Susan Atkins, known within the Family as Sexy Sadie, was a member of the Manson Family. Atkins was a participant in the murder of Gary Hinman and the Tate murders.
Susan Atkins was born on May 7, 1948, in San Gabriel, California. She was the second of three children born to alcoholic parents, and grew up in Northern California.
After she dropped out of high school to support herself (her mother died when Atkins was 15 and her father abandoned the family), she got a job as a telemarketer. The job was not doing her any good, she often was broke and felled depressed. She quit her job and started a new job at a local coffee shop. She met a couple of escaped convicts and she decided to join them.
Church of Satan
The trio committed several armed robberies and were eventually caught. Atkins was paroled after serving three months in jail. She moved back to San Francisco and found a job as a topless dancer in a show called the Witches Sabbath organized by Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan. In early 1967, while staying with friends, Atkins met Charles Manson.
Atkins joined the Manson Family at their ranch. Atkins loved to be the center of attention and she often collided with Manson. Manson reportedly kicked Atkins out of the Family for a while. In 1968, she gave birth to a son, whom Manson named Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz.
Manson Family member Dianne Lake cut the umbilical cord with her teeth. The child was eventually removed from Atkins’s and later adopted. Atkins has had no contact with her son since her incarceration in 1969.
Witches of Mendocino
Atkins and several other Family members lived in Mendocino, California for a while, where Atkins and the others, including Patricia Krenwinkel and Mary Brunner, were arrested for giving LSD to a group of children.
At their trial they were given the nickname the “Witches of Mendocino”. Several murders took place during the time the Family members lived in Mendocino, including the murder of a pregnant woman, Clyda Dulaney, and her unborn baby. The murder of Clyda and her baby remain unsolved to this day.
In the summer of ’69, The Family started to attract police attention at their current home at Spahn’s ranch. The Family began looking for funds to move to a new hide out in Death Valley.
Manson heard that Family aquantance Gary Hinman inherited money and send Susan Atkins, Mary Brunner and Robert Beausoleil to Hinman in order to get the money. After several days of torture they killed Hinman.
Atkins was part of the murder squad send to 10050 Cielo Drive. Atkins first claimed she was the one who killed Sharon Tate but during the Tate/LaBianca murder trial Atkins stated that she held down the pregnant Tate while Tex Watson stabbed her to death.
Atkins was arrested in October 1969 for her involvement in the murder of Gary Hinman. At that point, the police did not know who was responsible for the Tate-LaBianca murders.
Jail and Death
Atkins implicated herself in jail, when she told her cellmates that she stabbed Tate, tasted her blood and used Tate’s blood to write “Pig” on the front door of the house.
In October 1969, the entire Manson Family was arrested, and they were tried for the murders. The series of trials was circus-like, and the defendants’ bizarre behavior became a striking trait of the proceedings.
On March 29, 1971, Atkins was sentenced to death, later the sentence was reduced to life in prison. Atkins died on September 24, 2009 at age 61.
A year before her death Atkins received a diagnosis of brain cancer and had a leg amputated. At the time of her death, Atkins was California’s longest-serving female inmate.