SAN ANTONIO (AP) — SACRAMENTO More than fifty years after Patricia Krenwinkel scribbled “Helter Skelter” in one of Charles Manson’s victims’ blood on a wall, the governor of California vetoed her release on Friday.
According to Governor Gavin Newsom, at age 74, Krenwinkel still poses too great a threat to society for him to be released.
Ms. Krenwinkel “totally absorbed Mr. Manson’s racist, apocalyptic views,” as Newsom put it. Ms. Krenwinkel was a victim of Mr. Manson’s abuse, but she was also a victim of other things. She had a major role in the legacy of murder and mayhem left by the Manson family.
After being rejected for parole 14 times, Krenwinkel finally received a recommendation for release from a two-member parole panel in May. Since Charles Manson’s death in jail in 2017, Newsom has repeatedly denied parole requests for his surviving cult members.
California governor blocks Charles Manson follower’s parole
When fellow Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins passed away in prison from cancer in 2009, Krenwinkel took her place as the state’s longest-serving female prisoner. Keith Wattley, her lawyer, has said that Krenwinkel is, to his knowledge, the longest-serving woman in the United States.
During the late 1960s, she and other cult members terrified the state, committing acts that Newsom called “among the most fear-inducing in California’s history.”
In 1969, she was found guilty of killing pregnant star Sharon Tate and four others. Prosecutors believe she participated in the murder of grocery store owner Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary the next night as part of Charles Manson’s plot to incite a race war.
She has “demonstrated profuse regret,” according to Newsom, and she has been a model inmate during her time behind bars. Although he acknowledged her efforts, he judged that they had not mitigated the potential threat she posed.
As Newsom put it, she still lacks “triggers for antisocial thought and action” during failed relationships and an understanding of what led her to do the crimes.
She was a cult leader and an enforcer of Mr. Manson’s rule in addition to the horrible killings she perpetrated. Mr. Manson said that the other women in the cult were obliged to obey her and barred from fleeing because of her.
Inquiries on Wattley’s thoughts on Newsom’s choice were left unanswered by phone and inbox.
A relative of Krenwinkel’s victim Jay Sebring, Anthony DiMaria, pleaded with Newsom to prevent her release “because of the unusual, serious, atrocious nature of her crimes.” Her deeds, he added, sparked “the whole Helter Skelter legacy that has inflicted enduring historical wounds” and were responsible for at least two subsequent ritualized murders.
Since Krenwinkel was refused parole in 2017, new legislation mandated that the parole board take into account the fact that she was a juvenile when she committed the murders and is now an old woman.
District Attorney George Gascón has a principle that prosecutors should not be engaged in evaluating whether convicts are suitable for release, therefore for the first time ever, Los Angeles County prosecutors were not present at the parole hearing to oppose.
Death sentences were originally imposed on her and the others involved. After a short period in which the death penalty in California was declared unlawful in 1972, these individuals had their sentences changed to life in prison without the chance of release.
When Krenwinkel, then 19, met Charles Manson, then 33, at a party, she was feeling “lost and alone.” She was staying with her elder sister at the time.
Testifying in May, she said, “He appeared a little larger than life,” and she began to believe “that somehow his view on the world was the correct, was the right one.”
She stated she went with him because he was the first guy to tell her he loved her and that she was beautiful. She hoped their time together would lead to a romantic relationship.
He had answers that I wanted to hear…, Charles Manson said. that maybe, just maybe, I’d find love and the type of adoration I’d been hoping for,” she hoped.
Krenwinkel said that she was a victim of intimate partner violence because Charles Manson physically and emotionally tormented her and others while demanding their unquestioning confidence.
It took him around two years of wandering and drug usage to become “the Christ-like figure who was heading the cult,” at which point he started talking about starting a racial war and asking his followers, “would you kill for me?” Yes, I said it, and I said it loud and proud.
During her 2016 parole hearing, Krenwinkel detailed how she brutally murdered Abigail Folger, 26, heiress to a coffee fortune, in the house of Tate on August 9, 1969.
She said that the next night, after being instructed to “do something witchy” by Charles Manson and his right-hand man, Charles “Tex” Watson, she stabbed La Bianca in the stomach with a fork and used his blood to write “Helter Skelter,” “Rise,” and “Death to Pigs” on the walls using a cloth.
The couple’s nephew, Louis Smaldino, called Krenwinkel “a brutal and indifferent murderer” and said the bone-handled fork “was part of a set that we used at holidays… to slice our turkeys.”
Debra Tate, Sharon’s sister and the only surviving member of their immediate family, was one of the victims who didn’t buy Krenwinkel’s story that Sharon’s alcoholism and unloving upbringing pushed her toward Charles Manson.
Tate said to parole officers, “We all come from households with difficulties and didn’t choose to go out and violently murder seven people.”