Looks Like Manson Follower Patricia Krenwinkel Will Actually SERVE Life in Prison

Manson Killer Patricia Krenwinkel, Then and Now

On August 8, 1969, three members of the so-called “Manson Family” entered a home on Cielo Drive in L.A. and slaughtered Steven Parent, Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, and pregnant movie starlet (and wife of Roman Polanski) Sharon Tate. The next night, the slaughter was brought to the home of businessman Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.

It was bad.

Like, fork-sticking-out-of-a-stomach-with-“WAR”-carved-on-it bad. Like, people being stabbed 51 times bad. Like, torturing …

… a pregnant women with a bayonet as she pleaded for the life of her baby bad. Like, words written on the wall with the victims’ blood bad.

Charles “Tex” Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Leslie van Houten were found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Interestingly, so was Manson; although his followers actually committed the brutal murders, a jury found that they had been acting on Manson’s orders. When California abolished the death penalty in 1972, all five death penalties were commuted to life in prison.

And Manson, Watson, van Houten, Krenwinkel, and Atkins have been consistently denied parole for many years. Atkins, suffering from terminal brain cancer, was denied a compassionate release in September of 2009 and ultimately died in prison.

Last week, Krenwinkel, who has the dubious distinction of being California’s longest-incarcerated female prisoner, was denied parole for the thirteenth time.

From Yahoo:

The two-person board was conducted by parole commissioner Susan Melanson and deputy commissioner Steven Hernandez, who received letters from around the globe requesting the Krenwinkel’s parole be denied.

In part it may have been those letters that convinced Melanson and Hernandez to deny her request. Melanson, speaking for the board, stated that she didn’t feel that Krenwinkel understood that her actions and those of the Manson followers in general had shaken people all over the world, and that they continue to have resonance even 40 years later. Krenwinkel tried to blame her actions on her love for Manson and search for his approval, but Melanson and Hernandez appeared unmoved by her attempts at justification.

Okay, true confession time: I have a morbid fascination with the Manson murders (which led to a morbid fascination with other crazy killers such as Ted Bundy, but that’s a different story). For a long time, I was almost obsessed with contemplating the psychological control one person can have over what amounted to a bunch of lonely and disturbed kids searching for love and acceptance … and the evil that came to fruition as a result. I have read extensively about all aspects of the “Manson Family” from a variety of sources (and seen the crime scene and autopsy photographs), and it is just chilling.

As far as Krenwinkel goes, she deserves to be where she is. She stabbed Abigail Folger repeatedly and, when Folger escaped briefly, chased her into the night and continued stabbing until Folger’s white nightgown appeared to be red. She desecrated Leno LaBianca’s body with a carving fork and left a steak knife in the man’s throat. She wrote “Death to Pigs” and “Healter (sic) Skelter” in blood on the LaBiancas’ wall and refrigerator.

While her choice of words played a role in leading authorities to Manson (he preached to his followers of an impending race war called “Helter Skelter” after the Beatles song), her poor spelling skills identified her unquestionably as the one who’d fingerpainted with the blood of her victims.

No amount of apology can take that back. There is no atonement for that level of evil. And any good she has done in prison—and, to be fair, she’s done a lot with helping illiterate prisoners learn to read (but probably not in working with the fine art of irony) as well as training service dogs—does not mitigate that.

What do you think?

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29 thoughts on “Looks Like Manson Follower Patricia Krenwinkel Will Actually SERVE Life in Prison

    • Especially since the original sentence was death.
      I will never understand why those sentences weren’t specifically commuted to life without the possibility of parole.

      • Those sentences weren’t specifically commuted, ALL sentences for death were commuted in 1972 . Then the law was changed back later due to outrage.

  1. It’s hard admitting a fascination with serial killers,but I’m with ya on that Katie. My favorite is Wayne Gacy,who can’t help but love a Republican that dresses up like a clown,but has a crawl space stuffed with adolescent boys. But Bundy was quite a character too. If you haven’t read about Ed Gein,you should. He would run through the woods wearing the skins of his victims on a full moon night. Look at me,I’m rambling on and on! Ta.

    • Well, the Boston Strangler was a Democrat but not sure about the connection between political party and serial killer let alone finding humor. But then I’m an independent and Democrats are smarter than everybody.

  2. At this point, she’s so institutionalized it doesn’t matter if she’s in prison or not. Spending that much time in an institution means she has been permanently changed, and even if she were to spend her remaining years on the outside, she will never be free of prison.
    I frankly disagree with imprisoning someone who is not a present danger to society. If the goal is punishment, you can punish someone just as much with parole and probation restrictions. But paying a hundred thousand dollars + a year in taxpayer money to lock up someone who isn’t violent anymore? There is no justification for that. What stupid, irrational waste of money.
    I’m studying prisons and will likely go on to postgraduate studies in law crime and deviance in the sociology field. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that unless you’ve either been to prison or studied prisons extensively, you don’t actually know what prison is. Prisons have been constructed and run based on trial and error, and we are finally beginning to build and direct prisons based on empirical studies concerning what works and what doesn’t. One of the most egregious budget killers is keeping nonviolent offenders locked up long term. There are better ways to deal with people who do not present a danger to society. I understand that the Manson killings were shocking, brutal and horrifying, but it’s time to move on and stop letting emotion dictate policy. Put this woman under house arrest with an ankle bracelet, make her report to her parole officer daily and save $100k a year.

    • My cousin’s husband beat her, wrapped her in duct tape, then stabbed her repeatedly.
      He is serving 30 to life – meaning he will most assuredly get out while in his mid 60′s.
      Her kids are terrified of that day ever happening. I hope the bastard dies a horrible death in prison.
      What is the cost here?
      I hope for your sake that someone you love is never murdered. Unfortunately, some people won’t understand unless it happens to them.

