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Don't let convicted Manson Family killer Leslie Van Houten out of prison — that was was the message Friday from the sister of slain actress Sharon Tate, who said she’s doing all she can to ensure the former Charles Manson follower dies behind bars.
Debra Tate told NBC News she has delivered 141,000 signatures to California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office asking him to deny Van Houten’s bid for parole after nearly half-a-century in prison.
"I feel very strongly that she should remain behind bars,” Tate said. "It came out at her last parole hearing that she is in communication with Charles Manson.”
Van Houten, who was convicted along with other cult members of the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, was deemed "suitable for parole" in April by the state Board of Parole Hearings.
Van Houten has admitted in earlier interviews that Manson wrote her several times over four decades, but she turned the mail over to the authorities. She has said she never wrote Manson back.
Van Houten, now 66, has been denied parole 19 times. She was not part of the murderous crew that killed Sharon Tate — the wife of Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski — and four others in a rented Benedict Canyon home.
But Tate, who has made it her mission to track all the Manson family members, has been at many of Van Houten’s parole hearings and posted the transcripts on a web site.
At the April parole board hearing, Van Houten said over a 40-year period she’s received just “three missives” from Manson, the last one in 2013, all of which she turned over to her jailers. “His words don’t mean anything to me anymore,” she told the board.
In interviews going back more than a decade, Van Houten has admitted that Manson has written to her and that she’s turned the mail over to the authorities. She has also said that while she was a member of the Manson family she was not one of "Charlie’s Girls" and did not have a sexual relationship with the cult leader.
Earlier this week, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey also asked Brown to deny Van Houten parole.
"She clearly lacks insight, genuine remorse, and an understanding of the magnitude of her crimes," Lacey wrote in the letter dated Friday.
Lacey called Van Houten "an unreasonable risk of danger to society," and insisted she was still under Manson's spell.
"She simply does not see him for the brutal megalomaniac that he is," Lacey wrote, noting that Van Houten has in the past described Manson: as a "myth" and "caricature of horror."
Van Houten's lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer, told The Los Angeles Times Lacey was taking his client's quotes out of context. He said she used those words to describe Manson when asked at a parole board hearing whether the jailed cult leader's name "invokes fear in people."
Described as a model prisoner, Van Houten has repeatedly apologized for her role in the brutal killings and said she was "deeply ashamed" of her crime.
Meanwhile Manson, 81, remains unrepentant. He is serving nine life sentences at Corcoran State Prison in California.