American Scandal

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The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst | The Plot | 1

The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst | The Plot | 1

Tue, 01 Nov 2022 07:01

Media heiress Patricia Hearst moves to Berkeley, intent on building a new life. In Oakland, a group of political radicals plot a deadly attack.

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Hey, prime members, you can listen to American Scandal add-free on Amazon music, download the app today. A listener note, this episode contains descriptions of violence and may not be suitable for a younger audience. It's February 4th, 1974. It's a sleepy Monday night in Berkeley, California, and Patricia Hearst is curled up on a couch watching an episode of Mission Impossible on TV. Hearst jauns and she turns over on the sofa, letting her slippers dangle from the edge of her toes. Hearst is 19 years old, she's 5'2", petite, with brown hair and bangs. As an undergraduate UC Berkeley, spending an evening watching Lowbrow TV isn't exactly her idea of an exciting time. But it's not that bad, at least she has company. Over on the other side of the couch, her fiance is lounging back with a book in his lap. Steve weed is a shaggy but handsome 26 year old with wire rim glasses. He's a philosophy grad student at UC Berkeley, the kind of guy who seems to be a good guy. He's a philosophy grad student at UC Berkeley, the kind of guy who seems to be a good guy. And that's a big part of why Hearst was drawn to him. She comes from a wealthy family, a family with one of those names like the Kennedys or the Rockefellers. Her grandfather, William Randolph Hearst, founded a media empire with a chain of newspapers that helped define America. He was an extraordinarily wealthy man, and he even served as inspiration for the main character in Citizen Kane, the classic Hollywood film. Hearst knows that her grandfather, William Randolph Hearst, founded a media empire with a chain of newspapers that helped define America. He was an extraordinarily wealthy man. And he even served as inspiration for the main character in Citizen Kane, the classic Hollywood film. Hearst knows that her grandfather's legacy is worth celebrating, but in recent years she's grown increasingly disillusioned with her family. She sees them as stuffy and bourgeois, and she's wanted to get away from all the trappings of their wealth. Studying art history at Berkeley and running away with an older man, a pot smoking intellectual at that seemed like her best chance to embrace a liberal life. Once she could lead on her own terms, but tonight, sitting on the couch in her living room, Hearst gets a sinking feeling of doubt. Somehow she's found herself stuck in a routine of suffocating domesticity, cooking, cleaning, catering to her fiance's needs. This wasn't how things were supposed to turn out. Hearst wasn't supposed to become a housewife, but Hearst tries to set aside those thoughts. She turns her attention back to the TV. The show continues predictably when there's an urgent knock on the front door. Hearst and Weed share a glance. It's late, they're not expecting any visitors. So Weed gets up with Hearst trailing behind. When he opens the door, they find a young woman outside looking agitated. Hi, I'm sorry, this is embarrassing. I just backed up and I guess I hit someone's car in the garage. Hearst glares at the woman. Which car? An MG? A blue sports car? I'm sorry, I'm not sure. It was dark. Well, if it wasn't MG, that was my car. I'm sorry, I don't know. Can I just come in and use your phone? Well, hang on a second. I'll grab some paper and a pen. You can write down your information and then we'll start making calls. Hearst begins making her way to the kitchen. But with her back turned, she hears a sudden commotion behind her. Hearst spins around and sees two men have burst into the apartment. They're wearing masks and carrying guns. And the woman from the doorway is now holding a pistol herself and racing toward Hearst. The woman storms forward and suddenly shoves Hearst to the ground. Keep quiet and no one gets hurt. Please don't do this. I won't call the cops. I swear. He said keep quiet. The intruders begin rifling through the apartment. And Hearst looks over at her fiance, silently pleading for him to do something. Anything. We give a subtle nod. As one of the men comes out of the bedroom, he rushes at him, hands outstretched. The man is quicker and hits weed in the face, sending him staggering into the hallway. Leaning against a wall, weed wipes his nose. Look, look, take my wall. Take anything you want. Just leave us alone. Hearst is about to call out to join her fiance in his plea for mercy. But she notices a strange look on his face. Before she can stop him, weed turns and flees out the back door, leading Hearst alone with the intruders. Hearst lies on the ground, stunned. As the young woman leans down with a look of menace, when now it's just you, me and my friends, isn't it? What you want, where is it? Where's the safe? We don't have one. I'm not screwing around. Where do you keep your safe? We're telling you the truth, we don't have one. Well, hell do not have a safe. You're a Hearst. Hearst continues to plead, but the woman has had enough. She shoves a piece