In a unanimous decision by the California Board of Parole, terminally ill Susan Atkins will not be allowed a compassionate release. Atkins, now 60, is serving a life sentence for her role in eight murders stemming from role in the 1969 Manson Family rampage. Charles Manson and his followers committed nine murders at four California locations over a five week period. Atkins, who was known to the other family members as Sadie Mae Glutz, was initially sentenced to death but this was later commuted to life imprisonment. She has been serving her sentence since October 1, 1969 and has been denied parole twelve times.
Despite her diagnosis of terminal brain cancer and having only months to live, the board reported that she did not show significant remorse for her crimes, including the murder of actress Sharon Tate who was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time. Supporters of Atkins' release argued unsuccessfully that the financial costs of her medical care in prison for the remainder of her life would likely cost the state $1.4 million. Family and friends argued that her good behaviour while incarcerated indicated that she was reformed.
"She has without a doubt paid her debt to society," said her niece, Sharisse Atkins, 17. "You see her as part of the Manson family. I see her as part of our family. I hope you can find it in your heart to do the right thing."
Family members of the Manson victims also attended the hearing and the graphic testimony concerning their pain and loss carried the day.