Patty Hearst kidnapped by the Symbionse Liberation Army


February 4, 1974 – In the early morning hours of February 4, 1974, nineteen year old heiress Patty Hearst, grand-daughter of William Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army.  The SLA, a radical militant group, considered itself the leader of the Black Revolution although only its leader, Donald DeFreeze ( AKA. “General Field Marshal Cinque) was black.  Their slogan was “”Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.” Their symbol was a seven headed cobra and “symbionese” meant different people living in harmony.  The SLA’s plan was to kidnap a high-profile personality they could use to negotiate the release from prison of some of their members.  Over the next 20 months, a strange saga would evolve including brainwashing, bank robberies and even murder.  Patty would shortly join the SLA, taking the war name Tanya, and participate in a series of crimes.  He participation would later be described as characteristic Stoockholm Syndrome where captives would identify with their captors.  Eventually captured, she was sentenced to 35 years which was later commuted to 7 years.  President Carter commuted her sentence and she was released from prison after serving 22 months.  In 2001 President Bill Clinton granted her a full pardon.  She eventually married her former bodyguard and is the mother of two children.  She released an autobiography detailing her order in 1982, has dabbled in acting, produced and starred in a documentary on San Simeon, her grandfathers estate.

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Filed under 1970s, Carter, Politics

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