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Ailing Manson Family's Susan Atkins Up for Parole Today

Atkins' 1977 autobiography describes her shift to Christianity
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Could the 18th time be a charm for Susan Atkins? The San Gabriel-born 61-year-old woman who was "convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate and seven others four decades ago," is up for parole one more time today, according to, in a hearing postponed from May 28th.Atkins, who was not expected to live this long after being diagnosed with brain cancer, was denied "compassionate release" last summer; the onetime Manson Family member now devotes herself to Christianity, although she remains deeply afflicted by her terminal illness. A post on the site set up by her second husband and lawyer, James W. Whitehouse makes the case for her release:

Though Susan has the longest and most impressive prison record in California history, documented as helping to save several lives in just the first couple years she was in prison, never associated with drugs or violence in the nearly 40 years she has been incarcerated, has participated in nearly every conceivable community betterment program offered in the last 4 decades, and is now paralyzed over 85% of her body, can not sit up in bed, and can not even be moved into a wheelchair, there is still a very real chance the Parole Board will none the less insist her release would be a danger to society. This makes a farce our of our justice system, where the State only follows the law when it wants to.

Atkins, who was initially sentenced to death but found her sentence "commuted to life in prison after the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1972," calls the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla home.