Former prosecutor and others call for mercy
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.
Convicted murderer Susan Atkins, 61, is terminally ill with cancer and has only months to live, doctors say.
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Atkins is serving a life sentence for the 1969 slaying of Tate, 26, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and musician Gary Hinman.
A former topless dancer who used to sing in her church choir, Atkins was one of Manson’s most loyal disciples.
During her trial, which took more than nine months, Atkins seemed to show no remorse and maintained utter devotion to Manson, whom she called “Jesus Christ,” “the devil” and “the soul.”
Atkins is now considered a model prisoner known for helping others.
Former Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi said it was time for the state to show Atkins mercy. He told The Times last month that it was wrong to say “just because Susan Atkins showed no mercy to her victims, we therefore are duty-bound to follow her inhumanity and show no mercy to her.”
“She’s already paid substantially for her crime, close to 40 years behind bars. She has terminal cancer. The mercy she was asking for is so minuscule. She’s about to die. It’s not like we’re going to see her down at Disneyland,” said Bugliosi, who wrote the best-selling book “Helter Skelter.”
Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.
[Middle English compassioun, from Late Latin compassio-, compassio-n-, from compassus, past participle of compati-, to sympathize : Latin com-, com- + Latin pati-, to suffer.]
– Source: Answers.com
- Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one’s power; clemency.
- A disposition to be kind and forgiving: a heart full of mercy.
- Something for which to be thankful; a blessing: It was a mercy that no one was hurt.
- Alleviation of distress; relief: Taking in the refugees was an act of mercy.
[Middle English, from Old French merci, from Medieval Latin merce-s, from Latin, reward.]