Testimony of Thomas Matthews in the Patty Hearst Trial
(Matthews was a high school student kidnapped by the Harrises and Hearst on the day of the shooting at Mel's Sporting Goods.)

MR. BROWNING: I will call Thomas Matthews, please.

THOMAS E. MATTHEWS, called as a witness on behalf of the plaintiff, being duly sworn, testified as follows:

THE CLERK: Will you state to the Court your full name, please, and spell your last name.

THE WITNESS: Thomas E. Matthews, M-a-t-t-h-e-w-s.


Q. Mr. Matthews, what is your home address, please?

A. 10871 Elm Avenue.

Q. And what city is that in?

A. Linwood, California.

Q. Were you living at that address on May 16, 1974?

A. Yes.

Q. And what do you do at the present time? Are you a student?

A. Part-time student and working full time.

Q. Is that college?

A. Yes, second year of college.

Q. And were you a student also on May 16th of 1974?

A. Yes, I was attending Linwood High School.

Q. You were a senior that year? .

A. Yes.

Q. On that date, Mr. Matthews, did you have a Ford Econoliner Van for sale?

A. Yes.

Q. And what year was that van, by the way?

A. It was a '69 Ford Econoliner.

Q. Was there a "For Sale" sign on it that date?

A. Yes. .

Q. At approximately 7:00 p.m. on that date?

A. Yes.

Q. Where was the van located at that time?

A. On Pendleton Avenue, right next to my house.

Q. And were you home at that time and place?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you receive any inquiries regarding that van at that time?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. And did you speak personally with the person who inquired about it?

A. Yes. My brother told me that there was somebody looking at my van, so I went to the front door and there was a female standing at the door.

Q. Have you later learned the identity of that female?

A. Yes.

Q. Who is it?

A. It was Emily Harris.

Q. And did you have occasion to get in the van with Emily Harris and give her a test drive?

A. Yes. She acted as though she was interested in buying my van and asked for a test drive. So I just handed her the keys and got in the passenger door.

Q. And she drove?

A. Yes.

Q. Did she make any stops after she began to drive the vehicle?

A. She went one block and turned right and stopped. Just as she made the turn and stated that two of her friends were across the street and asked if they could come along.

Q. And did you assent to that?

A. Yes.

Q. And did two of her friends get in?

A. Yes. They came across the front of the van and I unlocked the side doors so they could climb back. That is when a male opened my door and showed me an automatic weapon at his side.

Q. Have you since learned the identify of that male?

A. Yes.

Q. Who was it?

A. It was William Harris.

Q. What about the other person, Was that a male or female?

A. It was a female.

Q. Have you since learned her identity?

A. Yes.

Q. And she in court today?

A. Yes.

Q. Where is she?

A. Sitting right next to Mr. Bailey.

Q. All right. How was the defendant dressed at that time?

A. I believe she had a black shiny leather jacket on and a black sweater and cream-type pants.

Q. Do you know whether she had a wig or not?

A. Yes, she had a black curly wig.

Q. How do you know it was a wig, by the way?

A. Because she kept adjusting it during the course of the evening.

Q. Now, Mr. Matthews, would you tell the Court, please, exactly to the best of your recollection what happened when the defendant William Harris got into your vehicle at that point; what was said, and who sat where, et cetera?

A. The first thing he said was if I did not do anything stupid they wouldn't hurt me. I said that was fine, as long as I did not get shot, and they both sat across from me, about five feet across from me in my van, and I think the next thing that he said is, "Do you know who this is?" Pointing to a female, and I shook my head no and he said "This is Tania," and both of them smiled.

Q. Who smiled?

A. William Harris and Patricia Hearst.

Q. Patricia Hearst smiled?

A. Yes.

Q. And let me ask you this, Mr. Matthews, at the time the defendant got into the van, did you see any weapons in her possession?

A. No, not that I can remember.

Q. Okay, you did see a weapon, an automatic weapon, in William Harris' possession at that time?

A. Yes.

Q. After she got into the van, did you see any weapons in her possession?

A. Yes. After about ten or fifteen minutes of driving she took a bullet out of the chamber of the automatic weapon and put it into the clip of the weapon and stuck the clip back into the weapon.

Q. I direct your attention to Plaintiff's No. /9 for identification. I believe I erroneously referred to this as 16.

THE COURT: You referred to it as 19 before.

MR. BROWNING: Q. Does that appear similar at all to the weapon you saw in her possession?

A. Yes, it does.

Q. And was the clip similar to that?

A. Yes.

Q. A long, somewhat curved clip?

A. Banana clip, yes.

Q. And you said she took a bullet from where and put it where?

A. She took it out of the chamber, I don't know if she took the clip out first or after, and then put it in the clip and stuck the clip back into the gun.

Q. Where were you sitting there when you observed this?

A. Just directly across from her.

Q. Well, were you on the same seat of the van with her?

A. No, I was in the back of the van, behind the two seats in front. There are no seats in back. We were sitting on the floor in the back.