of cloth into Hearst's mouth, gagging her. Then she wraps a blindfold over Hearst's eyes and binds her hands with rope. Hearst is yanked to her feet and dragged out of the apartment. With her eyes covered, she can't see a thing. She only feels the cool night air on her skin and hears the sound of a car's trunk popping open. Hearst doesn't understand what's going on, why her fiance fled, why these three broke into her apartment. But then she realizes, with those three words, you're a Hearst. They know who she is. And it's at that moment the truth dawns on her. This isn't just a simple robbery. This is a kidnapping. And Patricia Hearst is the target. Badlands is a true crime podcast about the famous at their most infamous. This season we dive deep into some of the most notorious and controversial All-Stars, featuring the insane true stories of Ray Lewis, Michael Vic, Paul Gascoin, Andre Sescobar, and many more. Listen to Badlands on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. It's hard to imagine losing a loved one, a wife, a husband, a child. For many, it's their biggest fear. I'm Marissa Jones, host of The Vanished. A podcast that tells the stories of often overlooked and unsolved missing persons' cases, in an effort to uncover the truth. Listen to The Vanished on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. From Wondry, I'm Lindsey Graham, and this is American Scan. In 1974, the country was gripped by a sensational story involving crime, radical politics, and one of the most powerful families in America. Patricia Hearst was an ares to a corporate empire. Her grandfather, William Randolph Hearst, was a media tycoon, who by the early 1900s owned one of the largest newspaper chains in the country. Hearst's publications were known for exaggerated stories and provocative headlines, a brand of journalism that sold papers and made a fortune. So when Patricia Hearst was kidnapped from her apartment, journalists took notice. The event became one of the hottest stories in the media, earning coverage from newspapers, radio stations, TV networks, and magazines. Many of them part of the vast empire built by Patricia Hearst's own grandfather. But the saga took an even more shocking turn when Hearst began aligning herself with her captors, a group of radical activists. The media frenzy soon engulfed Hearst's family and millions of Americans and a dozen jurors were left with some annoying questions. Did Patricia Hearst actually become a convert of the radical group that kidnapped her? Or was she just trying to survive? In an age of mass media and celebrity, how culpable were journalists for the way the saga played out, and the crimes that would leave Hearst facing the possibility of a long prison sentence? This is Episode 1, The Plot. It's 1965 in Menlo Park, California. Nine years before Patricia Hearst was abducted from her apartment in Berkeley. It's a sunny morning at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private Catholic school. In a classroom with brick walls and tall arched windows, Patricia Hearst slides quietly into her desk, trying not to draw attention to herself. The 11-year-old smooths down her pleated skirt. As her teacher begins the day's lesson, Hearst gazes out at the bright blue sky and watches an oak tree rustling the wind. Hearst should be paying attention. The non-who teaches this class is famously strict and notorious for berating her students if they act out a line. But Hearst just can't get herself to concentrate. She doesn't like this class, and going to this school wasn't her idea either. It was Hearst's mother who wanted her to attend a Catholic boarding school. Catherine Hearst is a devout Catholic herself, and she wanted her daughter to have a strict religious education. Plus, the boarding school isn't that far from the family's mansion in Hillsborough, California. Patricia can still spend time at home with her mother, father, and four sisters, and over the summer they can all still travel to San Simeon, and the famous Hearst Castle there. The family estate spans 86,000 acres. It's a property Hearst has always found to be enchanting. She gets to ride horses and commune with nature. There, Hearst feels like she can be herself. Get some distance from her mother's lessons about etiquette and religion. But sitting in a classroom at her boarding school, Hearst can only daydream about summers on her family estate. She gazes out the window, staring at the trees, and Hearst is lost in her fantasy. She doesn't notice that her teacher has turned from the chalkboard and begun making her way through the aisle of desks. The nun stops next to Hearst, and when the girl looks up, the nun demands to know why Hearst is staring at the window. As she no interest in learning, Hearst remains silent, hoping the nun will move on to some other poor girl. But the nun bends in closer and continues her reprimand. She asks Hearst if this is how a student should behave in the presence of the Lord. If this is fitting behavior for a respectable child. As the nun chastises Hearst, Beads a spit fly out of her mouth and land on Hearst's face. But she doesn't move or say a word. The nun's face turns red, and she wraps the desk, demanding an answer. But Hearst doesn't know what to do. She could remain silent and keep taking this punishing