Patricia Krenwinkel

Patricia Krenwinkel was a participant in the infamous murders on August 9, 1969, at 10050 Cielo Drive, home of actress Sharon Tate and director Roman Polanski.

Patricia Krenwinkel, aka Katie and Big Patty, was born on December 3, 1947, in Los Angeles, California. Her father was an insurance agent and her mother a stay-at-home parent. Her parents divorced when Krenwinkel was seventeen years old.

Excessive Body Hair

In high school, Krenwinkel was the target of bullying due to her excessive body hair growth, which was caused by a hormonal imbalance. She was nicknamed “the girl with chest hair” and felt extremely unattractive due to her weight. After graduating, Krenwinkel moved to her mother’s in Alabama and attended a Catholic college. At one point, Krenwinkel toyed with the idea of becoming a nun. After half a semester at Catholic school, Krenwinkel had had enough and went back to California, moving in with her half-sister, Charlene Ann Lowell, who was found dead in 1970 after a late-night swim.

You are Beautiful

Krenwinkel met Charles Manson in September 1967, making her one of the earlier family members. Manson, with his sixth sense for finding insecure girls, picked up Krenwinkel in Manhattan Beach. She slept with Manson on the day they met. According to Krenwinkel, Manson was the first person who told her she was beautiful. Krenwinkel, starving for attention, joined Manson and his girls.

Beach Boys Drummer Dennis Wilson

In the summer of 1968, Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey were hitchhiking around Los Angeles when they were picked up by Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson. After inviting the two girls to his house, he left for a recording session, returning later that night to find Manson and the entire group in his home. Wilson and Manson quickly became friends, and Manson and his clan were allowed to stay at Wilson’s house for the summer. Little did anyone know that this chance encounter between Wilson and the family would eventually lead to the tragic deaths of Sharon Tate and her friends.

Witches of Mendocino

In an attempt to find a new home for the family, Krenwinkel and some other members moved to Mendocino, California. Here, they were arrested and charged with giving LSD to a group of children, earning them the nickname “Witches of Mendocino”. Various murders took place during the time the family members lived in Mendocino, including the murder of a pregnant woman, Clyda Dulaney, and her unborn baby. The murder of pregnant Clyda remains unsolved to this day.

Tate and LaBianca Murders

Krenwinkel was a major player in both the Tate and LaBianca massacres. On the night of the Tate murders at 10050 Cielo Drive, she stabbed Abigail Folger to death. The following night, she partook in the killing spree at 3301 Waverly Drive, the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, where she stabbed Rosemary LaBianca to death and worked Leno LaBianca with a carving fork and steak knife.

Apprehended and Extradited

Krenwinkel was taken into custody in both the Spahn Ranch raid on August 16, 1969 and the Barker Ranch raid on October 10, 1969. After her father bailed her out of jail after the latter incident, she returned to her mother’s residence in Alabama. On December 2, 1969, Krenwinkel was indicted for the murders, and apprehended and extradited to California to face seven counts of first degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Sentenced to Death

After a nine-month trial, Krenwinkel was found guilty of all charges and was initially sentenced to death. Ultimately, her sentence was changed to life imprisonment. Following the death of Susan Atkins, Krenwinkel became the longest-serving female inmate in the state of California.

On May 26, 2022, Patricia Krenwinkel, 74, was found suitable for parole, at a hearing held by the California Board of Parole Hearings.