Friday, September 25, 2009
Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins dies
By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch, Ap Special Correspondent Fri Sep 25, 8:26 am ET
LOS ANGELES – Susan Atkins, a follower of cult leader Charles Manson whose remorseless witness stand confession to killing pregnant actress Sharon Tate in 1969 shocked the world, has died. She was 61 and had been suffering from brain cancer.
Atkins' death comes less than a month after a parole board turned down the terminally ill woman's last chance at freedom on Sept. 2. She was brought to the hearing on a gurney and slept through most of it.
California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said that Atkins died late Thursday night. She had been diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008, had a leg amputated and was given only a few months to live.
She underwent brain surgery, and in her last months was paralyzed and had difficulty speaking. But she managed to speak briefly at the Sept. 2 hearing, reciting religious verse with the help of her husband, attorney James Whitehouse.
She had been transferred to a skilled nursing facility at the California Central Women's Facility at Chowchilla exactly one year before she died.
Tate, the 26-year-old actress who appeared in the movie "Valley of the Dolls" and was the wife of famed director Roman Polanski, was one of seven murdered in two Los Angeles homes during the Manson cult's bloody rampage in August 1969.
Atkins was the first of the convicted killers to die. Manson and three others involved in the murders — Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Charles "Tex" Watson — remain imprisoned under life sentences. Thornton said that at the time of Atkins death she had been in prison longer than any woman currently incarcerated in California.
Atkins, who confessed from the witness stand during her trial, had apologized for her acts numerous times over the years. But 40 years after the murders, she learned that few had forgotten or forgiven what she and other members of the cult had done.
Debra Tate, the slain actress's younger sister, told the parole commissioners Sept. 2 that she "will pray for (Atkins') soul when she draws her last breath, but until then I think she should remain in this controlled situation." Debra Tate noted that she would have a 40-year-old nephew if her sister had lived.
Atkins' prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, had spoken out earlier in favor of release, saying the mercy requested was "minuscule" because Atkins was on her deathbed.
Atkins and her co-defendants were originally sentenced to death but their sentences were reduced to life in prison when capital punishment was briefly outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1970s.
During the sensational 10-month trial, Atkins, Manson and co-defendants Krenwinkel and Van Houten maintained their innocence. But once they were convicted, the so-called "Manson girls" confessed in graphic detail.
They tried to absolve Manson, the ex-convict who had gathered a "family" of dropouts and runaways to a ranch outside Los Angeles, where he cast himself as the Messiah and led them in an aberrant lifestyle fueled by drugs and communal sex.
Watson had a separate trial and was convicted.
One night in August 1969, Manson dispatched Atkins and others to a wealthy residential section of Los Angeles, telling them, as they recalled, to "do something witchy."
They went to the home of Tate and her husband. He was not home, but Tate, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and four others were killed. "Pigs" was scrawled on a door in blood.
The next night, a wealthy grocer and his wife were found stabbed to death in their home across town. "Helter Skelter" was written in blood on the refrigerator.
"I was stoned, man, stoned on acid," Atkins testified during the trial's penalty phase.
"I don't know how many times I stabbed (Tate) and I don't know why I stabbed her," she said. "She kept begging and pleading and begging and pleading and I got sick of listening to it, so I stabbed her."
She said she felt "no guilt for what I've done. It was right then and I still believe it was right." Asked how it could be right to kill, she replied in a dreamy voice, "How can it not be right when it's done with love?"
The matronly, gray-haired Atkins who appeared before a parole board in 2000 cut a far different figure than that of the cocky young defendant some 30 years earlier.
"I don't have to just make amends to the victims and families," she said softly. "I have to make amends to society. I sinned against God and everything this country stands for." She said she had found redemption in Christianity.
The last words she spoke in public at the September hearing were to say in unison with her husband: "My God is an amazing God."
She spent 37 years in the California Institution for Women at Frontera. When she fell ill, she was moved to a medical unit at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. She died there.
Susan Denise Atkins was born May 7, 1948, in the Los Angeles suburb of San Gabriel. Her mother was stricken with cancer and died when she was 15. Her father, reportedly an alcoholic, sent her and her brother to live with relatives.
While still in her teens, she ran away to San Francisco where she wound up dancing in a topless bar and using drugs. She moved into a commune in the Haight Ashbury district and it was there that she met Manson.
He gave her a cult name, Sadie Mae Glutz, and, when she became pregnant by a "family" member, he helped deliver the baby boy, naming it Zezozoze Zadfrack. His whereabouts are unknown.
