Susan Atkins Denied Compassionate Release

Susan Atkins, age 60, has served 37 years in prison, has one leg, is paralyzed on her right side and has three months to live. Today the California Parole Board denied her compassionate release so she could die outside of prison.

Atkins' doctors and officials at the women's prison in Corona made the request in March because of her deteriorating health. She also has had her left leg amputated and is paralyzed on her right side, her husband, James Whitehouse, told the California Board of Parole Hearings.

Whitehouse, also acting as one of Atkins' attorneys, had argued that his wife was so debilitated that she could not even sit up in bed. He told the parole board there was no longer a reason to keep her incarcerated. "She literally can't snap her fingers," he said. "She can put sentences together three or four times a day, but that's the extent of it."

Atkins' lawyer will now ask a state court judge to order her release. [More...]

Her brother, Steve Atkins, told the parole board Tuesday that he and his sister had been abused as children.

"After Susan got in with Manson, she was lost to me," he said. "Please let us be with Susan in private in her last days, to pray with her and give our last good-byes."

All of our coverage of Susan Atkins is accessible here. As I wrote last month, she was sentenced to life with (rather than without) the possibility of parole. She served 37 years, had an excellent prison behavioral record and clearly poses no current danger to society. By only considering the heinousness of the offense, her sentences has effectively been changed to a life without parole.

The cost to the people of California for her care, including prison guards at her hospital room: $1.4 million since March.

Free Susan Atkins.

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  • Display: Sort:
    According to LA Times, public opinion (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:43:02 PM EST
    did not favor her request for compassionate release.  

    public opinion (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:46:56 PM EST
    is not the test. Still, I wonder if they knew what it was costing them. And I'd bet 99% of them have no idea of her positive record and rehabilitation in prison.

    If she were released, (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:52:45 PM EST
    we citizens of CA would not still be paying for her medical care?

    you wouldn't be paying (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:12:21 PM EST
    for round the clock prison guards outside her hospital room.

    If she were released, (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:50:59 PM EST
    we, the citizens of CA, would not still be paying the salaries of those prison guards?

    Well.... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 08:10:09 AM EST
    ... in most areas, prison guards rack up a lot of overtime. So you wouldn't be paying them as much.

    Federal and state taxpayers. (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:54:30 PM EST

    As I recall, the primary factor as to (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:53:08 PM EST
    medical condition is whether the applicant is expected by medical professionals to die w/i six months.  But, the criminal case judgment is also quite important and the classification score.  I wouldn't anticipate a superior court judge would find the board abused its discretion.

    They won't lose any votes (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by myiq2xu on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:09:02 PM EST
    being heartless and cruel.

    How Cruel (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:50:37 PM EST
    It is beyond belief.

    "The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strained" (none / 0) (#31)
    by otherlisa on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:12:20 AM EST
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
    'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
    The throned monarch better than his crown;
    His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
    The attribute to awe and majesty,
    Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
    But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
    It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
    It is an attribute to God himself;
    And earthly power doth then show likest God's
    When mercy seasons justice.

    heh (none / 0) (#60)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:34:39 AM EST
    Where were you when they needed you???

    What is wrong with the CA parole board? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Green26 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:52:22 PM EST
    Let her go. I wonder how many people serve 37 years for murder.

    Shouldn't they all? (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:52:04 PM EST
    No (none / 0) (#30)
    by cymro on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:54:52 AM EST
    A simple answer to a simple question.

    Hospital bed??? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by diogenes on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:01:33 PM EST
    If she really had a terminal illness with three months to live, the State of California should have her go to a hospice and be guarded by prison guards there.  Something doesn't add up here.

    Previous news articles stated she (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:10:48 PM EST
    was in custody at a community hospital.

    She is a member of the Manson Family (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by myiq2xu on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:03:38 PM EST
    They will never see daylight outside of prison for political reasons.

    Law and justice have nothing to do with the decision, nor does compassion.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#54)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:20:53 AM EST
    Who waqnts to be the one known forever as the one who let Manson Family members (and Willie Horton) out?

    It's more important to be "tough on" any in-depth public discussions of the direction we want to evolve toward vis a vis considerations of what constitutes justice and civilisied behavior.

    Plus, if we dont keep feeding the fans at the colliseum fresh blood, they may start looking askance at the senators.