tirade. Or she could say something and defend herself. But Hearst doubts that will achieve anything. Then an idea strikes her. Hearst looks her teacher in the eye, and without blinking, she tells the nun to go to hell. The nun freezes, and Hearst suppresses a grin. For once, the nun is speechless. But not for long. With her face now a deep crimson, the nun barks at Hearst, telling her to get up and go to the office of the Reverend Mother. Hearst nods and begins walking through the classroom to the front door. She can feel everyone watching her. And at first she feels a bit sheepish. But slowly her feelings begin to shift. She knows what she just did was out of character. She doesn't have a reputation as a troubled student or an unruly kid. And she only did what was necessary to get herself out of a bad situation. Sometimes you have to do that. But one shocking choice doesn't mean she's a bad person. It's 1973 in Berkeley, California, eight years later. Patricia Hearst steps into her apartment and sets out her bag. She takes off her coat and hangs it up. And as she stands in the foyer, gazing at her small apartment unit. For a moment, Hearst considers turning back around, walking out the door, getting away from here and far away from her problems. But Hearst's boyfriend Steve Weed, back in her to come in and help get dinner ready. For Hearst, this has been a rotten night. She and Weed just saw a movie and spent the whole car ride back bickering about its meaning. As usual, the conversation devolved into a series of personal attacks. Weed liked the movie and his praise for the film was hyper intellectual as you digs back from a philosophy PhD student. Hearst though thought the movie was kind of silly and over the top. Weed argued that her take was evidence of her naivete and social privilege. Hearst pushed back. She wasn't some sort of naive child. It was the kind of fight that's been happening more and more. And now that they're back at the apartment and Weed is demanding dinner, Hearst feels stung. A big part of her wants to flee. Their life together wasn't supposed to be like this. When Hearst met Weed, she was still in high school and Weed was her teacher. She looked up to him, seeing Weed as the exact opposite of the stuffy world she came from. He was a leftist, an intellectual, and had nothing to do with a Hearst media empire or her grandfather. Getting together with Weed seemed like a chance as a fresh start, a way to build a life untethered from her family legacy. But reality hasn't matched her fantasies. Two years into their relationship, Hearst has found herself fighting to find her voice in any conversation that isn't about household chores. In ways she can't put her finger on, a relationship that was supposed to be progressive now feels backward, a relic of a bygone era. But Hearst hasn't given up hope. She still believes that if she argues her points well enough, her boyfriend will take her seriously. She can prove that she's more than just a rich kid from an ultra wealthy family. And she can have the life she wants and a partner who respects her. Hearst grabs a pot and sticks it onto the range top. Now she heats up some leftover soup. She looks over it Weed. Steve, it's a movie. I can have my own opinions about it. I'm not a child, but you are a 19 year old getting her first taste of college. So, you're in your mid 20s, big deal. It is a big deal. There's a lot of life you get exposed to in between 19 in my age. I can't have fine, but I'm not allowed to have an opinion. Not if it's going to embarrass me in front of my friends. Also, I'm in embarrassment, huh? Hearst ladles soup into a couple of bowls and the two head over to the dining room table and grab a seat. As she takes her first spoonful, Hearst pauses and looks up at Weed. You know, you were the same way just last month with your mother. What's that supposed to mean? She treats your own mother like she's unaware that there's a modern world outside her front door. She voted for Nixon for God's sake. So did half of America, which is exactly our problem. Look, Steve, she's a person. You don't have to talk down to her or me. Oh, okay. You know, I'm sorry. I'm not going to keep listening to the princes of publishing, giving me a lecture on modern America. You and my mother both have no idea how out of touch you both sound. Hearst drops her spoon into her bowl. Steve, you might be getting a PhD in philosophy, but you're not so smart when it comes to treating people the right way. Well, okay. That's enough. You spent all your time reading books. Have you ever looked up, tried to read the room, maybe be a little more humble? I said that's enough. And what if I am more to say? Are you going to stop me? Weed pushes back his chair. And striding to the other side of the table, he grabs Hearst by the waist, who carries her across the room, opens the front door. And before Hearst can stop him, weed drops her outside, closes the door, and turns the lock. Hearst stands in the cool night air, frozen in shock. Her boyfriend just locked her out of her own apartment. For what feels like an eternity, Hearst stands outside, cycling through a litany of her grievances. Every instance she knows her boyfriend was wrong. Eventually, she gets tired and cold. So Hearst knocks on the door and calls