The Manson slayings remained unsolved for three months, until Atkins confessed to a cellmate following her arrest on an unrelated charge. Police found Manson and other cult members living in a ranch commune in Death Valley, outside Los Angeles.
Besides Tate, their other victims were celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, filmmaker Voityck Frykowski and Steven Parent, a friend of Tate's caretaker; and grocery owners Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Atkins also was convicted with Manson of still another murder, of musician Gary Hinman, in July 1969.
Atkins married twice while in prison. Her first husband, Donald Lee Laisure, purported to be an eccentric Texas millionaire. They quickly divorced. Whitehouse, her second husband, is a Harvard Law School graduate and had recently served as one of her attorneys.
Monday, September 07, 2009
I cannot embed this because the Youtube guy who illegally posted it doesn't allow it. Not sure why. Probably retarded. You can start watching it
Now we can play the same game of obviousness- I'll start and you can finish in the comments....
1- BUG jumps in to make sure Linda sticks to the script
2- Linda stays in disguise for no reason
3- Linda's new story makes her a worse accessory than ever
4- Even addled Larry thinks she should have done something and been charged.
5- Debra now has a full on fantasy about her involvement, with no mention of being disowned by her family and refusing a proper burial for her father.
6- Another hour wasted
Southern California -- this just in
Manson follower Susan Atkins loses 13th attempt at freedom -- and it may be her last
September 3, 2009 | 8:16 am
Thirteen times, Manson family member Susan Atkins has asked to be released from prison. And 13 times, the parole board has denied her request.
The latest denial came Wednesday, when the state parole board voted unanimously to deny one of Charles Manson’s fiercest followers her request for “compassionate release” so she could die at home.
Dying of cancer, this might have been her last attempt at freedom, which has met with strong resistance.
“As sad as Mrs. Atkins looks today, it pales against the crime scene photos,” said Patrick Sequeira, an L.A. County deputy district attorney who has opposed the release of the Manson killers at several hearings.
Atkins, 61, has only months to live, doctors say. The issue of mercy has long dogged Atkins. Nearly 40 years ago, actress Sharon Tate begged the knife-wielding killer to spare her life and that of her unborn child. “She asked me to let her baby live,” Atkins told parole officials in 1993. “I told her I didn’t have mercy for her.”
On Wednesday night, the parole board, meeting at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, had little mercy for Atkins, who slept on a gurney for much of a hearing that began in the early afternoon.
It was the same result as last year when, despite the presence of a number of supporters and the approval of the prosecutor who put her behind bars, the 12-member California Board of Parole unanimously voted to deny Atkins’ release.
She is serving a life sentence for the slaying of Tate, 26, who was 8 1/2 months' pregnant, and musician Gary Hinman.
She has served 38 years in prison, longer than any other female in the state. The victims’ relatives and supporters opposed Atkins’ release, saying she showed no mercy on Aug. 9, 1969, when she and other Manson followers entered a hilltop Benedict Canyon home and murdered the five people.
A former topless dancer who used to sing in her church choir, Atkins was one of Manson’s most loyal disciples.
After fatally stabbing Tate, prosecutors said, Atkins tasted the actress’ blood and used it to write “PIG” on the front door of the home.
During her trial, which took more than nine months, Atkins seemed to show no remorse and maintained utter devotion to Manson, whom she called “Jesus Christ,” “the devil” and “the soul.”
During sentencing, she taunted the court, saying, “You’d best lock your doors and watch your own kids.”
Atkins is now considered a model prisoner known for helping others. She has been married to an Orange County attorney for 21 years.
In recent years, she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. One of her legs has been amputated and the other is paralyzed, authorities said.
Some of her supporters have argued that releasing Atkins would save the state substantial amounts of money in medical and prison expenses.
Former Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi said it was time for the state to show Atkins mercy. He told The Times last year that it was wrong to say “just because Susan Atkins showed no mercy to her victims, we therefore are duty-bound to follow her inhumanity and show no mercy to her.”
“She’s already paid substantially for her crime, close to 40 years behind bars. She has terminal cancer. The mercy she was asking for is so minuscule. She’s about to die. It’s not like we’re going to see her down at Disneyland,” said Bugliosi, who wrote the best-selling book “Helter Skelter.”
Atkins was first denied parole in 1976. She will be eligible to go before the parole board again in 2012, but doctors say it’s unlikely she’ll live that long. As she lay on a gurney, death seemed to be on Atkins’ mind. She read from Psalm 23 with her husband, James Whitehouse.
