Susan Atkins, one of the women who killed at the behest of Charles Manson, died last night after a battle with brain cancer that had paralyzed her and cost her one leg. She was 61. She died inside the California Institute for Women, where she had been in hospice care. Atkins, who served 38 years of a life sentence for eight murders, including that of actress Sharon Tate, was said to be a model prisoner, but authorities repeatedly denied her parole, and last year’s request for compassionate release.
“She was the scariest of the Manson girls,” Manson prosecutor Stephen Kay told the LA Times. “She was very violent.” Still, Kay had argued for Atkins’ release. “It has to be said that she did pay substantially, though not completely, for her incredibly brutal crimes. And to her credit, she did renounce—and I believe, sincerely—Charles Manson.”