Manson Family Member Pleads for Release
Dying killer seeks mercy after almost 40 years behind bars
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2008 8:24 AM CDT
Susan Atkins, at left, returns to court with other Charles Manson co-defendants in this March 29, 1971 photo.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A member of Charles Manson's "family" of killers is asking for compassionate release after 37 years in jail, the Los Angeles Times reports. Susan Atkins, who stabbed Sharon Tate to death while the 8-months-pregnant actress begged for mercy—and then used her blood to write "PIG" on the front door—is dying of brain cancer and wishes to spend the few months she has left as a free woman.

Relatives of the Manson victims are firmly opposed to her release. The prosecutor who pushed for her to get the death penaIty, however, has no objection. "She has paid substantially, though not completely, for her horrendous crimes," he said. Atkins' husband, an attorney who married her 21 years ago, said her condition was so poor she would be unlikely to leave the hospital even if she was freed.