNE JONES, Observer



PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: This is going to be a Subsequent Parole Consideration Hearing for Leslie Van Houten. CDC number W-13378. Today’s date, August the 25th, 2004. The time is approximately 1:25 p.m. We’re located at CIW. Inmate received on April the 28th, 1971, from Los Angeles County. The charge of murder in the first degree and conspiracy to commit murder. Case number A Adam 253156. Counts number six, seven, and eight; 187 of the Penal Code, 187 of the Penal Code, 182.1 of the Penal Code. Receiving a term of life with a Minimum Eligible Parole Date of August the 17th, 1978. Ms. Van Houten, this hearing is going to be tape-recorded. For the purpose of voice identification, each of us state our first name and last name, spelling our last name. When it comes to your turn, after you spell your last name, give us your CDC number. I will go around the table first. I wish all of us would speak in a nice, loud voice so the transcriber can transcribe our names. We’ll go to my left. My name is Al Angele, A-N-G-E-L-E, Commissioner, Board of Prison Terms.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Diane Lushbough, L-U-S-H-B-O-U-G-H, Deputy Commissioner, Board of Prison Terms.

DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY KAY: I’m Steven Kay, Head Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County. Last name is spelled K-A-Y.

MR. SMALDINO: Louis Smaldino, S-M-A-L-D-I-N-O, representing the LaBianca Family.

MR. DESANTIS: John DeSantis, D-E-S-A-N-T-I-S, nephew of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

MS. SMALDINO: Angela Corinne Smaldino, niece of Leno LaBianca.


MR. DIMARIA: Anthony DiMaria, D-I-M-A-R-I-A, in support of Louis Smaldino.

MS. TATE: Debra Tate, T-A-T-E, in support of Angela Smaldino and John DeSantis.

DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY SEQUEIRA: Patrick Sequeira, S-E-Q-U-E-I-R-A, Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles.

MS. JONES: June Jones, Victim’s (indiscernible).

MR. KINDEL: Tip Kindel, K-I-N-D-E-L, Communications Director, Board of Prison Terms.

MS. ANDERSON: Mary Anderson, NBC News, Los Angeles.

MR. GARROWE: Peter Garrowe, Cameraman, KNBC News, Los Angeles.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Spell your last name, please.



ATTORNEY WEBB: Christie Webb, Attorney for Ms. Van Houten. That’s W-E-B-B.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Leslie Van Houten, capital V-A-N, capital H-O-U-T-E-N, W-13378.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. Before we go any further, Ms. Van Houten, if you’d read that statement in front of you out loud.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: The Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, is a law to help people with disabilities. Disabilities are problems that make it harder for some people to see, hear, breathe, talk, walk, learn, think, work, or take care of themselves than it is for others. Nobody can be kept out of public places or activities because of a disability. If you have a disability, you have the right to ask for help to get ready for your BPT hearing, get to hear -- get to the hearing, talk, read forms and papers and understand the hearing process. BPT will look at what you asked for to make sure you have a disability that is covered by the ADA, and that you have asked for the right kind of help. If you do not get help or if you do not think you got the kind of help you need, ask for a BPT 1074 Grievance Form. You can also get help to fill out the form.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Do you understand what your rights are under the Americans with Disabilities Act?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You do. Okay. Now the record reflects that you signed BPT Form 1073 on April the 28th of 2004. And that’s the reasonable accommodation notice and request in accordance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act indicating that you do not have a disability as defined under the ADA. Is that true?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. Do you have any problems walking up and down stairs or for distances of 100 yards or more?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Do you need glasses or a magnifying device in order to see or read documents?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I wear reading glasses.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Reading glasses. Do you need them to read documents usually?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Small printing? Because you were able to read what you were handed.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Small print. Small print. I do well --


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: -- with the large print.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. Were those glasses available to you when you did your Olson Review and when you read your psychological evaluation and your counselor’s report?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. Do you have any hearing impairments?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Have you ever been included in Triple CMS or EOP Programs?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Do you know what they are?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Ever taken any psychotropic medications either in custody or prior to coming to prison?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: How far did you get in school on the outside?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I graduated from high school.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. While growing up, did you have to take any special education classes?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Do you suffer from any disability that would prevent you from participating in today’s hearing?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: This hearing is being conducted pursuant to Penal Code Sections 3041 and 3042 and the rules and regulations of the Board of Prison Terms governing Parole Consideration Hearings for life prisoners. The purpose of today’s hearing is to once again consider your suitability for parole. In doing so, we’re going to consider the crimes you were committed for, your prior criminal and social history, and your behavior and programming since your commitment. We’ve had the opportunity to review your Central File and your prior transcript. You will have the opportunity to correct or clarify the record. We’re going to consider your progress since your last hearing, any new psychiatric reports and any other information which may have a bearing on your suitability for parole. Any change in parole plans should be brought to our attention. We’re going to reach a decision today and inform you whether or not we find you suitable and the reasons for our decision. If you’re found suitable, the length of your confinement will be explained to you. Before we recess for deliberations, the District Attorney, your attorney, yourself, and the next of kin will have an opportunity to make a final statement regarding your parole suitability. Once that is done, we’ll recess, clear the room and deliberate. When we have completed our deliberations, we will resume the hearing and announce our decision. The California Code of Regulations state that a life inmate, regardless of time served, shall be found unsuitable for and denied parole, if in the opinion of this Panel, your release would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society or a threat to public safety. You have certain rights, Ms. Van Houten. Those rights include a timely notice of this hearing, a right to review your Central File; have an Olson Review, and the right to present relevant documents. Ms. Webb, have those rights been met so far?

ATTORNEY WEBB: Yes, they have.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: An additional right you have is to be heard by an impartial Panel. Any objections to either member of this Panel?



ATTORNEY WEBB: No, we do not.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You will receive a copy of our written tentative decision today. That decision becomes final within 120 days. You’ll then receive a copy of the decision and a copy of the transcript. As of May the 1st of 2004, there are major changes limiting your former right to appeal Board decisions or actions directly to the Board. Now the rules are contained in Title XV, the California Code of Regulations. Sections 2050 to 2056 have been repealed. Current policy can now be found in the Board’s Administrative Directive, entitled Administrative Appeals, Correspondence, and Grievances Concerning Board of Prison Terms decisions. And that can be found in the prison law library. Are you familiar with the change in the law?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: All right. Thank you. You’re not -- You’re not required to discuss your offense with us. You’re not required to admit your offense. However, this Panel does accept as true the findings of the court. Do you understand what that means?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I’m sorry. Would you repeat it?

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Yeah. I said you’re not -- you’re not -- you don’t have to discuss your offense with us. Don’t have to admit your offense. However, the Panel does find as true the findings of the court.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Do you understand? Okay. I have passed a hearing checklist marked Exhibit One to your attorney to ensure that we all have the same documents.

ATTORNEY WEBB: I have -- I have received all of these. However, just one sort of, you know, record keeping thing. I didn’t get, in my Board packet I didn’t get any of the chronos or work supervisor’s reports in the initial packet. So I asked the C&PR and then I was provided with them. I’d just like to make sure that you have all of them.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Be happy to have you submit them.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: I did receive a packet of chronos.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: And it may be that I have them.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Okay. I have a copy of what I got that --

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: This is -- This is what I have.

ATTORNEY WEBB: -- I didn’t initially have. None of the work supervisor’s reports are there.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: And well we have some in the C-File. But by all means.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Okay. I’d like to submit them.


ATTORNEY WEBB: This is the copy that I received from -- I have more than one copy if you’d like. No, that’s --


ATTORNEY WEBB: Okay. It may duplicate some of the things that are -- that you already got, but I don’t think any of the work supervisor’s reports are there.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Would you pass the hearing checklist to the District Attorney, please.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You have all the documents? All right.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Well I -- Yeah, I provided him with them.


ATTORNEY WEBB: Oh, the whole packet? Give it -- this to him?


ATTORNEY WEBB: Okay. I’m sorry.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. Now any additional documents to be submitted other than what you’ve already submitted?

ATTORNEY WEBB: I don’t think so because I just had an opportunity -- I have one other document. I know there was some letters that were received in the past ten days that I haven’t seen before today.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: We have a stack of those, and as we go along, any of them that have not been introduced, you can always (indiscernible).

ATTORNEY WEBB: Provided that to you. This is a letter from Ms. Van Houten’s nephew; a 14-year-old nephew, a letter of support.


ATTORNEY WEBB: And that’s -- I don’t believe that that had reached here.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: It has not. No, it has not.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Because I (indiscernible) letter.


ATTORNEY WEBB: And I think that that was all that I had that hadn’t -- that I thought hadn’t been presented to the Board.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Any preliminary procedural objections?

ATTORNEY WEBB: I just had a couple things to say. Do you have this Cross Roads letter?


ATTORNEY WEBB: You don’t? I thought that might have been in the ten-day packet. That’s -- I think that was all that I had for that. In terms of the -- what we do here today, I’d just like to ask that the confidentiality of the people who are involved in Ms. Van Houten’s parole plans be preserved because of the cameras; in terms of their names and addresses. That that not be something that’s made public. If that’s appropriate, I think we usually have gotten an agreement on that.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: I can -- I can allude to the offer, but not necessarily who is offering it.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: And I can just introduce those documents as Exhibits.



ATTORNEY WEBB: Is that all -- Is that -- That would be sufficient.


ATTORNEY WEBB: From my point of view, I’d just like to not have a name and address made publicly if that’s okay.


ATTORNEY WEBB: And just one other objection for the record and I’m really sorry to have to make it. And again, it’s about Ms. Tate’s presence at the hearing. And I understand she’s here as a support person. But I just think it’s something that again creates some confusion. I don’t think in the Board’s mind. I know you know what Ms. Van Houten was convicted of. I just think that Ms. Tate’s presence here today is confusing out there amongst the public. And I know from (indiscernible) the letters in opposition, there certainly is confusion about what Ms. Van Houten was involved in. And she was not involved in the terrible deaths at the Tate house. So I’m making an objection to her presence.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. And I’ll overrule your objection. She is here as a support person, you know which is allowed by law.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Will she be speaking today?




ATTORNEY WEBB: That’s all I have. Thank you.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: All right. Will the inmate be speaking with us today?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: If you could raise your right hand please, so I can swear you in. Do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you give at this hearing will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Thank you. If there’s no objections, Ms. Webb, I’d like to incorporate by reference the Statement of Facts. I’d like to take this from the Appellate Court Decision. The one filed March 1st, 2004, pages five, six, seven, and eight.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Okay. Can I have a moment to look at that, please? In general we don’t object to that Statement of Facts. I just want to see what we’re talking about. Five, six, seven, and eight?


