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Patty Hearst

By Wikipedia

Patricia Campbell Hearst, (born February 20, 1954), now known as Patricia Hearst Shaw, is a granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst. She was the victim of a kidnapping, but soon afterwards became a criminal herself: She robbed a bank and spent time in prison.

Hearst was born in San Francisco, California, the third of five daughters of Randolph Apperson Hearst. She grew up primarily in the wealthy San Francisco suburb of Hillsborough, California.

She was kidnapped on February 4, 1974 (shortly before her 20th birthday) from her Berkeley, California apartment, that she shared with her fiancÚ Steven Weed, by an urban guerilla terrorist group called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). When the attempt to prisoner-swap Hearst for jailed SLA members failed, the SLA made ransom demands which resulted in the donation by the Hearst family of $6 million worth of food to the poor of the Bay Area. After the distribution of food Hearst was not released.

Shortly thereafter on April 15, 1974, she was photographed wielding an assault rifle while robbing the Sunset branch of the Hibernia Bank. Later communications from her revealed that she had changed her name to Tania (after Che Guevara's lover - Marxist/socialist revolutionaries were their heroes) and was committed to the goals of the SLA. A warrant was issued for her arrest and in September 1975, she was arrested in an apartment with other SLA members.

In her trial, which started on January 15, 1976, Hearst claimed she had been locked blindfolded in a closet and physically and sexually abused, which caused her to join the SLA, an extreme case of the "Stockholm syndrome," in which captives become sympathetic with their captors. Hearst further argued she was coerced or intimidated into her part in the bank robbery.

The defense did not succeed and she was convicted of bank robbery on March 20. Her sentence was eventually commuted by President Jimmy Carter, and Hearst was released from prison on February 1, 1979. Later she was pardoned by President Bill Clinton on January 20, 2001, on the final day of his presidency.

After her release from prison, Hearst married her former bodyguard, Bernard Shaw on Valentine's Day, 1979. She now lives quietly with her husband and two daughters in Connecticut.


The famous photo of 'Tania.'

SLA photographer unknown.


Hearst tells her version of events beginning with her kidnapping by the SLA in her memoir Every Secret Thing. Public opinion remains divided as to whether Hearst was coerced or brainwashed while being held by the SLA.

Hearst's notoriety has led to her being cast in several films, including John Waters' Cry-Baby, Serial Mom, Pecker, Cecil B. DeMented, and A Dirty Shame.

Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst is a documentary made in 2004; it was first called Neverland, but the name had to be changed because of possible confusion with the feature film Finding Neverland starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.




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Picture of Patty taken shortly after her arrest.

San Mateo Police Department

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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