out, apologizing. After a few moments, she hears the deadbolt turn in the door unlocks. Hearst opens it and pads back into the apartment. She finds Weed watching TV in the living room. Hearst sits back down at the table, and swallows a spoonful of cold soup, gazing at her boyfriend, whose glasses reflect the pale light of the TV. Hearst tries to reassure herself. She can fix her life. It won't be like this forever. It's December 1973 in Hillsboro, California, and Catherine Hearst is strolling through her large house, taking in the holiday's blender. Dream Garlands are draped across the mantles. There's a glittering nativity scene on the grand piano. It's 65 degrees outside in northern California, but the Hearst have made sure to give their Christmas tree a proper decoration, one that evokes the joy of spirit of winter time. As the matriarch of the household, Catherine is facidious in her attention to detail, and she's happy to see that everything looks right. Even Catherine's hair is perfectly sprayed, and the pearls around her neck are polished and gleaming. Catherine knows that anyone looking in at this house would see a happy family and a life well put together. The Hearsts should be a source of envy to anyone. But even with the Garlands and wreaths, even with the expensive artwork on the walls, and the French wine and the seller, Catherine Hearst can't help but feel deeply uneasy. There's a problem brewing in her family. Catherine has never approved of her daughter Patricia's new fiance, Steve Weed, but it isn't just Weed's literal values that Chaef had Catherine. He might be pursuing a PhD, but he seemed lazy, and he's arrogant. Catherine often questions how such a man could ever be right for her daughter. Catherine continues her tour of the decorations and approaches a staircase, where there's a photographer waiting with a camera slung over his shoulder. Despite her deepest misgivings, Catherine is going to try to make the best of the situation. Today, Patricia and her fiance are coming to the house. The family hired a professional to lead a photo shoot, so the family can place an engagement announcement in the local papers. Patricia doesn't seem happy about taking part in this ritual, but that's tough luck. Catherine may not be able to control her rebellious daughter or stop her from marrying an inferior man, but she can at least control the family's public reputation. A few minutes later, the front door of the mansion swings open, and Patricia and her fiance walk in. Patricia is wearing a simple knit dress, and outfit that Catherine believes is fine for the occasion. But Steve Weed is wearing a pair of blue jeans. Words, he hasn't shaved his mustache. Catherine silently fumes as she stares at the young couple. This is unacceptable. If the public sees this man in a newspaper announcement, they'll believe the hersts now keep company with deadbeats. So Catherine pulls Patricia aside and hisses that Weed must shave for the photo shoot. But her daughter pushes back, saying she likes the mustache, and there's no way she's forcing Weed to shave it. Catherine can tell she's not going to win this argument. So she moves on to the next issue, the blue jeans. But Patricia asks, what exactly Catherine's solution is? Does she want Weed to put on a pair of her father's dress pants? They won't fit. Surely one pair of jeans won't destroy the family's legacy. Catherine grows increasingly flustered by her daughter's obstinence, and she blurtts out that Weed must at least put on a tie. Catherine's size. Her daughter has already rejected so much of Catherine's worldview. She waved off Catholicism. She went to Berkeley instead of Stanford. She's engaged to this moustache-y old man with his liberal politics. Catherine is praying that her daughter will at least compromise on this one thing for the photo shoot. Finally, Patricia asks, is wearing the tie will put an end to the argument. Catherine says it will. And although Patricia nods unhappily, she says Weed keeps the tie in his car, and she'll have him fetch it. Soon Weed returns with a tie. It's floppy with a garish print. But Catherine says nothing and waves the couple over to a large painting of Patricia's grandmother. Patricia and her fiance pose underneath the portrait as the photographer snaps several shots. And when they're finished, the group begins heading out toward the estate grounds for some outdoor photos. But as Weed and the photographer step outside, Catherine stops her daughter and asks if they can talk for a moment. Patricia looks wary. But speaking tenderly, Catherine tells her daughter that it's not too late. She would never judge her if she had a change of heart. Patricia doesn't have to marry this man. Something flickers in Patricia's eyes. She opens her mouth to speak. But then the flicker fades. Patricia says this is just like her mother. She never supports her decisions. Without saying another word, Patricia turns and hurries out through French doors into the garden. Standing alone in the mansion, Catherine straightens her back and adjusts her pearl necklace. Her daughter may not realize it. But Catherine only has her best interests in heart. This is just a rebellious phase. And Catherine is sure that some day Patricia will not grow it. She's bound to clean up her husband. And then she can assume her