Susan's attorney highly objected to this letter and went further by stating, "This is a violation of his powers as Governor of the State of California! It's in excess of jurisdictional powers under the laws of the State of California. And what is happening here is the Chief Executive of the State of California is telling you gentlemen, without having reviewed any of the materials that I gathered before you, that this parole should be denied. The Governor’s power under California Penal Code states this: the Governor had no discretion to grant or withhold a parole release date. Nowhere in the statutes is there a provision for the Governor to share the Board’s power to grant or withhold parole in the same manner he shares the power to revoke. It would therefore seem to follow that there is no statutory authority for the Governor to grant or withhold a parole release date. Neither is there any such inherent authority for him to rescind such date. Penal Code Section 304(1) and Penal Code Section 5077, says “The Governor, not the Board, has discretion as to granting a pardon. On the other hand, the Board, not the Governor has discretion in fixing petitioner’s term and granting or withholding parole. And I suggest to you gentlemen that the effect of Governor Deukmejian’s letter is to affect this process of whether or not to grant or withhold the parole of Susan Atkins. But here the Governor has done something significantly different when he tells you that your duty – YOUR DUTY is to ensure that these people remain behind bars for the rest of their natural life. That’s the Chief Executive of the State of California saying those things to you, gentlemen. And I suggest to you that it infects these proceedings in a way that can’t be remedied."
In answering this embarrassing situation, board member Jauregui completely denied that Governor Deukmejian was writing in his official position as governor, but simply as a concerned citizen. He thought that he had every right, just like any other citizen to do so. Of course, this was total & utter bullshit. Says Board Member Jauregui: "Well, he's not urging us. He's just giving us his opinion. Nobody's going to urge us, you know, whether he's Governor or not, whether we're his appointees or not, that doesn't matter to us." This dragged on for quite a while, with board member Jauregui trying to cover their asses by saying that the governor was just a concerned citizen, etc. Attorney Epstein had a hell of a comeback, though. He told them "I suggest to you that he's writing you that letter on the stationary of The Governor of the State of California and he says to you-he's writing it to you as Governor! After much bickering back & forth, the board member sheepishly said, "Well, we weren't going to use it anyway." He comically tried to state that they weren't going to consider a letter from their boss anyway! This was the funniest thing of all. They weren't going to use it? WTF? How could he have said that with a straight face? I'm not suggesting in any way that Susan Atkins deserved to be released, because I don't think she did, but damn they were really full of shit!
The next little tidbit was concerning the depressing facts surrounding the circumstances of Susan's little boy and how she came to lose him. From what I gathered from the parole hearing transcript, Susan met the father of her child in New Mexico when "The Family" was traveling on their fart infested bus. His name was Bruce White and he was a college student from the University of New Mexico studying physiology. He left college and traveled with the Family on the bus, and eventually ended up living with them in Topanga Canyon. Susan claimed to have known him about a month before they moved to Spahn ranch. He impregnated her, then left shortly after finding out Susan was pregnant. He knew she was preggers, but didn't know he was the father (how did she even know?) The parole board asked her if he left because he knew she was pregnant and she stated, "no, he left because he just wanted to go back home." She then told the board that he left when she was three months pregnant (no sense makes sense). She eventually gave birth on October 7th, 1968, describing the birth to the parole board, "We were at the back house at Spahn's ranch when I went into labor and there were a lot of people there involved in playing music and smoking dope, marijuana, taking drugs, and I went into labor, and that was the night my son was born, those people were there. Mary Brunner, Catherine Share and Ella Bailey actually assisted with the birth. Manson was there and assisted in some manner, but mostly the women helped." The child weighed only 2 1/2 pounds at birth and a doctor came the next morning, supposedly to exam the child. Susan had the baby for a year and he was taken away from her when she was arrested. She went on to state, "I found out the courts had granted temporary custody to a foster home and the foster parents went to the courts and asked that his name be changed, and I was very grateful to learn that his name was changed to a decent name." At the time of this parole hearing, the child was 17 (in 1985). He was adopted when he was four or five. It took the courts approximately two & a half to three years to find a home that would take him. Susan closed out that part of the questioning by stating, "If he looks for me and wants to know who his mother is, I hope that he will find me." Sad, very, very sad!
