Editor’s Note: One of Charles Manson’s cult followers, Patricia Krenwinkel, tells her story. She admits to helping commits obscene acts of violence and murder.
One of the women who killed for Charles Manson has given her first on-camera interview about why she felt compelled to murder innocent people.
Patricia Krenwinkel, who is serving a life sentence in the California Institution for Women, says she took part in the cult killings because she was a ‘coward’ and ‘wanted to feel loved’.
Krenwinkel was convicted along with Manson and two other female followers in seven 1969 murders, considered among the most notorious crimes of the 20th Century.
But the grey-haired inmate, one of Manson’s two surviving female followers, claims it was her Los Angeles childhood ‘in a house where silence was golden by my parents’ that led her to fall so easily under Manson’s deadly trance.
‘My older sister was deemed incorrigible by the time she was four or five, because she was a half sister and she ended up getting into drugs and she had a child by fifteen, she says in a documentary produced by Olivia Klaus and published on the New York Times.
‘As I started to go to school I never felt like I had fitted in, I never had that sense of belonging,’ says the 67-year-old.
Krenwinkel, who is now the longest-incarcerated female inmate in the California penal system, says after her parents’ divorce she moved into with her sister in Manhattan beach.
‘I stared losing contact with friends and I dropped out of college and I went to live with my sister.
‘I was starting to drink and using has hand marijuana and whatever my sister had around. I was killing for a way out. I found myself thinking there has to be more.
‘I never ever developed a sense of who I was and where I was going and what I wanted to do.
But aged 20, she met Manson in Manhattan Beach in 1967 along with fellow followers Lynette Fromme and Mary Brunner.
‘I wanted to please, I wanted to love, I wanted for the first time to feel safe. I wanted to feel like someone was going to care for me because I hadn’t felt that from anywhere else in my life,’ she says.
‘And in giving up and moving on with Manson was just basically throwing away the rest of my life.’
Two years later on August 8, 1969 Manson and his ‘Family’ slaughtered Sharon Tate, the actress wife of Roman Polanski, eight and a half months pregnant, and three of her friends at her home above Beverly Hills.
Stephen Parent was a fifth victim that night – he had driven to the property to see if caretaker William Garreston wanted to buy his AM/FM Clock radio and had stayed on for a beer at the guest house.
He was shot multiple times when he wound down the window at the electric gate as he left.