Name: Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel
Date of birth: 12/03/1947
Place of birth: Los Angeles, California
AKA: Katie, Big Patty
Prisoner ID: W08314
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.
The Tate Murders
On the night of August 8, 1969, Manson told Tex Watson to take some of the girls and to go to “that house where Melcher used to live” and to “totally destroy everyone inside, as gruesome as you can” and Manson told Watson to “leave a sign, something witchy”. Tex Watson took Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to Cielo Drive.
When they arrived at the entrance of the Cielo Drive property, Watson climbed a telephone pole near the gate and cut the phone line to prevent telephone access from the house. At this point it was after midnight, August 9, 1969.
Just then, headlights approached. Watson ordered the women to lie in the bushes. He then stepped out and ordered the approaching driver to halt. Eighteen-year-old student Steven Parent had been visiting the property’s caretaker, William Garretson, who lived in the property’s guest house. Watson first lunged at Parent with a knife, giving him a defensive slash wound on the palm of his hand, then shot him four times in the chest and abdomen.
The group then proceeded to the main house. Watson told Kasabian to keep watch down by the gate. Watson cut the screen of a window and entered through the window, and let Atkins and Krenwinkel in through the front door.
They found Frykowski sleeping on the living room couch. Watson kicked him in the head. When Frykowski asked him who he was and what he was doing there, Watson replied: “I’m the devil, and I’m here to do the devil’s business.”
Atkins and Krenwinkel searched the house and found Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring and Abigail Folger and forced them to the living room. Watson began to tie Tate and Sebring together by their necks with rope and slung the rope up over one of the living room’s ceiling beams. Sebring’s protested to the rough treatment of the pregnant Tate. Watson then shot Sebring and stabbed him seven times.
Frykowski’s hands had been bound with a towel. Freeing himself, Frykowski began struggling with Atkins, who stabbed at his legs with the knife with which she had been guarding him. As he fought his way toward and out the front door, onto the porch, Watson caught up with Frykowski and struck him over the head with the gun multiple times, stabbed him repeatedly, and shot him twice.
Around this time, Kasabian was drawn up from the driveway by “horrifying sounds”. In an effort to stop the massacre, she falsely told Atkins that someone was coming.
Meanwhile, Folger had escaped from Krenwinkel and fled out a bedroom door to the pool area. Krenwinkel ran after Folger, caught her, stabbed her, and tackled her to the ground. Watson joined Krenwinkel and they stabbed Folger 28 times. In the meantime Frykowski struggled across the lawn. Watson went over to Frykowski and then stabbed him to death. Frykowski was stabbed a total of 51 times.
In the house, Tate pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby, and even offered herself as a hostage in an attempt to save the life of her unborn child. Susan Atkins told Tate as she begged, “Look, bitch, I don’t care about you. I don’t care if you are having a baby. You are going to die and I don’t feel a thing about it.” At this point either Atkins, Watson, or both killed Tate (testimonies vary). Tate was stabbed 16 times. Watson later wrote that as Tate was being killed, she cried for her mother.
Using the towel that had bound Frykowski’s hands, Atkins wrote “pig” on the house’s front door in Tate’s blood.
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.