Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Leslie Van Houten

Director John Waters is in favor of the parole of his friend Leslie Van Houten, one of Charles Manson's followers, sentenced to death (later reduced to life in prison) for her part in the Manson Family's 1969 murder spree. Up for parole for the 17th time, Van Houten, now 60, is described by supporters and prison staff as a model prisoner. She is a college tutor and is studying for a master's degree in humanities. In 40 years, she has never had an infraction on her prison record. Waters became friends with Van Houten over a span of 28 years. He describes her as a 17-year-old hippie who "met one of the most dangerous madmen in history." He says she feels horror and complete shame and has spend 40 years becoming the person she would have become if she had not met Manson. "I understand the victims' outrage," he tells ABC News. "... I taught in prison. I believe people can get better. - Elizabeth Snead

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