Kathryn Lutesinger (aka Kitty, Catherine Lynn Drake, Katy)
Kathryn Rene Lutesinger was born on August 14, 1952. It was through Beausoleil, Kathryn met Charles Manson.
Kathryn Rene Lutesinger was born on August 14, 1952. She was an attractive young girl that innocently enough began hanging around in the southern California music scene where she met Family member Robert Beausoleil, began dating him and going on to become pregnant with his child. For a short time, she and Robert lived with her parents at her home in San Carlos, California before moving to the Spahn Ranch. It was through Beausoleil, Kathryn met Charles Manson.
Lutesinger, who seemed to appear and then reappear often throughout the Manson saga was pivotal in most investigations of the crimes committed by the Family. She often moved in and then fled the Ranch as she and Charles did not get along; Charlie believed that since she was pregnant with Beausoleil’s child that she would eventually lure Robert away from the Family, and this angered him leading to several disagreements and even physical altercations with Kathryn. For instance, on one evening, while Charlie was speaking to the entire family, Lutesinger fell asleep and was woken to Charlie punching her in the face.
For a period of time, pregnant 17 year old ‘Kitty’, would bounce back and forth between the Ranch properties and her parents’ house never really feeling comfortable to stay. Issues with Charlie continued to worsen over time and she last fled the Ranch saying that Manson was threatening to carve her up. In one event, while away from the property, but before being taken back to her parents, Lutesinger was taken to the police station, where she began a series of interviews that would continue until at least August 10, 1969. She was noted as making the following statement regarding dealing with Charlie:
“Now when I start thinking about it I remember how bad it really was. How he just talked about it so much that you just…you know…about snuffing people and torturing them, and all kinds of orgies. You get so you just can’t listen to it any more. It really was pretty bad.”
Lutesinger remained significant in all of the investigations surrounding the entire Family such as their auto theft ring, credit card fraud, charges for underage runaways, gun and drug offences, the Hinman murder, the Tate Labianca murders, the Shorty Shea murder and the mysterious death of John Philip Haught (Zero).
Lutesinger spent months spilling her guts about everything she knew related to most of the cases and at one point Charles Manson was trying to figure out where the heck police were getting their info from telling members of the Family to “Clam up” and find out where the leak is; word quickly came back that it was Lutesinger. Kathryn was later informed by Inyo County police that a Death List was found in Manson’s possession during one of his arrests, and her name was on it.
Despite all of her assistance, Lutesinger was arrested during the Spahn Ranch raid just one day after returning there. Ironically, the raid was authorized from information she gave police which helped them get the search warrants used for the invasion. Even more ironically, after she gave up everything she knew about the Family, she wound up as one of the most prominent of girls during the long running vigil outside of the LA Hall of Justice, alongside several people she had only a few months before named to the authorities – appearing as just another devote Manson follower. Like the rest of the group, she too carved an “X” onto her forehead and shaved her head. By this time, prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi found Lutesinger so uncooperative that he declined to even use her as a witness.
By February of 1970, the same month Lutesinger was to give birth to their first child she eventually named Jene, Robert Beausoleil would stand trial for his involvement in the Hinman murder. The case concluded with his conviction and sentence of life imprisonment while Kathryn was present in the courtroom and was said to have immediately burst into tears as the sentence was read, comforted only by Bobby’s parents.
Kathryn herself was arrested a total of three times throughout her life; the first was in August 1969 during the Spahn Ranch Raid. The second arrest was November 1971 for her part in helping Kenneth Como break out of jail; charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence. The third time was in June 1978, in Santa Cruz where she was charged for conspiracy to commit fraud.
Kathryn went on to teach middle school science and became a principle in a Los Angeles County school district. Today she is retired and lives a private, peaceful life.
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