Leslie Van Houten, a disciple of Charles Manson convicted of two murders, was released on parole Tuesday, authorities said.
Van Houten, 73, spent more than five decades in prison.
California Governor Gavin NewsomThe man, who has previously blocked parole attempts, said Friday that he will not challenge Houghton’s release in the state Supreme Court.
An appeals court in May ruled Van Houten eligible for parole, reversing Newsom’s decision to deny parole.
Van Houten was originally sentenced to death for the murders of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca on August 10, 1969.
“The original conviction and death sentence were reversed on appeal and she was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole,” the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.
In 1969, Manson and fellow cult member Charles “Tex” Watson broke into the couple’s home and tied them up.
Manson went outside and told Van Houten and another man to go inside and follow Watson’s directions, according to court records. Watson tells them to kill Rosemary LaBianca and Watson kills Leno LaBianca.
Earlier in the day, Watson and other cult members — not Van Houten — killed actress Sharon Tate and others at her home.
Van Houten was the second of the six Manson cult followers.
Most death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment under a 1972 court ruling that outlawed the death penalty; The death penalty was later reinstated in California.
In 1971, a judge commuted Steve “Clem” Grogan’s death sentence to life imprisonment for different reasons, and he was paroled in 1985.
Manson died in hospital in 2017 while serving a life sentence. Watson lives in prison. Susan Adkins died in prison in 2009, and Patricia Grenwinkel is serving a life sentence.
Others were convicted but not sentenced to death.
A relative of one of the people killed by the Manson Family in the 1960s, who regularly attended parole hearings for cult members, called Van Houten’s release a failure of the parole system.
“Every governor since Arnold Schwarzenegger has revoked the paroles of the Manson killers,” said Kay Martley, 86, whose cousin Gary Hinman was tortured and killed by Manson supporters on July 27, 1969.
Van Houten did not kill Hinman. Bobby Beausoleil is serving a life sentence for Hinman’s murder.
“Newsom is allowing the Justice Department to override his parole authority, which affects not only the five Manson killers, but the state as well,” Martley said.
Newsom’s office announced Friday that it would not seek review at the state Supreme Court, saying the court was unlikely to take the case.
And Newsom’s office said the appeal is unlikely to succeed.