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Manson Follower Susan Atkins Dies in Prison

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Susan Atkins in 1969 (AP Photo, File)
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Susan Atkins, the longest incarcerated woman in California history, died last night of natural causes. The 61-year-old native from San Gabriel was diagnosed with brain cancer, which prompted her to and relatives to ask for a compassionate release. That, along with thirteen attempts to be paroled, was denied last summer. Her last parole hearing was just a few weeks ago on September 3rd (she's been trying to be paroled since 1976).

Atkins, a Charles Manson follower, was convicted of slaying seven people and conspiracy to commit one other. Five murders occurred on August 9th, 1969, which included actress Sharon Tate Polanski, who was eight months pregnant. The next day, she helped kill two others.

She was convicted by an LA County jury to death row in 1971, but a 1971 state Supreme Court ruling finding the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment, she was resentenced to life in prison.