      • I was 11 when one of my good friends was stabbed to death. That doesn’t mean I allow my emotions regarding it to override common sense and reason. The system is broken, and just sending more people to prison obviously isn’t working. It’s called a revolving door for a reason.
        Your cousin’s kids are right to be afraid, but only because prisons aren’t making any attempt to reform the people they house, they’re just used as containment. Either he’ll mellow out in 30 years, or there will be enough incidents in prison that he will clearly still be a danger to society and denied parole.

        • I knew a guy who did some federal time,he said it was easier than military boot camp. It could be that we have a revolving door because guys aren’t too terribly afraid of going back.

      • My great Aunt was one of the people murdered by Charles Campbell. This sick SOB held a knife to her neighbor’s 18 month old’s neck so she would go easy and allow him to rape her. He was imprisoned for the rape, had threatened her he would come back and kill her. She wasn’t notified that he was released on a work program. He tracked her down and raped and killed her and 9 year old little girl, cut their throats. My aunt was her neighbor who came over to check on them. She walked in on it and he got her too. My uncle and cousin were able to see him hang. A civil suit against the state for failing to notify that her rapist was free and living nearby awarded the families 2 M. It’s really disgusting that people like this get commuted sentences and parole, in old age or no. And I really do think that until some monster attacks your own family, it’s easy to sit back and say, no the death penalty is bad, blah blah blah. I say fry em’, hang em, shoot em, inject em, what have you but do it quickly. It will save money.

    • Prison is hard and scary and dangerous. The food is bad, the beds are uncomfortable and you can’t even choose which brand of shampoo to use.
      How is probation and house arrest just as much punishment as that?

      • Because probation still deprives a convict of liberty and autonomy, and additionally that person must now live with the stigma of being a felon, making it next to impossible to find stable work and housing. Probation for someone who has just exited prison is so difficult to complete that 60% of ex prisoners can’t do it and end up back in prison for a parole violation within months. Prison is easy for someone who has spent a lot of time behind bars; the longer you’re in prison, the more comfortable you become with the routine and customs. You become an important member of society within the prison, attaining a prison job that is coveted and admired. The minute you’re outside? You’re nothing. You’re filth that other people don’t want to be anywhere near.
        When you’ve been institutionalized, you don’t *care* what brand of shampoo you use. If you had to choose a brand in a store, you’d likely be paralyzed with indecision. You’ve become so used to those decisions being made for you that it is anxiety inducing to have to do little things like waking up at the same time every day by yourself, or understand how to budget your money, or even communicate with people. Especially your family. After 10, 15, 20 or more years in prison, your family is a mess when you get out. If you have kids, they hate you for not being there. If you have siblings, they’re probably criminals as well, dragging you back into temptation. It’s almost guaranteed to be a dysfunctional hell. If you want to know more about it, I would recommend reading Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett.

        • Nope. Prison is harder than house arrest and parole/probation.
          If it wasn’t criminals wouldn’t always to try to get those things instead of prison.

        • Shannon.
          I don’t fucking CARE about sense and reason.
          I don’t fucking CARE about cost vs benefit.
          I want that bastard to never see another free day in his life, okay?
          I want him butt raped, I want him to eat garbage food, I don’t want him living in his mother’s house, being waited on hand and foot. I want him to be someone’s whore.
          I hope that he has terror every day of his miserable life.
          He doesn’t deserve to draw another breath of free air – ever.
          You want to know why we have such a burgeoning prison system?
          It’s the laughable “War On Drugs”. Most of those incarcerated are the nonviolent, etc etc etc ad nauseum.
          Not fucking ever.

          • I agree but let’s add brutal rapists and child molestors to that mix- the rates of re-offending and elevation of crimes are astronimical. There is no reforming for these people.

            Speaking of which, I just got a notice from the city of Avondale about a new neighbor, a 2 time convicted child molestor. His picture is on my fridge right now. I could step out my front door and see his house. Fan-fucking-tastic…

          • While I was reading the post by Jess,they were interviewing Mary Kay Laterneau on TV,she just became a grandma. Her and Villi were both there,they seem quite happy. They have two daughters,twelve and thirteen,surreal.

  3. Someone that finger paints with their victim’s blood is NOT safe to release, no matter how long they’ve been in prison. That is a whole other level of sick.

  4. Prisons could be run cheaper. I’ve even heard reasonable arguments on how to make money off of the incarcerated. When I was a kid they had prison work patrols cleaning the parks and highway ditches. I remember once reading about a business established within the Washington prisons,called Prison Blues,they made denim clothes. The inmates learned how to run a profitable business and took pride in it.

  5. I think perhaps someone who enjoys fingerpainting in other people’s blood belongs in a mental institution versus prison as it seems to imply that person has some mental issues. But hey, that’s just me. We always try to punish the behavior instead of finding out why the behavior is occuring and if there is anyway we can rectify the unacceptable behavior. Punishment only teaches those who commit crimes to avoid being caught again, rather than how to change their behaviors and why those behaviors are not acceptable and to feel regret or sorrow for their past behaviors. Putting them in prison only makes them sorry they got caught, not sorry that they took a life. I will acknowledge though that there are some induviduals who are beyond mental help and should be kept away from society.

    • I think punishing people for murder is just fine.
      Studying those who are being punished in an effort to prevent future crime is a great idea. But once you’ve murdered somebody, you have forfeit your rights to walk among those who have not murdered.
      There is no such thing as “paying your debt to society” when a life has been taken. People are not money or property. They do not have a quantifiable value that can be replaced.

  6. Pingback: Warren Jeffs, Clearly Not “The Prophet”, Underscores the Continued Need for Feminism – Zelda Lily, Feminism in a Bra

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