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Woman who was nearly victim to Charles Manson's cult believes Leslie Van Houten shouldn't be released from jail

Woman who was nearly victim to Charles Manson's cult believes Leslie Van Houten shouldn't be released from jail

Charles Manson acolyte Leslie Van Houten was recently released from prison, but Ava Roosevelt doesn't believe she's fit for release

A woman who nearly became a victim of the Manson Family has spoken out after the youngest member of the murderous cult was released from prison.

Ava Roosevelt was invited over to film director Roman Polanski and actor Sharon Tate’s house on the night that the Manson Family invaded and murdered the pregnant Tate.

In the end, Roosevelt needed to get petrol for her car and was delayed, which is lucky for her, as the acolytes of Charles Manson broke in and killed Tate, right in the middle of a rampage that saw them leave a trail of blood and mayhem around Los Angeles during July and August 1969.

Leslie Van Houten was just 19-years-old when she joined the commune set up by Manson.

Leslie Van Houten arriving at court.
Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection at the UCLA Library/Wikimedia Commons

On 9 August, 1969, Manson told four family members to go to Cielo Drive, where Tate and Polanski lived, and kill everyone there.

Polanski was not home, but the five people who were in the house were murdered, before seven more Manson Family members killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the following night.

These are just some of the crimes committed by the cult members, with more suspected.

Now, Van Houten has been released on parole supervision, and Roosevelt - after almost falling victim to the family herself - described it as a ‘sad day’.

Even after 53 years in prison, where she served a sentence for two counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, Roosevelt does not believe that Van Houten can truly have been rehabilitated.

“I don’t believe a person that’s capable of committing such a heinous crime can ever be rehabilitated, that kind of thing is ingrained in your DNA,” she said.

Leslie Van Houten in 1999.
California Department of Corrections

“It’s a sad day for me, it really is, because I don’t think justice has been served for Sharon and the other victims at all.”

During the trial, Van Houten admitted to holding down Rosemary LaBianca with a pillowcase and stabbing her multiple times.

She was originally sentenced to death, but the California Supreme Court rendered that verdict unconstitutional and sentenced her to life imprisonment.

She’s since been released to a transition house, where she will learn basic skills of the modern day that have advanced during her time inside.

Her lawyer believes that she is ready for release, telling Reuters: “She was a model prisoner from the day she entered prison.

“She’s been involved in therapy for 40 years. She just, she’s really a different person.”

Roosevelt does not agree, however.

Charles Manson.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

She continued: “Sharon didn’t get to live the full life she was supposed to, so why should any of them?

“I’m angry.

“I think [Van Houten] should’ve stayed in there until her day comes and have to think about what she did, not just to the people who died but to the lives of their families and friends that they also destroyed.

“It’s not right.

“I don’t know if she’s mentally prepared to be free at this point, but I think she definitely still poses a threat to society and I don’t think she should’ve been given a chance to even try to adjust to the outside world.

“As a society, we have to set some standards about what you can’t get away with. I don’t care if she was in prison for 53 years.

“She still has the ability to watch television, to talk to people, and this was not a privilege awarded to Sharon and those others who perished.”

Featured Image Credit: California Department of Corrections / Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Topics: US News, Crime, True Crime