Sara, Patty, Emily, Squeaky: Four Women in California Who Took Trips into Terror
Patricia Campbell Hearst, 21, insists she unwillingly made the transition from debutante to urban guerrilla. As a prisoner of the SLA she says she lived in a state of perpetual terror, felt renounced by her parents and was afraid the FBI would shoot her on sight. Patty’s bizarre tale was given to a federal court as justification for reasonable bail, and it clearly foretold the line her defense against criminal charges would take. As her attorney told her story, Patty sat solemnly in court—gone were the clenched fist and the cheerful greetings to “my brothers and sisters.”
Sara Jane (Sally) Moore (left), the 45-year-old CPA who is accused of trying to shoot President Ford last week, has a background that is hauntingly similar to other California women radicalized by the terrorist left. Born to a wealthy family in Charleston, W.Va., she decided on an acting career, went to Hollywood, married a studio executive and eventually divorced him. As an accountant, she made $50,000 a year and lived in the San Francisco Bay area with her son, Fred, now 9. Last year she volunteered to help run Randolph Hearst’s $2 million food giveaway program. The FBI, she says, persuaded her to inform on radicals she met but, in time, she became a convert to the underground. “I began to think the radicals were right.” Moore publicly renounced the FBI, but her new friends refused to trust her. Perhaps it was her desperate need for acceptance that led her to the front of the St. Francis Hotel. “If the President had not come out for another 10 minutes,” she said, “I would have left to pick up my boy.” But Ford did emerge and Moore took aim with her .38 revolver.
Emily Schwartz Harris, 28, was nurtured in Clarendon Hills, Ill., an elegant suburb of Chicago. At Indiana University she studied French and English and qualified to teach school. She was a member of Chi Omega and was known as a fashionable dresser. Her leftward slide began in 1970 when she met William Harris, a disgruntled ex-Marine who had served in Vietnam. After their hippie-style marriage in 1971, she volunteered to teach a junior high course in Communism in Bloomington, Ind. while Bill completed graduate work in speech. Moving to Oakland, the couple hooked up with the SLA. Like Patty’s family, Emily’s welcomed her back. Indications are her mother feels as she did last year when she said, “She’s wrong, but she’s ours.”
Lynette Alice (Squeaky) Fromme, 27, the social misfit who aimed a loaded pistol at President Ford, was once a majorette on a drill team in Redondo Beach, Calif. The daughter of an aeronautical engineer, she left home at 17 and was befriended by cult-leader Charles Manson as she sat on a bench. Within a few months, she had become a slavish housemother to the Manson crazies. She says the now-imprisoned Manson gave her the love she lacked at home. The latest twist in her warped life: Squeaky will be permitted to act as her own lawyer.