Crime

Patricia Krenwinkel the longest-serving woman in California prison

krenwinkel-nyt-videograb.jpg
Patricia Krenwinkel, now 66, has been in prison for 45 years for her part in the Manson family murders. NYT screen grab.


In her first on-camera interview since 1994, the Manson family killer Patricia Krenwinkel speaks emotionally about her life before and after becoming a follower of the lifelong small-time crook Charles Manson. This week is the 45th anniversary of the murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others on Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon. Krenwinkel, who was 21 at the time and known as Katie when the family squatted at the Spahn Ranch out in the Valley, dragged houseguest Abigail Folger from her bedroom and stabbed her, then chased her onto the front lawn to finish stabbing her to death. Inside the house, Tate — eight months pregnant — was being tied to a roof rafter by other family members and stabbed.

manson-girls-3.jpgThe next night, Krenwinkel accompanied Manson and other family members to murder Leno and Rosemary LaBianca on Waverly Drive in Los Feliz. Krenwinkel wrote "DEATH TO PIGS" in blood on the wall of the home, and "HeaLter SkeLTter" on the refrigerator. The latter phrase, a misspelling of the Beatles song title "Helter Skelter," was Manson's term for what he foresaw as a forthcoming race war that the murders were supposed to inspire.

The video posted by the New York Times is by Olivia Klaus, an Austin filmmaker, and is taken from her longer documentary, “Life After Manson,” that premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Krenwinkel is serving a life sentence at the California Institution for Women in Chino and next comes up for parole in 2018.

Lower photo: Susan Atkins, Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten in LA County custody.


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