Q. Was Emily still driving the van?

A. Yes.

Q. And who was sitting on the floor of the van? You were, the defendant, and William Harris also?

A. Yes.

Q. Incidentally, was any reference made by anyone to the SLA when they got in?

A. William Harris stated that they were with the SLA and they needed to use my car.

Q. Did you notice at that time or shortly thereafter anything unusual about William Harris' wrists?

A. I did not see it at first but he said there was a handcuff on his left wrist.

Q. Did you later see it?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, did you have occasion to go several places for the purpose of obtaining a hacksaw to get that handcuff off?

A. Yes. Almost directly after we started driving around, William Harris told Emily that he would like to find a hacksaw to cut off his handcuff.

Q. And did they eventually find one?

A. Yes. At the third store they found one.

Q. At the first two stores, who went in to get the hacksaw?

A. Emily.

Q. And did she go in the first store also?

A. Yes.

Q. And William Harris and the defendant and you stayed in the van?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened after you saw the defendant remove this bullet from the chamber and put it in the clip and put the clip in? Was anything said at that point by her about the bullet?

A. Yes. She stated that she had heard publicity that they are cyanide bullets or supposedly cyanide bullets, they did not have enough on it to kill anyone, and she stated they did, and the tip was indented, that is all I noticed.

Q. She made a reference to the bullet being cyanide-tipped?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, when William Harris and the defendant first got in the van, you testified that William Harris introduced the defendant to you as Tania, right?

A. Yes.

Q. And both William Harris and the defendant grinned at that point?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, as you drove around looking for a place to find a hacksaw, was there a conversation between you and the defendant with regard to a bank robbery?

A. Yes. I asked them why they had robbed the bank.

Q. Before we get into that, Tom, let me ask you how that conversation started out. Do you recall what was first said to lead into that conversation?

A. Yes. I asked them why they robbed the bank.

Q. And did they tell you?

A. Yes. William Harris stated that they needed money because they were fighting guerrilla warfare and it was not easy what they were doing, and then Patricia Hearst stated that she had heard a lot of publicity about the bank robbery that she was tied to her gun and could not fire it, and people were pointing guns at her, her own SLA members. And she said this was all false.

Q. And immediately preceding this conversation, did you at any time, Tom, hear William Harris say to the defendant, "Tell him," meaning you, "about the bank robbery"?

A. No.

Q. Are you sure about that?

A. Not positive, I don't remember.

Q. Okay, you don't remember any such words, right?

A. Right.

Q. Incidentally, after she removed this bullet from the chamber and put it in the clip, what did she do with that weapon?

A. I believe she handed it to William Harris.

Q. Were there any other weapons in the back of the van?

A. Yes. They had one identical to the automatic weapon and I believe they had two handguns.

Q. And where were those located, to the best of your recollection?

A. I believe Emily Harris had one in her purse and I don't remember who was carrying the other one at the start.

Q. You don't recall in whose possession the other revolver was in, or the handgun?

A. The start of the evening, no, I don't.

Q. Do you recall whether the defendant ever had possession of a handgun?

A. Yes, the next morning she had possession.

Q. Will you tell the Court about that, please.

A. It was on the morning of the 17th, I woke up and they were discussing how they were going to get another car, and I think William Harris stated that they should just jump out in front of a car at a stop sign and take over the car, but Emily Harris said the two females should act as hitchhikers and pull their weapons on the driver, and I think Emily Harris had her revolver, or whatever it was, her handgun in the purse, and Patricia Hearst was trying to find out where to put hers, in front of her pants or back.

Q. Where did she get that handgun?

A. I don't remember.

Q. You do recall her having a handgun at that time or at that point?


Q. Do you recall whether that handgun was loaded with live ammunition?

A. No, I don't.

Q. You have indicated that you were still with the defendant and the Harrises the following morning. Can you tell us just very generally and briefly where you went after you obtained the hacksaw?

A. Almost directly after the hacksaw we went to a drive-in theatre, which later I found out was the Century Drive-in, and we . watched the movie, and they said they had to meet some people there, and they were going to let me go at 12:00 o'clock. But their friends, whoever they were, they were supposed to meet, did not show up and at approximately one o'clock we drove around to two locations, so they could find a place and spend the night, and they decided they should not stay there, so we went up to the Hollywood Hills and spent the night there.

Q. And was it the following morning after spending the night in the Hollywood Hills, as you recounted the defendant having this discussion with Emily about where to put her handgun?

A. Yes.

Q. And find another vehicle?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, during the period of time you were at a drive-in movie, Tom, was there at any time at all when any of the four of you

left the van?

A. All four of us?

Q. No, when any of the four, one or more of the four?

A. Yes, when we first got there, they were hungry, Emily Harris went out to get some food and see if their friends may have been there.

Q. Excuse me. I take it that she left, and you and the defendant and William stayed in the van at that point?

A. Yes that's when we cut off the hacksaw -- cut off the handcuff.

Q. All right. And were there any other times at the drive-in when any of the four of you left?

A. Yes a few times during the course of the evening, Tom -William Harris went out once or twice, and another time Patricia and Emily went out to the snackbar.

