Who Is Charles Manson Follower Patricia Krenwinkel?

In any given setting, she'd blend into the tapestry of normalcy without a second look from any bystander — just a timid wallflower with very little on her mind and even less to say to anyone around her. However, when Patricia Krenwinkel appeared before the court in January of 1970, the jury found themselves gazing into the eyes of a remorseless killer. "Charlie, you've given me a new world. Anything you do has to be right. Take me with you wherever you go," she once said to Charles Manson (via "Manson in His Own Words"). Sadly, the road to that new world that Kwenwickel so lusted for would be paved in innocent blood — blood that she would mercilessly shed without question or hindrance.

On October 14, 2022, the Los Angeles Times reported that Krenwinkel — who remains California's longest-serving female convict — would be denied parole for the 15th time since her initial incarceration some 50 years ago. Her role in the infamous Manson Family murders has doomed her to a life of indefinite captivity with the looming and fickle hope of freedom constantly out of reach. Despite her admitted guilt and remorse for her actions, the California legal system has yet to be convinced of her capacity for rehabilitation and continues to uphold her lifelong sentence which, per CNN, was initially a capital sentence of death.

Patricia Krenwinkel meets Charles Manson

In her 2011 parole hearing, Patricia Krenwinkel discussed her parents' divorce, which happened when she was 15 years old. She said, "Along the way, I was introduced to drugs through my sister, and drinking, as I felt, I never felt like I fit in. So I found out a way to be accepted, and it was through drinking and through alcohol, drugs and that my parents' separation was, that at that time, you know, I felt it was definitely my problem, that I had created it" (via CieloDrive.com).

Krenwinkel moved to Alabama from her hometown of Los Angeles when she was 17, and when it was time to ship off to college, she reportedly coveted aspirations of becoming a nun, according to LAmag, and even attended the Jesuit college Spring Hill for a short time while living in the South. However, her life within the clergy was a short-lived one, and shortly after returning to Los Angeles to live with her older sister, Krenwinkel met a young man named Charles Manson. She was 19 at the time, and as she explained it in her parole hearing, three days after meeting Manson, "[H]e said he was going to be leaving, and he wanted to know if I wanted to go with him, and I said yes."

The Tate murders

On August 9, 1969, Patricia Krenwinkel accompanied Charles "Tex" Watson (Manson's second in command) and two others — Susan Atkins and Linda Kasabian — to 10050 Cielo Drive, which happened to be the home of the actor Sharon Tate. On Manson's orders, the group was to enter the home and kill everyone inside "as gruesomely" as they could, according to Britannica. Suffice it to say, the team fulfilled his wishes. Steven Parent, 18, was the first to die after Watson fatally shot him with a .22 caliber pistol outside the home. They then broke in and descended upon the sleeping occupants who consisted of Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger — Fryowski's girlfriend and the heiress to the Folger Coffee Company. 

All four innocents were gathered in the living room and tied up via nylon ropes that their assailants had brought with them. As deputy district attorney Patrick Sequeira recounted during Krenwinkel's 2011 parole hearing (via CieloDrive.com), Folger managed to escape at some point and after making it as far as the front yard (via LAmag), was descended upon by a knife-wielding Krenwinkel. Krenwinkel stabbed Folger repeatedly through her white nightgown before leaving her body on the lawn and returning inside to help her compatriots finish the job. Tate (who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant), Fryowski, and Sebring were then brutally executed by the team of killers right there in the living room.

The LaBianca murders

Not two days later, Patricia Krenwinkel and her comrades were given another heinous assignment by Charles Manson. They were made to enter the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in Los Feliz (a neighborhood of Los Angeles) and brutally kill them as they did Sharon Tate and her friends. This time, Manson himself decided to oversee the order in person, though he didn't actively engage in the bloodshed.

Manson, Charles "Tex" Watson, Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, and Susan Atkins arrived at 3301 Waverly Drive shortly after midnight on August 10. It was the former two who entered first, and upon returning to the car, Atkins and Krenwinkel were informed that the couple had been overpowered and tied up. Manson then sent Watson back into the house along with the women to carry out the killings (via CieloDrive.com).

According to a recounting of the LaBianca murders at Krenwinkel's parole hearing in 2011, Leno LaBianca was killed first. Rosemary LaBianca, who was briefly untied to retrieve some money, was in a neighboring bedroom, and when she heard the scuffle and her husband's cries coming from down the hall, she started to cry and fight back. It was then that Krenwinkel stabbed her in the collar bone, followed by Watson and Van Houten stabbing Mrs. LaBianca to death. Before leaving the scene, the killers stenciled the words "rise" and "death to pigs" on the wall and "helter skelter" on the refrigerator in their victims' blood (via CieloDrive.com).

Patricia Krenwinkel today

There are myriad details chronicling the extent of Charles Manson's devastating and sadistic saga, but as far as Patricia Krenwinkel goes, her atrocities were sequestered mainly to the Tate-LaBianca murders. She was arrested on December 1, 1969 (two days before turning 22), and appeared in court alongside Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten with an "X" carved into her forehead (the other two did the same) in homage to Manson (via the Los Angeles Times).

On January 25, 1971, Krenwinkel, Manson, and Atkins were found guilty of seven counts of murder (via The New York Times) and sentenced to death. However, the following year, capital punishment was temporarily ruled unconstitutional in California, and as a result, the sentences for the three were reduced to life in prison. As of 2022, Krenwinkel has gone before California's parole board 15 times and has been denied each time.

In the years following her conviction, Patricia Krenwinkel would finally absorb the gravity of her crimes. While she and her fellow Mansonites have done their best to make peace with their pasts, none have ever been granted parole. "I wanted this man's love is what originated my relationship with him, and I continued to justify a way each time that I, you know, I said yes to him," Krenwinkel would admit 50 years later at her parole hearing in 2011 (via CieloDrive.com). "And little by little, I allowed myself to continue to commit to him ... And I kept, the more that I did, the more I lost any values I held."