Leslie Van Houten

When I heard Leslie Van Houten was granted parole I had a weird reaction, startled, then a chill. Completely unnerved for a moment. But then we live on Waverly Drive, and so did the LaBiancas, and the Manson Family’s visit on August 10, 1969 is by far the most famous thing that every happened on Waverly Drive, and if you live on this street long enough you’ve thought about it a lot, when you drive along that stretch, or when someone asks, or whenever a parole hearing comes up. Now a 67 year old murderess gets out–though all she did was stab a dead lady, over and over and over–and there is not a person on Waverly Drive that doesn’t wonder for a ridiculous second if she will come back here, as if she could do anything at all. Still, though, there was a momentary chill, and memories of all the homicidal craziness that followed in the seventies and eighties, from the Zodiac to Son of Sam to the Night Stalker, a golden age of psycho killers. Now one harmless old lady is released, dues paid, and it bothered me. How odd.
Leslie Van Houten3

Leslie Van Houten, 1970

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