Manson follower Susan Atkins dead at 61

From Linda Deutch, Associated Press:


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LOS ANGELES — Susan Atkins, a follower of cult leader Charles Manson whose remorseless witness stand confession to killing pregnant actress Sharon Tate in 1969 shocked the world, has died. She was 61 and had been suffering from brain cancer.

Atkins’ death comes less than a month after a parole board turned down the terminally ill woman’s last chance at freedom on Sept. 2. She was brought to the hearing on a gurney and slept through most of it.

California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said that Atkins died late Thursday night. She had been diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008, had a leg amputated and was given only a few months to live.

She underwent brain surgery, and in her last months was paralyzed and had difficulty speaking. But she managed to speak briefly at the Sept. 2 hearing, reciting religious verse with the help of her husband, attorney James Whitehouse.

She had been transferred to a skilled nursing facility at the California Central Women’s Facility at Chowchilla exactly one year before she died.

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Director John Waters writes about Manson girl Leslie Van Houten

John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray) details his relationship with Monrovia prom princess turned Manson Family murderer Leslie Van Houten in a five-part series that’s been running this week on Huffington Post.

It’s a fascinating read, but quite lengthy.
Here’s links to the first four parts
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Steven Parent: El Monte teen, Manson family victim

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Friday morning August 8, 1969.

The sun is fully visible at 6:10 a.m.

At 7:50 a.m. Steven Earl Parent, 18, leaves his parents’ El Monte home on Bryant Road for work at Valley City Plumbing in Rosemead.

A recent graduate of Arroyo High School, Parent works two jobs. He plans on attending Citrus College in the fall semester.

Parent’s co-workers say he is “clean-cut” and “intelligent.” “A good worker.”

He splits work at 5:15 p.m. and heads to the second job, at Jonas Miller Stereo on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

At 7:48 p.m. sunset envelopes Southern California.

Sometime after 11 p.m., Parent gets off work. He’s driving his dad’s 1966 AMC Rambler.

Parent heads up Beverly to Sunset, then jogs north again on Benedict Canyon Road.

A waning crescent moon barely lights the night sky. Oleanders and scrub oak line the unlit road. He turns again on Cielo Drive.

At 11:45 p.m., Parent demonstrates an AM/FM Sony Digimatic clock radio. He hopes to sell it to Bill Garretson, his 19-year-old friend.

The two met several weeks earlier, when Parent picked up Garretson hitchhiking and drove him home.

Garretson lives in the back house at the estate on Cielo Drive. He takes care of the owner’s dogs.

Garretson declines to buy the radio. Parent drinks a can of beer. He calls a friend.

It’s now Saturday morning August 9 – 12:15 a.m. Parent leaves.

In the dark, he walks back to his dad’s white Rambler. He starts his car and heads toward the gate.

He rolls down the window to use a push button gate opener.

A figure approaches.

“Halt,” a man calls out. The man’s got a buck knife in one hand and a .22 in the other.

Parent pleads with the man, “Please don’t hurt me. I won’t tell anyone.”

The man slashes at Parent with the knife, slicing the teen’s wrist. Then, he opens fire with the revolver. Shots strike the El Monte teen in the head and chest. By 12:30 a.m. Parent is dead.

He would become the first victim in a two-night killing frenzy led by Charles Manson and carried out by members of his LSD-crazed “family.”

Within minutes, Parent’s murderer, Charles “Tex” Watson, and three women would enter the main house at Cielo Drive and kill actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, film producer Wojciech Frykowski and hair dresser Jay Sebring.

In hopes of inciting a race war that Manson called “Helter Skelter,” the killers struck the next night at the Los Feliz home of and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Parent’s body was discovered about 24 hours after he left his parent’s El Monte home for work. His mom and dad were disturbed that LAPD officials didn’t notify them of their son’s death for several hours.

His dad wondered what Steven was up to.

“I just can’t understand what he was doing up there in the first place,” Wilfred Parent said. “Hell, Steve wasn’t a poshy kind of kid. I didn’t even know he knew any of those people.”

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Manson hide-out in Death Valley burned down

From the Associated Press:

Death Valley National Park –  Barker Ranch, a California desert cabin that was Charles Manson’s last hideout, has been gutted by fire.

Death Valley National Park spokesman Terry Baldino said Thursday that the isolated cabin was discovered burned on Tuesday.

He says it’s not known if it was an accident or a deliberate act.

The cabin was last seen intact last Friday and may have burned over the weekend.

Manson and his followers hid at the cabin after killing actress Sharon Tate and seven others in the summer of 1969. He was arrested there that fall and is serving a life sentence.

Some of Crime Scene’s previous Manson stories are here.

 

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Weird scenes inside the goldmine

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There’s a possibility that victims of the Manson Family may still be buried in near a desert hideout in Inyo County.

This from Radar:

The search for remains at the Barker Ranch in Death Valley begins Next Tuesday when a crew of scientists, laser technicians, cadaver dogs, soil testers, and search team from Inyo County Sheriff’s Office will comb the cult’s old clubhouse grounds. Since the 1969 murders, rumors and speculation have been rampant as to whether additional bodies had been disposed of at Barker Ranch, where Manson was arrested, found hiding under a kitchen sink in fetal crouch. So, why now after all these years? “The sheriff just really wants to put this to rest,” sheriff spokesperson Carma Roper tells Radar. “He wants conclusive answers.”

Google map below shows the location of the ranch.

 

 

 

 


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