A state parole panel today unanimously denied "compassionate release" for terminally-ill Manson follower Susan Atkins after hearing emotional testimony both for and against her release.
Atkins, 60, played a central role in the 1969 slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and others in a bloody two-night rampage in the Los Angeles area. She has served 37 years in prison, longer than any other female prisoner, officials said.Now ill with brain cancer and with one leg amputated and the other paralyzed, Atkins has only months to live, doctors have said.Those backing her release argued unsuccessfully that the cost of keeping Atkins in prison, which is estimated at $1.4 million for medical care and security just since March, should be a factor in favor of releasing her because it would save the state substantial amounts of money.
If she is terminally ill, with months to live, then hospice care should be provided. I am skeptical of the "savings" to the State since it is quite likely that a "released" Susan Atkins would have to rely upon the State for health care since she is unlikely to have the personal funds for it after 37 years in prison. She was sentenced for life - how is mercy met by releasing her because she happens to be dying of cancer than of natural causes?
The petition for Atkins' release had ignited debate about when mercy is appropriate, particularly considering the grisly crimes for which she was convictedTate, the wife of film director Roman Polanski, was 8 1/2 months pregnant when she and four others were killed at her hilltop home in Benedict Canyon. The actress, who was stabbed to death, had begged Atkins for her for her life."She asked me to let her baby live," Atkins told parole officials in 1993. "I told her I didn't have mercy for her."