Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Susan Atkins - Infamous Murderer

Susan Denise Atkins has gone down in history as one of the most heinous mass murderers of modern times.  She took part in eight murders that shocked the world; the Sharon Tate and the La Bianca Murders.  Sharon Tate and four others, including celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, were slaughtered in August 1969 at the home of eight months pregnant Sharon Tate that she shared with husband, director Roman Polanski.  The next night, wealthy couple The La Biancas, were slaughtered in their home.  The culprits were Atkins, Charles Watson, Patricia Krenwinkle, Leslie Van Houten and accompanying them, Linda Kasabian.

    Susan Atkins was born in San Gabriel, California on 7th May 1948 to parents Edward & Jeanette Atkins.  She had two brothers.   Reputedly, both parents were alcoholics.  They settled in San Jose, where at Leigh High School, Atkins achieved average grades.  Her mother died in 1963 fro cancer, and from then it was a series of moves and the break up of her family.  When she went to Los Banos High School, her grades went downhill, so she sought independence and lived with various friends and relatives.  It was at the home of one of these friends that she met a man called Charles Manson.  He called her Sadie Mae Glutz or "Sexy Sadie".  The house was raided by Police so she found herself homeless.  But her new friend Charlie said he should join the bus he and others had to travel about, so she went along and they settled at a disused film set at a place called Spahn Ranch.  She gave birth to a child she had by Bruce White.  Manson called him Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz. 

    After the Tate/La Bianca & Gary Hinman murders, and her conviction, she automatically lost parental rights, but her surviving family refused to have anything to do with the child, so it was put up for adoption and Atkins never saw her child again.  At first, she fully co-operated with authorities but later retracted her confessions and so faced the death penalty.  Herself, Manson, Watson, Krenwinkle & Van Houten received death sentences, but later, all such sentences were repealed throughout the country and substituted for life imprisonment.  Later, she claimed that followers of Manson threatened to kill her and her child if she did not recant.  She later pled guilty to the murder of Gary Hinman, but insisted she did not know that a robbery or murder was going to happen.  She wrote her memoirs in 1977 entitled "Child of Satan, Child of God" where she contradicted this claim.

    As happens in such cases, she became a "Born Again Christian" and married twice in prison.  First in 1981, then in 1987, when she married James Whitehouse, a Harvard Law School graduate, who later represented Atkins at her parole hearings in 2000 & 2005.  At these hearings, families of the victims spoke out against granting her parole.  It was in April 2008 that she was diagnosed with possible brain cancer and not given long to live.  She applied for parole on compassionate grounds, but again, remaining relatives spoke against.  Surprisingly, main prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi supported her application, one reason being that it would take the cost of her medical care, off the prison system.  However, other prosecutors involved, objected and even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger objected.  Finally, it was denied on September 2nd 2009, and she died two days later.  It was her eighteenth application for parole.

    What do I think?  She participated in eight murders.  She showed absolutely no mercy to the victims, and in the trial, displayed absolutely no remorse.  You live by the sword, you die by the sword.