Manson Follower Dies in Prison

Susan Atkins, one of Charles Manson's followers convicted in the killing of actress Sharon Tate, died Thursday night following a battle with brain cancer. Atkins had initially been sentenced to death for the series of August 1969 murders, but the sentence was changed to life in prison in the 1970s when the Supreme Court outlawed capital punishment for a brief period. Charles Manson, along with three others convicted of the crime—Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, and Charles "Tex" Watson—continue to serve life sentences. After the fact, Atkins said of the killing, "it was right then and I still believe it was right," but in recent years had become a devout Christian and spoke of her sins against "God and everything this country stands for." She was 61 years old and is survived by her husband, James Whitehouse, who had been serving as her attorney.