A bright young women one day and the next, a victim of a brutal crime. Because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her captors, she was persuaded to believe in their way of life.
February 4, 1971, Patty Hearst was abducted from her home, located in Berkeley, California. She was living with her fiancé, Steven Weed, at the time. Her kidnappers were the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a violent, overbearing group led by Donald Defreese, a young African-American man. Defreese thought himself to be the person in charge of the black revolution, when in fact he was the only African-American affiliate. The Cobra symbolizes the SLA and lends elaborate meaning to the group’s fellow members.
The group planned to offer Patty in exchange for other SLA members currently in jail; but the plan failed. The SLA then stipulated that Patty’s well-to-do family spend $70 dollars on food for each poor family in the entire state. Anticipated cost of this stipulation was $400,000,000.
As a result, Randolph Hearst Patty’s father gave $6 million dollars in food to the poor. The SLA, however, claimed that the food was no good. By April 3, 1974, Hearst, now know as Tania, recorded a tape given to the press. On the tape she indicated that she had joined the SLA. She chastised her father for the poor quality food he had donated.
During an act of robbery at the Hiberni Bank, Tania was photographed holding a M1 Carbine. She seemed to be dedicated to the SLA cause. Due to the photos and tape, Tania was arrested in San Francisco in September, 1975, along with other SLA members. On January 15, 1976, Hearst’s trial began. She was represented by the famed F. Lee Bailey. His defense plan for his client was based on the effects of abuse which Hearst had suffered while in the custody of the SLA. She was kept in a small closet, unable to see due to a blind fold, and was sexually assaulted time after time.
Baily further argued that his client suffered from Stockholm syndrome, basically defined as the prisoner beginning to have loving sentiments toward the subjugator. When the subjugator allows the victim to live, this act is sometimes seen by the victim as a loving act. The victim becomes totally reliant on the subjugator; therefore, the food given to the victim is also seen as a loving act. According to the FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System, 27% of hostage victims often end up suffering from Stockholm’s syndrome.
All of these things which happened to Hearst, in a sense brainwashed his client, and Bailey argued that she was not responsible for her actions. Though she did not turn against her fellow SLA members, Hearst exhibited no remorse, which lead to a guilty verdict. On March 20, 1976, she was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison. The sentence was later cut down to 7 years.
Jimmy Carter, president at the time, had Hearst released from prison on February 1, 1979. She had spent a total of 22 months in prison. President Bill Clinton gave her a full pardon on January 20, 2001. Since her release from prison, Hearst has married and is the mother of two children.