Manson Follower Susan Atkins Died, Her Last Word

September 25, 2009 6:27:19 PM PDT
Charles Manson follower and convicted killer Susan Atkins died in a Chowchilla prison. The 61 year old was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, nearly 40 years after the Manson family murders.Susan Atkins had been in prison for 38 years, longer than any other woman currently serving time in California. She died just before midnight Thursday night of natural causes, which is a far more peaceful fate than that of her seven victims.

Susan Atkins appeared weak and weary when she was wheeled into a parole hearing at the Central California women's facility earlier this month. She spoke only a few words from the bible's 23rd psalm with the help of the man she married while in prison.

But despite the terminal brain cancer that left most of her body paralyzed, family members of her victims still saw Atkins as the cold blooded killer who helped slaughter seven people, including eight month pregnant Actress Sharon Tate, in 1969.

Atkins was denied parole for a 13th time, and following the hearing her husband said he knew she would die in prison.

James Whitehouse said, "It's been 18 months now, and usually these brain tumors, the prognosis is usually a year under the best circumstances, and she's had the worst circumstances."

Atkins died in the prison's skilled nursing facility at 11:46pm on Thursday. Prison officials say medical staff and a specially trained inmate were by her side.

Prison officials say Atkins' husband, James Whitehouse, was by her side until the end of visiting hours at 8:00 Thursday night. He told me over the phone, the last word he heard her say was "amen" following a prayer.

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