Leslie Van Houten was 19 years old when she met Charles Manson and joined the sect that came to be called the "Manson family." (Credit: Stan Lim/Pool/Los Angeles Daily News/AP/File)

(CNN) -- Leslie Van Houten, a longtime Charles Manson supporter convicted of murder, was released from a California jail Tuesday, a prison spokeswoman told CNN.

Van Houten was released on conditional supervision, according to Mary Xjimenez, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He will have a maximum probation term of three years, with a review after one year, she said.

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Van Houten, now 70, was 19 when he met Manson and joined the murderous cult that came to be called the "Manson family."

Before her release Tuesday, she was serving concurrent sentences of seven years to life in prison after being convicted in 1971 for her role in the murders of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, at their Los Angeles home.

CNN reached out to Van Houten's attorney for comment.


California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office announced Friday that it would not challenge a state appeals court panel's ruling in May that opened the possibility of parole for Van Houten, clearing the way for his release.

"More than 50 years after the Manson cult committed these brutal crimes, the families of the victims continue to feel the impact, as do all Californians. Governor Newsom has revoked Ms. Van Houten's parole three times since taking office and defended his stance against challenges to those decisions in court," Erin Mellon, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a statement Friday.

"The Governor is disappointed by the Court of Appeals' decision to release Ms. Van Houten, but will not take further action as efforts to appeal are unlikely to succeed. The California Supreme Court accepts appeals in very few cases, and generally does not select cases based on this type of specific fact-finding," the statement added.

Van Houten and his team were "excited" about the announcement, Nancy Tetreault, an attorney for the Manson family member, told CNN on Friday.

After 53 years behind bars, Van Houten will participate in a transitional housing program to help her with job training, teach her how to get a job and support herself, Tetreault told CNN last week.

"If you think about it, he's never used an ATM, he's never had a mobile phone," Tetreault said. The lawyer told CNN that she and her client talked about the likelihood that she would feel overwhelmed when she returned to everyday activities, such as going to the grocery store.

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Following her conviction, Van Houten was sentenced to death, but capital punishment was overturned after California abolished it, and her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was first granted parole in 1977 and a California parole board panel first recommended his release in 2016, after he appeared 22 times before the board, CNN reported.

That decision, however, was blocked five times by the state's governors: twice by former Gov. Jerry Brown, who cited the horrific nature of the killings and Van Houten's enthusiastic turnout, and three times by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In 1994, Van Houten described his involvement in the murders in a prison interview with CNN's Larry King.

"I walked in and Ms. LaBianca was lying on the ground and I stabbed her," said Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the killings. "In the lower back, about 16 times."

Natasha Chen and Virginia Langmaid, both from CNN, contributed to this report.

CaliforniaCharles MansonManson Family