The "Katie" Enigma...
Patricia \p(a)-tri-cia, pat-ricia\, it is of Latin origin, and its meaning is "noble; patrician". The Romans once were divided socially and politically into two major classes, the plebeians and the patricians. To be patrician meant one was highly ranked, an aristocrat.
From the website, 12 Signs of the Zodiac,
“Sagittarius ”The Archer” November 23 – December 21
Optimistic and freedom-loving
Jovial and good-humoured
Honest and straightforward
Intellectual and philosophical
On the dark side....
Blindly optimistic and careless
Irresponsible and superficial
Tactless and restless
From the website, Psychic Guild,
...sometimes trying to tie down these free-spirited individuals is frustrating for those around them. Sagittarians are happiest on the move - exploring new cultures and ideas and many are attracted to occupations related to travel, the media, outdoor work and philosophical pursuits. In love, their catch-cry is "don't fence me in". But once they find a partner who understands their need to retain their own sense of self and identity, Sagittarians can be the most big-hearted, generous and fun-loving companions of all.”
Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel, born December 3, 1947, was almost 20 when she first laid eyes on Charles Manson. And from that day forward, even dripping blood on a buck knife and a carving fork wouldn’t separate the two.
She, of all the Manson murderers, has always been the biggest mystery to me and although I’ve always held an over-exaggerated fear of all of Charlie’s girls, Pat was the ultimate enigma, of how a woman so socially quiet and withdrawn could have been the most prolific of the killers, second only to Tex’s deeds and Charlie’s orders.
Pat, I think, was often overlooked in the trial and the ensuing media circus because she was less attractive than Leslie and far less vocal than Sadie but if the mystery is to be solved regarding the real motives for these murders, the answers may lie inside Patricia Krenwinkel, once described by Charlie as the most “complete reflection” of himself, of all the members of his “Family”.
In this and future posts, I shall attempt to delve into the psychic morass which is the “Katie” enigma and attempt to discern what it was that made Pat tick to become “Katie” on those hot summer nights of August 9 & 10th, 1969.
People in “the know” today assert that Pat is the most remorseful of the killers and to her credit, the only one not willing to flog a book, knowing that to do so would cause further harm to the victims’ surviving family members. If that were the only criteria for a parole date, I would unlock her cell door myself.
Pat has readily admitted being absolutely devoted to Charlie from the first night they met and made love at her sister Charlene’s apartment in El Porto, near Manhattan Beach. Other Family members have said that Pat had the strongest bond with Manson and was the member most under his spell.
Pat has never debated these assertions.
Although considered quiet and delicate by Manson’s girls, she also was considered the Family confidante others would flock to with their problems.
At first glance, the names Patricia and Dianne seem to fit well with this woman – noble and divine – had it not been for the dark side of her moon...
In the 1993 Parole Hearing, Pat states, of her unwillingness to stop with the murdering on the first night, even after witnessing the death of Steven Parent,
“I would have never thought of leaving, I didn’t know what to do. I was waiting for instructions.”
and, even after Folger and Sebring were initially wounded,
“...there was no rational thought in my head. I had followed the instructions as I had been told to do, as I had been doing for a very long time. And I – at that point, everything was out of my control. I felt helpless, I felt hopeless to do anything, all I was doing is carrying through a macabre dance. It was horrible and I don’t know how to stop it and I never knew how to stop it, just, like I never knew how to stop Manson all along.”
And of her unwillingness to stop on the second night,
“By that time, I didn’t think I was – I think I was pretty numb. Numb from the previous night....I felt very dead inside and empty, very frightened. And just completely kind of hollow.”
And from her television interview in the same year, on Turning Point with Dianne Sawyer,
“Dianne: You knew what was coming?
Dianne: You didn’t say No?
Pat: No. And at that point I felt so dead inside it didn’t matter.”
Reasoning that what, once you kill the first time, any further destruction of life is moot? And if one is supposed to be “numb” from the previous night, it’s amazing how much one can achieve while being numb;
- stabbing Mrs. LaBianca so hard in the collarbone that her kitchen knife bent
- grabbing a carving fork and stabbing Mr. LaBianca seven times, leaving fourteen holes in his chest
- carving the letters “W-A-R” in his stomach
- taking a steak knife and slitting Leno’s neck on one side, severing his carotid artery and leaving the knife embedded on the other side
- writing with Leno’s blood on the LaBianca walls
- changing into Rosemary’s clothes
- eating cheese and drinking chocolate milk
- smoking pot with friends at Topanga on the way back to Spahn
Chilling rationalization from a woman almost a quarter century after the crimes...