role in high society. And somehow everything will turn out alright. It's March 5, 1973 at Solodad State Prison, a few hours south of San Francisco. Out in the prison yard and inmate with hooded eyes and a short afro is sweeping debris into a pile. He gathers together a couple of pieces of cracked wood and a few dead leaves. And as he walks the debris over to a trash bin, he passes a guard and gives a curtainot. This inmate, Sincue M. Tume knows he's relatively lucky. He has a coveted job in the prison doing janitorial work. Still, whenever he looks out at the horizon, past the chain link fences and the guards stationed with guns, Sincue can only dream of what it must feel like to be free. It's a feeling Sincue has never really known. When he was only 14 years old, he fled his abusive father and took up a life of crime to get by. He got involved in street gangs, guns and volatile relationships. He cycled in and out of the criminal justice system. Trouble just seemed to follow him wherever he went. But while Sincue is no stranger to prison, his most recent conviction was especially baffling. Sincue was given a sentence of five years to life. He doesn't know how long he's going to be away. It could be a short stint or he could die in prison. The decision is in the hands of the parole board. And with that kind of uncertainty, an inmate could easily lose his mind. But Sincue has always tried to make the most of things. He's gotten involved with prison activists, and as a black inmate, he's studied up on issues of racial injustice. Sincue has learned about manlike George Jackson, an inmate who became a powerful leader behind bars and spearheaded violent uprisings. Reading about man like Jackson, Sincue has been filled with the spirit of righteousness and rage. And he was inspired to shed his birth name, Donald DeFrees, which he called a slave name. Instead, he would be known as Sincue M. Tume after the leader of a slave rebellion and a Swahili word for profit. Sincue's brush with radical politics also gave him a dream to lead his own rebellion with his own devoted followers. Still, there's only so much he can accomplish while locked up. And with his unpredictable sentence, all he can really do is dream of the day he gets out. So Sincue continues his sweeping, watching as a correctional officer walks out through the prison side gate and lights up a cigarette. Beyond him is a six foot chain link fence topped with curling barbed wire. But beyond that is freedom. The guard stamps out his cigarette, makes his way back into the main yard, and then closes the gate behind him. But as the guard walks back to the administration building, Sincue notices something. The gate isn't completely shut. The guard accidentally left it open just to crack. Sincue squints, trying to see if anyone else noticed. But no one is racing to shut the gate. Sincue stops, staring at the gate. Right now, all that stands between him and freedom is that six foot fence in his own raw fear. Sincue leans his broom against a wall and begins casually walking toward the gate. Maybe he'll just take a quick look. As he makes his way through the yard, suddenly it sounds like there are footsteps behind him. Sincue freezes. But when he turns around, he doesn't see anything except a vast concrete expanse in a plume of steam coming up from the laundry room of the prison building. Without giving it another thought, Sincue begins to run. A second later, he reaches his gate and swings it open wildly. Then he begins scaling the six foot chain-length fence, reaching the top even as barbed wire tears into his exposed arms. But adrenaline numbs out the pain. Sincue flings himself to the other side and continues to run. He gets farther from the prison, farther from the guards and their nightsticks and shackles and leering contempt. His breath is labored and his legs are tired. But Sincue keeps running, farther from Soledad State Prison and closer to Highway 101. Five months later, Patricia Saltisic pages through a stack of political pamphlets in an apartment in Berkeley, California. As she reads through a list of radical proposals and incendiary arguments, her brown eyes twinkle with excitement. Then Saltisic grabs a pen and starts jotting down ideas. Though her parents call her Patricia, everyone else knows Saltisic as Mismoon. It's her adopted name and part of her new identity as a radical feminist and drop-out from Berkeley. In the last few years, Mismoon has done a lot of learning and a lot of growing up. And there's much she wants to change about the world. Mismoon is sick of the forces that give rise to racism, sexism, greed, and every other form of oppression. She's seen firsthand that the police are willing to fire on innocent protesters, people doing nothing wrong. And with America increasingly feeling like it's falling apart at the seams, Mismoon believes the country is ready for revolution. Large scale change is exactly what she's trying to accomplish. Mismoon looks across the room and watches Sincu M2May pacing on a shag rug, gripping a nearly empty glass of plum wine. A friend of Mismoon's connected her with Sincu after his escape from Solovat prison. And for the last couple of months, they've been living and sleeping together. But the two have also been talking about the need for revolution, the