Name: Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel
Date of birth: 12/03/1947
Place of birth: Los Angeles, California
AKA: Katie, Big Patty
Prisoner ID: W08314
Whereabouts: California Institute for Women (life sentence)
Next Parole Hearing: January 2018
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Patricia Krenwinkel was a member of the Manson Family. Krenwinkel was a participant in the infamous murders on August 9, 1969 at 10050 Cielo Drive, home of actress Sharon Tate and director Roman Polanski.
Patricia Krenwinkel was born in Los Angeles, California. She attended University High School and then Westchester High School, both in the Los Angeles area. Patricia was often bullied at school by other students, suffered from low self-esteem, and was frequently teased for being overweight and for an excessive growth of body hair caused by an endocrine condition.
After her parents divorced, seventeen-year-old Krenwinkel remained in Los Angeles with her father until she graduated from High School. For a time she taught Catechism and considered becoming a nun.
She met Charles Manson in Manhattan Beach in 1967, along with Lynette Fromme and Mary Brunner. Krenwinkel said that she had slept with Manson the first night they met, and that he was the first person who told her she was beautiful. Mesmerized by Manson’s charisma and starved for attention, she decided to go to San Francisco with him.
As the Manson Family grew, Krenwinkel and the others went on a drug- and sex-filled 18-month tour of the American west in an old school bus. She would later recount an idealized version of The Family’s early days: “We were just like wood nymphs and wood creatures. We would run through the woods with flowers in our hair, and Charles would have a small flute”.
In the summer of 1968, Krenwinkel and fellow Family member, Ella Jo Bailey, were hitchhiking around Los Angeles when Beach Boy member and drummer, Dennis Wilson, picked them up. After being invited to his home while he continued on to a recording session, Krenwinkel and Bailey contacted the Family and told them of their new crash pad. When Wilson returned later that evening, he found Manson and the rest of the Family eating his food, sleeping in his bedrooms, and partying inside and outside his home. The encounter with Dennis Wilson would eventually lead to the death of Sharon Tate and her friends.
Krenwinkel was a participant in the infamous murders on August 9, 1969 at 10050 Cielo Drive, home of actress Sharon Tate and her husband director Roman Polanski. Tate was more than eight months pregnant. After fellow Family member Charles “Tex” Watson shot and killed teenager Steven Parent in his car in the estate’s driveway, Watson, Susan Atkins, and Krenwinkel entered the house. Krenwinkel dragged coffee heiress Abigail Folger from her bedroom to the living room and stabbed her. When Folger tried to escape following the first round of stabbing, Patricia chased Folger as she ran outside. According to Patricia, she pinned Folger to the ground and further stabbed her. Abigail pleaded with Krenwinkel to stop by saying, “Stop, I’m already dead.” Krenwinkel continued to stab her so brutally that Folger’s white nightgown appeared red to police investigators the following day.
On Manson’s orders, Krenwinkel participated willingly in more killing the following night. Along with Manson, Watson, Atkins, Grogan, Van Houten, and Linda Kasabian, Krenwinkel went to the home of Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, on Waverly Drive. After Manson and Watson tied up the couple, Manson left, giving orders to Van Houten and Krenwinkel to go with Watson and to do whatever he said. Watson told Krenwinkel and Van Houten to take Mrs. LaBianca into a bedroom and kill her. Leaving Manson, Atkins, Grogan and Kasabian in the car outside, the trio proceeded to kill the couple.
Krenwinkel retrieved a knife from the kitchen drawer. She and Van Houten tied up Mrs. LaBianca with a lamp cord and put a pillowcase over her head. Mrs. LaBianca, who was being held in the master bedroom, could hear the screams and struggling of her husband who was being held in the living room as Watson began stabbing him while he pleaded for his life. She began to struggle. Van Houten ran for Watson in the other room; he told her “to do something.” Krenwinkel got a fork from the kitchen and stabbed Mr. LaBianca with it. She used a rag to dip in his blood and wrote on the walls. Once again wielding the knife, Krenwinkel stabbed Rosemary LaBianca while Van Houten held her down. However, the knife bent and she was unable to actually stab the struggling woman. She and Van Houten called to Watson, who came into the master bedroom and gave Van Houten a knife. Van Houten and Watson stabbed her to death. According to testimony from the Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, Mr. LaBianca suffered 26 stab wounds and 14 puncture wounds.
Krenwinkel was arrested in Mobile, Alabama on December 1, 1969. The following day, Krenwinkel was indicted for seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. At the end of the nine-month trial, Krenwinkel was convicted of all counts and sentenced to death on March 29, 1971.
During a 2004 parole hearing, when asked who she would place at the top of the list of people she has harmed, Patricia Krenwinkel responded, “Myself.” She was denied parole following that hearing because, according to the panel, Krenwinkel still posed an “unacceptable risk to public safety”.
Following the 2009 death of fellow Manson gang member, Susan Atkins, Krenwinkel is now the longest-incarcerated female inmate in the California penal system.