But family members of those killed by Atkins and other members of the Manson clan said she should die behind bars.
“I will pray for her soul when she draws her last breath,” said Debra Tate, the sister of Sharon Tate.
During a parole board hearing last year in Sacramento, supporters of Atkins spoke for more than 90 minutes, offering glowing testimonials of her transformation into a decent human being. But even though they were outnumbered then, family and friends of the Manson victims offered haunting portraits of the pain left in the wake of the killings, and of Atkins’ unmerciful response to Tate as she pleaded with the killer.
-- Richard Winton, Hector Becerra and special correspondent Ann Ellis reporting from Chowchilla
Southern California -- this just in
Manson follower Susan Atkins denied parole
September 2, 2009 | 9:12 pm
Atkins For the second time in as many years, a state parole board voted Wednesday to deny one of Charles Manson’s fiercest followers her request for a “compassionate release” from prison so she can die at home.
Convicted murderer Susan Atkins, 61, is terminally ill with cancer and has only months to live, doctors say. The issue of mercy has long dogged Atkins. Nearly 40 years ago, actress Sharon Tate begged the knife-wielding Atkins to spare her life and that of her unborn child.
“She asked me to let her baby live,” Atkins told parole officials in 1993. “I told her I didn’t have mercy for her.”
On Wednesday night, the parole board meeting at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla had little mercy for Atkins, who slept on a gurney for much of a hearing that began in the early afternoon.
The result was the same as last year when, despite the presence of a number of supporters and the approval of the prosecutor who put her behind bars, the 12-member California Board of Parole unanimously voted to deny Atkins’ release.
Atkins is serving a life sentence for the slaying of 26-year-old Tate, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and musician Gary Hinman. She has served 38 years in prison, longer than any other female in California.
The victims’ relatives and supporters opposed Atkins’ release, saying she showed no mercy Aug. 9, 1969, when she and other young followers of Manson entered a hilltop Benedict Canyon mansion and murdered the five people.
A former topless dancer who used to sing in her church choir, Atkins was one of Manson’s most loyal disciples. After fatally stabbing Tate, prosecutors said, Atkins tasted the actress’ blood and used it to write "PIG" on the front door of the mansion.
During her trial, which took more than nine months, Atkins seemed to show no remorse and maintained utter devotion to Manson, whom she called "Jesus Christ," "the devil" and "the soul." During sentencing, she taunted the court, saying, "You’d best lock your doors and watch your own kids."
-- Richard Winton and Hector Becerra
September 3, 2009, 10:57 am
No Compassionate Release for Manson Follower Involved in Killing Spree
By Robert Mackey
DESCRIPTIONPool photograph/Ben Margot, via Associated Press During a break in her parole hearing on Wednesday, Susan Atkins, a convicted murderer with brain cancer, was comforted by her husband and attorney James Whitehouse in a California prison.
California is not Scotland. That’s the message one British newspaper took from Wednesday’s decision by a California parole board to turn down an application for compassionate release submitted on behalf of Susan Atkins, who is serving a life sentence for her part in the 1969 killing spree carried out by followers of Charles Manson.
In London, The Daily Mail contrasted the decision with one taken two weeks earlier by the Scottish regional government to free Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who was convicted of murder for his role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Mail’s headline suggested “Scotland Take Note” of the fact that Ms. Atkins lost her bid for parole “DESPITE Being on Her Death Bed.”
In a this brief Twitter update announcing the decision on Wednesday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation made no mention of the fact that Ms. Atkins has terminal brain cancer:
CDCR’s Board of Parole Hearings today denied parole for convicted mass murderer Susan Atkins
A news release on the department’s Web site noted that this is the second time the board “denied a recommendation for recall of commitment (compassionate release) for Atkins.” On July 15, 2008, the board made the same decision when Ms. Atkins was said to have no more than six months to live.
It seems the board was not moved by the evidence presented by her husband and attorney, James Whitehouse, or by the Web site SusanAtkins.org, which is dedicated to:
Her life, her accomplishments since incarceration, her work with the Church, the Community and the needy, and her eligibility for parole.
Testimony from the family members of her victims seemed to carry more weight. On Thursday, The Associated Press reported that Ms. Atkins “slept through most of the four-hour hearing Wednesday during which her husband-lawyer pleaded for her release and families of victims of the Sharon Tate-LaBianca killings urged that she be kept behind bars until she dies.”
