Susan Denise Atkins, convicted murderer who was a member of the “Manson family”, died at the age of 61 at a Chowchilla, California prison on Thursday. Originally given the death penalty, her sentence was later commuted to life in prison by the California Supreme Court. Atkins, known within the Manson family as Sadie Mae Glutz, spent the last forty years behind bars for her participation in eight killings, including the actress Sharon Tate and LaBianca murders. She was the longest-incarcerated female inmate in the California penal system.
In 1977 Atkins published her autobiography, Child of Satan, Child of God. Ten years later she exchanged wedding vows in prison with lawyer James W. Whitehouse, 15 years her junior. He unsuccessfully represented her at her 2000, 2005 and 2009 parole hearings. In 2008 it was revealed that Atkins had terminal brain cancer. Her husband filed a compassionate release request but it was denied. Her last failed parole hearing was on September 2, 2009. She died on September 24, 2009 at the Central California Women’s facility in Chowchilla. Besides her husband, she is survived by a 41-year-old son Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz, who was adopted by another family after she was sentenced to life in prison when the child was a year old.