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June 13, 2008

Manson Cult Killer Atkins May Be Released

Susan Atkins, the member of the Manson Cult found guilty of the Sharon Tate murders may be freed as a "compassionate release" due to illness.

Bloomberg reports.

Atkins, 59, who is in a hospital near the California Institute for Women in Corona, has been denied parole 11 times since the two-night spree in 1969 in which the actress and six other people were killed, AP said. She was sentenced to life in prison.    

California corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton had no details of Atkins's illness, AP said. Thornton said the parole request must be reviewed by the Corrections Department and then the state Board of Parole and prisoners must have family members willing to care for them, AP said. Such ``compassionate releases'' are rare, with one in six approved last year.

AP has a similar report.

Atkins, 59, is terminally ill and being considered for so-called "compassionate release," state corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said. She gave no details of Atkins' illness, but said a doctor had determined she had less than six months to live.

The corrections department was reviewing the request, which if approved would then be passed to the state Board of Parole which has the power to release Atkins under state law so they can die with loved ones, at their expense.

Such releases are relatively rare — only 10 of the 60 requests made last year were granted, Thornton said. The prisoners must have family members willing and able to care for them.

Ap also has more to say on the crimes she was found guilty of committing, and her prison history.

Atkins, now a gray-haired, matronly looking woman, was one of cult leader Manson's ersatz hippie "family" of young killers who burst into a Beverly Hills home 39 years ago and killed Tate, the pregnant wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski, along with four others. The following night they stabbed to death a wealthy couple in their Los Angeles home.

Atkins has been denied parole 11 times, most recently in 2005.

She was housed in the California Institution for Women in Corona for 37 years, but has been in a nearby hospital since March.

Do I agree with releasing her? I don't know, a part of me says that we should show compassion, if only to prove we are not as bad as those we punish.

      

June 13, 2008 | Permalink

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