    I believe she is in a hospital now. (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by zfran on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:05:26 PM EST
    When Sharon Tate begged for her child's life to be saved, Susan Atkins brutally killed her. I'm against the death penality by itself, but why should she get compassion when she gave none. It was her choice to hook up w/Manson etal. I do believe, however, that her good behavior all these years should count for something. Hard one!

    an eye for an eye (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:14:00 PM EST
    leaves the whole world blind. [Mahatmas Ghandi]

    not an eye for an eye (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by txpolitico67 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:20:24 AM EST
    because ms atkins is alive.  sharon tate and her unborn child were brutally murdered.  i am against the death penalty as well, but this is the justice that was served.  

    i am sure she is being given a modicum of dignity in her last days, unlike her victims.  her death sentence was commuted.  this is her just punishment.  forgive me but i thought that jailtime/life without parole was the progressive stance?  

    her death comes about her own biology, not CA shoving a needle in her arm.  for me, this is what having no death penalty is all about: she is dying when her body gives out.


    If not for her, (none / 0) (#71)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:43:52 PM EST
    let her go for the sake of her family. They don't deserve to be denied their chance to say their good-byes to her. I can only imagine the suffering they have already been through with what she did, but they still love her and need our compassion so they can be with her at her passing.

    family (none / 0) (#74)
    by CHDmom on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 06:14:01 PM EST
    Isn't her family allowed to visit her in the hospital? IF not I think they should be allowed to visit her there, but I agree with the others that are fine with her staying in prison (or the hospital) until she dies.

    Societal Compassion (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by daring grace on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:24:01 AM EST
    There's an argument that can be made that society's concerns and behavior should be more dispassionate than the concerns of the individuals in it.

    So, when someone says why should we, as a society, show compassion to someone who committed a cruel and heinous crime and showed none for their victims, the answer is that we are better than that, or, at least, we aspire to be.

    I lean toward a compassionate response to Ms. Atkins' situation, but it's a strain because I, like you, recall the savagery of her crime.


    Her choice (none / 0) (#19)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:23:33 PM EST
    Yes, she woke up one day and said to herself, "I'm going to go join up with a deranged nutcase and commit horrible murders because that would be way cool."

    Not hard at all, imo (none / 0) (#39)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 08:30:25 AM EST
    Even though she did not show compassion (when she was a troubled 20-year old under the control of a charismatic nutjob) she should receive ours because we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than that of a murderer.

    Forgiveness is not just for the benefit of the forgiven.


    I don't know (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by SoCalLiberal on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:12:10 PM EST
    It is a very tough issue before us.  I think that the Parole Board is in a delicate spot.  I don't envy them here.  I think they might be making the right decision here.  This woman committed heinous crimes.  Yes, what has happenned to her is pretty horrendous but it does negate what she did nor make up for it.  Provided that her family members can visit here, I think it is the right decision.  

    More heinous than (none / 0) (#18)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:19:57 PM EST
    nearly all the other people who've ever committed murder?  Her entire life has been forfeited.  That's not enough why?

    In many ways, this isn't even about Atkins, it's about the souls of the people who decide.


    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Xeno on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:56:20 AM EST
    Her crimes were more heinous than about 99% of the crimes committed by all of the prisoners in jail today. Carving an 8-month fetus out of a pregnant woman's womb, splattering her entrails around and writing messages in her blood is pretty damned heinous. Thirty-seven years or thirty thousand won't erase any of that. And no amount of saintly posing on Atkins' part will negate the monstrous nature of her behavior.

    Atkins chose to kill five people in the most depraved way imaginable. That is why her life was forfeited -- her choice. Keeping her locked away for life is little enough punishment for the horrors she inflicted on her victims.


    not to be picky or anything, but (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by cpinva on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:12:32 PM EST
    she was sentenced to life with (rather than without) the possibility of parole.

    emphasis mine.

    possibility and certainty are not mutually inclusive terms. if the good citizens of CA don't know what their prison system is costing them, shame on them for being ignorant. they voted for it, time and again. i have no sympathy for them.

    i am curious, how do the surviving members of the victim's families feel about this, or has anyone asked their opinion?

    According to prior news articles, (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:24:02 PM EST
    hte victim's sister was adamantly opposed to Atkins' request.

    The people of CA are very aware of the cost of the state prison system.  Very much in the news.


    cost of life sentence (none / 0) (#77)
    by Pearly on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 02:06:00 AM EST
    The above is a fine response, and I would like to include these thoughts along with them. When society decided to change the death penalty to life in prison many as I were satisfied. But life in prison comes with inherit costs and cannot be neglected, we as taxpayers were aware of this. Now some are attempting to use this cost as a motive to justify a parole for Susan Atkins Whitehouse. I don't think society had this in mind when striking down the death penalty. The state's citizens have to live with that decision relative to those who have benefited from the "life sentence".