ATTORNEY WEBB: I’d like to -- We have no objection to that. I’d like to expand it slightly.


ATTORNEY WEBB: I’d like to add page four and page nine. I think that gives a more complete picture.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. We have no objection to that. That will be (indiscernible) included.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: All right. All right. Ms. Van Houten, you are serving a life term for the murders of Tony and Rosemary LaBianca. Is that correct? Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Is that true?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: The crime occurred on or about the 10th day of August 1969.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You along with three crime partners went to the -- actually four. Went to the LaBianca residence and just selected out of random.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: It appeared as though it was selected at random.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Mr. Manson and Mr. Watson went in first. True?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, they did.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. And they wound up securing or tying both of the LaBiancas. And Mr. Manson came out and you and Patricia Krenwinkel went in. Correct?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: And the reason for going in to the residence was to murder these people?



INMATE VAN HOUTEN: We were going to start a war.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. And you were totally aware that once inside, these people were to be murdered?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: And you participated that -- in that crime. Did you not?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: And you were a willing participant?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, I was a willing participant.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Can I have a moment? Thank you.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Now this was an act that you all prepared for by bringing extra clothing.



INMATE VAN HOUTEN: We had been told the night that we went that we were to take a change of clothes and --



PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Manson. Did you -- Did you do everything that Charlie Manson asked you to do?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Everything? Had you committed any other crimes that he had asked you to commit prior to this crime?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: He hadn’t asked me to commit any prior to this.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Not that I can recall at this -- at that level. No.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yeah. Well there were stolen dune buggies and we lived outside the law. It’s hard to -- When you ask me the questions like that and I answer yes and no and they’re true, it -- I never feel that it -- I don’t feel that I’ve been able to open up. I get defensive about it, you know, and try to protect myself in some kind of way. And the truth of the matter is that the older I get, the harder it is for me to discuss, I guess, that. I guess what I’m saying is is I just want you to know that I know that what happened was absolutely horrific. And as an adult woman, when I look back, I can’t help but think of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca and the terror that they went through. And I’m very aware of the fact that as a young woman, I was living immorally. I surrendered my values. In that home I became less than human. And I’ve spent my life trying to redeem myself. Each act that we did in this house, I take responsibility for.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Let me ask you. Prior to this occurring, as you know we had the Tate killings; what’s referred to as the Tate killings. And when Susan and Patricia came back you had -- they told you what happened. And the record indicates that you in -- that you had stated to them that you, you know, you felt bad that you didn’t get to go with them.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: That you wanted to get involved in the next -- in the next.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Which was the LaBiancas. Once inside, it was yourself and Patricia and Tex Watson. Mrs. LaBianca was removed into the bedroom, at which time, Mr. Watson began to murder Mr. LaBianca. And you and Patricia started or attempted to murder Mrs. LaBianca, but apparently she put up a pretty good fight. Is that correct?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: She was hearing her husband.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: She was hearing her husband.




INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Hearing her husband, LaBianca.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And she sat up.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: She was calling out his name.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: And an electrical wire I guess was wrapped around her to try to secure her.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: The pillow case.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Pillow case. As a result, you went out and got Tex Watson and he came in and started to stab Mrs. LaBianca.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: And then you took a knife and stabbed her in the back. According to the record, anywhere between 14 and 16 times. Correct?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: And did you believe she was dead at the time you plunged the knife into her body?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, I believed she was.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You thought she was. Okay. Why did you stab her if you thought she was dead?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Manson had told Watson to make sure that everyone did something. And when Tex handed me the knife, I knew he wanted me to do something. And at that moment, I lost all sense of my humanity. I couldn’t stop. And then I was able to get a hold of myself and I stopped. And that’s when I began to wipe off fingerprints.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. You also dressed in the victim’s clothing when you left. Correct?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: And disposed of the clothing you had been wearing because it was blood soaked.





INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Watson needed a change of clothes and I gave him mine. And he threw the clothes we had been wearing in the trashcan.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And then I burned the others when we got back to the ranch.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Including Mrs. LaBianca’s clothes.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Those are the ones that I burned.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: This happened quite a long time ago. And I guess the question that really needs to be answered is how do you reconcile the fact that for no reason that I could gather, you entered a residence just because it was there and slaughtered the two people inside?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: There had been -- Do you want me to go back from how I ended up there?


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I went to the ranch believing that it was a (indiscernible). And I had a lot of issues with my mother at that time. And Charles Manson took advantage of my dislike of my mother. And over the course of about nine months, he began to -- Well he ended up really dictating my life. And as a consequence of that, I believed that he was a man with vision. That he saw that this war was to happen. I was a very weak minded person that because he wanted it and because of the peer pressure, I resorted to that. There’s no excuse for what happened.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And it’s very difficult to live with. I mean --

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Did you believe in the -- in his concept of coming to start a race war?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You bought into the concept all the way?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yeah, 100 percent.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. Now he took the wallet of Leno LaBianca and as I understand, deposited in a section of Los Angeles hoping that somebody of color would pick it up, use it, and therefore, pin the murders on somebody of color. Was that -- Was that the rationale behind that?



DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY KAY: Excuse me. It was Mrs. LaBianca’s wallet.



PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Now there was some money taken at the house as I recall; eight dollars and some change.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: I’m going to cover your prior criminal history. 1969, you had an arrest for grand theft auto; insufficient evidence. Another arrest for grand theft auto with no disposition. September of ’69, a burglary arrest with no disposition. October ’69, this is a taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and grand theft auto. No disposition. November ’69, indicted by the grand jury on the current offense. Your initial trial, you were found guilty and sentenced to death. That was overturned by the court. You wound up having your trial turned and had a second trial, which ended up into a hung jury. And then we had the third trial, which ended up in your conviction for two counts of murder, one count of conspiracy. Receiving a life term, because at that particular time, life without the possibility of parole was not on the books. Right?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I’m sorry. Am I interrupting you?


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I the -- My life each day, knowing the senselessness of the murders and I can’t justify them in any way to you. That all I can say is that I have done everything in my power to live a life as a person that doesn’t hurt others. I can’t -- I can’t begin to try to explain them or place the blame on someone else. It was me.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And that’s very hard, as a 55 year old woman, to look back on the behavior of who I was at 19, with the people that I was. And if I ever seem as though I’m not, I don’t know what else to say. That I ache inside from this senselessness.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. Well let’s continue on and we’ll talk about this as we go. Now you were born on August the 23rd, 1949. Is that correct?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You were the second child born to your parents, Paul and Jane Van Houten.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You also had two younger adopted siblings.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Raised in Los Angeles. You indicate that you were very close to your father, who was an alcoholic. Parents divorced when you were about 14 years old. Your father remarried twice. No abuse in the family. Apparently a boyfriend introduced you to LSD about the age of 15. Subsequently, you became pregnant in your second year of high school. And at your mother’s insistence, had an abortion. Continued using LSD. You graduated from Monrovia High School and moved in with your father and stepmother. You graduated Sawyer’s Business College as a certified secretary. You met Bobby Boseway in San Francisco. Wound up moving to Spawn Ranch, where you lived for several years. At that particular time you became absorbed in what they refer to as the Manson Cult or culture, using LSD and marijuana that he supplied to you. I understand you admitted to about 150 hits of acid.




PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: This was on a daily basis type of a thing.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Weekly, daily, whenever it was available.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Ever get any flashbacks at all from it?




PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Have you experimented with any other form of controlled substance?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Early on with a little bit of methamphetamine, Benzedrine.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: How about alcohol? Have you abused alcohol at all?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I drank a little, but that wasn’t my addiction.



PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Your primary addiction was?





INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And the hallucinogens.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. When you say hallucinogens --

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I didn’t really drink socially. I was, you know, very young so there in the beginning I drank a little bit at parties, but I --

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: When you talk about hallucinogens, that sounds plural. Were you doing anything other than LSD?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Sometimes mushrooms.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Mushrooms and (indiscernible)?





INMATE VAN HOUTEN: All of the ‘60’s hallucinogen drugs.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. I’m going to go through your parole plans. Is it still your intention to reside with a Freddie Turner in San Gabriel? Are (indiscernible) options?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: That’s one of the options.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And then the other now is the Cross Roads.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: The Cross Roads with Sister Dodge.




PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. That’s a live-in situation there.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Gets you ready to get out into the community and help you find a job.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes. I have been concerned about going to a friend’s house with my notoriety. That perhaps that’s leaving myself a little too --


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And also her. I worry for her and so I spoke with Sister Dodge about a halfway house, and they would be more equipped to deal with me.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: All right. I’m going to -- In compliance with your attorney’s request, I’ll be non-specific.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: About what I’m about to put on the record. We have 49 miscellaneous letters of support that come from numerous states and six other countries. These are (inaudible) individuals who don’t know who you are, but have read about your (indiscernible) on TV and they (indiscernible). We also have letters of support from your sister, your father and your stepmother and your mother. I have a job offer for you at a law firm. I also have a job offer for you at a fabrics company. I have four offers of residence. Two are out of state and two are within the state. Both are in Los Angeles County. In addition, we have 81 letters of opposition to parole suitability. And again, I don’t want to discuss the job offers or residence because of your wishes. So we will just leave that at that. It’s maybe difficult for you to answer this question. But have we discussed in -- to enough of your acceptance, the offers and the residence? Is there anything else you have?

ATTORNEY WEBB: No, I don’t. I think from just -- For the record, I think there are about 60 to 70 letters of support from family and friends. And you know, this is -- I’m confused about what you have already and what I’ve gotten sort of piece (inaudible).


ATTORNEY WEBB: It’s not that it -- I just want to make it accurate.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: There’s a total of 60. But those include the residence, job offers and the family. Okay. So I’ve got 49 that are just miscellaneous.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Yeah, I thought there’s -- Yeah.


ATTORNEY WEBB: Yeah. I think those are some of the ones I got today.


ATTORNEY WEBB: And (indiscernible) slightly more than that.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: That’s all I have. Okay. Anything further in regards to parole plans?

