A follow-up to my article about Patty Hearst

Just yesterday, I posted an article here at Medium about the 1974 kidnapping of Patricia Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a radical group that wanted to exchange 19-year old Patty, heiress to the Hearst media fortune, for two men who had recently been arrested for a murder sanctioned by the SLA.

I argued that the narrative around Hearst — who famously ‘joined’ her captors in their armed rebellion after spending 58 days locked in a closet and indoctrinated with their rhetoric — has been co-opted by the far right to suppress…


Don’t let the anti-leftist agenda reframe the narrative around Patty Hearst

There was a knock at the door. It was 9 o’clock on a Monday night, February 4, 1974 in Berkeley, California. The couple inside — 26-year old math teacher Steven Weed and his 19-year old girlfriend, UC Berkeley Art History major Patricia Campbell Hearst — were enjoying a relaxing evening after dinner, watching evening television while Steven graded papers. The knock sounded furtive, intrusive and Patricia’s first thought was “Don’t open it” before Steven got up and went to the door.

Immediately, three people wearing dark clothing burst into…


What happened to Diane Schuler?

Have you ever had a moment so bad that it’s a miracle you survived?

I did. Fifteen years ago my world came crashing to a halt. I was alone, ostracized by my so-called friends and in a complete panic. I remember sitting in my new house, on the floor of an empty living room, and then something really terrible happened.

I blacked out. I was stone cold sober, by the way. But as I sat on that floor, feeling my heart racing and my mind spiraling, I lost time. Perhaps a few seconds, or maybe…


Yep - I read that book when I was a young adult. It was heartbreaking, learning how troubled her daughter had been her whole life and knowing the family had little they could do to control her, or her tragic outcome.

I totally believed Sid had killed her most of my life, until I watched a couple documentaries in recent years and began questioning the story. Could he have done it? Sure, I do believe he was capable of murder. It's just baffling that police apparently never looked seriously at any of the other potential suspects.

Steven C was someone…


Good question. All of the killers had known for Manson for well over a year (some nearly two years): was it just a lengthy indoctrination into his rhetoric that conditioned them over that time? What about Charles 'Tex' Watson who came and went as he pleased, who defied Manson at several turns? I think the answer to that question is that after the drug burn of Bernard 'Lotsapoppa' Crowe, Watson was on the hot seat with Manson. …


Sharing readers’ comments to my recent true crime stories

I’m trying to write one story a week here at Medium. I’m no longer focused solely on stories about the Manson Family, but on a spectrum of true crime narratives.

I’d also like to share some of my readers’ comments.

In my most recent story I talked about the case of the West Memphis Three, and of a mystery suspect that has never been identified.

To remind you, three 8-year old boys were found murdered in May 1993 in a waterway in West Memphis, Arkansas. …


The mystery suspect in the West Memphis Three killings

In 1994, three teenagers were convicted of the murder of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The convictions were successful largely based on the admissions of one of those teens, Jessie Misskelley. Misskelley admitted to helping kill the boys and told police that he saw Damien Echols, the eldest teen, sexually assault one of the children. Jessie also identified Echols’ friend Jason Baldwin, as being present during the murders.

Jason, 16 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to life in prison. Jessie, 17, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus…


What happened to some of the cult’s most infamous members?

The Manson Family was a nomadic commune and anti-establishment cult led by charismatic ex-convict Charles Manson. Charlie was the father figure, head of the cult that committed at least ten murders in the summer of 1969. Several members of his cult were convicted of murder and other crimes. Some former members testified against Manson during the trials.

The Manson Family and the so-called Helter Skelter murders continue to capture headlines today, more than 51 years after actress and expectant-mother Sharon Tate and several others were brutally slaughtered in the Los…


The Life and Death of Singer Mia Zapata

Sometimes, true crime stories hit close to home. I not only lived in the same city as the victim in this week’s story, but I knew singer Mia Zapata.

Although I did not know Mia well, her tragic death had a huge impact on me and her too-short life continues to resonate for myself and many other women of her generation.

Mia’s rape and murder became a coalescing feminist movement, a raucous caterwaul for justice and autonomy that fueled many other artists.

If you had ever met Mia, you would never have…


Exploring the 1978 stabbing death of Nancy Spungen

It’s a story of fame, lust, addiction, greed and violence. Sid Vicious, bass player for the punk band the Sex Pistols, charged with stabbing and killing his girlfriend at New York’s famed Chelsea Hotel.

Warning: crime scene photos will be included in this article.

Nancy Spungen, a 20-year old bleached-blonde originally from Philadelphia, had lived with British punk star Sid Vicious (formerly of the Sex Pistols) at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City for several months. Sid was in New York to launch a solo career, with Nancy acting as his…

H. Allegra Lansing

Author of the “More to the Story” true crime nonfiction series. https://www.mansonfamily.net/

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