imperative for big political change. But tonight, she and Sincu have decided that they're done with talking. It's time for action. The two have gathered with Mismoon's other comrade, Nancy Ling Perry. And together, these three are brainstorming a constitution for a new radical group. Mismoon sits on the ground, paging through a fire from the radical political group, the Black Panthers. Mismoon believes in the mantra of following Black leadership. And she wants to share what she's reading with Sincu. But it can be tough to pin down his ideology, especially once a wine bottle is uncorked. Often, Sincu gets surly when she talks about any other group, as if they're stealing his thunder. So, in talking with Sincu, Mismoon tries to tread lightly. Hey, Sincu, take a look at this one. I always thought there was a simplicity to the Black Panthers' literature. Maybe something we can learn from. Sincu narrows his eyes. Panthers, huh? You think it's simplicity? Or is it stupidity? This says boycott lettuce. Well, yeah, it's in solidarity with the farmers. They were getting exploited. What kind of revolution are you going to start by telling people not to eat lettuce? Well, Sincu, the Panthers are all over the news. And it was because of these kind of slogans. I mean, people stopped buying lettuce at Safeway. They had an impact. So, if we're going to do something similar, maybe we do have something to learn from the Panthers. Now, forget it. Let's focus on something else. Well, I mean, we need a name for the group. Yeah. I was up late last night. A word in my head. Symbiosis. You know, a black con like me and two white women. People don't expect us to come together in a revolution. But that's our strength, isn't it? Sincu throws back the rest of his plum wine. Well, damn right. I want to unite all the struggles together. Let people know we're fighting for freedom. How we're going to crush the fascists together. It's like we're an army. That's it. A freedom army. An army of liberation. That's an idea. Answer you getting this? Nancy Ling Perry nods and begins typing, taking down notes. Sincu pours himself another glass of wine and continues pacing the room now with a wild look in his eyes. Symbiosis symbiosis symbiosis symbiosis. What? I know what? What's what's the name? Getting close. Symbiosis army. Symbianees army. Symbianees liberation army. The Symbianees liberation army. That's the name. Yeah. That's who we are. The SLA. Symbiu. You're a genius. Mismune grins as she looks down at the spread of political pamphlets in front of her. Soon the Symbianees liberation army is going to have its own radical literature. With Symbcuse leadership and Perry by her side, Mismune is certain they'll be able to force some big changes in American society. They're going to have to get organized and they'll have to finish drafting the Constitution. But Mismune knows all of that is still just talk. What the group really needs is to take action. It's the evening of November 6th 1973, three months later. In a dark alley in Oakland, California, Symbcumum stands shivering as closed damp from the rain. He appears around a corner and takes another look at the white Chevy Vega sitting in a parking lot. Symbcumum grips a 12 gauge shotgun and turns back to his comrades hiding in the shadows. Today, the Symbianees liberation army has a target. Marcus Foster, the superintendent of Oakland Unified School District, and a man embroiled in political strife. In recent months, violence has been spiking on school campuses and people have been calling for change. But the superintendent came up with a solution that Symbcumum believes is a terrible abuse of power. Foster is going to hire armed security guards to try to keep school children safe. Foster is a black man, and Symbcumum believes he should no better than to use federal money to hire a fascist police force, station them in public schools, the schools of the people. The black panthers have already stepped into the fray, promising they would oversee school security themselves. And while that would be an improvement, Symbcumum believes more righteous actions called for, and that his group, the Symbianees liberation army, should be the one leading the charge. So Symbcumum has to plan. He and his comrades are going to assassinate Superintendent Marcus Foster to take a stand against suppression. If they succeed in their mission, Symbcumum believes the SLA will be hailed as one of the most radical revolutionary groups on the left. They'll be feared and respected, and Symbcumum will be seen as a visionary. But in order to carry out their mission, Foster has to actually show up. Symbcumum's comrades have been waiting outside a school board meeting for hours, and so far there's no sign of a superintendent. As they stand in the alleyway, Nancy Ling Perry and Mismun continue to pester Symbcumumum with nervous questions. Are their guns loaded properly? Is the safety on or off? Their concern, the rain, might affect their bullets, which are laced with cyanide. As the two women's chatter grows more frantic, Symbcumumum begins to wonder if they should abandon the mission, maybe planned for another day. But then suddenly, doors slams in the distance. When Symbcumumum appears around the corner again, he spots two figures walking in the shadows. pricing will