Susan Atkins, one of the members of the Charles Manson “family,” convicted for the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others, has been denied a compassionate release from prison. She was originally sentenced to death but that sentence was changed to life in prison in 1972 when the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in California. She is the longest-serving female inmate in California—in prison since 1971 and denied parole 11 times. Atkins is now terminally ill. To me, life in prison means life in prison. I’m sorry if that seems cold-hearted, but Atkins had no mercy for Tate, her unborn baby, or the others who were brutally killed on August 9, 1969.
Excerpted from cnn.com…
According to historical accounts of the murder, Atkins stabbed Tate, who was eight months pregnant, and scrawled the word “pig” in blood on the door of the home the actress shared with director Roman Polanski.
By her own admission, Atkins held Tate down and rejected her pleas for mercy, stabbing the pregnant woman 16 times.
Atkins’ request roused long-dormant memories of the two-day killing spree that terrorized Los Angeles and left seven people dead. It polarized those who were involved in the case — and even those who weren’t — over whether she should die behind bars.
Atkins told a 1993 parole board that Tate pleaded for her unborn child’s life as she held her down.
“She asked me to let her baby live,” Atkins said. “… I told her I didn’t have any mercy on her.”
…Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Atkins and other members of the Manson Family, said he supported her release, if only to save the state money. Through Monday, the cost for Atkins’ medical care since she was hospitalized March 18 totaled more than $1.15 million, and the costs for guarding her hospital room are more than $308,000, said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton.
Terminally ill inmates rarely are allowed compassionate release, records show. In 2007, 60 such requests were made to the department, Thornton has said. Ten were approved.
I was 10-years-old when this happened and I remember being afraid when I read the story in the newspaper—even though I didn’t live in L.A. Years later when I was an adult, I read the book, Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, the story still scared the hell outta me. The cold way that Susan Aktins described the killings is just unbelievable. I understand that releasing her now will save the state of California some money, but life in prison means life in prison.