Patricia Krenwinkel

Patricia Krenwinkel is a former 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, aka Katie and Big Patty, was born on December 3, 1947, in Los Angeles, California. Her father was an insurance agent and her mother a stay-at-home parent. Her parents divorced when Krenwinkel was seventeen years old.

Excessive Body Hair

Krenwinkel was often bullied in high school; she suffered from excessive body hair growth caused by hormonal imbalance. Krenwinkel became known as the girl with chest hair. She was overweight and considered herself extremely ugly. After high school, Krenwinkel moved to her mother in Alabama, and went to a Catholic college. At one point, Krenwinkel toyed with the idea of becoming a nun. After half a semester at Catholic school, Krenwinkel had enough and went back to California, and moved in with her half sister.

You are Beautiful

Krenwinkel met Charles Manson in September 1967, making her one of the earlier Manson Family members. Manson, with his sixth sense for finding insecure girls, picked up Krenwinkel in Manhattan Beach. She slept with Manson on the day they met. According to Krenwinkel, Manson was the first person who told her she was beautiful. Krenwinkel, starving for attention, joined Manson and his girls.

Dennis Wilson

In the summer of 1968, Krenwinkel and fellow Manson Family member Ella Jo Bailey were hitchhiking around Los Angeles when Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson picked them up and invited the two young woman to his home. Later that night, Wilson went to a recording session and left the two girls at his house. When Wilson returned home later that evening, he found Manson and the rest of the tribe in his house. Manson and Wilson became friends, and Manson and his clan stayed at Wilson’s home for the summer. The encounter with Dennis Wilson would eventually lead to the death of Sharon Tate and her friends.

Witches of Mendocino

Krenwinkel and several other Family members lived in Mendocino, California for a while, trying to find a new place for the group. Krenwinkel and the others, including Susan Atkins, Mary Brunner and Ella Jo Bailey, were arrested for giving LSD to a group of children. At the trial, they were given the nickname the “Witches of Mendocino”. Various 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 pregnant Clyda remains unsolved to this day.


Krenwinkel was involved in both the Tate and LaBianca massacres. She participated in the infamous Tate murders at 10050 Cielo Drive, where she stabbed Abigail Folger to death. The next night, she participated in the murder spree at 3301 Waverly Drive, the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, where she stabbed Rosemary LaBianca to death and worked Leno LaBianca with a carving fork and steak knife.


Krenwinkel was arrested in both the August 16, 1969, Spahn Ranch raid and the October 10, 1969, Barker Ranch raid. Locked up after the Barker Ranch raid, her father came and bailed her out of jail, and Krenwinkel went back to her mother in Alabama. Krenwinkel was indicted for the murders on December 2, 1969. She was apprehended and extradited to California, where she was charged with seven counts of first degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.


After a nine-month trial, Krenwinkel was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to death. The death penalty was later commuted to life imprisonment. After the death of Susan Atkins, Krenwinkel received the title of California’s longest-serving female inmate.

On May 26, 2022, Patricia Krenwinkel, 74, was found suitable for parole, at a hearing held by the California Board of Parole Hearings.

A Visual Guide to the Tate Murders