Leslie Van Houten

Leslie Van Houten is an American convicted murderer and former member of the Manson Family. She was convicted for the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. During her time with Manson’s group, she was known by various names such as Louella Alexandria, Linda Sue Owens, Leslie Marie Sankston and Lulu.

Leslie Van Houten’s Overview

  • Name – Leslie Van Houten
  • Age: 79 years
  • Birthday – August 23, 1949
  • Birth Place- Altadena, California, U.S.
  • Nationality – American
  • Father: Paul Van Houten
  • Mother: Jane Van Houten
  • Siblings- 1
  • Spouse– William Syvin
  • Children- A.
  • Zodiac/Sun Sign – Leo
  • Height– 5 feet 4 inches
  • Weight- 57kgs

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Early Life and Family (Parents and Siblings)

  • Houten was born in in the Los Angeles suburb of Altadena on August 23, 1949.
  • Her father’s name is Paul Van Houten and mother is Jane Van Houten. They got divorced when Leslie was just 14.
  • She is of Irish, English, Scottish, Dutch, and German descent.
  • She has an elder brother and two adopted siblings, a brother and a sister.
  • She started smoking Hashish when she was 15 years old and also took LSD and Benzedrine.
  • At 17, she became pregnant after which she was ordered by her mother to abort the child and bury it in the house backyard. As a consequence, she developed intense anger towards her mother.
  • Houten had interest in yoga and took a year-long secretarial course.
  • She started living at commune after she took a year-long course.

Van Houten joining the Manson Family

  • In 1968, Leslie Van Houten moved into the commune with Catherine Share and Bobby Beausoleil with one other woman in Northern California.
  • However, the group broke up after arguments, and Share left to join Charles Manson’s commune and Houten followed her.
  • Manson took them in control and decided when they would eat, sleep, and have sex and with whom.
  • He controlled the intake of LSD and gave his followers more quantity of LSD than he consumed himself.
  • From August 1968, Manson and his followers settled at the Spahn Ranch where they were isolated from other influences.
  • The Manson family was based on the hippie-style principles of acceptance and free love.
  • Barbara Hoyt, one of the members of the Manson family in a hearing stated that Van Houten was considered as a leader in the Manson commune.


  • Van Houten along with Susan Atkins, Tex Watson, , Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel, Clem Grogan and Manson went to the house of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca on August 9, 1979.
  • Manson entered the house with Watson, and then left with Atkins, Kasabian and Grogan.
  • Van Houten, Krenwinkel, and Watson murdered the couple.

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Trial and Re-trials

  • On March 29, 1971, Houten was convicted of murdering LaBianca couple.
  • During the trial, she testified that she had murdered the couple.
  • She became the youngest women in California to be condemned to death and since there was no death row for females, a special unit was made.
  • Past her first trial, Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins were kept in the housing unit of California Institute for Women.
  • However, they were shifted to the general population of California Institute of Women.
  • California Supreme Court in 1972, invalidated all death sentences including her and later turned it into life imprisonment.
  • Her third trial was conducted and ended in 1978 after she was convicted of two murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca and one conspiracy.
  • During life imprisonment, it was said that Houten will be eligible for parole only after she had served seven years in prison.
  • In 1977, Van Houten was granted a retrial after her lawyer died.

Parole Request

  • As per the law of California, life sentences are eligible for parole in some cases and so Van Houten filed for the parole request several times.
  • Despite several requests, Van Houten was denied parole for the 20th time in 2013.
  • In December 2021, the Supreme Court of California died hearing her case another time.
  • On March 29, 2022, Governor Newsom once again overruled her parole after parole board recommended her name.

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TV and Media Portrayals

  • Leslie Van Houten’s parole hearing caught media attention after they were telecasted on Court TV.
  • John Waters, the filmmaker, advocated Van Houten’s parole strongly.
  • Houten also podcasted her story on the Ear Hustle podcast in 2021 in an episode titled ‘Home for Me Really is a Memory’.
  • Cathy Paine first portrayed her role in 1976 TV movie Helter Skelter.
  • Connie Champagne also portrayed Leslie Van Houten in 1989 stage play named ‘The Charlie Manson Story’.
  • In the remake of Helter Skelter, Catherine Wadkins portrayed Leslie Houten.
  • Leslie, My Name is Evil which was released in 2009 is somewhat based on Houten’s early life and the character is portrayed by Kristen Hager.
  • In 2016 movie Manson Girls, Tania Raymonde portrayed Leslie Van Houten.
  • In television documentary Inside the Manson Cult- The Lost Tapes, Leslie was portrayed by Gabrielle Klobucar.
  • In 2018, Hannah Murray portrayed Leslie in the movie Charlie says.
  • Victoria Pedretti also portrayed Leslie Van in the movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

 Reference Link

Leslie Van Houten- FAQs

Who is Leslie Van Houten? 

Leslie Van Houten is the member of the Manson family known for influencing people and making them commit crime.

Did she kill anyone?

Leslie Van was involved in the murders of the LaBianca couple.

Which Manson family members are free?

Steve Clem Grogan

Did Leslie Van Houten get released?

She was not released. Her initial death sentence was changed to life in prison.

Did Leslie Van Houten get paroled 2022?

No, her parole request was denied every time.