Manson family killer asks for mercy 40 years later

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On an infamous summer night in 1969, young followers of Charles Manson entered a Benedict Canyon mansion and murdered five people gathered on the compound.

Actress Sharon Tate, 8 1/2 months pregnant with the son of director Roman Polanski, begged one of the knife-wielding killers to spare her life. The attacker was Susan Atkins, and her response was cold and unequivocal.

"She asked me to let her baby live," Atkins told parole officials in 1993. "I told her I didn't have mercy for her."

Almost 40 years later, it's Atkins who is asking for mercy.

Diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and confined to state prison on a life sentence, the 59-year-old is asking to be released from state prison on "compassionate" grounds.

By most accounts, Atkins, a former topless dancer who used to sing in her church choir, was one of Manson's fiercest disciples. After stabbing and killing Tate, prosecutors said Atkins tasted the actress' blood and used it to write "PIG" on the front door. During her trial, which took more than nine months, Atkins showed no remorse and maintained utter devotion to Manson, whom she called "Jesus Christ," "the devil" and "the soul." During sentencing, she taunted the court by saying, "You'd best lock your doors and watch your own kids."

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Randll Reese Besch - 6/18/2008

I would say no simply because she was a murder and life in prison is the worst thing you can do to them. I don't expect her to be any different unless the brain cancer has alter her psychopathy but even then a firm no is needed.