Former Manson follower Susan Atkins (May 7, 1948 – September 24, 2009) died in prison this morning of brain cancer. Terry Thornton with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a released statement that Atkins died at 11:46 p.m. PT Thursday (2:46 a.m. Friday ET) at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.
Atkins was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer in 2008 . She was fefused parole last month and was the California’s longest-serving female inmate since entering jail in 1971 for taking part in 1969 in a killing spree, as part of the “Manson Family”, which left seven dead, including an eight-month pregnant Sharon Tate, an actress married to acclaimded film director Roman Polanski. In a 1993 parole board hearing, Atkins said Tate “asked me to let her baby live. … I told her I didn’t have any mercy on her.”
Since her incarceration, as well as all other former Manson’s followers, she turned against Charles Manson, “He is a liar, a con artist, a physical abuser of women and children, a psychological and emotional abuser of human beings, a thief, a dope pusher, a kidnaper, a child stealer, a pimp, a rapist and a child molester,” she wrote in a manuscript posted on her Web site. In prison, according to her husband James Whitehouse, who maintains the website, she became a born-again Christian who worked to help at-risk youth, victims of violent crimes and homeless children, among others.
Photo: California Department of Corrections