multiply. When the men finally come out of the shadows, stepping into a pool of incandescent light, he can see it's them, Marcus Foster and his deputies. Sinc showing it takes a deep breath and drops a shotgun. But before he can give an order, his comrade Nancy Ling Perry fires off two hasty rounds. The first shot misses, but her second hits the superintendent in the leg. Sincue curses. Perry was supposed to follow directions. Plans going off the rails. But they don't have time to argue. Sincue takes another deep breath and then raises his remington and foster. He begins firing, round after round, as the two men scream. Sincue's comrade Mismune follows behind, firing her gun, and then taking the fatal shot. As Foster falls dead onto the asphalt, Sincue Mismune and Perry flee down the alley, sprinting toward their getaway vehicle. They hop in and the car peels out, speeding down a city street. As he looks out the window, Sincue's mind spins, thinking about what just happened. Soon the world is going to learn about the assassination of Marcus Foster. Sincue has no doubt that his group, the SLA, will be fallen over and feared. Sincue will probably be seen as a revolutionary hero. As soon as his army will grow larger, more powerful, and capable of taking on much, much more. It's late December 1973, a month and a half after the killing of Marcus Foster. In a safe house in Concord, California, Sincue M. Tume shifts restlessly on a beat-up old couch. Half a dozen new recruits are seated around him, rifting on ideas for their next revolutionary action. And while there's a palpable energy in the room, a sense that anything is possible, Sincue feels flat. After the murder of Marcus Foster, the Symbianese Liberation Army proudly claimed responsibility through a written announcement. The message introduced the world to the new group and at symbol, a seven-headed cobra. But Sincue was not prepared for the blowback he was about to face. The Black Panthers condemned the act as a slaughter and demanded justice. And at the superintendent's funeral, a racially and ideologically diverse crowd mourned what they called a senseless loss of a respected city leader. It was clear that the SLA's first revolutionary action had been a failure. And facing public disgrace, Sincue knew he had to figure out a new plan, something to rehabilitate his group's image. Sitting in the living room of their new safehouse, Sincue takes a look at his rag-tag army. To his left is a young white couple, Bill and Emily Harris, who recently fell in with a group. And it's Bill who says he thinks he has a plan, a way to win support for the SLA. According to Harris, the group should engage in guerrilla theater. They should hijack a Mack truck filled with meat and distribute the food to the poor. Harris says this kind of action is a little bit like Robinhood. People would see how the SLA is on the right side of the fight for justice. Sincue buries his face in his hands. He told his group that from here on out they had to stay away from anything lethal since cops are now looking for them. But this idea, a stunt reducing the SLA to a food pantry, is useless. Harris looks stung, but Sincue isn't concerned. They need real ideas and real plans. So he turns to another recruit, a hardened Vietnam vet named Joe Romero. Romero has the toughness and military training Sincue has been looking for. But when prompted for ideas, Romero stays silent. And so does the rest of the group. Everyone seems to be waiting for Sincue to tell them what's next. Bill Harris then steps back into the conversation. Harris slides over a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle and tells Sincue to have a look. Scanning the newspaper, Sincue finds an article announcing a wedding engagement. Patricia Hurst is engaged to someone named Steve Weed. Sincue knows the name Hurst everyone does, but he has no idea what Harris is getting at by pulling out this article. Harris explains that this is what they've been looking for. Sincue has talked about the possibility of a kidnapping, and Hurst is the perfect target. He's an aress to a publishing empire, a princess from the ruling class. Sincue stares down at the petite young woman in the photo, mulling over the idea. Kidnapping someone from the Hurst family, a family that made enormous wealth off capitalist propaganda that would make us blush. And people would see the SLA as a true revolutionary group, one fighting against injustice and greed. There's no doubt such a high profile kidnapping would be a risk, especially now that they're being hunted by cops for murder. But for Sincue, it's a risk worth taking. So the SLA's leader gives Harris the okay to track down Hurst to start preparing for a mission that will put the SLA on the map. It's after midnight on January 10th, 1974 in Concord, California. It's an overcast night, and police officer David Duge is patrolling a series of quiet streets in his cruiser. It's about midway through his shift, and he hasn't seen anything worth remarking on. But that's not much of a surprise. It's a weeknight in suburban Concord, it's not Oakland or San Francisco. But as he rounds a bend, Duge notices a beat up van that seems out of place on a residential street, and something about it rubs him the wrong way. So Duge decides to have a look. Duge flashes