Susan Atkins, the Charles Manson follower who lost her last chance at parole earlier this month, died at the age of 61 at the women's prison in Chowchilla, state corrections officials said. She had been suffering from brain cancer.
Atkins died of natural causes at 11:46 p.m. Thursday at the skilled nursing facility at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla (Madera County), said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Atkins was convicted of seven murders in the summer of 1969, including the stabbing of actress Sharon Tate, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and four friends at her ranch.
Atkins' death sentence was changed to life imprisonment when the Supreme Court overturned the death penalty in 1972. The death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Between 1976 and Sept. 2 of this year, Atkins was denied parole 13 times. In July 2008, the state parole board rejected her request for compassionate release.
Atkins had been incarcerated at California Institution for Women in Corona (Riverside County) for 37 years. She was transferred to a community hospital on March 18, 2008 before moving to the Chowchilla prison's nursing facility exactly a year before her death.
Of all the women in prison in California, Atkins had been behind bars the longest, authorities said.
The last photo taken of Sharon before her death:
Good that she died in prison. She didn't deserve a compassionate release.
If you do an image search on Sharon Tate, be careful. The crime scene photos are everywhere. :(