    Leave her in (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by FreakyBeaky on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:44:56 AM EST
    There are good reasons to oppose the death penalty, but the idea that mass murderers deserve compassion isn't one of them.  

    Life in prison seems like an appropriate punishment for Susan Atkins.  I don't see any reason to shorten her sentence, even by three months.

    If life w/o parole is the alternative (none / 0) (#28)
    by myiq2xu on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:15:51 AM EST
    to death, it should mean life w/o parole, not "life until you're really old or sick and then we'll let you out."

    she didn't receive (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:46:19 AM EST
    life without parole. She received life with the possibility of parole. She was denied parole 12 times, this makes 13.

    She should die in prison, as far as I'm concerned (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by bmc on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 08:42:02 AM EST
    Why does she deserve compassion? She brutally slaughtered innocent people in one of most gruesome and horrifying acts of depravity in history.

    She is serving her sentence; she doesn't deserve any compassion. She deserves to die in prison, whether she has brain cancer, one leg, or is paralyzed on one side of her body. She's getting medical treatment; I'm sure they'll provide for her restful death as best they can. They'll likely allow her family to visit.

    That's compassion, after what she did.

    Why incarcerate? (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by nellre on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 08:55:19 AM EST
    I believe there are two reasons we incarcerate
         1) Protect society
         2) Punish

    I don't think we even fly that rehabilitation lie any more.
    I wish we'd jettison the punishment thing. If the person is no longer a threat to society, why would we suffer the expense of keeping them confined?

    Some will never be satisfied that the punishment is enough.

    It's primarily about punishment. (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Fabian on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:45:44 AM EST
    If it was about "protecting society" then we would be going all out to actually rehabilitate inmates so that they would be unlikely as possible to re-offend once released.  Treat their psychiatric problems.  Educate them.   Give them job training.  

    Or we can just lock them up and let them out, over and over again.


    gee, how much is enough (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:43:41 AM EST
    Some will never be satisfied that the punishment is enough.

    for brutally and mercilessly murdering 5 people in cold blood? that wasn't sufficient though, they felt the need to cut out the unborn child of one victim, spatter its blood on the walls, and use it as ink for writing.

    i mean, to me, that's pretty deserving of life-long punishment, unless you can show you were totally mentally deranged at the time, and had no clue what you were doing. apparently, such was not the case.

    that she was originally sentenced to death, under a law subsequently found unconstitutional, is a clue to what the courts had in mind: she was never to see the light of a free day again. otherwise, why bother?

    jeralyn, i detect a bit of a problem with your stance, regarding the imposition of a life sentence, vs the death penalty. correct me if i'm misinterpreting you, but you appear to be positioning yourself, not for LWOP, but LUTGROS (Life Until They Get Really Old and Sick).

    Indeed, a point I have also made to J, (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:55:00 AM EST
    on one of her similar past Susan Atkins threads, iirc.

    J's anti-DP and really wants LWOP instead, uh, except that LWOP is just a stepping stone to what she really really wants: LUJDTSBR (Life Until Jeralyn Decides They Should Be Released).


    Alot of us (none / 0) (#66)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:03:53 PM EST
    sound like we think we should be the ones who have the final say. It isnt just our charming hostess.

    sympathy for the devil? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by BlueMerlin on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:14:16 AM EST
    While I sympathize with the California taxpayers who have to pay the medical bills of a murderer, I can't find any sympathy in my heart for the murderer herself.  

    Hell is other people (none / 0) (#55)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:21:44 AM EST
    by the state whether or not she remains in custody. "Her" guards will still be employed by the state whether or not she remains in custody.

    Sorry (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by cmugirl on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:36:55 AM EST
    She needs to die in prison. She made choices that are still affecting other people today. Someone above said she was twenty and on drugs -my response is, so what?  She didn't have to run away and take drugs.  

    Just because she's been a good girl in prison doesn't mean those people she affected are healed (and that includes her family). I don't know when conservatives became the party of individual responsibility and liberals were against it.  The whole point of being able to have freedom is to make individual choices, for which we must also suffer the consequences of those choices.

    Call me cold and hard-hearted, but she deserves no mercy. Let her rot in prison.