Leaving aside compassion, the board was apparently also not swayed by the more pragmatic argument made last year by a California lawyer who argued that, in general, “incarcerating people who are permanently medically incapacitated is a policy that produces no benefit to taxpayers at astronomical expense.”
Last year, before the board rejected Ms. Atkins’s first request for compassionate release, Debra Tate, a sister of the murdered actress, explained in this video interview that she opposed the release since, “she didn’t show any of her victims any compassion whatsoever — as a matter of fact, she personally killed Sharon, and Sharon was begging for the life of her unborn baby at the time.” This 2008 video report by ABC News includes excerpts from an interview with Ms. Atkins in 2002 in which she said that Mr. Manson is “the one person that is the most difficult person in my life to forgive. I work on that. I don’t want to live a life with any unforgiveness in it.”
The Last Supper: Mansonites Converge at El Coyote
Published on August 12, 2009 at 4:53pm
El Coyote is Movieland’s idea of a Mexican restaurant: The lighting is garish, the margaritas stiff. Waitresses clad in petticoated, off-the-shoulder cotton fiestas have been serving, as they call it, “authentic California-style Mexican food” to actors and others since 1931, but the blood-red leather booth in the back played host to its most infamous party on the night of August 8, 1969, when actress Sharon Tate dined there with Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski and Abigail Folger. Later that night, the group would be slain by followers of Charles Manson in Tate’s home at 10050 Cielo Drive. Tall, blond, and forever gripping a camcorder, odd-teur Jon Aes-Nihil (director of the gory cult classic Manson Family Movies) gathered his unusual band of miscreants for “the Last Supper” this past Saturday night, as he has done every August 8 since 1979. Manson’s long-standing appeal? “It was the first time the hippies struck back,” one diner commented. Or was it?
Never a true crime buff nor serial-killer dilettante, I had long viewed Manson symbolically — a guitar-strumming ecoterrorist with a Messiah complex, who effectively extinguished the Age of Aquarius, but on this, the 40th anniversary of the Tate/LaBianca slayings, a different picture emerged.
Manson, suspected of being both an FBI informant and agent provocateur, may well have been a patsy. “The FBI took out the Black Panthers, the Yippies, the Weather Underground, and it’s a contention that the murders were orchestrated,” author Adam Gorightly pointed out between sips from a margarita. Manson’s connections to military intelligence, the Church of Scientology, government-sponsored mind-control experiments and the ’60s occult underground ripple through The Shadow Over Santa Susana, Gorightly’s definitive Manson tome, recently rereleased by Creation Books.
Manson referred to his family as “slippies,” and only grew his hair long in the months preceding the murders; but because of Manson, “it was a long time before you saw longhairs portrayed in a positive light.”
Aes-Nihil’s group of historians, writers, musicians and filmmakers traded stories of the weird, twisted Hollywood of old, attracting the attention of a pudgy industry type who, with no prompting, described the “peaceful vibe” surrounding Tate’s house when Trent Reznor recorded “Helter Skelter” there with a not-yet-famous Marilyn Manson. Archivist Aes-Nihil (short for “aesthetic nihilism”) poked his ever-present camera in the man’s face, adding to the hundreds of hours of Manson-related footage he’s acquired over the decades, smirking all the while.
In all the years I’d known Aes-Nihil, I’d always thought it was the Family’s creep factor that had attracted him. But “there’s infinitely more to the Manson thing than Tex Watson killing people,” he explained. “I’m obsessed with the effect the murders had on the ’60s, since I was there, part of a group somewhat like the Family. When the story came out, we didn’t believe it for a second.”
A man of few words, he resumed shooting the party’s chatter: Church of Satan founder Anton La Vey had cursed Tate’s husband, director Roman Polanski, after they’d had a falling-out on the set of Rosemary’s Baby. Drug-addled orgies at the house on Cielo Drive were filmed and later sold on the black market by crooked LAPD cops, who’d stolen them from the crime scene. Family member Patricia Krenwinkel, in correspondence with researcher John Judge, swore she had been a victim of mind control. The acid Manson gave his followers was allegedly of the same, government-issued variety “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz had been dosed with while in the military. Standard dinner-party conversation.
Gathering the assembled for a postdinner portrait, Aes-Nihil continued: “Charlie and Sharon [Tate] have been baptized in the well of eternity via mass culture and universal myth. As for Charlie, he’s a modern-day Nietzsche.” This is apparent, he says, in Manson’s unedited interviews. “If a lot of what Charlie has said had been attributed to someone who is politically correct, it would be hailed as genius.”
I heard him out, knowing that many people don’t, and smiled for his camera.