Dying Manson Murderer Denied Release

"Atrocious" nature of Susan Atkins' crimes cited by California officials.

ByABC News
September 1, 2009, 12:41 PM

Sept. 2, 2009— -- Charles Manson follower and convicted mass murderer Susan Atkins has been denied parole, Lt. Bart Fortner, a spokesman at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, Calif., told ABCNews.com.

The hearing officials cited the "atrocious" and "dispassionate" nature of the murders committed in 1969.

Atkins, 61, is riddled with cancer, paralyzed over most of her body and has had her left leg amputated. She requested the early release so she could die outside of prison.

The one-time member of the Manson Family was wheeled in to the hearing room on a gurney dressed in a hospital-style gown, her face bloated and her head covered by a purple and pink knitted cap. The cross she once carved into her forehead as a sign of loyalty to Manson was no longer visible.

Her husband and attorney James Whitehouse helped her through a reading of Psalm 23, pausing for her to feebly chime in every few words.

She managed to give him a few weak attempts at a smile.

The room was very quiet when the decision was announced. "No gasps or intakes of breath," said Fortner.

But the family members of her victims still had harsh words for Atkins, reminding the panel that she was a cold-blooded killer who had not once apologized to any of them for the lives she took in such a brutal, gruesome fashion.

"There has never been any hate in my for these people," said Debra Tate, a sister of murdered actress Sharon Tate, said while imploring the panel to deny Atkins' parole. "I am incapable of hating."

Tate noted that in denying her family an apology and seeking parole, Atkins has denied the Tate family a chance at freedom from her crimes.

Atkins can apply again for release in three years.

Since her conviction, Atkins has been denied parole 12 times. Doctors have said she is now close to death.

The two other female Manson murderers, Leslie van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel are up for parole next year.

She is the longest-serving female inmate currently incarcerated in California, entering the system on April 23, 1971 -- five days before Krenwinkel.

Family members of her victims pleaded with California officials to keep the one-time Manson acolyte follower behind bars.

Debra Tate and Anthony DiMaria, a nephew of hairstylist Jay Sebring, were among those who testified at the hearing at the Central California Women's Facility, according to Sandi Gibbons of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Charles Manson is next up for parole in May 2012. Manson murderer Charles "Tex" Watson Watson is up in November 2011.