    Oh, hey, (none / 0) (#62)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:45:55 AM EST
    dont blame her: she made her decision based on faulty intelligence.

    sorry (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 05:34:05 PM EST
    I think she should die in jail.  I am solidly against the death penalty and as such I feel I have to be for keeping someone who did what she did, regardless of how rehabilitated she might be, in prison forever.
    her crimes are unforgivable.

    AP says she was sentenced to death, (none / 0) (#20)
    by Joan in VA on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:23:35 PM EST
    then life after the death penalty suspension. Is that incorrect?

    Why do people marry people with no likely chance of ever being able to live as husband and wife? Is it a benefit to the incarcerated person in some way?

    the death penatlty (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:45:00 AM EST
    she was convicted under was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court after she received it. She and everyone else had their death sentences commuted to life. Her's was commuted to life with the possibility of parole.

    Did California have life without parole... (none / 0) (#38)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 08:30:22 AM EST
    ... as an option at the time? It seems to me that people like Sirhan Sirhan and even Manson himself keep getting parole hearings. So the courts may not have made an active choice to give Atkins the possibility of parole.

    She was basically twenty (none / 0) (#24)
    by tlkextra on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:09:49 AM EST
    at the time of the crimes - under the influence of both drugs and, by all accounts,a hypnotic, controling, maniacal manipulator. None of that excuses reasonable punishment. Nearly four decades have been served purely because of the notoriety of the events.  Under these circumstances, she has probably served twice the time of others with similar cases. She's been more than punished and she obviously can't bring any more harm to others at this point. It is time for compassion to be shown.  Otherwise, it is no longer about justice, but purely revenge.

    Well... (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by Nadai on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:43:12 AM EST
    when you (generic, not you) and three friends break into a stranger's home, stab five people to death - one of whom is eight months pregnant - and write "Pig" on the door in blood, any notoriety is pretty much your own d@mn fault.

    No excuses..... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:12:38 AM EST
    If we ever want to see the tyranny of drug prohibition go away, we can't allow the "I was high" defense.  You are still responsible for your actions no matter what substances you take.

    She should be paroled because she is no longer a threat, but her crimes should not be excused because she was stoned off her rocker or because Manson was a master manipulator.


    It was a sensational, high profile case, (none / 0) (#25)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:30:55 AM EST
    heinous in nature and people are not likely to ever forget.  Maybe if she had killed some unknown person, they would have been more lenient...it is always hard to say how much pressure the parole board was under.  Obviously, she is no longer a threat to society...oh hell, tough call anyway you look at it.

    Long prison terms (none / 0) (#29)
    by koshembos on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:25:39 AM EST
    In addition of the pointless and cruel imprisonment of a dying person is a much larger issue. Why do we like to imprison people for ever and ever? Why is our prison system a warehouse for people with the slightest deviation from our laws?

    We are a prison nation with the largest, proportionally, prisoner population in the Western world. It all makes very little sense.

    Five murders (none / 0) (#36)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 07:51:13 AM EST
    Why do we like to imprison people for ever and ever? Why is our prison system a warehouse for people with the slightest deviation from our laws?

    Five nurders deserves "for ever and ever" at a minimum.  Five murders is hardly "the slightest deviation from our laws."

    Here is a link to a story about an ax murderer that got only fifteen years in the Netherlands.  Just because others give murderers light sentences is no reason to adopt the same foolish practice.


    I say very light (none / 0) (#57)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:24:59 AM EST
    sentences in red states and maybe you folks'll eventually kill each other off -- before you kill the rest of us off.

    Btw, Whats the homicide rate in the Netherlands compared to the U.S?


    Whats the homicide rate in the Netherlands (none / 0) (#68)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:56:17 PM EST

    Btw, Whats the homicide rate in the Netherlands compared to the U.S?

    What does that have to do with anything?


    Maybe, just maybe (none / 0) (#69)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:01:26 PM EST
    they know a little something about how to deal with violent crime that you hang "em high types dont.

    I suspect so.


    Just maybe? (none / 0) (#70)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:43:55 PM EST

    Just maybe that assertion fits your prejudices.

    Who brought the Netherlands (none / 0) (#72)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:53:51 PM EST
    into it?

    The implication seemed to be that you have some time-tested soloutions for that disasterous, homocidal course they're on over there.


    We know (none / 0) (#75)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:03:34 PM EST

    We know that murderers put to death never kill again.  The same cannot be said for those sentenced to life.

    so should we send them (none / 0) (#48)
    by txpolitico67 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:25:11 AM EST
    all to the gas chambers?  

