Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Just a smidgen of justice
Savor it, for it is rare.
Release denied for dying Manson follower
By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press WriterTue
Jul 15, 10:58 PM ET
A follower of Charles Manson who stabbed pregnant actress Sharon Tate to death nearly 40 years ago but is dying of brain cancer in a California prison was denied compassionate release Tuesday.
The California Board of Parole released its unanimous decision on the release of Susan Atkins hours after a 90-minute hearing, during which it heard impassioned pleas from both sides.
"Obviously, it was too hot of a potato for them to handle," said one of Atkins' attorney, Eric P. Lampel. "Of course we're disappointed. There's no basis for denying this." [Certainly not. Sure, she participated, directly and indirectly, with the murder of numerous people, including an unborn baby boy less than a month away from birth, but that was long ago. Let bygones be bygones. Sheesh. What part of life sentence don’t you understand, mouthpiece?]
Lampel filed a motion July 10 with Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Wesley asking for his client's release no matter what the parole board recommended. No hearing has been set, [nor should there be] Lampel said after the hearing.
"We're going to be able to make the case in court. We'll take it to the next step," he said after being informed of the board's decision by The Associated Press. [I wonder how much booze this guy must guzzle so that he can live with himself.]
Atkins' doctors and officials at the women's prison in Corona made the request in March because of her deteriorating health. She also has had her left leg amputated and is paralyzed on her right side, her husband [This begs many questions, chiefly: What the hell kind of loser marries a convicted murderer (as if that’s not enough) with no hope of parole? And why the hell should convicts be allowed to marry at all?], James Whitehouse, told the California Board of Parole Hearings.
Whitehouse, also acting as one of Atkins' attorneys, had argued that his wife was so debilitated that she could not even sit up in bed. He told the parole board there was no longer a reason to keep her incarcerated.
"She literally can't snap her fingers," he said. "She can put sentences together three or four times a day, but that's the extent of it." [Yeah, well her victims can’t even do that.]
He said doctors have given her three months to live. Atkins, in a hospital near the Southern California prison where she was housed for nearly 40 years, did not attend Tuesday's hearing.
The request for compassionate leave generated opposition from relatives of the victims, the state corrections department, Los Angeles County prosecutors and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"Those kinds of crimes are just so unbelievable that I am not for compassionate release in that case," Schwarzenegger [finally showing some sense] said Tuesday before the parole board issued its decision.
Atkins, Manson and two other cult members, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, were tried for the 1969 cult killings of Tate; Leno and Rosemary La Bianca; and four others. Tate, the wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski, was 8 1/2 months pregnant. [The boy, had his life not been stolen, would be turning 39 in a few weeks. Instead his remains share the same coffin as his murdered mother's.]
Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate, the last surviving member of her immediate family, sent a letter to the board opposing Atkins' release.
"She is a cold-blooded woman who to this day has not displayed any remorse," wrote Tate, who lives in the Los Angeles area.
The defendants maintained their innocence throughout the trial. Once convicted, the women confessed to the killings during the penalty phase.
On the stand, Atkins recounted her role in stabbing Tate, who pleaded for the life of her unborn baby. Atkins claimed she was on LSD [taken voluntarily] at the time but did not apologize for the crime until a parole hearing years later.
Her brother, Steve Atkins, told the parole board Tuesday that he and his sister had been abused as children. [If true, that's very sad, but you didn't make a habit of murdering pregnant women did you, Stever? Your c-word of a sister chose her path; let her follow it to its end.]
"After Susan got in with Manson, she was lost to me," he said. "Please let us be with Susan in private in her last days, to pray with her and give our last good-byes." [No.]
The defendants were sentenced to death, but their terms were commuted to life sentences when the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. Manson and the two other women remain in state prison. [The next best place for them to an unmarked grave.]
Atkins has spent 37 years in the California Institution for Women, where she has been held longer than any other female inmate in state history. [A record due to be broken shortly after she kicks by Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten.] She was transferred to the hospital in March.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said that's where she ought to remain. In a letter to the parole board, Cooley said the nature of Atkins' crimes alone should rule out any release. [Only an over-educated idiot, Eric P. Lampel, for instance, would not agree.]
He noted that after Atkins stabbed Tate, she tasted her blood [!] and used it to write the word "Pig" on the victim's door.
Los Angeles County prosecutor Patrick Sequeira said the board made the right decision because of the crime Atkins committed. He said he informed Debra Tate and two other relatives of the victims.
"They are both relieved and pleased with the decision," Sequeira said. "It obviously doesn't take away the pain for them."
He said it's unclear whether a Los Angeles County judge can consider the compassionate release request from Atkins' attorneys without a recommendation from the parole board.
Compassionate releases are rare in California, with just 10 of 60 requests granted last year, Corrections Department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.
Atkins' medical treatment and paying for prison guards to watch over her has cost state taxpayers more than $1.4 million since March, according to the corrections department.
Atkins, 60, has been denied parole 12 times. [You'd think she'd have gotten a clue after the first couple of denials. Of course, she doesn't really think she has a chance, this is just her way of being a PITA to the California penal system and, by extension, the people of California and good folks everywhere. Anyone who commits murder, is convicted, goes to prison, and then who asks for parole, especially multiple times, is not worthy of parole. I don't believe she is one bit remorseful. A truly remorseful person would understand and accept their punishment and not ask to be excused from it. May she stay incarcerated until immediately after her last breath.]
By the way, if I recall correctly, I heard she got religion somewhere along the way in the pokey. Good for her. Perhaps God in Heaven will forgive her. Here on earth, in that respect, we are somewhat imperfect.