Dying Manson Girl Up For Parole

She stabbed Sharon Tate to death in Helter Skelter spree

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Susan Atkins leaves the grand jury room after testifying against accused murderer Charles Manson, Los Angeles, California, December 1969.

    The Charles Manson follower who stabbed Sharon Tate to death 40 years ago is terminally ill and up for parole.

    Susan Atkins, 61, has terminal brain cancer and is paralyzed over 85% of her body, according to a Web site maintained by her husband and attorney, James Whitehouse. But even though another Manson follower, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was recently paroled despite an assassination attempt on President Ford, Whitehouse doubts his wife will be sprung.

    "There is still a very real chance the Parole Board will nonetheless insist her release would be a danger to society," he said.

    Atkins' 13th parole hearing will be held at the Central California Women's Facility at Chowchilla, California, said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Atkins was moved to the Chowchilla facility from the California Institution for Women at Frontera last year because of her illness.

    Atkins -- California's longest-serving female inmate -- was 21 when she and other followers of Manson went on the Helter Skelter rampage that left seven people dead in Los Angeles in August 1969. She and the others -- Manson, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles "Tex" Watson -- were initially sentenced to death in the slayings of five people, including Tate, and two additional deaths the following night.

    By her own admission, Atkins held Tate down as she pleaded for mercy, and stabbed the actress, who was eight months pregnant, 16 times. 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."

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has previously opposed Atkins' request for compassionate release.

    Get more: CNN