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Manson follower’s possible release frustrates victim’s family

Decades of frustration in the legal system continued Tuesday for Anthony DiMaria and his family when a California appeals court ruled that Charles Manson cult follower Leslie Van Houten should be paroled.

According to The Associated Press, the 2-1 ruling overturned an earlier decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who rejected parole for Van Houten in 2020. Van Houten’s five previous parole recommendations had been blocked by Newsom and former Gov. Jerry Brown.

“At the parole hearings it’s been very disheartening and difficult to hear the inmate and her attorneys talk about how she was a follower of Manson. How she was a victim of Manson,” DiMaria said. “She was no follower, nor is she a victim of Charles Manson. She’s a cold-blooded killer in one of the most notorious, violent, rampages in American history.”

DiMaria’s uncle, Jay Sebring, was killed Aug. 9, 1969, along with actress Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski and Steve Parent. Sebring, who was a celebrity hair stylist, was shot and stabbed seven times.

Newsom could request the California attorney general petition the California Supreme Court to stop her release, The Associated Press reported.

Van Houten is currently serving a life sentence.

“To say the appellate court’s decision is a travesty of justice is a perverse understatement. And, it is sadly not unexpected,” DiMaria said. “For decades our families have experienced inconceivable twists and turns in numerous parole hearings and in California’s justice system.”

DiMaria, a Las Vegas native, directed the 2020 documentary “Jay Sebring … Cutting to the Truth” which tells the story of his uncle’s life and legacy.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.

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