I recently wrote the following letter for my friend Leslie Van Houten to present to the California Parole board.
Board of Parole Hearings June 28, 2010
There is a Child of God sitting in one of your prisons. She has been there for over forty years. I believe Leslie Van Houten has served sufficient time for her crime and has paid her debt to society. Any further punishment would be only an act of revenge.
I am a murder victim family member and I know the pain and suffering that family members feel. My grandmother, Ruth Pelke, was brutally murdered in 1985. I understand the pain, anger and hate that a murder victim’s family member can feel. I also understand the desire for revenge. I have come to learn however that revenge is never the answer and the desire for such only delays the healing process.
I believe that when a person does change for good, it should be recognized. Leslie Van Houten is no longer a threat to society. I believe that when she is paroled she will continue helping others as she has done during her incarceration.
At nineteen years of age, under the influence of a cult leader, Leslie committed a terrible crime. A life was lost. Now, at over 60 years of age, Leslie has lost most of her life. Let her go now or you will be injecting only the element of revenge, because her sin has been paid for.
And I believe my Father God would want His Child Leslie to be set free.
William R. Pelke
Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing.
(For identification purposes only, not necessarily the opinion of the Organization)
Leslie’s parole was once again denied as the following youtube link shows.