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'Life After Manson' examines one follower's life, past and present

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18:  (L-R) Filmmakers Kristen Irving, Olivia Klaus, Micki Dickoff, Sunny Peabody and Ann-Caryn Cleveland of
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: (L-R) Filmmakers Kristen Irving, Olivia Klaus, Micki Dickoff, Sunny Peabody and Ann-Caryn Cleveland of "Life After Manson" attend the Shorts Program: After Words during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival at AMC Loews Village 7 on April 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival)
Jemal Countess/Getty Images for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

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Forty five years ago this week, the Manson family brutally murdered seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, who was eight and a half months pregnant at the time.

Among Charles Manson's followers was a 21-year-old woman named Patricia Krenwinkel.

Krenwinkel recently opened up about her motives for the crime and how she has learned to make peace with herself in a documentary called "Life After Manson." The film was directed by Olivia Klaus who joined host Alex Cohen to talk about it Monday.


On meeting Patricia Krenwinkel while filming a women's support group years ago:

"When I first met her, I met her as 'Krennie.' I met her as a quiet woman who kind of stayed to the side of the support group, but when she spoke it was like these words of wisdom came out of her and everyone listened. It was a couple years into it when I started filming the group that another inmate told me her full name ... Once I heard the name, I knew who she was and I knew the crimes that she took part in. But that also led me down the path towards this story of seeing both sides. There was this 21-year-old who took part in the crimes the world will never forget, but then there's this 'Krennie,' who is this 66-year-old woman who is now the longest incarcerated woman in California, who is doing everything she can on a daily basis to make up for her past. She continues to be haunted by her past."

On whether she feels Krenwinkel has truly made peace with herself:

"I don't know if she'll ever really have peace. She can't believe she did what she did. She can't believe that she allowed herself to be guided by this man, and just throw her life away. She can't believe she got caught up in it and took innocent lives, and I think she'll never have peace. You see it all over her face, in every wrinkle in her face, that she's still tormented and haunted by what she has done."

On whether she believes Krenwinkel deserves parole:

"I think it comes down to, is this a society of punishment or rehabilitation? Do we believe in forgiveness or compassion, or do we believe in an eye for an eye? Patricia is a model inmate, I've known her for the past 12 years and I do not believe her to be a threat to society. But again, what she did is horrible. It seems the criteria that she has for parole is different than the other standards for other criminals who don't make the front page news."