Died in prison in 2009
Atkins, a former topless dancer who became one of Manson’s closest disciples, died in prison in 2009 at the age of 61.
Atkins, called the “scariest of the Manson girls” by a former prosecutor, confessed to killing Tate, who was pregnant and was stabbed 16 times as she pleaded with the killers to spare her unborn son. She was then hanged.
At sentencing, where Atkins was condemned to death, she taunted the court, saying, “You’d best lock your doors,” and “watch your own kids.”
Her sentence was later converted to life in prison.
In prison, Atkins embraced Christianity and apologized for her role in the crimes, and the prison staff advocated unsuccessfully for her release in 2005. She was denied parole 13 times.
She married twice while in prison. Atkins was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008, and appealed to prison and parole officials for compassionate release, but the state parole board denied the request.