A similar sense of emotional detachment from her actions continued, when in the ’93 Parole Hearing, Pat added,
“INMATE KRENWINKEL: Well, when I started going through the moral inventory, I started first by looking at all the factors and all the parts of myself that I found were weak, and the things which had lead me to make the inappropriate decisions that I had. And I began to list all the – the different events throughout my life and the people that I had affected throughout my life. And I began –
COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: I’m just curious, you said inappropriate decisions, wouldn’t you think they were more like disastrous decisions?
INMATE KRENWINKEL: Some were, but not every decision.”
This statement given 24 years after the fact, after years of counselling and psychiatric treatment – “inappropriate decisions” - I’d love to give Pat the benefit of the doubt but she makes it damn hard to be on her side...
Even in 1988, some 19 years after her actions, her then psychiatrist, Dr. Francis, in his report, stated that Pat “excuses the crimes with the lifestyle of the victims” and tried to find certain justifications for the murders. Pat stated of her victim, Abigail Folger, that she “Could have been something more than a drug abuser.” and of the murder itself, it “May have been a tragedy.” The Doctor went on to say that Pat was “Rationalizing that there was a heavy drug involvement, and therefore a diminished social validity to the lives of these individuals. Unbelievable.”
Words fail me to this day, that the Katie Pot could be calling the Abigail Kettle black. Are these just the words of a drug abuser who doesn’t want to cop to the plea or is there more to the Pat/Katie mix than meets the eye?
By 1993, her then psychiatrist, Dr. Clabel stated that she no longer makes excuses for and now shows emotional involvement in describing her heinous acts. Yet Dr. Clabel also stated that she uses her intellect to control her rebellious past and fluctuates between bouts of depression and over activeness.
I’m no shrink but me thinks she’s still running from the actual events of those two nights. Pat seems to employ rational thought patterns to protect her psyche from the trauma that would undoubtedly consume her if she didn’t hold the reality of her actions at a safe distance.
Has she just swapped her “...no rational thought in my head” from those nights in ’69 for an over-rationalization of her past actions, today, still holding the reality of those two nights experiences at bay?
Pat readily admitted in the same Hearing, to experiencing between “250 to500” trips on LSD in her lifetime, with only 2 of those trips being before she joined The Family. This fact alone definitely muddying the waters as to whether or not Pat suffered from a mental disorder before using LSD, and if she did, what negative personality disorders could have been exaggerated to allow for her murderous actions on those two nights.
Studies done on the effects of long-term usage of L.S.D. have stated that neurotransmitter damage can occur in humans and as yet, there have not been any conclusive studies examining Frontal Lobe damage – the area of the brain which governs emotional and behavioural control.
From the Jan 2006 article, “LSD: The Geeks Wonder-Drug?” published by Ann Harrison of WIRED MAGAZINE, she wrote that, “Dr. Andrew Sewell, a psychiatrist and neurologist from the Harvard Medical School, who studies alcohol and drug abuse...says that people who suffer from underlying mental disorders should not take L.S.D. because it could make their symptoms worse. ‘Like any powerful drug, if LSD is used incorrectly, it can cause more harm than good”.
Throughout the 1980s, several of Pat’s psychiatrists stated that they “...found a deep seeded personality disorder, emotional problems, and a higher level of anger...” Yet after 1993, Pat was considered not to be affected with any mental disorder. Does Pat have a valid excuse for these murders, in the form of drug abuse, or in the telling words of one of her psychiatrists, Dr. Armstrong, “...there is something missing about this person...”? In my humble opinion, the jury is still out on this question.
Pat seems to have a selective memory, as do the other Hinman/Tate-LaBianca murderers it seems, when it comes to her direct actions on August 9 & 10th.
- Pat claims that she had no knowledge of what was going to take place at the Tate house until the four of them had climbed over the embankment beside the gate; yet, Susan Atkins has said that Tex informed them of the kill plans while on that hour-long drive from Chatsworth (Spahn) to Benedict Canyon
- Pat gives two differing accounts of her actions when she was ordered by Tex to investigate the Guest House and kill whoever was there. On one occasion she says she only turned the doorknob but found it was locked and an “echo” inside her said that further killing was wrong so she returned to the Main House. On another occasion, she admits to entering through the front door, at least far enough to see the living room side table lamp but going no further as she claims she saw no one there and left. Quoting Pat,
“When I went to the back house, I stood there and I opened the door and I was supposed to look and see if anybody was in there and I just stood there and looked in....I never went passed the door. I just saw a lamp and I just stood there.”
