Manson family member Susan Atkins died Thursday of brain cancer at the California Central Women's Facility in Chowchilla. She was 61. She had gotten a fair amount of publicity this past year, both because it was the fortieth anniversary of those infamous killings and because she had been up for compassionate early release due to her terminal illness.
The following account is an excerpt from the Linda Deutch AP account of her death:
"I was stoned, man, stoned on acid," Atkins testified during the trial's penalty phase.
"I don't know how many times I stabbed (Tate) and I don't know why I stabbed her," she said. "She kept begging and pleading and begging and pleading and I got sick of listening to it, so I stabbed her."
She said she felt "no guilt for what I've done. It was right then and I still believe it was right." Asked how it could be right to kill, she replied in a dreamy voice, "How can it not be right when it's done with love?"
(Ah, the Sixties. Turn on, tune in, drop out.)
While still in her teens, she ran away to San Francisco where she wound up dancing in a topless bar and using drugs. She moved into a commune in the Haight Ashbury district and it was there that she met Manson.
He gave her a cult name, Sadie Mae Glutz, and, when she became pregnant by a "family" member, he helped deliver the baby boy, naming it Zezozoze Zadfrack. His whereabouts are unknown.
(What are the odds that Zezozoze Zadfrack has had his name legally changed? And if you were him, would you want your whereabouts known?)
When actress Sharon Tate pleaded for her life, Atkins famously said, "I have no mercy for you, bitch. I don't care about you. I don't care if you're going to have a baby or not. You're going to die and I don't feel anything about it."
Tragically, Atkins never got her compassionate release.