Among today’s religion news briefs: A U.S. watchdog charged with investigating violations of religious liberty throughout the world is being sued for religious discrimination.
A dentist has been ordered to pay nearly $350k to settle allegations that he threatened to fire a dental assistant unless she attended a Scientology-related training session.
And seven people will stand trial in the death of a 3-year-old toddler during a botched exorcism.
The self-described right-hand man of cult leader Charles Manson, who was convicted of orchestrating the Tate-LaBianca slayings 42 years ago, has his latest parole hearing scheduled Wednesday in a California prison.
Among those arguing for his release: the daughter of two of his victims.
The Associated Press reports that Susan Atkins
, a follower of cult leader Charles Manson whose remorseless witness stand confession to killing pregnant actress Sharon Tate in 1969 shocked the world, has died. She was 61 and had been suffering from brain cancer.
Atkins’ death comes less than a month after a parole board turned down
the terminally ill woman’s last chance at freedom on Sept. 2. She was brought to the hearing on a gurney and slept through most of it.
California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said that Atkins died late Thursday night. She had been diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008, had a leg amputated and was given only a few months to live.
For the second time in as many years, a state parole board voted unanimously Wednesday to deny one of Charles Manson’s fiercest followers her request for a “compassionate release” so that she can die at home.
Former Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi said it was time for the state to show Atkins mercy.
Susan Atkins, 60, played a central role in the slayings of Tate and others in a bloody two-night rampage in the Los Angeles area.
She has served 37 years in prison, longer than any other woman currently a prisoner in California, officials say.
Now ill with brain cancer, with one leg amputated and the other paralyzed, Atkins has only months to live, doctors have said.
The petition for Atkins’ release ignited debate about what mercy is appropriate, particularly considering the grisly crimes for which she was convicted.
L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley and other prosecutors are urging the state parole board to deny a ‘compassionate release’ to the Charles Manson follower who has terminal brain cancer.
Atkins and other members of Manson’s cult were convicted in seven murders during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area over two nights in 1969. Actress Sharon Tate, the wife of film director Roman Polanski, was 8 1/2 months pregnant when she and four others were killed at her hilltop home in Benedict Canyon.
Investigators and scientists went to Charles Manson’s last hideout to hunt for clandestine graves that could contain other possible victims. The closest thing they found were animal bones.
Of particular interest today were two sites where cadaver dogs and analyses of soil samples produced mixed but somewhat encouraging results that could possibly support lingering rumors that bodies may be buried at Barker Ranch.