Susan Denise Atkins aka Sadie Mae Glutz
Susan Denise Atkins aka Sadie Mae Glutz is a former member of the Charles Manson "Family". She swore before a Grand Jury, that under the direction of Charlie Manson, she stabbed actress Sharon Tate to death and had participated in the murder of music teacher Gary Hinman. During her grand jury testimony, Atkins testified that there was no limit to what she would do for Manson, "the only complete man I have ever met" and that she believed him to be Jesus.
Atkins Years as a Teen
Susan Denise Atkins was born on May 7, 1948, in San Gabriel, California. When Atkins was 15, her mother died of cancer. Atkins and her alcoholic father quarreled continuously and Atkins decided to quit school and move to San Francisco. She became involved with two escaped convicts and the three committed armed robberies along the west coast. When caught, Atkins did three months in jail and then returned to San Francisco where she took up topless dancing and selling drugs to support herself.
Atkins Meets Manson
Atkins met the grubby ex-convict, 32-year-old Charles Manson when he visited a commune where she was living. She became mesmerized by Manson and packed up and traveled with the group, eventually ending up at the Spahn Movie Ranch. Charlie renamed Atkins Sadie Glutz, and she became a devout group member and promoter of Manson's ideology. Family members later described Atkins as being one of Manson's biggest fans.
In October 1968, Sadie gave birth to a boy and named him Zezozecee Zadfrack. Motherhood did not slow Sadie's desire to prove her devotion to Manson. The family spent their time doing drugs, having orgies, and listening to Mason prophesize about "Helter Skelter" a time in the near future when a racial war of blacks against whites would erupt. He said the family would hide under the dessert and once the blacks proclaimed victory, they would then turn to Manson to lead their new nation.
The Killing Begins
In July 1969, Manson, Atkins, Mary Brunner and Robert Beausoleil went to the home of music teacher and friend Gary Hinman, who had allegedly sold the group bad LSD. They wanted their money back. When Hinman refused, Manson sliced off Hinman's ear with a sword and left the house. The remaining family members held Hinman at gunpoint for three days. Beausoleil then stabbed Hinman and all three took turns suffocating him. Before leaving, Atkins wrote "Political Piggy" in blood on his wall.
The Tate Murders
The racial war wasn't happening quickly enough, so Manson decided to begin the killings to help the blacks along. In August Manson sent Atkins, "Tex" Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian to the home of Sharon Tate. They entered the home and rounded up the eight-month-pregnant Tate and all of her guests. In a killing frenzy, Tate and the rest were butchered to death and the word "Pig" was written in Tate's blood on the front door of the home.
The LaBianca Murders
The next evening, family members, including Manson entered the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Atkins did not go into the LaBianca house but was instead sent with Kasabian and Steven Grogan to the home of actor Saladin Nader. The group failed to get to Nader because Kasabian inadvertently knocked on the wrong apartment door. In the meantime, the other Manson members were busy butchering the LaBianca couple and scrawling their signature blood words on the walls of the home.
Adkins Brags About the Murders
In October 1969, the Barker Ranch in Death Valley was raided and family members were arrested for arson. While at the prison, Kathryn Lutesinger implicated Atkins in the Hinman murder. Atkins was transferred to another prison. It was there that she bragged to cellmates about the family's involvement in the Tate, LaBianca murders. The information was turned over to the police and Manson, Watson, Krenwinkel were arrested and a warrant was issued for Kasabian whose whereabouts were unknown.
Atkins and the Grand Jury
Atkins testified before a Los Angeles Grand Jury, hoping to avoid the death penalty. She revealed how she held down Sharon Tate as she pleaded for her and the baby's life. She recounted how she told Tate, "Look, bitch, I don't care a thing about you. You're going to die and there's nothing you can do about it." To cause more suffering, they held off killing Tate until all others were dead and then stabbed her repeatedly while she called out for her mother. Atkins later recanted her testimony.
The Manson Solidarity
Atkins, returning to her role as a devoted Masonite, was tried with Manson, Krenwinkel and Van Houten for first-degree murder for the Tate-LaBianca massacres. The girls carved an X on their foreheads and shaved their heads to show their solidarity and constantly disrupted the courtroom. In March of 1971, the group was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The state later overturned the death sentence to a life sentence. Atkins was sent to the California Institute for Women.
Atkins the "Snitch"
The first several years that Atkins was in prison she remained loyal to Manson but felt ostracized by other family members for being a snitch. In 1974, Atkins corresponded with former member, Bruce Davis, who had turned his life over to Christ. Atkins, who said Christ had come to her in her cell and forgiven her, became a born-again Christian. In 1977, she and author Bob Slosser wrote her autobiography titled Child of Satan, Child of God.
Atkins' First Marriage
Through mail correspondence, she met "millionaire" Donald Laisure and they married in 1981. Atkins soon discovered that Laisure had been married 35 times before and had lied about being a millionaire and promptly divorced him.
Life Behind Bars
Atkins was described as a model prisoner. She organized her own ministry and earned an Associates degree. In 1987 she married a Harvard law student, James Whitehouse, who represented her at her 2000 parole hearing.
In 1991 she recanted her earlier testimony, stating she was present during the Hinson and Tate murders but did not participate. It has been reported that during her parole hearings she showed neither remorse nor a willingness to accept responsibility for her part in the crimes. She was turned down for parole 10 times. In 2003, she sued Governor Gray Davis, contending his policy opposing parole for nearly all murderers has made her a political prisoner. Her petition was denied.
On September 25, 2009, Susan Atkins died of brain cancer behind prison walls. Her death came 23 days after the parole board turned down her request for a compassionate release from prison so that she could die at home.
Desert Shadows by Bob Murphy
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
The Trial of Charles Manson by Bradley Steffens