Patty Hearst


Hearst posing for an SLA picture
Patricia Hearst, also Patty Hearst (born February 20, 1954), the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst and convicted bank robber. She was kidnapped February 4, 1974 from her Berkeley, California apartment by a tiny leftist group called the Symbionese Liberation Army. Extortionate demands from the SLA resulted in the donation by the Hearst family of $6 million worth of food to the poor of the Bay Area, but there was no word from Miss Hearst.

Shortly thereafter, however, on April 15, 1974, she was photographed wielding a submachine gun while robbing the Sunset branch of the Hibernia bank. Later communications from her revealed that she had changed her name to Tania 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 the meantime, another SLA lodging had been attacked and burned by 500 police, killing most of the rest of the group.

In her trial, which started on March 20, 1976, Hearst claimed she had been locked blindfolded in a closet and physically and sexually abused, which caused her to become a convert to the SLA, an extreme case of the "Stockholm syndrome", in which captives become sympathetic with their captors. The defense did not succeed and she was convicted of bank robbery. Her sentence was commuted after 22 months by President Jimmy Carter. Hearst was released from prison on February 1, 1979. Later she was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in the final weeks of his term.

Her attorney, Albert Johnson of Boston is currently handling the appeal of Pamela Smart before a federal court.

Hearst tells her version of events beginning with her kidnapping by the SLA in her memoir Every Secret Thing.

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

Hearst was born in San Francisco, California and grew up primarily in the wealthy San Francisco suburb of Hillsborough, California.


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