I just wanted to be loved, says Manson gang killer
Precisely 45 years ago this weekend, Patricia Krenwinkel took part in perhaps the most notorious killing spree in California history.
On August 8, 1969, on the instructions of Charles Manson, Krenwinkel joined three other members of Manson's cult, "the Family", as they murdered actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant, and four more people at the home Tate shared with her husband, film director Roman Polanski, near Beverly Hills.
Krenwinkel, who was just 21, chased down and stabbed Abigail Folger, a coffee heiress, so brutally that police later thought Folger's white nightgown had been bought blood red. The next night, Krenwinkel killed again, when she helped to butcher small business owners Leno and Rosemary La Bianca a few miles away.
Krenwinkel and two more young female Family members were eventually sentenced to death alongside Manson himself, but all had their sentences commuted to life in prison.
Krenwinkel is the longest-serving female inmate in California, and this week she gave her first on-camera interview in 20 years. Speaking to filmmaker Olivia Klaus for a documentary, 'My Life After Manson', the 66-year-old said she participated in the killings because she was "a coward".
"I wanted to feel like someone was going to care for me because I hadn't felt that from anywhere else in my life," Krenwinkel said. "In giving up and moving on with Manson [I] was just basically throwing away the rest of my life… It is countless how many lives were shattered by the path of destruction that I was a part of, and it all comes from such a simple thing as just wanting to be loved."
In a piece for 'The New York Times', Klaus wrote that during four decades in prison, Krenwinkel "has struggled mightily to reconcile two parts of her life: the 21-year-old girl who committed crimes to win the approval of the man she loved; and the 66-year-old woman who lives each day haunted by the unending suffering she has caused". (Independent News Service)