Susan Denice Atkins, the confessed killer of actress Sharon Tate and her unborn child, has died at the age of 61. There was no compassionate parole for the Manson family murderer, and the State of California got this one right. See videos below.
Atkins died on Thursday night, September 24th, 1009. Eight others died by her hand or with her help in August 1969. She attended her last parole board meeting in September 2009 “on a gurney.” She spent the last year of her life with brain cancer in a “skilled nursing facility” in Chowchilla in the Central Women’s Facility. Susan Denise Atkins died with the distinction of California’s longest incarcerated female.
In 1969 at the age of 21, Atkins along with with Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Tex Watson, and Leslie Van Houten killed 7 seven people in a two-night murder spree. Charles Manson (video interview) was the “family” leader and is serving his own lifetime prison term for plotting the murders even though he was not present for the killings.
Sharon Tate, the wife of film director Roman Polanski, was eight months pregnant when she was repeatedly stabbed by Atkins and hanged. Tate’s sister, Debra Tate, said Atkins “never offered her an apology:”
There has never been any hate in my heart for these people,” she said. “I am incapable of hating. I commend them — always have commended them — for their good deeds that they have managed to accomplish within the walls of confinement. However, I do believe that the death of my sister, my nephew — which would be turning 40 years old right now, this week — is not an irrelevant cause.”
Sharon Atkins met Charles Manson in 1967. She became one of his “family” members and Manson renamed her “Sadie Mae Glutz.” Atkins gave birth to a baby boy while at Manson’s Spahn Ranch, on October 7, 1968. The father is said to be Bruce White, but the father is also said to be “unknown.” I can find no information on White. Manson was allowed to name the child, a name I won’t give credence to here. He was taken from Atkins at the time of her sentencing and adopted. Fortunately for this little boy, Atkins family refused to raise him, so perhaps he has had a chance for a normal life. Atkins claimed she did not know his whereabouts or the name his adoptive family gave him.
Sharon Denise Atkins had two jailhouse marriages. She married James W. Whitehouse in 1987. Their 21st wedding anniversary was December 7, 2009. Whitehouse is an attorney and he represented her at parole hearings in 2000 and 2005. You can view his website here.
Susan Atkins admitted that after killing Sharon Tate, she scrawled the word “Pig,” on the front door, using Tate’s blood. Stephen Kay, a prosecutor in the case, said Atkins “was the scariest of the Manson girls….” Atkins brought the family down when she bragged about the murders to a cellmate in Los Angeles where she was being held on unrelated charges.
She was convicted of seven murders: Gary Hinman, grocers Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, hairdresser Jay Sebring, filmmaker Voityck Frykowski and Steven Parent who worked at Tate’s estate. Today, she would have been convicted of 8 murders, including the death of an unborn baby boy. She published her autobiography, Child of Satan, Child of God and in 1974 said she was a born-again Christian – but she never apologized to Sharon Tate’s family.
The first video below is a 2002 interview of Atkins with Dianne Sawyer and the second recounts the murders.
Susan Denice Atkins
Sharon Tate Murder