Susan Atkins, (aka- Sadie) initiated what led LAPD to their first lead in the murder case. A jail house conversation between Susan and Ronnie Howard that resulted in being told to authorities by Miss Howard. It is speculation, to say Atkin's physical participation in the murders. Many people think she stabbed Sharon Tate to death as she begged for her life and the life of her unborn baby. Atkins admitted to it off and on, and denied it off and on. One factor that has never been in question is that Susan was present during the murders at the residence of both Sharon Tate as well as Gary Hinman. Susan, Mary Brunner, and Bobby Beaulsoleil took turns suffocating Gary with a pillow, who was finally stabbed to death by Bobby after 3 days in his home.
On the door of the Tate residence, Susan wrote the word "Pig" in blood. She was convicted of seven counts of First Degree Murder and one count Conspiracy To Commit Murder. Susan died in 2009 with brain cancer. Even Vincent Bugliosi refused to object a "compassionate release" for Atkins when given weeks to live, bed ridden with an amputated leg. Debra Tate said she was still a danger. Some say that out of the 3 girls, Atkins was the most defiant, while others claim it was an "act". But even she had positive accomplishments during incarceration and was considered a model prisoner.