Opinion: Welcoming a Manson family member to the neighborhood

A California review board recommended parole for Leslie Van Houten, who was convicted in the 1969 killings of a grocer and his wife.
(Los Angeles Times; Nick Ut / Associated Press)

To the editor: Regarding the possible parole of Leslie Van Houten, I would welcome her to move into the apartment next door to me. (Re “Prosecutor opposes parole for Manson family member,” June 29) I would feel perfectly safe and happy; I’m quite certain she would be a more considerate neighbor than most. And if Patricia Krenwinkel were to join her at a later date, that would be fine with me. They are several decades beyond posing any concern — and to continue such oppression is a horror.

I would not welcome L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey to move in next door; I don’t need people who would advocate and spout hate-mongering distortions, and all for purposes of manipulation and political gain, as she has in her letter to Gov. Jerry Brown. I would feel in jeopardy with a neighbor like that.

Kudos to your writer Matt Hamilton for the rare story pointing out the distortions we usually hear about anyone’s parole hearing. His article should be used as an example in journalism classes.


Kevin FitzMaurice, Los Angeles


To the editor: Lacey’s letter to Gov. Brown urging him to deny parole for former Manson “family” member Leslie Van Houten is not only irresponsible, but also pandering, dishonest and transparently political. Lacey knows that the gravity of Van Houten’s crime is improper grounds to deny her parole, so she resorts to underhanded tactics to support her position.

By insisting that Van Houten “lacks insight, genuine remorse and an understanding of the magnitude of her crimes,” Lacey speciously offers up the relevant terminology that can justify a denial of parole, but, in so doing, recklessly ignores a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

It is disheartening to see a senior member of law enforcement go to such extreme measures to circumvent the parole system, and to grossly misrepresent facts and testimony in the process.

Mike Cavalluzzi, Los Angeles

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