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Parole denied for Manson follower


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Release denied for dying Charles Manson follower

By DON THOMPSON 3 hours ago

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Nearly 40 years ago, Susan Atkins was a leading character in one of the most horrific chapters in California history.

On Tuesday, the former follower of Charles Manson sought to end her story on her own terms: by being allowed to go home. The state parole board denied that request.

Atkins, convicted in the slayings of actress Sharon Tate and others in 1969, is dying of brain cancer and asked that she be granted compassionate release from prison. She wants to spend her final months surrounded by family and friends, not prison guards.

"Susan has served a life sentence," Virginia Seals, Atkins' sister-in-law, said in arguing that the state's longest-serving female inmate be freed. "This is about her death."

In a unanimous decision, the California Board of Parole Hearings denied the request Tuesday. Her lawyer said he has filed a separate motion in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking his client's release, anyway.

Los Angeles County prosecutor Patrick Sequeira said the board made the right decision. He informed Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate, and two other family members of the victims.

"They are both relieved and pleased with the decision," Sequeira said. "It obviously doesn't take away the pain for them."

Through 90 minutes of testimony in a packed hearing room, the two sides of California justice played out against the backdrop of one of the nation's most infamous crimes.

Atkins has been serving her punishment for the slayings, but did she a 60-year-old woman who has spent nearly her entire adult life in prison deserve a brief, final show of compassion from the state?

Prosecutors and surviving members of the victims' families were emphatic that Atkins did not.

Anthony Di Maria, the nephew of Jay Sebring, who was killed along with Tate, said the families were left with scars that have never healed.

"Ms. Atkins can die with dignity," Di Maria told the parole board. "You'll hear nothing from the nine people in their graves who died horrendous deaths at the hands of Susan Atkins."

Atkins, Manson and two other cult members, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, were tried for the August 1969 cult killings of Tate, Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Steven Parent, as well as Leno and Rosemary La Bianca a night later. Tate, the wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski, was 8 1/2 months pregnant.

The Manson cult also was involved in another slaying about a week-and-a-half earlier. Manson and the two other women remain in state prison.

Atkins was the one who stabbed Tate to death, saying she killed her to silence the actress's pleas to spare her unborn baby. After the slaying, Atkins tasted Tate's blood and used it to write the word "Pig" on the victim's door. She claimed she was on LSD at the time of the murders, but did not apologize until a parole hearing years later.

Atkins' doctors and officials at the women's prison in Corona made the request for her compassionate release in March because of her deteriorating health.

Her husband, James Whitehouse, had argued that his wife was so debilitated that she could not even sit up in bed. He told the parole board there was no longer a reason to keep her incarcerated.

"She literally can't snap her fingers," he said. "She can put sentences together three or four times a day, but that's the extent of it."

Atkins, in a hospital near the Southern California prison where she was housed for nearly 40 years, did not attend Tuesday's hearing.

Atkins has spent 37 years in the California Institution for Women, where she has been held longer than any other female inmate in state history, arriving five days before Krenwinkel.

She was transferred to the hospital in March.

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Tate begged for her child's life, pleading that the group abduct Tate and let her give birth before murdering her. Atkins testified that she replied to Tate, "Look, bit.ch, I have no mercy for you. You're going to die and you'd better get used to it." Atkins and Watson then stabbed her to death. Atkins mopped up some of Tate's blood with a towel and used it to write "PIG" on the front door.

She didn't have any mercy on poor Sharon Tate. So why on earth would she think that anyone consider mercy for her sick azz?

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Guest Gritz

Ditto to the sentiments of all of the above posts.....There are a lot of people for whom I could muster up some empathy.....

Susan Atkins isn't one of them.

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Anansi (7/16/2008)
She is lucky that she got to spend the rest of her life in jail. There are a lot of people who would have got the chair for what they did to those people. Sorry I wouldn't let her out either.

Their original sentence was death until it got considered "cruel and unusual" in California and then reduced to life.  Isn't it something now that the death penalty was reinstated that their original sentence wasn't reinstated as well?

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capologist (7/16/2008)
Anansi (7/16/2008)
She is lucky that she got to spend the rest of her life in jail. There are a lot of people who would have got the chair for what they did to those people. Sorry I wouldn't let her out either.

Their original sentence was death until it got considered "cruel and unusual" in California and then reduced to life.  Isn't it something now that the death penalty was reinstated that their original sentence wasn't reinstated as well?

Knowing California and the ACLU, they probably figured that if they did reinstate their original death sentences, then that would be considered "cruel and unusual".

Why that state hasn't fallen into the sea yet baffles me.

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capologist (7/16/2008)
Anansi (7/16/2008)
She is lucky that she got to spend the rest of her life in jail. There are a lot of people who would have got the chair for what they did to those people. Sorry I wouldn't let her out either.

Their original sentence was death until it got considered "cruel and unusual" in California and then reduced to life.  Isn't it something now that the death penalty was reinstated that their original sentence wasn't reinstated as well?

Because she had already been tried, convicted and the sentence changed it was decided that this would be double jepordy. That's the only reason Mason hasn't been fried.

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capologist (7/16/2008)
Anansi (7/16/2008)
She is lucky that she got to spend the rest of her life in jail. There are a lot of people who would have got the chair for what they did to those people. Sorry I wouldn't let her out either.

Their original sentence was death until it got considered "cruel and unusual" in California and then reduced to life.  Isn't it something now that the death penalty was reinstated that their original sentence wasn't reinstated as well?

Yeah that is kind of strange,

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gritzblitz56 (7/16/2008)
If you want an idea of how much a murdering scumbag Ms. Atkins and her cohorts are, I recommend the book "Helter Skelter" by Vincent Bugliosi.

As far as I'm concerned, they all have lived 39 years longer than they should have. None are owed anything else.

From the author

Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Atkins and other members of the Manson Family, later stated that he supported her release only to save the state money. The cost for Atkins' medical care since she was hospitalized on March 18, 2008 has reportedly surpassed $1.15 million with additional cost of over $300,000 to guard her hospital room."[19]

FYI her current husband is a lawyer and he would end up with all the bills.

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greyhawk (7/16/2008)
gritzblitz56 (7/16/2008)
If you want an idea of how much a murdering scumbag Ms. Atkins and her cohorts are, I recommend the book "Helter Skelter" by Vincent Bugliosi.

As far as I'm concerned, they all have lived 39 years longer than they should have. None are owed anything else.

From the author

Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Atkins and other members of the Manson Family, later stated that he supported her release only to save the state money. The cost for Atkins' medical care since she was hospitalized on March 18, 2008 has reportedly surpassed $1.15 million with additional cost of over $300,000 to guard her hospital room."[19]

FYI her current husband is a lawyer and he would end up with all the bills.

I do not agree with Bugliosi that a convicted mass murderer should be released just because she presumably has the ability to pay for her own healthcare.

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Her husband, James Whitehouse, had argued that his wife was so debilitated that she could not even sit up in bed. He told the parole board there was no longer a reason to keep her incarcerated.

"She literally can't snap her fingers," he said. "She can put sentences together three or four times a day, but that's the extent of it

You mean she's reaping what she sowed finally.  And it only took forty years.  Trust me! She ain't seen nothing yet!

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