On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old granddaughter of newspaper writer William Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped from her condo in Berkeley, California, by three armed strangers. Her fiancee, Stephen Weed, was overwhelmed and tied up together with a neighbor who tried to assist. Witnesses reported seeing a struggling Hearst being carried away blindfolded, and she or he was put within the trunk of a automotive. Neighbors who got here out into the road had been pressured to take cowl after the abductors fired their weapons to cowl their escape.
Three days later, the Symbionese Liberation Military (SLA), a small U.S. leftist group, introduced in a letter to a Berkeley radio station that it was holding Hearst as a “prisoner of struggle.” 4 days later, the SLA demanded that the Hearst household give $70 in foodstuffs to each needy particular person from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles. This performed, stated the SLA, negotiation would start for the return of Patricia Hearst. Randolph Hearst hesitantly gave away some $2 million price of meals. The SLA then known as this insufficient and requested for $6 million extra. The Hearst Company stated it could donate the extra sum if Patty was launched unhurt.
In April, nonetheless, the state of affairs modified dramatically when a surveillance digital camera took a photograph of Hearst taking part in an armed theft of a San Francisco financial institution, and she or he was additionally noticed throughout a theft of a Los Angeles retailer. She later declared, in a tape despatched to the authorities, that she had joined the SLA of her personal free will.
On Might 17, Los Angeles police raided the SLA’s secret headquarters, killing six of the group’s 9 identified members. Among the many useless was the SLA’s chief, Donald DeFreeze, an African American ex-convict who known as himself Basic Area Marshal Cinque. Patty Hearst and two different SLA members needed for the April financial institution theft weren’t on the premises.
Lastly, on September 18, 1975, after crisscrossing the nation along with her captors—or conspirators—for greater than a yr, Hearst, or “Tania” as she known as herself, was captured in a San Francisco condo and arrested for armed theft. Regardless of her declare that she had been brainwashed by the SLA, she was convicted on March 20, 1976, and sentenced to seven years in jail. She served 21 months earlier than her sentence was commuted by President Carter. After leaving jail, she returned to a extra routine existence and later married her bodyguard. She was pardoned by President Clinton in January 2001.
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