The new year's eve hearing went on in the normal fashion, with them going over her childhood, what she did for work in San Francisco (waitress, topless go-go dancer at the Galaxy Club in North Beach, drink slinger in an after-hours club and a "professional" of the various, uh, nightly "arts." They didn't come right out and ask her if she was hooking, but it's pretty obvious she was. Next up, they started discussing her mental health evaluations. She was furious that a non-board certified, prison psychologist named Dr. J Hamner administered a test on her called a MMPI test, which stands for Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Afterwards, the doc wouldn't release her results to her, which, supposedly was a violation of her rights. The doctor claimed it was "confidential" and actually put the results in his own, personal file, which is illegal. Susan's attorney tried to force the prison officials to hand over her records and they wouldn't budge. He also tried to get a continuance of the hearing, but they wouldn't allow that either. In other words, she was f*cked. The non-board certified psychologist did not write a favorable report about her. He stated, "There are no indications of psychosis of severe psychological disturbances. Susan was logical, oriented in all spheres, and relatively cooperative during the interview. She remains a somewhat emotional individual whose internal dynamics are controlled through intellectualization. MMPI suggests anti-social traits remain strong." After reading this in the room, the board members told Susan & her attorney that they weren't going to use that information anyway, even though they DID end up using it against her. To counterbalance what Dr. Hamner had to say, Susan was evaluated by another doctor of her choosing, which didn't sit well with Stephen Kay. This doctor was none other than Dr. David E. Smith of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic. As you all know, Dr. Smith also did a study (Case Study of the Charles Manson Group Marriage Commune) on the Family way back when they were active at Spahn ranch. Stephen Kay objected to Dr. Smith's evaluation of Susan by stating, "The first thing I would like to point out, is that I commend the attorneys for including Dr. Smith's biography, because it shows that he is not qualified to testify to the things in his report. He is not a psychiatrist. He is not a psychologist." Mr. Kay's objections to Dr. Smith went on & on. Was he qualified? I don't know.
As a final Austin Ann thought on the subject matter, I have to say that I am not surprised in the least bit about what that governor did, however, I don't think his letter writing was necessary. It was wrong, I know, and violated the hell out of her rights to a unbiased panel, but made no difference either way. What parole board would of released her or any one of her crime partners? None! I really don't think people, nowadays, grasp the enormity of what these people actually did. The human suffering and physical (and mental) pain they caused is beyond description. It cannot be put into words. So many people were murdered and in such a brutal, bloody way, then afterwards, the families of the dead were left to wander the earth, with their loved ones' murder playing in their minds day in & day out. Susan watched all six human beings die. She saw Gary Hinman gasping for breath & choke, because of the stab would to his heart. His lungs probably filled with blood, so he not only was stabbed, and sliced in the face, but he suffocated on his own blood. Do you realize how scared he must of been while laying there? Then, she saw from a short distance, Steven Parent be shot. Did that horrify her? Nope, apparently not. Next, she saw Jay Sebring shot down, then stabbed over & over again, while she did her own amount of stabbing on Wojciech Frykowski's legs while he screamed for help. Ever present, she again, gazed, slack jawed, while Tex Watson plunged a huge bayonet into Abigail Folger's abdomen, causing her intestine to partly be exposed and, of course, she gleefully assisted Sharon Tate, by leading her to the couch to sit down, while putting her in a choke hold, so her beast companion could begin his stabbing frenzy into a PREGNANT WOMAN! If Susan stabbed or didn't stab Sharon, it doesn't matter. She was there and she very much participated. She wasn't revolted in the least bit by blood spilling, people screaming horridly & begging for their lives. Afterwards, when they got caught, she bragged, laughed, sang and acted like a complete lunatic at the trial. And people wonder why she didn't leave prison alive. FIN