ATTORNEY WEBB: I don’t know. Would you like to add anything, Leslie, to what was (indiscernible)?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I’ve always been of the belief that if and when I get to that place, that the Parole Department would work with me on making the best selections.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And I am employable.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: I would think you are with the skills that you have.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: All right. Then go to post-conviction factors, please, Commissioner Lushbough.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Thank you. Good afternoon, Ms. Van Houten.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: You were received August 17th, 1978. And your last hearing was June 28th, 2002, at which time you were denied parole for two years. And that was here at CIW. And the period that I’m going to be covering is from June 28th, 2002 to the present time. You’ve been at zero, in terms of Classification points since 1989. Does that meet with your understanding?


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: And you’re currently 28 points. But that’s the mandatory placement score. And that was imposed in 2003.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: You have one 115, in June of 1976. Certainly not within this period of review. And in fact you have been free of 115’s for 28 years.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: I did see a 128(a), January 11th, 1981. So you’ve been free of those for a considerable period of time. There is a 128(b) in the file dated May 20th, 2004. It has to do with possession of narcotic paraphernalia. But my understanding is that a 115 was written and then dismissed and taken out of your file because there was no search of your room before you moved in.





ATTORNEY WEBB: But I think we should clarify that a little bit more because it’s dated 2004, but it’s something that happened a long time ago. And I think maybe Leslie can explain it. It happened in the 1980’s.


ATTORNEY WEBB: And I think that -- I think -- Didn’t Ms. Hall who did that, explain to you why she put it in there?



DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: -- like to talk about it.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Well she said that the incident packet of the incident had been left in my file. And when she cleaned up my file, she put it in I guess Board files or something like that. But at that time, she removed the incident pack and had to write a formal 128(b) for having, you know, the incident pack. So the incident pack I guess had been in there all this time.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Yeah, apparently it has been. But it wasn’t in the file when I went through the four files.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Even though nothing came of that and it was something that was determined not to be her -- in her possession. It was something that was in that room before she moved in.


ATTORNEY WEBB: There was no discipline about it.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Yeah. I didn’t see the write-up in October 1983. The only thing I can say is that it was dismissed because it was apparently it was verified that the room hadn’t been searched before she moved in. That’s all that I have on that.

ATTORNEY WEBB: That’s correct, but I don’t believe Ms. Van Houten ever received any kind of disciplinary on that.


ATTORNEY WEBB: No, that’s --



ATTORNEY WEBB: Maybe that’s what we’re talking about.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: The suggestion of the 128(b) was that a 115 was written, but then withdrawn or dismissed.

ATTORNEY WEBB: And I think that was Ms. Hall’s way of record keeping to get it in and clear it out.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: All right. Well I know in your discussion with Commissioner Angele, you talked about high school. And I saw that you had also gone to Sawyer’s Business College before --


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: -- you came into prison. And that you have a Bachelor’s Degree.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Got that in ’81. That was in English Literature. Is that right?


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. You’ve completed vocational data processing. You were in that course from ’94 to ’96. Is that approximately right in terms of the time?


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. And clearly from what I saw in the C-File, you’ve been applying those skills for quite some time in your positions as clerks. But during this period of review, I saw that you had been in November 16th, 2002, there was a chrono having to do with your being a program clerk in the Catholic Chapel.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: With the -- Go ahead. I’m sorry.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: No, I’m just saying yes.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: All right. With exceptional work reports. You were briefly in the culinary staff. I got the sense that that was a transition between two positions. Is that right?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Well I had done clerical work for 30 years and I wanted something different. Something more physical. And I had never worked in the kitchen, and so I asked to go in there. And it ended up being a little more physical than my body could handle; some of the lifting and all of that.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And then a job came open where I could be working for the Canine Support Team. I do -- I just make sure that --

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Well I’m not quite there yet. But yes, I’m aware of that. I think what I was going to with this point was that you were a Lieutenant’s clerk as of May 6th, 2003. Is that correct?


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. And had exceptional work reports. Your Counsel has provided three work supervisor’s reports; all signed by M.J. Krinock, K-R-I-N-O-C-K, a Correctional Lieutenant, who has very nice things to say about your work ethics. You’re an exceptional worker, self-motivated team worker, trustworthy, works well with others, reliable, efficient and reliable, excellent work habits. There are also chronos that are again, by the Correctional Lieutenant discussing your work and thanking you for your help. And that you’ve been maintaining a very high level of work performance. Those are dated May 6th, 2003, and February 16th, 2003, and November 16th, 2002. There were -- The other thing I wanted to talk about and you’ve already alluded to it was the Puppy Program.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: I’m aware that you’ve been in it for awhile. I saw that you had chronos, October of 2003, giving you exceptional work reports in that area. And also in April of 2004. Tell me something about it. Do you have -- Are you assigned a puppy at this time?



INMATE VAN HOUTEN: No. I just make sure that the women that have the assignment have all that they need so that they can do their job assignments and also have the dogs.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I don’t know how long I’ll be staying in it. But it’s been very nice to be able to be supportive of that program.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Had you ever trained a puppy yourself or have --


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: -- just been supportive in the program?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I’ve just been supporting the program.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Well B. Cheateam, C-H-E-A-T-E-A-M, a Sergeant, on April 15th, 2004, describes your work as hardworking, good problem solving abilities and a good asset to the program. Also in January 2004, describes you as trustworthy and able to work with others. It sounds like a pretty important program. Have you enjoyed being a part of it?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I’ve enjoyed it very much and I think it’s a wonderful program. The training program has been up scaled. Originally it was just getting the puppies, and now the training is for the actual turning off and on of the lights and the more sophisticated aspects of the training. So I’m pleased.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: It’s got to be on socialization.




DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: All right. Well let’s talk about your self-help. And there’s quite a bit here that we need to talk about. Let me check the tape.

[Thereupon, the tape was turned over.]



DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: That’s all right. That’s all right. Again, Counsel has given me a number of chronos. I think most of these I do have, but I tried to (indiscernible) that together. And we’ll go through it. In terms of AA and NA, I know you’ve been attending two meetings per month. And the most recent chrono was in July of this year.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: When did you first start AA and NA?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: In 1985, I believe.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: When I got off of Close Custody. I think it was in ’85.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: It looks as if your participation has been pretty consistent throughout the period of time that you’ve been involved. Have there been times when you couldn’t go for some reason?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, there were times I couldn’t go because of my working at night. And then I began to also attend this drug awareness counseling.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And so it’s -- I look at that more as like my whole meeting. The large meetings, the AA and NA large meetings are hospitals and institutions, which means that outside people come in and they tell their story. And it’s geared for getting the message out. Where the drug awareness counseling group are women that have been attending the large meetings and the individual Twelve Step groups for a longer period of time. So it’s more like a whole meeting where different women run the session for that week or that month. And I think it’s where we really do some hands on day to day relapse prevention.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And if something is happening, I can take it to that meeting and talk about it. So I -- Sometimes I have not always been at the large meetings. But I have maintained the home meeting.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Well let’s talk about it. I see your drug awareness counseling and relapse and prevention program.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: That’s what you were referring to?


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Because I have chronos indicating you were participating April of 2003 through October of 2003. And also there was a chrono from March 2001 to October 2003, having to do with your attendance and facilitation of the African American Women Prisoner’s Association.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: They’re the ones that sponsor it. They are -- That group’s sponsors, the one that is the outside person that sits with us when we meet. And so the drug awareness counseling comes under the umbrella of the African American Women’s Prison Association.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: October 2000 to March 2002, your attendance was noted for Convicted Women Against Abuse Seminars. Were you -- Did you act as a facilitator there or just a participant?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I just -- I was a -- just a member of the audience listening.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. February 19th, 2002 to April 9th, 2002, Victim Impact. How many hours a week did that involve? Did you have a series of meetings for instance that you went to?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I believe that those were weekly. It mainly was watching videos and becoming more acutely aware of the impact of the violence on the people that loved those that were affected.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. August 6th, 2002, Domestic Abuse class. That was a completion. And also noted in here that you have a year and a half of one-on-one treatment with a Doctor Janesh, J-A-N-E-S-H. I’m not sure I’m saying that right.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: How did that go? Was that helpful to you?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, that’s -- At my last hearing, I was asked to continue therapy. And the prison does not see that I qualify for therapy. Doctor Janesh had been employed here about seven years ago and we had been working one-on-one when they stopped one-on-one. And she had always said that if I wanted to continue on, that I could. And so what I did was I wrote her. One of the findings at the last Board was that I did not demonstrate remorse. And that hurt me deeply that I had not found a way to express the pain that I feel.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And so she comes into the visiting room.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: That was going to be the next question.



INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yeah, she comes once a month.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. Okay. So you continue with that.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Good. There was a chrono of appreciation in March of 2002, authored by Blanche Batiz, B-A-T-I-Z. Apparently your hobby craft manager. And appreciating you and the fact that you had instructed a class on quilting. Also October 3rd, 2002, again, an appreciative chrono. You taught a class in Japanese origami fish purse.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: I’m sorry you didn’t bring it today. I would like to look at that. October 9th, 2002, a chrono of thanks from the Warden for your participation in the Crazy Quilt Project. My understanding is that the quilt is now on display.




DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: How many people worked on that?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: About nine women. Nine or ten.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. It sounded like a really large project. Was it a large quilt?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: It’s a wall hanging size.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: December 5th, 2002, AA/NA Banquet. You assisted in serving 150 people and your work was very much appreciated. December 31st, 2002, 41 hours of Voices From Within and there’s another one; December 2003, 28 hours, Voices From Within. My understanding is that you read books on tape so that others can hear the books if they’re not able to read. Is that the project or is that what that’s about?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes. Yes. And also reading for local schools. Sometimes the text books are so the children can, if they’re having trouble learning to read they can follow along.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. Are you still involved with that?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: That program has been temporarily put on hold I think because of the financial situation.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. December 31st, 2002, a chrono of appreciation for your participation in the Christmas holiday season Interfaith Chapel, including and then another one appreciating your volunteering during the time you were preparing to get the new carpet. Apparently you did a lot of physical work moving things around and getting ready for that.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Right? May 1st, 2003, it states Sharing Our Stitches, the SOS Program. Also saw chronos in 2002, as well. Is that the lap blanket and baby quilts program?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, I started it actually in the ‘80’s.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: It was the community resource manager had asked me to try to put together the program and so I designed it, and it’s sewing quilts for the homeless. It’s also sewing -- They give a lot of the quilts to the homes that battered women stay at. And there’s a lot of baby quilts being or afghans being crocheted now for probably hospices. I haven’t been really active in it, you know, in the last year or two.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. Let’s see. June 30th, 2004, Pathways to Wholeness. That was a chrono authored by Chaplain Lois Woodward, W-O-O-D-W-A-R-D, talking about your participation and what you brought to the program, which I thought was -- Tell me, how did that help you?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: It is anything that has to do with discovering forgiveness of myself, a relationship with my spirituality and sharing it with others has been helpful to me.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Well you’ve also received thanks again from the African American Women Prisoner’s Association in June of this year, for the work you did with drug awareness counseling and also with the Relapse Program. And then going back in time a little, you completed your drug awareness counseling and relapse prevention yourself in November of 2002. So have you been teaching and facilitating since then?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Well everyone takes turns throughout it. Every time there is a session, I do something in it. I get up and facilitate.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: I hope I’ve covered everything. What I would say at this point, if there is anything that I haven’t mentioned in terms of your post-conviction progress from June 28th, 2002 to the present time, please bring it to the Panel’s attention at this time if you would. Have I left anything out?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Not that -- Not on the documentation. But you know, I can only say that I live my life in here in accordance with the Twelve Step Program and that when there’s a need, I try to be available to help with it. I do some tutoring when I can. And I’ve recently started that back up with some English as a Second Language. And I’ve had the training from the Literacy For America. And that program is (indiscernible) and I’m rejoining that. And I try to help some of the young women who are so lost and be an example to them and be candid and honest with what my life was at that time and what I have done with it. As I said before, it’s a privilege to work with the Dodd Program. And there’s not many ways that a human being can try to make up for losses of life, which I’m responsible for. And so I have done what I’ve could.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Within a very limited environment.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. Well before I move on to the psych evaluations, is there anything else, Counsel, in terms of post-conviction that we should cover before we move there?

ATTORNEY WEBB: I have just one point. And that’s just to clear up something from last year that I noticed reading that over. And there was a suggestion that Ms. Van Houten had only started being a leader and facilitator in AA/NA in the late 1990’s. And I found that she had actually been vice-chairman and very often was facilitating in that group from 1990 on. And that was a very active part of her participation in AA and NA all through the ‘90’s. And that was I just wanted to clarify that.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Certainly. Thank you. Anything else before I go to the psych evaluations?

ATTORNEY WEBB: I don’t think so.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. Well the most recent psych evaluation was prepared by Peter Hu, H-U, a Staff Psychiatrist. And the date is June 21st, 2004. And the Doctor comments on page two. He mentions that you’re still getting private psychology twice monthly. Also that you’ve been a regular participant in NA and AA. And he feels that you’ve mastered -- demonstrated a mastery of the abstinence skills that would be necessary for you to lead a continual abstinent life. And he also notes no serious 115’s or 128(a)’s over the last past interval. And under the mental status examination, the Doctor says though content, the inmate was preoccupied with the amount of discomfort that her friend will experience if she was granted a parole. You’ve communicated that to us today. Have you been able to talk to your friend about it?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, and she feels confident that it would be all right. But I have real reservations about that. I really think that to -- I didn’t believe that a house would even take me, because of the amount of attention that it would bring. But Sister Terri Dodge seemed very comfortable that they could handle that. And so I feel much better about that.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I feel that --




INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Many, many people have been hurt and I don’t want to continue that. And I feel that my friend is not having a real clear picture of what that might mean with me living there.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: You’re on regular communication with your friend so that you can continue to discuss it?



INMATE VAN HOUTEN: She understood. You know she just disagrees a little bit.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. Well she has a right to her opinion.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: But you’re making an effort to --


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: -- make sure that she does understand.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Okay. Well the Doctor goes on to say that your insight and judgment were appropriate and did not offer a diagnosis on Axis I or Axis II. And all -- Then I’m just going to quote the Doctor’s statements from there on. “The inmate has not demonstrated herself to be dangerous within a controlled setting. I concur with Doctor McDaniel’s assessments that the inmate has been able to utilize all the necessary self-help programs -- self-help groups.” Excuse me. “Plus other resources that was offered within this institution as well as support from the community to grow and mature into a person that is different from who she was at the time of the commission of the instant offense. She was able to demonstrate her ability to recognize people who may have secondary gains, and also the warning signs of the predatory and sociopathic interactions. She was also able to demonstrate that during the time of crisis or stressful situations, she is able to utilize the support systems that she has available within the institution and also from the community in order to formulate in a healthy way to extract herself from such situations. It is my impression that she has continued this self-improvement, not as a motivation to parole, but as a genuine interest in bettering herself.” And the Doctor then goes on to say, “It is my opinion that the inmate would not be dangerous if she were released to the community. This is based upon her ability to internalize the societal norms and her demonstration of her responsibility, remorse, and regret of her past criminal behavior. In addition, she has gained an appreciable understanding regarding the importance of maintaining abstinence and utilizing the support that is available to her, both within this institution and in the community to maintain her sense of peace and contentment. She’s able to look at her behavior, at her own behavior and formulate a number of different options to avoid conflict and/or violence in other settings and situations. It is my belief that she has learned to look at the motivation behind her decision making process and she’s able to successfully assess each situation in a realistic manner and make informed and thoughtful choices.” The Doctor does not offer any significant risk factors in his report. Counsel, at this point, do you or your client care to make comments about the psych evaluation or would you prefer to defer it to closing?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I would like to say that I agree when he said that all that I do is not so much to impress you, but to truly learn about myself. And I am very aware and I know that the LaBianca family will always see me as a cold and calculating monster; and I was. And I have taken very, very seriously these years to rectify what happened and to be able to express that in a way that it’s understood. And I just hope that Doctor Hu’s report, you know, verifies that I have used all resources available to me to learn how to live with myself in a very positive way. To separate shame from guilt and to live a life that enhances other human beings, because there’s no making up for what I did. And I’ve worked very hard at understanding my shortcomings and using my strengths to balance them out. And I guess that’s what I have to say about that.



DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Thank you. Thank you for your attention. I am going to return it to the Chair at this time.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Thank you. There’s a section of the Appellate Decision where they talk about the stabbing of Mrs. LaBianca. And it basically says that you thought she might have been dead when you stabbed her, but you really weren’t sure. Do you remember that?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. So you didn’t know if she was dead or not then.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I assumed she was. And there’s been at every Board hearing, there has been discussion.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And earlier in my incarceration, in my sobriety, in my coming to terms with what I had done, I used to find a bit of relief in thinking that she were dead. But really honestly looking at it, it’s of no consequence whether she was or not. The action was reprehensible.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: I understand. But the fact of it is that you really didn’t know for sure. Right?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You were on bail for a while?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: And it seemed like maybe about six months; December ’77 to July ’78.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: You worked for an attorney at that particular time in the San Bernardino Valley. Is that true?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. And I have no other questions. Any questions, Commissioner Lushbough?

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Just briefly. Ms. Van Houten, we’ve gone over the most recent psych evaluation. One of the things that concerned me a bit was -- and we’ll go back to May of 2000, Doctor McDaniel’s’ report. He does list significant risk factors in the past, which were your vulnerability and to adhering to the bizarre world of manipulation and murder. And he commented in past evaluations that he saw you as less (indiscernible), but expressed concerns regarding your (indiscernible) relationships in your life that seemed to end disastrously. And then I’m going to jump over a little bit to where he says that you verbalized that you’re prone to leaving yourself open due to your desire to end your loneliness, but that you know what point to stop an interaction. And you believe that your desire for self-preservation is strong enough now that he can see detrimental behavior before it goes out of control. When you talked to Doctor McDaniel in May of 2002, he noted that significant risk factors, as I briefly went over, were described in his last report and will continue to recede with the passing of time. And as you know, Doctor Hu was not specific on risk factors. How do you see your progress in terms of being vulnerable to perhaps people who would try to control or manipulate you and your sense of loneliness or needing that relationship?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Well I feel that I’m doing really well with that. And I -- Are you asking me what tools do I have or?

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: That would be good to hear.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Okay. I’ve been -- I have actually a good set of boundaries. I have my own standards. For a long time because of the murders, I never really spoke of my own personal, moral standards that I have, which are good and intact. I am able to -- The loneliness is not as acute anymore. I don’t know if that’s because I’m aging and being more comfortable with who I am now. When I was a younger woman, loneliness was more of an issue. I have my network of friends that I turn to on the -- really in the community. I have a good spiritual foundation. I have a good radar. I’ve done a lot of introspection as to those things that made me available to Manson. And I feel that when I came here, I -- there were nothing but bad choices. And over the last 35 years, I have learned to make good choices.


INMATE VAN HOUTEN: And the main thing was I used to always put other people before me and make sure that they weren’t hurt. And now I make sure that I’m okay and that I’m safe. It’s been very hard for me to have any sense of self-forgiveness. And when I did not have that, that I think that that left me vulnerable, when I acted more from a (indiscernible) base. And I am learning to live with the past in a way that it does not leave me vulnerable to predators. I feel very good about who I am as a human being today and what I have done.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: All right. Thank you. I have no other questions.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Any questions from the District Attorney?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Any questions of your client, Ms. Webb?

ATTORNEY WEBB: I have a -- just a couple. Ms. Van Houten, I know you’re somewhat reluctant to talk about Manson’s role in all of this and to put any making excuses for your behavior. But can you -- I think that it would help us and the Board if you could just talk a little bit about the living arrangement with Manson. And although that was unusual, did you consider that your family at that time?


ATTORNEY WEBB: And in another context, in talking I think with Doctor Singer who did a cult report for the Board, you indicated that you lived under the constant threat of verbal or physical punishment or psychological punishment. What did you mean when you talked about that?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: That if -- like when we would take LSD, we would all sit together and make an agreement not to leave the room. And if someone stood up, they would have their hair pulled. There was always the threat that if you didn’t follow, that there would be some sort of violent reaction from him.

ATTORNEY WEBB: And did you actually witness any violence by Manson to these people?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes. But I made sure that I always did what was expected so I wouldn’t get the violence.

ATTORNEY WEBB: And do you feel that that occurred was something that occurred over a period of time?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: It didn’t start out that way. It started off like a commune. And then the more he would measure how much we believed in him, then the violence would become more acute until at the end when it was very, very prevalent.

ATTORNEY WEBB: And can you explain a little bit more about that.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Well that’s when he would slap people more for questioning him and become more abusive verbally. And my role there was that I was the dumb one that didn’t know anything.

