August 3rd, 2009
03:43 PM ET

Summer of 1969

Program Note: The summer months of 1969 were especially historic. Humans took their first steps on the moon, the Woodstock Festival rocked thousands of concertgoers, riots in New York sparked the gay rights movement and the strange Manson murders shook up southern California. All this week, AC360º will take a closer look into the mysterious lives of the Manson family murderers. Tune in for the 5 part series at 10 P.M. ET.

Read more about the Summer of 1969.

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/05/california.manson.family.hearing/art.gi.jpg" caption="Susan Atkins, shown here after her indictment in the Manson murders, has been denied parole 17 times."]

40 years after Manson murders

Carey Bodenheimer

The woman who stabbed pregnant actress Sharon Tate to death will be considered for parole from prison a month after the 40th anniversary of the killings that cast a shadow of fear over southern California.

Susan Atkins, 61, has been denied parole in 17 previous hearings, but the former "Manson Family" member now is terminally ill with brain cancer and is paralyzed.

Charles Manson used his hypnotic powers to direct Atkins and other "family" members to kill seven people, including the pregnant Tate, in a two-night rampage that terrorized the city of Los Angeles, California, in August 1969.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Lynn Griffy, LA

    Though it's been forty years, I will never forget the heinous crimes of the Manson Family. Each member of the Manson family is where they belong and need to remain. This is the least our judicial system can do for the victims and for society. Thank you to the California parole board members who continue to weigh more heavily the Manson Family's evil deeds and thoughts against their being model prisoners! The scales of justice are working as long as sociopathic , cold blooded murderers are behind bars and not walking amongst us.

    August 4, 2009 at 4:01 am |
  2. Gloria

    They will find each other and kill again.

    August 4, 2009 at 1:57 am |
  3. donna harper

    i am the witness of a murder. people that kill should never be let out of jail. no parole for the truly wicked people they are.

    August 3, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  4. Dave

    If it wasn't for the bovine morons in the California Supreme Court she wouldn't need to be paroled. She'd be dead, just like the jury decided in the first place. Maybe she's hoping she'll get invited to have a beer at the White house. Too bad Sharon Tate won't be able to join them.

    August 3, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    I remember the crime and the absolute horror it was and how proud the killers were of what they did and the fact they showed no mercy. One even said she thought briefly about delivering the baby so it wouldn't die but decided against it – she just couldn't be bothered with it. Everyone was very upset when their sentences were reduced to life in prison for a murder that still seems as horrible as it did in 1969.

    While we are suppose to be merciful especially to those who have terminal diseases I would not want to release her to her home for her last days. Sharon Tate died without her loved ones around her, in terror and fear for herself and the baby she was due to have in 2 weeks. The jail probably can care for her better anyway. Last year when she had the other compassionate parole hearing and was turned down it was said she wouldn't survive this long but she has – no telling how long she will survive still. Keep her in jail – that is the only place she belongs now expect in the ground.

    August 3, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  6. Heather,ca

    Every time I hear or read about these pathetic excuses for human beings being up for parole, I think about the lives they took with no mercy at all. I think of those families and how their futures were changed forever. I think about a beautiful women who was just as excited as anyone else at the thought of being a mother. I think about a very much loved yet to be born baby that never had a chance to breathe in the air to see the golden sun. I think of all the possibilties in life for all those murdered. Its easy to focus on the murderers because they are alive and confined in prison. They can still speak and complain. They have nothing to complain about. They got off easy. They are still alive. The people they murdered died slowly in pain and have no voice to speak to them. I understand why you reflect. But reflect on the crime and suffering and the loss. Not on those who killed with no regard for life or humanity .

    August 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  7. Janet St. Clair Shores Mi

    When the murder of Sharon Tate happened I was 6 months pregnant with my first child and my husband was in Viet Nam. I had nightmares for a week. I agree with everyone else no leniency.

    August 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  8. Elizabeth

    I don't see why Susan Atkins should be given any type of leniency. Terminally ill or not, she is still a murderer. She didn't show any leniency to her victim. She should stay in prison until she dies. Then she can ask God for leniency.....

    August 3, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  9. Carol B. in MD

    She and several others killed several people, including a mother and her unborn child. Hypnotic Manson powers? NO! Weak, drugged, perhaps sociopathic people, susceptible to a shared delusional system – YES! Whatever the reason, none of them deserve to get out due to ALL the murders.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  10. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Thank you Carey. I read the whole piece plus. That is some story and you did a great job bringing it to us . That is one crazy lady that needs to stay locked away from society. I sincerely hope she does not make parole. Or any of the other players in that grusome crime spree.

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    August 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  11. Melissa

    Incidentally, let me add that she should be denied parole, but seriously, getting tired of hearing about it.

    August 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm |