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Ex-Manson Follower Wants Early Release Due to Illness

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Convicted murderer Susan Atkins has earned a dubious honor: She has been the longest incarcerated woman in California history*, having logged 37 of her 59 years as an inmate following her conviction in the famous 1969 "Manson Murders."

Now, Atkins is pleading for an early compassionate release by State corrections officials because she faces another kind of life sentence--the impending end of her own. Although specific medical details have not been made public, Atkins is believed to be suffering from brain cancer and has a six-month life expectancy at this point. Her right leg has been amputated, possibly in connection to her illness, and she has already experienced one kind of release from prison, having been transferred in March from the California Institution for Women in Corona to an area hospital.

The LA Times explains:

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Officials at the Corona facility concluded that Atkins should be considered for release because of her failing health and because she no longer posed a risk to others. Several obstacles remain, however. Her bid for release must still be approved by officials at the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, [spokeswoman Terry] Thornton said. A positive recommendation would send her case to the state Board of Parole, which would conduct an investigation and issue its own findings, she said. That hearing could include public comment.

Many feel that no matter the extent of her illness nor her medical prognosis, Atkins should not be set free because she has not fully served her sentence for her role in the notorious killings of actress Sharon Tate and several others in the tumultuous summer of 1969. Atkins has been denied parole a dozen times in the past; frequently requests such as this one are not granted.

Previously on LAist:
--Digging up Charles Manson Rumors
--Where are Manson's Children Now?

*See here for a correction of this information.

Photo of Susan Atkins in the courtroom via

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