ATTORNEY WEBB: And how did he -- how did he make you feel that way?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: He would humiliate me in front of the group and call me stupid and everyone else would also.

ATTORNEY WEBB: And did he make you question all the values you’d learned from your parents?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: He poked fun of them and over a process and a period of time where he defined our values so that they became his, by making fun of the ones I had been raised with. And that’s what I was talking about when I was talking about the abortion and my mom. I didn’t want the abortion and so when she arranged for me to have it, I harbored tremendous anger at my mom. And when I met Katherine Share, I’d talk with her about it. And that became the foot in the door for him. And I just didn’t know I wasn’t sophisticated enough. I didn’t know.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Was there an incident that you discussed in the psychiatric records with the psychiatrist in 1985, when Manson took you to the edge of a cliff?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I wanted to leave and I told him I was going to leave. And he took me to the edge of a cliff and he told me that I may as well just jump because if I left, I would die. And I -- Now you know, when you say something like that years and years and years and years and years later, and it seems so small. But at the time, I believed him. I believed that if I left him, that I would be -- Well that if I left him, the very same thing that happened to Leno and Rosemary LaBianca would happen to me. And now I carry the responsibility of that. When I think back on the night of August 10th, all I think about is the horror that those two very, very innocent human beings were subjected to. And it really makes me uncomfortable to discuss anything that has to do with what led me to that situation because I just simply -- I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I was raised to be a decent human being. I turned into a monster and I have spent these years going back to a decent human being, and I just don’t know what else to say. I feel that the chronos about fixing this and doing that are very small. They’re just small. I find it very, very difficult to live with myself a great deal of the time. That’s what I work with with Doctor Janesh. That’s what Doctor Hu saw; that I take so seriously what happened. That I have a very strong foundation, because it is based on something that was so senseless and so tragic, against everything I believed in. If you look at my file there’s no violence. No violence. That one night, that one night has just tormented me. I am not a person that corrects problems through violence. I don’t confront. And it has been really, really difficult to live with. And I hope that the family understands that. Truly, I think to myself, what could I possibly do. I know that you loved them and I know they were wonderful people. They didn’t deserve it and you didn’t deserve it. Not a bit of it. All I can tell you is that I am so sorry. I’m sorry.

ATTORNEY WEBB: I have no other questions.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: All right. Mr. Kay, closing please.

DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY KAY: Yes, thank you. I find it really disturbing that after all these years and after all the Parole Hearings, Ms. Van Houten still tends to minimize what she did, what she thought at the time of the crimes. And now she’s trying to make herself into a victim. She was not a victim. And she says here that oh that she was weak-minded at the time. Absolutely the opposite was true. She has a very high IQ that would quite certain the top five percent of people in the United States. She admitted under my cross examination in the trial in 1977, that she weighed in her mind for two days the question of whether or not she could kill anyone. And she decided that she could and that she would if asked. And that was before Manson or Watson or Davis or anyone else asked her to participate in murder. In the 1982 hearing, under cross examination by one of the Board members, Ms. Van Houten said she made -- when she knew The Family was turning towards murder, she made a conscious decision to stay. She could have left any time she wanted to. Lots of hippies came into contact with Manson and The Family and they heard what Manson was saying and they hiked it (indiscernible) away as fast as they could because what Manson was saying was that his hero was Adolf Hitler for what he did to Jews in World War II. And Manson wouldn’t allow any minorities in The Family and would tell different people who could get together and have babies, because he wanted the babies to have a certain look. Something inside of her responded to this and she stayed. Now she says under questioning today, oh well yeah, I didn’t -- no crimes or anything before the murders. Well in her trial she admitted that she went out and did nighttime burglaries. They called them creepy crawlers. And that she participated in these residential nighttime burglaries as well as did other members of The Family, stealing credit cards or checks or whatever that they could find to use. Ms. Van Houten, when she weighed in her mind about participating in murder, that was before the Tate murders. And after the Tate murders happened, that day, Krenwinkel and Atkins filled her in on all the gory details about how terrible it was. And so she had this knowledge. She spent much of the day with Atkins and Krenwinkel watching news, TV news reports about what happened at the -- at the murder. So she -- Whereas the people the night before, when they went out on the Tate murders, the women, Manson told them well do what Tex tells you to do, because Manson and Watson had been to that residence before and new the layout. Ms. Van Houten had all that knowledge about what was going to happen and she knew from the moment that she left the Spawn Ranch, that she was going to participate in murdering people. And that was okay with her. She was sorry that she got left out the night before. And you know, I’m glad you came back and questioned her about the stabbing Mrs. LaBianca because it was actually in her 1986 hearing with cross examination by Board member Rudolph Castro that he got her to admit that she didn’t know whether Mrs. LaBianca was dead or alive at the time that she was stabbing her. When she got to -- back to the ranch, she told Diane Lake, one of The Family members that the more she stabbed Mrs. LaBianca, the more fun it was. And that she felt just like a shark. Well she was like a shark that night. She knew before she went into the LaBianca house, again reinforced by Manson, there was a man and a woman tied up on the sofa. That he had told them that he wasn’t going to hurt them. That it was only going to be a robbery and not to -- not to worry. And he told Ms. Van Houten and Ms. Krenwinkel, don’t let them know that you’re going to kill them, because I don’t want fear and panic like the night before. And even though Ms. Van Houten did not participate in the night before, she knew about the fear and panic that was caused at the Sharon Tate home. So with that in mind, she enters the residence. Krenwinkel immediately goes to the kitchen to get knives. One for Ms. Van Houten and one for herself. When they get in, Watson has a bayonet pointed at Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca, who were tied with their hands tied behind their back. And Watson was asking them if they have any money. And Mrs. LaBianca says she has a small box where she keeps money. And so Watson untied her hands; not Mr. LaBianca’s, but Mrs. LaBianca’s, and she gets this moneybox. And then at that point, Van Houten and Krenwinkel take Mrs. LaBianca into the bedroom for the sole purpose of murdering her. And Van Houten was such an active participant. By what she’s saying today, you would think she was a frightened little kitty cat. That she was afraid of Manson. Manson never did anything to her. He never hit her. She could have left any time she wanted. People came and went all the time. She wasn’t chained up. (Indiscernible) there. She stayed there because she wanted to. Because there was something inside her that reacted to what Manson was saying. And by the way, the -- what historians say -- describe this group as a band of hippies. That is so far from the truth. They hated hippies. They referred to themselves as slip-pies, because they said they were going to slip under the awareness of society. That society would think that they were peace-loving hippies. But hippies were flower children. Make love, not war; here’s a flower for you. These people were talking about murder. Tex Watson used to hold training classes at Spawn Ranch on how to stab people. That you just didn’t put the knife in directly. That you put the knife -- put the knife in and then jerked up on it because you could do more damage. So she’s the one --

[Thereupon, a new tape began.]

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: We’re back on record. Side three.



DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY KAY: Thank you. Ms. Van Houten is actually the one who had the most contact with Mrs. LaBianca. When they went in the bedroom, Ms. Van Houten was the one who got a pillowcase and put it over Mrs. LaBianca’s head. Ms. Van Houten unplugged the lamp on the night table by the bed and wrapped the cord around Mrs. LaBianca’s neck and then pushed her down on the bed and started holding her. And at that point, Mrs. LaBianca heard the guttural sounds being made by Mr. LaBianca getting stabbed in the living room. And she got this superhuman strength and was able to pop up from the bed. And even though she couldn’t see it, she took the cord and swung the lamp at the direction of Ms. Van Houten. Ms. Van Houten, not wanting Mrs. LaBianca to go out and help her husband, knocked the lamp out of Mrs. LaBianca’s hand and wrestled her down to the bed and pinned her down so that Krenwinkel could stab her. And Krenwinkel stabbed her so hard, that when the kitchen knife hit Mrs. LaBianca’s collarbone, it bent. Well Ms. Van Houten knew, of course, that Watson had a bayonet. That wasn’t going to bend. So she goes to the hallway, calls for Watson. Watson comes in, starts stabbing Mrs. LaBianca. And she -- Between Watson, the one stab wound from Patricia Krenwinkel and the 16 from Ms. Van Houten. And she’s gone back and forth. It’s 14 or 16. But again, under Mr. Castro’s cross-examination, she admitted then it was 16. Mrs. LaBianca was stabbed 42 times. She suffered eight fatal stab wounds. Seven of the eight in her back. And those fatal stab wounds, that means in and of themselves, they would have killed her. She was basically on the bedroom floor and she was paralyzed from the wounds to her spinal cord, so she couldn’t fight back or do anything. And she was on her stomach and so that’s why she had most of the stab wounds in her back. Now while Ms. Van Houten and Mr. Watson were doing this, Krenwinkel went out to the living room, saw the condition of Mr. LaBianca, then went to the kitchen, got a carving fork. A big, you know, like a Thanksgiving carving fork with long tines, and a knife. And she carved in Mr. LaBianca’s abdomen, the words, “War”, W-A -- the word “War”, W-A-R, because that’s what this was supposed to be; war. And then with another kitchen knife, she ran it through his neck, where the handle stuck out at one end; the blade traversed his neck, severing a carotid artery. And part of the blade was sticking out of the side of his neck. And then she wrote in blood under the -- above the upper part of the front door, the word “Rise” in Mr. LaBianca’s blood. And on the living room wall, “Death to Pigs.” And on the refrigerator, the word, “Helter Skelter”, misspelling helter. But this was supposed to be messages to the Black people that they were supposed to rise up in this -- in this revolution. And Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca were picked out for the sole reason that they were White. And they wanted to blame these murders on innocent Black people. And yes, the -- Mrs. LaBianca’s wallet was planted in a gas station restroom in what Manson thought was Pacoima, which was predominately a Black area at the time. Well he got his jurisdiction of Whites (indiscernible) attended. It was Sylmar, which was not a Black area. But I guess the restroom wasn’t clean that much and it wasn’t found until December. But you know, he wanted a Black person to find the wallet, use the credit cards, and then get blamed for the murders, and then in retaliation, the Whites would start killing the Blacks. And he thought the Blacks would win and it was -- it was craziness. It was. And to think that these people -- And she thought about this. This wasn’t an unthinking act by Van Houten. She thought about this. She bought into the program. And to just slaughter really nice people. I mean the more you would hear about Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, they were wonderful people. They had no enemies. Mr. LaBianca was the owner and chairman of a chain of small markets and Mrs. LaBianca had a dress store. They were very happily married and you know, that house was a collecting place for the family; for family dinners. The relatives and everything; Lou and John and Angela have spent, I’m sure, many Thanksgivings there and Christmases. And these people, to die the way that they did, it’s -- it just defies comprehension. But it certainly defies Ms. Van Houten making herself into a victim. The -- And again, to show you how together Ms. Van Houten was, is that after the murders, the first thing she does is she goes around and wipes off fingerprints, figuring out every place that they could have touched. And she did such a good job that when the fingerprint experts came in there and tried to find, you know, latent prints that the defendants had left, they found none. They found wipe marks and no fingerprints that were identifiable to any of the defendants. She then worked up an appetite and drank chocolate milk from the LaBianca’s refrigerator. Because her clothes had blood on them, she changed into Mrs. LaBianca’s clothes. And interestingly enough, when she got back to Spawn Ranch, the very first thing that she did was to collect firewood. She collected firewood and then built a fire in the fireplace at that house on the ranch, and took off Mrs. LaBianca’s clothes and burned them. That’s what she was burning. And as she was burning the clothes, she had taken the box of money; what Mrs. LaBianca got, and it turned out there was about eight dollars in change in it. But she was sitting on the bed, counting out the money as Mrs. LaBianca’s clothes were burning. No remorse. No crying. You know this is so terrible, I have to get away from these -- this awful man, Manson, and these other people who are participating in murder. She didn’t leave. And she went with them out to the desert in Death Valley when they wanted to get out of town because it was getting too hot for them with the Sheriff’s Department, because the Sheriff’s Department was interested in the stolen dune buggies that they had. I thought from the last hearing, and this was cited in the opinion, where he wrote (inaudible) recent opinion by the Court of Appeals. This is at page 31. And it’s very brief. It says contrary to the contention that quote, “No mention of the cult domination bearing on motivation as a suitability factor”, end quote, is made. The Board specifically asked Van Houten yet you were -- what you are saying is Mr. Manson had such control over you that you’re saying he was more responsible for the crime than you were. And Van Houten responds, I certainly believe that whatever he became was equally my responsibility for allowing him to become that. You know people can pull reins in on other people and I never did that. People would think from hearing in these Parole Hearings that it was Charles Manson who came up with all these ideas about Helter Skelter and everything. It was a group thing. They would sit around, listening to the Beatles while (indiscernible) acid and they would all come up with things that they heard. A lot of this stuff was other members of The Family coming up with ideas. Oh the Beatles are saying this to the Black people to rise up and start a revolution. It wasn’t all Manson. It was group input. And certainly Ms. Van Houten was a part of that. And I can understand her wanting to distance herself from all of that at this time, but the problem is she can’t because she participated in this horrible, unthinkable butchering of two people in the supposed sanctity of their own home. Now this opinion points out that the -- that you two, in your decision, can base a denial of parole based on the offense itself, assuming that there are particularly egregious elements. And in this decision, they point out, yes there are. And the offense itself can be the basis of a denial of parole. And the three -- they state three particularly egregious facts that are -- go above and beyond the minimum required for a conviction of Van Houten for this crime. And this crime, they equate to a first-degree murder with eligibility for parole. And they say that the three particularly egregious facts are one, the fact that there are multiple murders here. And that is now a special circumstance in the Penal Code. It certainly wasn’t at that time, but it is a particularly egregious fact, because now if a person commits two first-degree murders, they’ll either get death or life without possibility of parole. The second one they cite is that the -- this was a robbery murder that Ms. Van Houten was an accomplice in the robbery of Mrs. LaBianca’s wallet. And of course, directly with taking the box of change. The third thing was that this was a murder for racial motivation. And the court points out, well you know, it’s a little strange because the defendants are White and the victims are White. But of course, that’s what it was all about. They weren’t out to kill Black people. They were out to kill White people because they wanted to anger the White community. But not only do you have the commitment offense to find her unsuitable for parole, but you have so much more in this case. You have her unstable social history. And Ms. Van Houten had all the benefits of the world growing up. She was a Campfire girl, a member of Job’s Daughters. She sang in the Presbyterian choir at her church. She went to church youth fellowship meetings. She was a homecoming princess at Monrovia High School. She was a class secretary at Monrovia High School. But what did she do? She admitted at her trial under cross-examination that her peer group wasn’t into taking drugs. That she had to seek out others who were taking drugs outside of her peer group. And that she took up with a fellow who had gotten kicked out of another high school and got pregnant at 15, and an abortion at 16. And then by the time she was 19, she’s admitted anywhere from 150 to over 200 LSD trips. I’m sure she wasn’t counting up as she did them, but there was just so much. And so after graduating high school, she goes to Sawyer’s Business College, finishes number one in her class as a certified legal secretary and then decides she doesn’t want to work. So she goes out, up to San Francisco, calls home to her mother and tells her mother to stop loving her; that she was going to drop out and wouldn’t see her mother again. And I can just imagine the anguish that her poor mother, who is a very nice lady, went through with that phone call. That very hurtful phone call. But she dropped out and then got together with Bobby Boseway, who you might recognize that name since he’s in prison for the murder of Gary Hinman. And went down to the -- where the Manson Family was staying and liked them and stayed. And so now she’s here today. After she was in prison for a number of years; actually in 1982, she marries an ex-con named William Sywin (phonetic), again falling in with an unsavory person. And fortunately, the prison served a search warrant on his place and found that he had a female prison guard’s uniform. He was going to try and break her out of prison. And she ended up divorcing him. But just a very unstable social history. Yes, she has done well in prison and I commend her for that. But you just have to worry about what was inside her that let her respond to what Manson and others were saying so that she would stay there. And can we ever be sure that that is no longer there? And I say we can’t. And I respectfully ask the Board to find her unsuitable and give her a denial for two years. Thank you.