    Until... (none / 0) (#41)
    by mike in dc on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 08:50:45 AM EST
    ...we have some behavioral/therapeutic or neurochemical means to give these folks a conscience, we're going to have to keep a lot of them locked up for a very long time (if not for life) after their offense.  I am starting to think, though, that if, in principle, "a life for a life" is wrong, then that would tend to imply that life imprisonment is also wrong, because it is effectively taking a life(the prisoner is effectively isolated from participation in society for the rest of their life).  Perhaps the cap should be 50 years, not 99 (effectively "half life" sentences), with parole eligibility first occurring after 25 years and re-evaluated every 5 years until the 50 year span is up(or the prisoner has died).  

    That said, there's obviously great irony in Atkins' advocates asking for "compassionate release", since she showed no such compassion in her original heinous acts.  I have no strong feelings one way or the other about her release, and would have been okay with a decision going either way--she's been in for 37 years, she's near death, and it's well within the discretion of the parole board to grant her release; on the other hand, the family of her victims are still alive and some consideration is probably due their feelings on the matter.

    it's not irony (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by txpublicdefender on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:55:24 PM EST
    It's not ironic for some to ask for compassion for someone who committed a heinous act in which she showed no compassion.  It's those people stating that they believe that we should be better than her, that despite the horrible things she did, we still recognize her humanity and that of her family.

    I don't think Ms. Atkins "deserves" this release.  I think it speaks better of us, however, if we give it to her.

    And, despite all the claims the victims' family and the prosecutors like to make about her not having shown any remorse "to this day" for her actions, her prison record puts the lie to that.  

    I respect that the victims' families don't want her to get out, and, honestly, I would not expect them to feel otherwise, although other families of victims sometimes do.  


    It's not about Atkins.... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:29:19 AM EST
    its about us.  Do we, as a society, really want to be so full of hate like Susan Atkins was 30+ years ago?

    Now if she was the picture of health I could understand keeping her locked up due to the particular heinousness of her crimes and the potential of a cold blooded premeditated murderer to reoffend...but she sounds like she's basically an invalid.  

    She is no longer a threat to anybody, and I'd rather not be party to keeping a partially paralyzed one-legged woman under 24 hour armed guard...seriously, how stupid is that?  

    ever had a family member murdered? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by bocajeff on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:23:45 AM EST
    I have. I didn't get to say goodbye, tell them I love them, hold their hand, wash their brow, before they died.

    I have compassion for those who deserve it, I have none for those who don't.

    Yes, Atkins was a good inmate. So what? I truly hope she dies a horrible death - after all, she chose it when she decided to kill.

    Now, I have to go work and help people for a living. That's compassion...


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by txpolitico67 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:28:06 AM EST
    the compassion she received was that she got to live the rest of her life out, albeit in prison, but her family still got the chance to see and talk to her.

    Unlike those of Sharon Tate and the others killed that fateful night.

    This is what the progressives are about: no death penalty.  She has paid/is paying for her crimes.  


    I know it's sordid (none / 0) (#52)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:08:58 AM EST
    but, does anyone know if there have been any follow up investigations into the existence of those rumored "home movies" (one of which that supposedly featured Susan Atkins) that were taken from the crime scene according to a private investigator interviewed by Paul Krassner years ago?

    If you're only (1.00 / 1) (#58)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:27:33 AM EST
    doing it for a living, it isnt.

    Don't misunderstand me.... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:41:23 AM EST
    I have no compassion for Susan Atkins.

    I'm only saying she is no longer a threat to anybody, so why keep her under 24 hour guard?  Isn't that utterly pointless?

    I've never had a loved one murdered...I think if I did the odds are good I'd be up on a murder charge soon after.


    insisting that she serve (none / 0) (#76)
    by cpinva on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 02:27:33 AM EST
    her sentence hardly qualifies as societal hate.

    its about us.  Do we, as a society, really want to be so full of hate like Susan Atkins was 30+ years ago?

    the murders she committed were premeditated, cold blooded acts, against people she didn't even know. she wasn't executed. i've no problem with that. that would have been forcing me to be complicit in the state's cold blooded, premeditated murder of her.

    her sentence was commuted to life with the possibility of parole. i suspect, but have no definitive knowledge, it's because that's what was then available.

    that she's ill, with little time to live, is irrelevant. her family can visit her in the prison hospital, or whatever facility they move her to.

    in her case, and the others, punishment is certainly warranted; some crimes are just so far beyond the pale in their depravity, they merit spending the rest of your life behind bars, regardless of how you act while there. that's the whole point.