Publication Date


Document Type



On the evening of February 4, 1974, three armed members of a group calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) burst into the Berkeley, California apartment shared by Patty Hearst and her fiancé, Steven Weed. Hearst, the daughter of Randolph Hearst (managing editor of the San Francisco Examiner) and the granddaughter of the legendary William Randolph Hearst, screamed when the men assaulting Weed with a wine bottle. The SLA members carried Hearst, clothed in a nightgown, out of her apartment and forced her into the trunk of a white car. Hearst's abductors fired a round of bullets as they sped away, followed by a second vehicle. On April 15, the security camera of the Sunset District branch of Hibernia Bank in San Francisco showed Patricia Hearst holding an assault rifle as members of the Symbionese Liberation Army carried out the midday robbery. Was the rich heiress, kidnapped two months earlier, acting in fear of her life? Was she brainwashed? Or did she participate in the robbery as a loyal soldier in the revolution? That was the issue a California jury had to decide in the 1976 trial of Patty Hearst.

Included in

Legal History Commons