ATTORNEY WEBB: Thank you. Just a couple of things in response to Mr. Kay first. I agree with him. The facts are horrible in these murders. The facts have been horrible for 35 years. But when he talks about them, the way he talks about them, it really takes them out of context. There’s nothing that talks about led up to these murders. There’s nothing that puts them in the context of the -- what the Court of Appeals described as Manson’s total domination and manipulation of the members of The Family. And the Court of Appeals goes on and talks about that a little bit more. It’s sort of a short hand. I presented to you the cult report and I know that Ms. Van Houten today didn’t want to talk a lot about that. Didn’t want to make any excuses for what happened, what she participated in, and wanted to take full responsibility for that. But I think it’s important and I -- and I talk about it again because I’d like to feel that you, as the Board of Prison Terms, that you’ve considered it and what led up to this. It’s a report by Doctor Margaret Singer, who just died in this past year. But she’s a nationally known cult expert and another (indiscernible) person, Patrick O’Reilly. And I just ask you, the last ten pages of that really explain this process specific to Ms. Van Houten. The other part of it explained what we’ve all learned, along with her, of the dangers of cult manipulation in the past 35 years. And that includes, you know, the Jonestown Massacre of 700 people and David Koresh and lots of other cults that where there’s a -- monstrous things can happen. I think the -- just as a shorthand, the Court of Appeals on page four talks about that all of this domination and manipulation happened within the context of isolation, dependence, fear, drugs, sex, and indoctrination of The Family experience. The members became convinced of Manson’s peculiar apocalyptic fantasies and goals. And that’s just a caption of what happens in a cult. I agree with Mr. Kay when he says it was craziness. It was craziness. And that’s the reason that we have to take a look at what happened to Ms. Van Houten. We can see what happened to her when she was a teenager that made her vulnerable to that craziness. It made her vulnerable to Manson’s manipulation. This wasn’t someone who went from prom queen and made a choice, I’m going to become a vicious, violent murderer. That wasn’t what happened here. There were things in her life that had occurred that made that life, that maybe from outside looked like it was in, you know, that it was all positive. That made that life not so great as it was -- as she was growing up. That was a divorce that was devastating to her. That was the beginning of her drug use. There was a boyfriend she wanted to marry when she became pregnant, but her mother intervened and there was an abortion that created a terrible emotional wedge with her mother. That made her then susceptible to what happened next. And I think we can’t underestimate -- we can’t underestimate the drug use in all of this. Hallucinogenic drugs are very strong. And in -- even in 1971, Doctor Fishman in the early psychiatric reports, and you see this all through it. They talk about how that is a drug that causes the loss of ego controls. And if you have a diabolic cult leader like Manson, controlling every session you have with LSD, something monstrous can happen. And he can twist and he can turn your value systems around. You know Timothy Leary, whatever you think about him, he was a Harvard professor. And he talked in the 1960’s about LSD. And I think he is maybe responsible, and I don’t know if he took responsibility later in his life, but he may be responsible for what happened to young people in the 1960’s like Ms. Van Houten. But there was a study in Massachusetts where they used LSD to essentially reprogram criminals in Walfall (phonetic) State Prison. They could re-imprint their value systems. That they could change them from a life of crime. And those people, I happen to know, came out with much lower recidivism rates than people who hadn’t been treated with LSD. But that’s because they were having someone control those sessions with a positive purpose. I just would invite you to look at that cult report, please, and try to understand what went on here. Nothing I think that Ms. Van Houten said today indicates that she minimizes. In fact, the opposite is true. With accepting certainly the facts in that Court of Appeals opinion; and all the horrible facts are there. She’s tried not to make any excuses. And what I’m talking about now is an explanation that I offer to you. I think she’s owned all that she did. And when Mr. Kay talks about that she weighed in her mind, let’s go back and consider again, the process of cult indoctrination and it had already taken place. We have the psychiatrist at her second and third trial talking about at that point she didn’t have a mind that was capable of really making a decision that was capable of making judgments like the rest of us do. That’s why she got the hung jury in the second trial. That jury didn’t believe that she was capable of premeditating and deliberating, and five of them didn’t want to convict her of first-degree murder, but only of manslaughter. So then we add felony murder instructions. The Court of Appeals agrees. The third jury probably only convicted her of felony murder because they didn’t believe she had the mental capacity to premeditate and deliberate. And you have that in the Court of Appeals opinion. So I mean that’s the history of that. And I think it tells you a lot about her mind at the time in 1969. That doesn’t exist anymore. I’d just invite the Board to learn some more about that process. I think Mr. Kay adds some facts in and you know, he’s offering his closing argument here. It’s not evidence. You know there are some things he says that she changed her clothes because she had blood on them. There’s never been any evidence of that. She did it because she was ordered to do it. They brought a change of clothes. So looking back on it, when you say she takes responsibility for not pulling reins in on Manson, well that’s from someone who is not an expert in cults. That’s from someone who’s trying to explain, you know, her part in this to take responsibility for her role in all of this. But she wasn’t capable of pulling reins in on him. He was the leader. Nobody disobeyed him. Vincent Bugliosi talked about it in the closing arguments in the 1971 trial. No one dared to disobey Charles Manson. So you know, people came and went. Well some of them were fortunate enough to have a way that they could get rescued. Okay. In terms of unstable social history, I would just say let’s put it in the context of the time. It’s 40 years ago when she was a troubled teenager. We talked about that. Since then, and I say that to look at those things that were evidence of unstable social history way back then. I don’t think it’s -- has evidentiary value anymore in terms of unsuitability. I think it gives us a window into why she became involved with Manson. That’s what it does. It shows us why she was vulnerable. But it’s not unstable social history as an unsuitability factor any longer. I think what you have that shows a stable social history is the 60 to 70 letters from people who have known her; many of them who have been childhood friends, who have consistently been in her life. And she gets lots of letters of support from people; respected members of the community who’ve stood by her all these years. And I think that that says a lot about who she is. They know, if you look at those letters, the people who know her know that she lives with remorse and that she takes responsibility for all that she did and the pain she caused the victim’s family. So that’s a record of stable social history. So I’d suggest to you that unstable social history no longer exists partly because that was 40 to 45 years ago before the murders. I’d just like to say something about the records that you have in terms of the 35 years of documentation. And you don’t have that often with people. You don’t have that when you’re making a judgment about people you meet on the streets. But you found out about Ms. Van Houten. And what you have in the Central File over these 35 years, shows how she reacts to all kinds of situations here in prison; negative situations that occur because of the inmate population that you have here. And none of that reflects any violence. So when she says that she is a person who is not a person who chooses violence as a way to operate in her life, that’s true. That’s true for the normal Ms. Van Houten. Not for who she was in 1969, when there was one night of violence. There’s no contacts with the police before or after being with Manson. There were those minor criminal events. That was all a, you know, a car theft when they raided the ranch. That was all while she was with him. None of that -- None of those other things were violent acts. I think you can judge her by her affiliations here at the prison. There’s no evidence that she has been attracted to any group as a follower or any person as a follower. She’s lived her own life. She’s lived her own life as a leader in AA/NA and she’s been a chairperson of Saving Our Stitches. And I hope -- It doesn’t sound like you denigrate that kind of involvement in her life. You know some people might say well you know, making quilts. Okay. Big deal. Or doing, you know, teaching other women how to make a purse. But that’s something that she loves and she likes to share it with people. And that’s who she is. She’s a teacher. She shares her knowledge. She shares her knowledge in AA and NA too with the younger inmates. She’s done everything she can to create the person that she is today. And I think you see that in these records and in the letters of support. I’d just ask you, in terms of the factor and motivation, to take a look again at that cult report, please. This was not something that she thought up. She takes responsibility for her role in it. This was Charles Manson’s apocalyptic fantasy. She bought into it because she was taking the drugs and because of the cult domination. I think the fact that there’s been only one night of violence in her life raises a question that something happened to her under the influence and abuse of Charles Manson. She certainly bears criminal and moral responsibility for what she does -- did. And she takes on that responsibility. She owns it. Just to get a total picture, you have to talk about Charles Manson’s domination and manipulation. I think that the definition in your regulations, in Title XV of abused women’s syndrome, would give you something that’s a very similar process. It talks about how the Board can evaluate the kind of mental and psychological abuse as it relates to motivation for crime. And it talks about the events -- the evidence of the effects of physical, emotional or mental abuse upon the beliefs, perceptions or behavior of the inmate. I think that applies also to help understand what happened to her and the real abuse by Manson, and that manipulation, domination played in her criminal conduct. I think those cult abuse factors give us a reference for seeing why she’s no longer dangerous. Those vulnerabilities no longer exist. This was an unusual situation. It’s not going to reoccur with all the evidence of her mental stability, her growth, her maturity. I think that’s what Doctor Hu recognized in his conclusions in the psychiatric report when he said -- All the experts, by the way, the cult experts -- Where you have a psych report from Doctor (Indiscernible) as well, and it includes tests that show that there’s nil evidence of violence potential in the objective and subjective psychological tests that were done back in 1999. The cult expert agrees, Doctor Hu agrees she’s not prone to that kind of situation. She knows the danger signs. She has none of the factors that made her vulnerable and she’s now emotionally mature. Her critical thinking is intact and she has internalized external controls. Doctor Hu said it’s his belief she learned to look at the motivation behind her decision making process. And she’s able to successfully assess each situation in a realistic manner and make informed and thoughtful choices. And I’d say that’s how she lives her life. On the Board’s matrix, after 35 years, the gravity of the crime alone is not enough to deny her a parole date. I think that matrix takes into consideration already the factors in aggravation and mitigation of the crime. And I talked about the mitigation. The matrix presupposes that a person who commits even a heinous crime will be found suitable and granted parole. This has been an ongoing process for Ms. Van Houten. And even in 1985, the Commissioner said to her that she was closer than she thought to getting a date. But the evidence today of suitability is stronger than it was almost 20 years ago. I’m asking the Board to look beyond the horrible facts of the crime, to see what happened that led up to these murders. And I’m asking the Board to see the evidence of a woman who is totally rehabilitated, who is someone who knows herself, knows her boundaries, knows how to problem solve and deal with all the situations she encounters here in the prison without hurting anyone else or doing violence. She’s a person who lives her life the way she would live it on the outside as a highly functioning member of society who is a leader with caring and concern for others. She has a place to live, a strong support network, and a job to allow her to live quietly. And I’m asking you to give her a chance to do that. We’d ask you after 35 years to find her suitable and grant a parole date. Thank you.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Thank you. Ms. Van Houten, now it’s your turn, if you wish, to tell this Panel why you believe you’re suitable for parole unless you’d like to end this hearing with what your attorney has said on your behalf.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I feel like I already spoke when she was asking me the questions. I would like to sincerely apologize to the family. And at 19, there were a lot of factors that disassociated me from what I had done. And as I became sober and began to truly integrate myself back into society’s norms, as I participated in therapy groups and re-established my own value system, I think it’s important that the family know that more than ever and with each passing year, I am acutely aware of the pain that I caused. And as life goes on, it’s more difficult for me to live with that. I think that if it had been my aunt and uncle, I would want to know that. If it had been my brother or mom and dad, whatever the family relationship was. It just seems like it would be very important to me that they know that the person that did that knows and lives with it in a very real way. I’m not sure, other than saying it here and leaving myself available for any kind of private conversation, to let the family know that. I would hope that my behavior over the last 35 years -- As I said, I went from bad decision-making and I began to learn how to make good decisions. I believe that I am a rehabilitated woman. It doesn’t mean it’s any easier to live with myself and what I did. But I certainly could function in society. I also have to speak out for my own family. And my mom is getting old and she waits for me. The tragedy is is I have nieces and nephews too, that cry and wonder when I’m coming home. It’s all very complicated.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: I’m sure it is. However, I wish you would let me know why you think you’re suitable.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I’m suitable because I have taken responsibility for what I have done. I have employable skills. I’m a low risk to society. I understand what caused my choices when I was young. I’m a 55-year-old woman now. I’m not 19. My guilt never diminishes; no matter where I am. I believe I could be a benefit to young people in telling my story. And I think that I could be an asset to the community as far as service work. It’s hard for me to answer that, because a part of me understands that there’s a huge part of society that believes that what I did, I should never be given a chance. But I’m asking for one. And I believe that in good faith, I’ve applied myself to where I have the right to ask that.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Okay. I appreciate your comments. We’ll go now to --

ATTORNEY WEBB: May I say one thing? I’m sorry. Excuse me. I want to explain to the family members and to you and to the television cameras and the people out there that Ms. Van Houten doesn’t look at the victims because she’s been admonished not to do that in the past. And I think that that’s something that’s been set up as a -- you know I don’t know if it’s your rule or whose rule that is, but that’s been something that’s been enforced in the past and I’m not sure that if it continues to exist. But --

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Well (indiscernible) properly address (inaudible) and I don’t think it’s anything that needs to be addressed to the cameras at all.

ATTORNEY WEBB: Well okay. I just -- I think people will comment about that is -- you know, in another way, I want the family especially to know the reasons (inaudible) not.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: All right. Thank you, Counsel. We have -- Who will be going first? (Inaudible). Please identify yourself one more time, please, for the record.

MR. DESANTIS: Yes. My name is John DeSantis. I’m the nephew of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. I’ve been asked today to read a letter from my cousin, Corey LaBianca, the eldest child of Leno LaBianca. This is (inaudible). I have asked my cousin, John DeSantis, to read this for me at the hearing. My name is Corey LaBianca, and I’m a -- I am the eldest daughter of Leno LaBianca. Rosemary LaBianca was my stepmother of 11 years. I was 21 years old at the time of their deaths, and I loved them both dearly. It was only by a twist of fate that I was not home the night they died. It was my father’s birthday and we had always been together on his birthday. But in my last conversation with him, my father suggested we get together the following weekend instead. If not for that change in tradition, I would have been sleeping on the couch in the living room, where they found him murdered. And I would have died beside him. That was 30 years ago and you may wonder why I haven’t attended these hearings. Let me tell you why. When confronted with this nightmare at the time, I decided to put my faith in the legal system, choosing purposely not to be drawn into the endless legal proceedings. I tended to my wounds privately, knowing that if I let my parents’ deaths define the rest of my life, then those who killed them would have gotten me too. I knew that dad and Rosemary would not want that to happen. It’s been nearly a lifetime now since that horrible August night in 1969. I am proud to say that I have been busy raising happy, healthy children and living a productive, meaningful life. But the events that took place in our home so many years ago aren’t over for our family yet. Here’s one example. I was having an innocent conversation with my five-year-old grandson a few weeks ago. I was trying to explain to him that his daddy was my son. My little boy. I was his daddy’s mommy. At first I wasn’t sure that he followed my meaning, but then knew he understood me very well when he asked who is -- who is your dad. A lump formed in my throat and tears welled in my eyes. My daddy died. I thought that would be enough for an answer for him, but I was wrong. He’s a smart kid, full of questions, like any five year old. And his next question (inaudible) tell (inaudible). That’s sad, Nana, how did he die. Well what would you have said to your grandson if you were in my shoes. I was speechless. Why am I telling this story? I believe it is important for those of you making the decision here today to realize that what happened 35 years ago is still happening. Your role -- Your ruling will not only have an emotional impact on those of us who lived through this tragedy, but it will have a powerful impact on the descendants of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, who are only now beginning to live their lives. Sincerely, Corey LaBianca. That’s all I got to say.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: Might be a good time to change the tapes.