From these pictures of the Guesthouse (Photo Left - taken August 9, 1969, Right arrow indicating lamp in sight of front door, Left arrow pointing in the direction of the front door; and Photo Below -a still photo taken from the 1993 Turning Point TV show, illustrating that the side table lamp CANNOT be seen from outside the front door), one would have had to enter at least the Guesthouse galley kitchen to be able to see the side table lamp in the living room, so it’s my belief that Pat’s latter version of events is the truth. Further evidence to support this version comes from the caretaker, Will Garretson, when he stated in the LAPD polygraph examination that the doorknob was in the down position when he saw it, suggesting an opening of the door beyond just the turning of the knob. Will was never 100% sure that the door was locked before he saw the downward handle and it was never established that that doorknob was defective/broken to allow for its handle to stay in the downward position and not be opened.
- Pat denies having anything to do with the stabbing of Sharon Tate, stating that she did return to the Main House after her investigation of the Guest House but said that, “Cuz when I came in, I was turning around and leaving.” Pat denies hissing the words “Kill her” or “Either kill her or let her have her f---ing baby.” to Tex and further denies that she was even physically present while Tate was killed. This version of events is not supported by the timeline, in my opinion, unless one decides that Sharon was stabbed by Sadie before Tex finished with Gibby, as Pat states that Tex was stabbing Gibby when she went to the Guest House. I find it difficult to believe that Sadie had the physical dexterity/strength to stab Sharon all by herself, so I believe that Tex had to be present to assist and by the time he was able to leave Gibby and return to the Main House, Pat would also have been present in that living room.
For whatever reasons, all three of the killers have little detail recognition of the last minutes of Sharon Tate’s life and although not supported beyond just personal conjecture, I feel all three were present in that living room and all three probably participated in holding Sharon down/stabbing her, with undoubtedly the fatal bayonet blows coming from Tex. Timeline analysis has suggested that there is an unaccounted for 3-4 missing minutes in that living room, probably the time it took to subdue and send Sharon to her death. It’s just very interesting that the details of who did what where/when have never been fully described.
- Although readily remembering returning to Spahn after the Tate murders, seeing not only Charlie but Nancy Pitman waiting on the boardwalk, remembering Charlie saying, “Why are you home so early?” and watching TV the next day, Pat continues to deny prior knowledge of what was to occur on the second night. Pat claims she never knew what Manson had in mind for the second night until the gang were riding in the car; yet, according to a statement made at the ’93 Hearing by then District Attorney Steven Kay,
“Manson actually had a meeting in the bunk room where he told the ones who were going to go out that night, including Ms. Krenwinkel, that they had been too messy the first night. That they had caused too much fear.”
- Pat is also fuzzy on how Mrs. LaBianca got into the bedroom. She claims Rosemary was already in the bedroom when she and Leslie entered the house; yet, Tex and Leslie have given accounts stating that Tex told the girls to take Rosemary into the bedroom when the three initially entered the living room. This is also borne out by the fact that Mrs. LaBianca was momentarily freed from her restraints while in the living room to allow for her to retrieve a strong box with cash after Tex asked the LaBiancas if they had any money. Rosemary couldn’t have been in the bedroom and retrieving the strong box in the living/dining room area at the same time and this retrieval occurred before Rosemary was led to the bedroom.
- Pat has no problem remembering stabbing Leno with that carving fork, although she avoids the use of the term “carving fork” and only calls it larger than a regular fork. She remembers stabbing him “maybe ten times” (it was seven) and admits to being the sole writer of the words written in blood on the walls and the refrigerator (yet can’t remember what she used to dip into the blood, to write with); yet, cannot remember carving the word “WAR” into Leno’s stomach.
If you look at the “R” in the word “Rise” and the “R” in the word “WAR”(photos above and left), although not a hand-writing expert myself, the two seem to be made by the same writer. And since Pat admits to writing the word “Rise”, evidence suggests she carved the word “WAR” as well.
When asked by Dianne Sawyer in the Turning Point interview if she ever has nightmares about the murders, Pat says, “No, it’s not in my sleep because I have incorporated the loss in my days.”
This is truly incredible, in my opinion, and quite telling of the emotional detachment which is still evident between her psyche and her acts. Could it be possible that Pat has so completely repressed the emotional details of those two nights, to the point that even her dreams are not disturbed? I know that Susan and Leslie have admitted to having disturbed dreams so the lack of same in Pat is very disconcerting to me.
