Tate murderer, Manson follower Susan Atkins dies in prison - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Tate murderer, Manson follower Susan Atkins dies in prison

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Susan Atkins, the former Charles Manson follower convicted for her involvement in eight murders in 1969, died in the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, it was reported Friday. She was 61.

Atkins was pronounced dead at 11:46 p.m. Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site, citing information from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

A panel of the department's Board of Parole Hearings rejected a request from Atkins on Sept. 2 for "compassionate release" from prison because of brain cancer.

Atkins was California's longest-serving female inmate, a distinction that now falls to Patricia Krenwinkle, who was convicted along with Atkins for the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Atkins was convicted of the Aug. 9, 1969 slayings of Sharon Tate -- a 26-year-old actress who was 8 1/2 months pregnant with husband Roman Polanski's child -- Sebring and three others in the couple's rented Benedict Canyon home. The film director was out of the country at the time.

A day later, Manson's group struck again by fatally stabbing grocery store chain owner Leno La Bianca and his wife, Rosemary, in their Los Feliz home.

Atkins and fellow Manson follower Robert Beausoleil were also convicted of killing Topanga musician Gary Hinman.

Atkins, Manson and Beausoleil were all sentenced to death, but their death sentences were commuted to life in prison in 1972 when the U.S. Supreme Court established new requirements for capital cases.

Prior to her conviction, Atkins told a grand jury that the slayings had been carried out "to instill fear into the establishment."

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