A notorious female criminal is Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel. She has served more time than any other female prisoner in California. She was once a part of the notorious Manson Family, which was led by the notorious criminal Charles Manson. She was Charles Manson’s devoted disciple and frequently followed his directives with devotion. Even after being imprisoned, she remained friends with Charles Manson and the “Family” for many years until gradually severing ties. Manson’s denial of Patricia and the other Manson Family members’ involvement in murders that they committed led to her leaving the cult. Patricia has made earnest efforts to keep a clean record as a prison inmate after separating herself from the cult. She resumed her education after being released from prison, earning a Human Services Bachelor’s degree from the University of La Verne. She instructs other prisoners while participating actively in numerous prison activities. With the most recent refusal of parole occurring in 2017, the jury has rejected her parole a record 14 times since her imprisonment in 1969. Since the 1976 made-for-TV movie “Helter Skelter,” in which Christina Hart played Patricia Krenwinkel, Patricia’s life has been dramatized on film countless times.
Early Childhood & Life
On December 3, 1947, Patricia Krenwinkel was born in California. Her mother was a stay-at-home mom, while her father sold insurance. When Patricia was 17 years old, her parents had a divorce, and from that point on, her father took care of her.
She attended University High School before earning her diploma from Westchester High School. She also pursued a degree at Spring Hill College in Alabama but left after the first semester to move to California.
She initially taught Catechism, the religious instruction practiced by Roman Catholics, after arriving in California, and she thought about becoming a nun. She afterward started working as a secretary.
She states that she experienced low self-esteem during her time in school as a result of being frequently teased since she was overweight and had too much body hair.
Living Among the Manson Family
When Krenwinkel first met Charles Manson in 1967, her life underwent a significant change. He captivated her with his charisma and provided her with the attention she had long desired. She moved to San Francisco with other Manson followers Lynette Fromme and Mary Brunner, where they started a voyage of depravity.
During their tour celebrating the hippie movement while engaging in excessive drug use and sex, the Charles Manson “Family” began to grow.
Dennis Wilson of the band “Beach Boys” first noticed Patricia and Ella Bailey, two more members of the Manson family, in 1968. As a result, the Manson family forced their way into his home, made it their new residence, and only left after leaving Wilson with a mountain of debt.
Patricia persuaded George Spahn to let the Manson family reside at his ranch by the second half of 1969, and they then went to Spahn’s Ranch close to the San Fernando Valley. Due to her extreme devotion to Charles Manson, Krenwinkel assumed the role of mother to the Manson family’s illegitimate offspring.
Famous Murders & the Subsequent Trials
Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Watson, and Susan Atkins of the Manson family all took part in the horrific killings of Sharon Tate and her filmmaker husband Roman Polanski on August 9, 1969. A youngster named Steven Parent and coffee heiress Abigail Folger were among the other victims killed by the murderers while they were visiting the actor’s home at the time of the crime.
On August 10, 1969, Krenwinkel, Watson, and Atkins volunteered to take part in yet another murder spree ordered by Charles Manson. Leno LaBianca, a South Californian grocery store owner and his wife Rosemary were brutally murdered by the trio as they barged in.
Manson, Krenwinkel, and other people were detained on August 16, 1969, on suspicion of stealing cars, but they were later freed as a result of a typographical error in the warrant’s date reference. Later, the Manson family moved to Barker Ranch, where they kept up their nefarious auto theft and buggy conversion business.
Following a police raid at the Barker Ranch on October 10, 1969, Patricia Krenwinkel was detained for the first time along with Watson and Atkins. Charles Manson told her to stay with her mother until he sent a message for her to return when her father posted bail to get her out of jail.
When Susan Atkins admitted to the murders of other prisoners at the prison on December 1, 1969, Krenwinkel’s involvement in the killings came to light, and the police detained her in Alabama, she was taken into custody. Seven counts of first-degree murder, as well as one count of murder conspiracy, were brought against her.
After initially evading attempts by law enforcement to extradite her to California for the murder trial, Patricia willingly consented in February 1970 to go on trial alongside Manson, Leslie Van Houten, and Susan Atkins in California.
The courts sentenced Krenwinkel to death in March 1971 after finding her guilty of all accusations brought against her, together with Van Houten and Atkins. Krenwinkel and the other prisoners failed to exhibit any sort of regret for their acts.
His Prison Lifestyle
In April 1971, Patricia Krenwinkel entered prison as a death row inmate. Following a groundbreaking judgment by the California Supreme Court that overturned all death sentences handed down in California before 1972, her death sentence was reduced to life in prison.
Krenwinkel first swore allegiance to the infamous family, but she soon began to sever relations with them. While incarcerated, she earned a bachelor’s degree in human services.
She actively engages in prison programs like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, works to promote literacy among other prisoners, writes poetry, composes music, plays the guitar, and teaches dance. She is a key member of the volleyball team for the prison.
Patricia acknowledged regret for her wrongdoings and expressed regret and guilt for killing individuals in several of the later interviews. According to her, as time went on, she developed the kind of maturity and thoughtfulness that she lacked when she committed the killings.
Despite her controlled behavior as a prisoner, Krenwinkel is still plagued by the horrific killings she committed in 1969. Around 80 letters from around the world calling for her to remain in prison are read aloud by the panel each time her case is up for a parole hearing.
Her attorney had made the assertion that she had “battered woman syndrome” at the time of the murder as a result of being physically and mentally abused by Charles Manson in 2017, during her most recent parole appeal.
After five years, Patricia may submit an appeal for another release.
Patricia Krenwinkel’s life was depicted in the 1976 made-for-television film Helter Skelter, which starred Christina Hart. Nearly three decades later, Allison Smith played Krenwinkel in the remake.
In the 2003 movie ‘The Manson Family’, Leslie Orr played Krenwinkel while Kaniehtiio Horn essayed the role in the 2009 film ‘Leslie, My Name Is Evil’. Serena Lorien performed the part in the 2014 film “House of Manson,” while Vanessa Zima played it in the 2013 movie “Manson Girls.”
Patricia’s first interview in nearly 20 years was included in a short film by Olivia Klaus titled “Life after Manson” that was released in 2014. The short film had its world premiere at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and was well-received.
In the 2015-16 television series ‘Aquarius’, Madisen Beaty played Krenwinkel and the role was reprised by Leslie Grossman in the latest season of ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ in 2017.
Estimated Net Worth