• Susan Atkins Claims She Didn’t Commit Any Of The Manson Murders

Susan Atkins Claims She Didn’t Commit Any Of The Manson Murders

FRONTERA, Calif., Jan. 21 — Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins was refused parole Wednesday after an emotional hearing in which she claimed she didn’t kill Sharon Tate or anyone else.

Ms. Atkins, who is serving a life sentence for the grisly 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders, also said she wished she could bring the victims back to life.

Her bid for freedom was rejected by the three-member parole board panel after a four-hour hearing that ended with a tearful plea from Ms. Tate’s sister.

“This was such an evil, evil thing,” said Patti Tate, who was 11 years old at the time of the killings. “It still doesn’t make any sense. I will never be able to put together all of the pieces.”

Ms. Tate conceded that the 44-year-old Atkins may be rehabilitated, but said she wasn’t “ready for a murderess like this to live next door to me.”

Parole board chairman Manuel Guaderrama said Ms. Atkins had done commendable work in prison but because of the heinousness of the crimes must remain behind bars.

The panel voted to give her another parole hearing in three years.

Stephen Kay, a Los Angeles County prosecutor who argued for her continued incarceration, said it was just one of many stories Ms. Atkins has made up to try to win her freedom.

After the hearing, Ms. Atkins said she still holds out hope that one day she will be free.

“In terms of Christian values, there should be room for forgiveness for me,” she said. “I believe in the justice system. I believe that one day I will be given a second chance.”

Besides Ms. Atkins, Manson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten are serving life sentences for the murders.

The women said they were obeying Manson’s orders when they killed the 8 1/2-months pregnant actress and four others, as well as grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in a separate attack.

During the penalty phase of their 1971 trial, Ms. Atkins said she was the one who stabbed the actress-wife of director Roman Polanski.

But at the hearing, Ms. Atkins denied committing murder and said Manson ordered her and her co-defendants to lie.

“I want it once and for all understood that what I have been accused of doing and what I actually did are two different things,” she said.

“I ask you to believe me,” she said, on the verge of tears. “I did not kill anybody. I say to you I did not kill anyone by my own hand.”

Ms. Atkins contended she was asked by Manson lieutenant Charles “Tex” Watson to guard the actress, who was tied up and lying on the floor of her home. Watson also was convicted in the killings.

“I was just sitting in front of her,” she said.

“What did she say?” Guaderrama asked.

“She asked me to let the baby live,” Atkins said tearfully.

“And what did you say?” Guaderrama asked.

“I told her I didn’t have mercy for her,” she said.

She implored the panel members for understanding.

“It is almost impossible to understand insanity,” she said, “and that’s what I was living with, insanity.”

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