Leslie Louise Van Houten, once a member of the notorious Manson Family and convicted murderer, has made headlines with her recent release from prison after spending 53 years behind bars. Van Houten, who participated in the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, has captivated the public’s attention not only for her role in these heinous crimes but also for her brief and troubled marriage to William Syvin, another former inmate and Manson Family associate. Let’s delve into the life of Leslie Van Houten and explore her journey from her involvement in the Manson Family to her release and the events surrounding her short-lived marriage.
Leslie Van Houten Was Married To William Syvin
Throughout her life, Leslie Van Houten had only been married once. Her husband, William Syvin, was also a former inmate and Manson Family associate. They tied the knot on August 23, 1982, in a small ceremony within the prison, where they were permitted to correspond and visit each other. Although they were allowed conjugal visits, their marriage abruptly ended after a mere two months, as they officially divorced on October 26, 1982.
The reasons behind their divorce were not publicly disclosed, but speculation arose that it may have been related to Syvin’s alleged involvement in a plan to aid Van Houten’s escape from prison. Van Houten maintained that she had no knowledge of Syvin’s plan and promptly severed all contact with him when police discovered a prison matron uniform in his apartment. Following her divorce from Syvin, Van Houten never remarried and remained single until her eventual release in 2023.
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Leslie Van Houten’s Connection With Manson Family And Conviction
Leslie Van Houten was just 19 years old when she joined the infamous Manson Family in the summer of 1968. At the time, she was living with Catherine Share and Bobby Beausoleil, but after their breakup, Share left to join Charles Manson’s commune, and Van Houten followed suit. Under Manson’s control, Van Houten’s life became tightly regulated, with Manson dictating even the most intimate aspects of her existence.
In 1969, Van Houten was arrested and charged for her involvement in the brutal murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Initially sentenced to death, her sentence was later commuted to life in prison following the California Supreme Court’s ruling that the death penalty was unconstitutional in the case of People v. Anderson in 1972. However, her journey through the justice system was far from over.
Van Houten’s first conviction was overturned in 1976 by an appellate court, granting her a retrial. The second trial ended in a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury. Finally, in 1978, at her third trial, she was found guilty of two counts of murder and one count of conspiracy, receiving a sentence of seven years to life in prison. Despite her numerous parole hearings since 1982, Van Houten was denied parole multiple times until 2023.
Leslie Van Houten Released From Jail:
After more than five decades of imprisonment, Leslie Van Houten was released from prison in July 2023, sparking intense debate and controversy. The state’s parole board had consistently deemed her “suitable” for release and not a threat to society, but each time, the governor’s office overruled the decision. However, Van Houten’s attorneys challenged the vetoes, and in May of the same year, a state appeals court sided with her, ruling that she should be freed. The court recognized her accomplishments while behind bars, which included working as a tutor, earning a master’s degree in humanities, and actively participating in mental health and self-help programs.