It seems that there is a pattern to what Ms. Krenwinkel does and does not remember. That any detail which shows more subjective complicity, rage or premeditation in her actions seems to be conveniently blocked or forgotten and only the objective events are remembered, and only to a degree that one would objectively tell a story. Whenever she begins to describe her more emotional/subjective actions, even her voice, her words, will abruptly stop in mid sentence, as if her subconscious won’t allow her to experience what her words would reveal.
One wonders why no further psychiatric investigation has ever taken place to assess the reasons behind the lapses in her memory. Maybe Pat’s psychiatrists have always been aware of this anomaly in her memory but know that without her full cooperation, such memory repression can never be reversed. And this anomaly alone could be the reason why no parole date has ever been given to Ms. Krenwinkel.
According to California law at the time of Pat’s sentencing for the seven counts of murder, the minimum time served on each count would have been seven years, so doing the math, that adds up to a minimum of 49 years before Pat would be permitted parole. If that is the case, Pat has to serve her sentence to the year 2020, at the age of 73, before a parole date would be set, and politically, I see that minimum sentence being justified before any cell door can swing wide for Pat or her co-defendants.
When asked by the 1993 Parole Board, what she has done to make amends for her actions, Pat said,
“Well, when I try to do that it’s like on a day by day basis. It’s trying to involve myself in those things which I feel are productive, not counter productive, that assist others. Because it’s just a way of atonement and it’s lifelong thing that you’re doing, it’s a day by day basis, it’s trying instead of – it’s trying to give of myself to where I can, trying to acknowledge the strengths I have and in those strengths trying to apply [them] here with whatever programs that there are available. To do good by them.”
No mention of the victims.
No mention of the victims’ families.
Use of the Third Person tense when attempting to describe her actions.
To me, it sums up what Pat is doing to make amends to herself and not to her victims. I think Pat lacks the mental capacity to see and feel the difference. Does this emotional detachment make her a psychopath? I doubt it. But could she be a socially dysfunctional? It’s a definite possibility.
“COMMISSIONER GUADERRAMA: How do you feel now about what you done (sic)?
INMATE KRENWINKEL: It’s grotesque, it’s absolutely horrible. It’s very difficult for me to live with the fact that I could do anything so horrible and so horrendous, because that is not who I am, that is not what I believe in. I have always felt that things should be treated with gentleness, tenderness, and love, because that’s the most lacking thing that I have found in my life and in most people’s lives. I never tried to create some thing that was ugly and that’s what came out of me. So, I try everyday, the best I can, to deal with that. Everyday of my life, I try to define myself that I have a little bit of self-worth because it is terribly difficult to deal with this. I - on a five minute basis, because I feel terrible about it, but I cannot change it, no matter what they d- I cannot change one minute of my life and as I’ve said before, I don’t expect the Board to say that I can go home. I am paying for this as best as I can. I have – there is nothing more I can do outside of being dead to pay for this, and I know that’s what you wish. But I cannot take my own life.”
And maybe the key to all this mess lies within her admission that gentleness, tenderness and love – the lack thereof – is what ultimately led to her eventual slide into Hell as a killer for Charlie Manson.
When Pat initially abandoned her life with her sister and took off in Charlie’s black painted bus for environs unknown and a fate worse than death, little or no attention to her plight was paid by either of her parents. Two weeks after Pat joined Charlie, she sent a letter to her Father, postmarked from Seattle, declaring that she left “to find herself”, and two weeks after that, she telephoned her Mother in Alabama, from Sacramento, requesting $100. Upon reporting this to her ex-husband, Pat’s Father offers to buy a plane ticket for her daughter but when she refuses his offer, he refuses to send her the $100. And NO further contact was made by either of her parents, to search out their daughter, until Mr. Krenwinkel visited Pat in the Lancaster, CA jail, charged with First Degree Murder.
This is the most stunning kind of abandonment of a child by its parents; yet similarly seen with all the parents of the Manson murderers. There was a complete lack of interest, and dare I say, total indifference to the plight of these young adults by their parents. No attempt was made to uncover their whereabouts nor to deprogramme these young adults from Charlie’s strangle-hold over them.
One wonders if there had been a more proactive stance from the parents of these would-be killers, that nine murders and a lifetime’s worth of pain and punishment could have been avoided.
Maybe Pat is paying with her life for her actions borne not out of love but out of the emotions she was raised with - disinterest and indifference.
Could Sharon have been a loving parent to Paul Richard if Mr. & Mrs. Krenwinkel had been loving parents to their daughter Pat?
That question cuts into me like a Buck knife through butter...