Manson follower's parole bid rejected after murders recalled

SACRAMENTO — The state Board of Parole Hearings on Tuesday denied compassionate release for convicted killer and Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins, who is dying of brain cancer.

After listening to 90 minutes of testimony on Tuesday from people who both supported and opposed Atkins release, then came back quickly with a denial.

Eighteen of the 23 people who spoke at the board's hearing room near the Capitol in Sacramento implored the panel to allow Atkins, who has brain cancer and has been told she has six months to live, to go home to die.

"Susan has served a life sentence," said Virginia Seals, Atkins' sister-in-law. "This is about her death."

Similar comments came from other family members and friends, who were each given five minutes to speak to the panel. But others, including relatives of victims she killed in the 1960s, insisted that Atkins should serve out her life prison sentence.

"You'll hear various perspectives today, but you'll hear nothing from the nine people in their graves who died horrendous deaths at the hands of Susan Atkins," said Anthony Di Maria, nephew of slaying victim Jay Sebring.

Patrick Sequeira, assistant head deputy of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, called her "one of the most notorious mass murderers in U.S. history."

Sequeira described how Atkins helped hold a pillow over musician Gary Hinman's head while somebody stabbed him to death, and how later when the Manson "family" invaded the home of actress Sharon Tate, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant, it was Atkins who stabbed Tate 16 times, then "tasted her blood" and wrote the word PIG on the front door in Tate's blood.

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