[Thereupon, the tape was turned over.]


MR. SMALDINO: I’m Lou Smaldino, and I want to thank you for allowing our family to speak here today. I am here to represent the LaBianca family and to voice our thoughts and sentiments concerning the parole of Leslie Van Houten. We ask ourselves many times why we are required to present our case to the Board on such frequent intervals. As you can see, it’s always a painful process for all in our family to be here and to revisit the terrible acts that Ms. Van Houten and her gang visited on our dear (indiscernible) Leno and Rosemary. There were two -- These were two vibrant and generous people in the middle of their lives with five children and loved by all who knew them. Ms. Van Houten was sentenced to death for a senseless murder. But due to an aberration in the law, it was commuted to life with the possibility of parole. But I remind you today that this was not a guarantee of parole. Ms. Van Houten in her cynical manner and without regard to the fairness of a life sentence for these senseless and horrific murders, persists in trying to get paroled for her own self-satisfaction, instead of accepting a more than just sentence of life in prison. Her acts that fateful day were not impassioned or with revenge, but were for the thrill of the kill and to start a race war. In today’s nomenclature, they’d be called terrorists. I’ve been to several hearings and hear no substantive remorse or real responsibility for what she did. The gist of the argument is always Charlie Manson made her do it, because he controlled her. I grew up at the same time she did and learned about free will and choice. Where was hers? Our family is yet to hear from Ms. Van Houten, except in this hearing room and before this Board. Frankly, it is a travesty and totally self-serving. If I had done what she did, I would be acting totally different and realize that my punishment is just and actually quite merciful. All I see is words and manipulation and lawyers; not real contrition or real remorse. We, the LaBianca family, are a barrier to her freedom and are to be viewed as the enemy instead of people who have been forever marred by her callous disregard of the sanctity of life. We suffer a loss that cannot be made whole. As you saw today, many children and grandchildren will never see their parents again. Leno and Rosemary will never share our holidays and life together again. A family business, which was very successful, is forever gone. In Ms. Van Houten’s own words on a previous occasion, she can never repay for what she has done. I totally agree and ask her to really understand those words; she cannot repay. Therefore, accept her just punishment and pray for the Good Lord’s forgiveness in the hereafter. I thank the Board for it’s indulgence and ask that you see that Ms. Van Houten has never really accepted her accountability in this matter or shown true remorse. Her only interest here today is to get out of prison. Please do not let this happen or occur. Society deserves better. Thank you.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: Thank you, Mr. Smaldino. We’re going to recess for deliberations. The time is approximately 3:37 p.m.





PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: It’s in the matter of Leslie Van Houten. CDC number W-13378. Back on record. Time approximately 4:12 p.m. Ms. Van Houten, there’s obviously a number of reports, letters that have been read in regards to your case, and you’ve done a great job in prison as far as your programming. But this Panel has reviewed all of the information and we have come to the conclusion that you are not yet suitable for parole and would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society or a threat to public safety if released from prison. First, we have the instant offense, which was carried out in a vicious and a brutal manner. There were multiple victims attacked and killed in the same incident. The offense was carried out in a calculated manner, such as an execution style murder. The victims were abused and mutilated during the offense. The offense was carried out in a manner which demonstrates an exceptionally callous disregard for human suffering. The motive for the crime was senseless, committed for the sole purpose of starting a race war. These conclusions were drawn from the Statement of Facts, wherein the inmate and the crime partners, on or about the 10th day of August 1969, did enter the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. And Mr. LaBianca, 44 years of age and Mrs. LaBianca, 38 years of age. They were tied, set on the couch. The crime partners, Manson and Watson were in the house at first. Mr. Manson left the residence. The inmate and her crime partner, Patricia Krenwinkel, entered the residence. The wife was brought into the bedroom, and while she was in the bedroom, she obviously heard her husband being slaughtered in the living room. She struggled, attempted to get away. She was subdued. Mr. Watson then was called into the bedroom, where he proceeded to stab Mrs. LaBianca. She was also stabbed by crime partner of the -- of the inmate, Ms. Krenwinkel, and stabbed between 14 and 16 times by the inmate herself in the back, who made a statement that she really wasn’t sure if she was dead at the time she inflicted her stab wounds. Both Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca lost their lives as a result of this incident. The inmate has no prior criminality. She’s programmed in an outstanding manner. We acknowledge that during her incarceration, involving AA, NA Twelve Steps, Breaking Barriers, just many, many, many programs. She’s also done a lot of volunteer work and had work assignments where she was given better than average work reports. Her volunteer work includes a quilting class, Crazy Quilts Program, the Walk-a-Thon barbeque. She’s involved in the Puppy Program, Christmas Program, Children at Risk Walk-a-Thon. During her period of time in incarceration, she has received minor disciplinaries. I guess there was one 115 that was later withdrawn. So she has been disciplinary free for almost the total term of her incarceration. Psychological evaluation is dated 6/21/04, by Doctor Peter Hu. To this Panel, is inconclusive. And I’ll explain the reasons why. Doctor McDaniel, in 2000, refers to the risk factors preceding and draws his -- our attention to this report of May the 1st of 2001. In that particular report, the Doctor states in the risk factors, include the -- she’d be vulnerable to adhering to a bizarre world of manipulation and murder. In 2002, this report doesn’t state these same facts are gone; instead that they have receded. What’s troublesome to this Panel is that Doctor Hu, in 2002, makes no mention of them whatsoever.


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: I’m sorry. In 2004. Thank you. The 2004 report by Doctor Hu does not mention them whatsoever. So I have no idea if he even considered them. And that does bring us some concern. Now the inmate does have acceptable parole plans. I won’t go into those as requested on behalf of inmate’s attorney. She does have places to live and she does have acceptable employment plans. The Hearing Panel notes that responses to 3042 notices indicate opposition to a finding of parole suitability. Specifically, the District Attorney of Los Angeles County and the next of kin of the victims who were present today to voice their opposition to parole suitability. Once again, the inmate should be commended for the program she has done during her incarceration. However, all the positive aspects of her behavior do not outweigh the factors of unsuitability. In a separate decision, the Hearing Panel finds that it’s not reasonable to expect that parole would be granted at a hearing during the following two years. The specific reasons for these findings are as follows: The prisoner committed the offense in an exceptionally violent and brutal manner. Specifically, on or about the 10th day of August 1969, she did participate in the murders of Leno LaBianca, age 44, and Rosemary LaBianca, age 38. The crime occurred at their residence, which was picked for random. Her crime partners, Watson and Manson entered the residence, tied the victims. Mr. Manson left the residence. Ms. Krenwinkel and the inmate then entered the residence and (indiscernible) slaughtered this couple who were expecting themselves to be safe in the sanctuary of their residence; free from assault. Instead I can only imagine what Mr. LaBianca thought when his wife was removed from the living room and moved to a bedroom and what Mrs. LaBianca thought when she heard the sounds of her husband being murdered. There were multiple victims attacked and killed in the same incident. The offense was carried out in a dispassionate manner, a calculated manner. Both victims were abused and mutilated. The offense was carried out in a manner which demonstrates an exceptionally callous disregard for human suffering and life. And the motive for the crime once again was senseless; committed for the sole purpose of trying to start a race war. We do want to read into the record a statement that was made by the Trial Judge at the time of this -- at the (indiscernible) of the inmate where he speaks to the issue in a most articulate manner. The people at the LaBianca residence were singled out for killing by a kind of choice that looks like it wasn’t even a choice at all. The anarchic nature by which the house was picked, that’s the real fright and terror in these offenses. That’s why the ludicrous efforts of the Manson Family to start the war and to attain their end are so frightening. The fact that the people were taken unaware and almost by chance. But this case is a special one. It will burn on the public consciousness for a long period of time; not merely in the memories of the families that have been disseminated by them or decimated by them or in the memories of the people who are still alive and have been hurt, either closely or incidentally by the destruction of all of the families that have been destroyed in this case are simply the kind of case where I, as a Trial Judge, not a Parole Board member, but a Trial Judge, with at least an initial responsibility of saying yes or no, feel that in my conscience I have to draw the balance in a certain way. And that in this case, even though progress has been made, the balance must, in my judgment, be drawn on the side of punishment. This crime will always be married to the Tate murders. For the sole purpose, for the sole reason that when Ms. Atkins and Ms. Krenwinkel returned from that slaughter and told you what had happened, your response was that you felt left out and wanted to make sure you were included in the next set of murders. Nobody was there standing next to you at that particular time to encourage you or to manipulate you. And you were included in the next set of murders and participated freely and willingly. And as a result, you took the lives of two innocent people who didn’t deserve to die. The District Attorney of Los Angeles County and next of kin were present at this hearing to voice opposition to parole suitability. Therefore, a longer period of observation and evaluation of the prisoner is required before the Board should find that she be released from prison. The Panel recommends that the prisoner remain disciplinary free; continue what you’re doing. And we want you to cooperate with clinicians in the completion of a new clinical evaluation as we’ll be seeking a new evaluation for the specific purpose of discussing your risk factors contained in the 2001 report, addressed very lightly in the 2002 report and not addressed at all in the 2004 report. That does conclude this hearing. Any comments, Commissioner Lushbough?

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LUSHBOUGH: No, thank you. No comments.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: The time is approximately 4 --

ATTORNEY WEBB: May I make objection for the record?


ATTORNEY WEBB: May I make one objection for the record?


ATTORNEY WEBB: I just want to -- Well it’s really not an objection. It’s just pointing out some things about re-interpretation of the psych reports. And I think Doctor McDaniel may have raised risk factors, but he found conclusively in 2000 and 2002 that Ms. Van Houten would not be a danger if released.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: But he also found in 2002 that the risk factors had receded and not had ended. But I accept what you’re saying.

ATTORNEY WEBB: I understand. I’m just --


ATTORNEY WEBB: Thank you (inaudible).

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: That does conclude this hearing. The time is approximately 4:23 p.m., and I wish you good luck, ma’am.