his lights and pulls over his patrol car. He hops out of his cruiser and approaches the van on foot. When he's close enough, Duge knocks on the driver's side window. It rolls down, revealing two men with greasy hair and mustache. Duge squints as he takes stock of the young men. Well evening, gentlemen. Notice you here on the street. The driver just shrugs. Is that a crime officer? Well, it depends. Can I see some ID? The driver pulls out a license, which lists his name as Robert Scalise. All right, Mr. Scalise. What are you doing in this area tonight? We're just trying to find our way to my friend's house. Kind of a little turned around. And your buddy is expecting you at one in the morning? Well, we're running late. And you didn't think to find a payphone and just give him a call. Instead, you just decided to sit here in the dark. Well, officer, like I said, we're a little lost. We should probably be on our way. Duge frowns and swings his flashlight to the back of the van. Strange. The windows are covered with black curtains. Nothing about this is adding up. So Duge aims his light at the man in the passenger seat. I'm going to need to see your ID, too, please. The driver shakes his head. Oh, officer, that's not necessary. It's not your call. Let me see that ID, son. The passenger hands over his ID and Duge inspects it under his flashlight. The name on the card says Joe Romero. Duge takes a moment to review the facts. These men could be telling the truth, just a couple of guys trying to hang out with a friend who got a little lost. But the officer isn't going to take any chances. OK, all right. You fellas, just stay here for a minute. And I'll be right back. Duge returns to his cruiser and runs the names off the IDs. Nothing turns up from the search. But the officer still has a bad feeling about these guys. And sometimes, police work is all about feelings. Duge isn't going to risk anything. So when he returns to the van, he asks the man in the passenger seat to step out. When he does, Duge asks Romero if he has any weapons on him. Romero hesitates. And as Duge moves to perform a frisk, Romero quickly steps back and opens his jacket, revealing a pistol. The officer snaps into action. He sprints to his cruiser, looking for cover. But before he can reach the car, Romero begins firing. The gunshots echo through the quiet streets, as Duge leaps behind his own vehicle. The adrenaline courses through his veins. His pupils dilate. And when there's a break in the gunfire, Duge grips his own weapon and leaps up to fire back. But he misses. And Romero flees by foot, taking off into the darkness as the van begins racing down the street. Duge reaches for his police radio and calls out to dispatch, announcing that he's been fired at and needs backup. Duge waits in his cruiser, holding tight for support. He isn't sure he's safe. The men could still come back and try to finish what they started. And sure enough, right as his backup arrives, the van reappears, driving right toward them. It's engine groaning in the night air. Duge kneels down, aiming his gun at the vehicle. He calls out for the van to stop, and it slows down, eventually coming to a halt. The driver steps out of the van, as the other officers rush forward and place him in handcuffs. With one man now in custody, officer Duge decides to have a look inside the van. Duge opens the door, and with his flashlight raised, he crouches and climbs through the van. He crawls over beer bottles and fast food wrappers. When he reaches the back of the vehicle, Duge discovers a stack of brightly colored flyers. He leans closer, inspecting them. He picks one up and sees an image of a seven-headed cobra, and the word Symbianese Liberation Army. The officer flinches. The SLA is the group responsible for assassinating Marcus Foster, their violent political radicals. And if the man they arrested tonight is involved with the organization, the police may be one step closer to finding the killers, and bringing them to justice. From Wondering, this is Episode 1 of the Kidnapping of Patty Hearst from American Scam. In our next episode, the Hearst family begins public negotiations to get their daughter back from the SLA. But when Patricia's voice broadcasts across the nation, she makes a startling announcement about her family, her captors, and the next chapter of her life. Hey Prime Members, you can listen to American Scandal Add Free on Amazon Music, download the Amazon Music Cap today, or you can listen Add Free with Wondering Plus and Apple Podcasts. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at slash survey. If you'd like to learn more about Patricia Hearst, we recommend the books American Eris by Jeffrey Tuben and every secret thing by Patricia Campbell Hearst in Alvin Moscow. This episode contains reenactments and dramatized details, and while in most cases we can't know exactly what was said, all our dramatizations are based on historical research. American Scandal is hosted, edited and executed produced by me Lindsey Graham for Airship, audio editing by Molly Bach, sound design by Derek Barons, music by Lindsey Graham. This episode is written by AJ Marishel, edited by Christina Malsberg. Our senior producer is Gabe Ribbon, executive producer for Stephanie Jens, Jenny Lauer Bachman and Marsha Louis for Wondering.