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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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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