Patricia Krenwinkle… (Convicted)

Patricia Krenwinkle (aka Katie, Big Patty, Crazy Patty, Yellow, Marnie Reeves, Mary Ann Scott, Patricia Montgomery, Marnie Kay Reeves, Kay Reeves, Marina Kay Vance)

Patricia Diane Krenwinkel was born on December 3, 1947 to an insurance salesman father and a homemaker mother. She was six and a half years younger than her half-sister Charlene, from her mother’s previous marriage.

Patricia Diane Krenwinkel was born on December 3, 1947 to an insurance salesman father and a homemaker mother. She was six and a half years younger than her half-sister Charlene, from her mother’s previous marriage.

Her teenage life in Los Angeles left much to be desired. At one point she was very overweight, and overcame this problem only after getting hooked on diet pills supplied by her junkie sister. Even after she lost the weight, though, young Pat still felt very ugly and unloved, partly due to an endocrine problem that caused an excess of hair on her body. She lost her virginity at fifteen as a means of combating her loneliness, only to never hear from the boy again. To top it all off, her parents got divorced when she was seventeen.

After graduating from Westchester High School, Pat moved out of her mother’s home state of Alabama to attend a Catholic college there. She dropped out after her first semester and moved back to California. There she took a job as a secretary and shared a Manhattan Beach apartment with the heroin-addicted Charlene. Life was obviously less than ideal, and when Charlie Manson came knocking on her door, she readily answered.

One September night in 1967, Pat came home to find a group of her sister’s friends and acquaintances at the apartment, one of whom was a grubby little man with a guitar by the name of Charlie. Charlie immediately took an interest in the shy Patricia, perhaps sensing her vulnerability. The two of them made love that night and Manson told his young partner repeatedly how beautiful she was. Pat, never having heard anything like that from a lover before, was so moved that she broke down crying, telling Charlie that she would follow him anywhere he went.

And follow him she did. With Daddy’s credit card in hand, she became the third girl to join the travelling caravan, after Mary Brunner and Lynette Fromme. Charlie now had a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead in his collection. The four of them headed up north to Seattle, where Pat (soon to be known as Katie) wrote her father a letter; it was the last Mr. Krenwinkel would hear from her for over two years.

Katie became one of Charlie’s most devoted followers, and even talk of Helter Skelter did not scare her off. Therefore it makes sense that Manson chose her to go to the Tate house on the evening of August 8, 1969. There she was arguably the most active female participant in the night’s events, stabbing Tate friend Abigail Folger numerous times before having Charles “Tex” Watson finish the job.

Krenwinkel dragged Folger from her bedroom to the living room, fought with her, and stabbed her. Later she would say, “I stabbed her and I kept stabbing her.” Asked about how it felt, she replied, “Nothing–I mean, what is there to describe? It was just there, and it was right.”

The next night Charlie dropped Tex, Katie, and Leslie Van Houten off at the Waverly Drive home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. There Katie, perhaps now fancying herself an accomplished murderess, stabbed Mrs. LaBianca over and over again and wrote “witchy” messages in blood on the wall. Her indulgence in the macabre was not over, though; to top things off, she stuck a carving fork in the dead Leno’s stomach, tweaked it, and watched it wobble back and forth, but not before she used the fork to carve the word “WAR” on his chest.

Not long after the murders, Charlie sent Katie to live with her aunt in Mobile, Alabama. It was there, in December 1969, that she was arrested for her part in what had come to be known as the Tate-LaBianca murders. For a while she tried to fight extradition to California, but gave up when fellow Family members persuaded her to be tried along with Charlie. She was sentenced to death in 1971 and remained loyal to Manson for years after that. In a 1978 interview with author Clara Livsey, Sandra Good proclaimed that “she is still with us.”

“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.” – Patricia Krenwinkle

Krenwinkel spent much of the trial drawing doodles of devils and other satanic figures. Eventually Pat did separate herself from Charlie and became a model prisoner, having never received a write-up for over thirty years at the California Institution for Women in Frontero. She also now comes across as perhaps the most remorseful of the three women.

In a 1994 interview with Diane Sawyer, she said:

“I wake up everyday knowing that I’m a destroyer of the most precious thing, which is life; and I do that because that’s what I deserve, is to wake up every morning and know that.” – Patricia Krenwinkle

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