The state Board of Parole Hearings on Tuesday denied a request for “compassionate release” to Charles Manson follower and convicted murderer Susan Atkins who is dying of brain cancer.
In the summer of 1969, Atkins stabbed to death a pregnant Sharon Tate a gruesome 16 times at Tate’s Benedict Canyon mansion. After killing Tate, prosecutors said Atkins tasted the actress' blood and used it to scrawl “PIG” on her front door. On that dreadful August 9 night, the Manson Family also killed Abigail Ann Folger, Voytek Frykowski, Steven R. Parent, and Jay Sebring.
The following day, members of the Manson family – excluding Atkins – bludgeoned to death Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary at their home in the Los Feliz hills. Atkins, then 22, was convicted of killing Tate and music teacher Gary Hinman. Charles Manson, Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten were soon charged with the other grisly murders.
The California Board of Parole voted unanimously to deny 60-year-old Atkins' request for a court hearing in Los Angeles that could have allowed her to die outside the custody of the California prison system. The 90-minute hearing included testimony from Atkins’ niece, brother and husband/attorney James Whitehouse as well as victim family members.
Atkins was originally sentenced to death but her sentence was commuted to life in prison when the United States Supreme Court established new requirements for the death penalty in 1971.
Manson had preached of an apocalyptic race war he said was predicted in the Beatles song “Helter Skelter.” His followers including Atkins believed they would eventually control the United States — if they performed heinous crimes for Manson.
The California Institute for Women – where Atkins was housed for 37 years – approved her request for “compassionate release,” but was denied by California’s director of adult prisons.
As it stands now, the process is effectively over, making it likely that the former waitress and topless dancer will die in her Southern California hospital room at taxpayers expense far away from the prison cell where she was housed for so many years.
Since her hospitalization on March 18, Atkins’ medical expenses have totaled $1,153,276. Her medical guarding costs have reached approximately $308,448 according to prison officials.