Patricia Krenwinkel Interview: Manson Girl Speaks From Prison

Patricia Krenwinkel, one of Charles Manson’s girls, was interviewed for the first time in more than 20 years to talk about the crimes she committed 45 years ago. Krenwinkel, or “Katie,” as she was known in the Manson cult, sat in front of the camera for Olivia Klaus, a reporter for the New York Times, to discuss her past and life at the California Institution for Women.

Klaus first met Krenwinkel in 2001 at the California Institution for Women when she became a volunteer for an inmate support group. A woman named “Krenny” put Klaus at ease by welcoming her to the support group. Klaus recalled, “She seemed quiet and insecure — yet also exuded an inner strength.”

It wasn’t until several years later that Klaus learned “Krenny” was Patricia Krenwinkel, one of the infamous Charles Manson followers who was convicted of seven murders. In 1969, Krenwinkel stabbed Abigail Folger, Rosemary LaBianca, and wrote “DEATH TO PIGS” on a wall on the LaBiancas’ house. She wrote “HeLter SkeLTer” on the couple’s refrigerator.

During her murder trial, Krenwinkel drew Satanic images and added to the spectacle by shaving her head and carving an X into her forehead. She was convicted and faced the death penalty, but her sentence was automatically commuted to life in prison after a California Supreme Court decision invalidated all death sentences imposed in the state before 1972.

Patricia Krenwinkel’s interview was turned into a documentary called My Life After Manson and played earlier at the Tribeca Film Festival.

While some would rightly argue that Krenwinkel deserves to die in jail for her crimes in 1969, Gawker notes that “she is also an old woman who continues to pay the price of really stupid decisions she made when she was a kid, several persons ago.”

Krenwinkel’s own assessment of her situation is incredibly insightful. In the interview, the former Manson follower states:

“That is how I looked at my life: It is broken beyond repair. But there is something that comes with that little bit that says every day, ‘OK, I did that.’ But why did I do that? And it’s pulling apart this enmeshed garbage, pulling apart who am I, who is he, where am I in this? And then recreating the person, and there is a freedom in that to finally recreate that today I am who I choose to be.”

Patricia Krenwinkel added in her interview that she takes “responsibility everyday for every word I say, what I believe, what I do. I am who I am today because I have fought desperately for everything that I am.” The former Manson girl is eligible for parole in 2018.

[Image: The Blot]