Q. Okay. William and who?

A. William and Emily -- William went by himself one time, possibly twice.

Q. Okay. And was there ever a time during the movie, during the time that the motion -- at the drive-in theatre when both William and Emily Harris got out of the van at the same time?

A. No.

Q. Okay. Was there a time that that occurred after you left the movie?

A. Yes, it was at the second stop where they were trying to find a place to spend the evening.

Q. Tell us about that, please. Do you know where the stop was, incidentally?

A. No, I was covered up after the drive-in.

Q. Okay. What happened at that point?

A. The two Harrises got out -

MR. BAILEY: I object to that. I think he should tell what he heard, if he was covered up by a blanket.



Q. Let me ask you this, Tom: What were you able to see with respect to what happened at that point; were you able to see anything?

A. No, I was covered up.

Q. All right. And how do you know that both the Harrises got out at that point?

A. Well, they stated they were going to go up and check a house, and I heard both of the doors shut, I recollect.

Q. In other words, you heard the passenger's side door and the driver's side door shut, is that correct?

A. Yes. I take it they were gone, I didn't hear them.

Q. And where was the defendant at this point?

A. She was sitting next to me.

Q. And that was in the back of the van?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. Did you hear either of the Harrises' voices outside the van?

A. No.

Q. All right. Now, did you stay covered up at that point or not?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you able to see anything at all?

A. No.

Q. How do you know the defendant was there with you?

A. During the course of the evening after the -- after the drive-in, she kept patting me on the head asking if I was all right.

Q. Okay. Now -- and did she do that after you believed the Harrises to have gotten out of the van?

A. I don't -- I don't remember.

Q. Well, do you remember whether she said anything during that period of time?

A. She might have, she might have done like I said, patted me on the head and asked me if I was all right, I don't remember.

Q. Okay. Your impression and recollection is and was that she was in the van with you at that point, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And did she at that time ask you to get a message to her parents?

A. No.

Q. Did she, at any time, ask you to get a message to her parents?

A. No.

Q. Now, was that the only -- the only time, to the best of your recollection and belief, that you were alone with the defendant?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, returning to the period of time when you were driving around, or Emily Harris was driving around looking for a hacksaw, Tom, you've indicated there was a conversation about the bank robbery in which the defendant said that her hands had not been restricted in any way during the bank robbery. What else did she tell you about the bank robbery at that time?

A. Well, she stated that all the publicity she had heard was false, and that she was a willing participant in the bank robbery.  And she also talked about some of the details.

Q. Did she talk about the planning of the bank robbery and use of weapons in the bank?

Yes, there was one, she talked about -- they weren't supposed to turn their guns more than a certain amount of degrees, so if they started firing, they wouldn't shoot each other.

Q. And did she indicate to you whether the gun she had was loaded?

A. She didn't say if it was loaded or not.

Q. But she said she was free to use the gun?

A. Yes.

Q. And how was this conversation, did she tell you this matter-of-factly, or did she appear to be nervous or trembling or anything of that nature, when she was talking?

A. More matter-of-factly.

Q. Did she laugh or giggle or smile at any time during this conversation?

A. Not that I can remember.

Q. All right. Now, was anything else discussed during that period of time as you were driving around looking for a hacksaw, other than the bank robbery, with the defendant?

A. She talked -- she said she was originally kidnapped, and she was bound and gagged, and that she had heard publicity that her father didn’t do enough to get her back, and that she had changed her views.

Q. So she talked about the kidnapping and the fact she had changed her views. What about an incident at Mel's Sporting Goods Store earlier that same day, was that discussed by the defendant?

A. Yes, it was at the drive-in. She stated she shot at the store when she saw her two comrades across the street in trouble.

Q. Did she use the term "comrades"?

A. She used the term comrades when she said she saw them coming across the street.

Q. What else did she say about that?

A. She said it was a good feeling to see her two comrades come running across the street.

MR. BROWNING: A good feeling. Thank you. I have no further questions.

THE COURT: You may cross-examine.

MR. BAILEY : Your Honor, I wonder if we could have the morning recess a little early, so I could confer with counsel?

I understand this is the last witness before -

MR. BROWNING: No, we have another witness this morning.

MR. BAILEY: All right. Would that be all right, sir?

THE COURT: Certainly. We will be at recess for 15 minutes. (Recess. )

(The following proceedings were had out of the presence and hearing of the jury:)

THE COURT: (Is the witness ready for cross-examination?

(Witness resumes stand. )

THE COURT: All right. Mr. Bailey, you may cross-examine.

MR. BAILEY: Thank you, Your Honor.


Q. Mr. Matthews, do you recognize the gentleman sitting at the end of the table in the blue suit?

A. Yes.

Q. His name is John McNally. You have some conversation with him about a month or so ago?

A. Yes.

Q. And you recall going over this incident in the course of the conversation?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember him questioning you specifically about the claim that you were alone in the car with Patty?

A. Yes,1 do.

Q. And you recall telling him that the Harrises did step outside the vehicle, but it was only for a couple of seconds?

A. Yes, it was probably closer to a minute. I said -- first I said about five minutes, when I think about it, it seemed around a minute or so, it wasn't very long.

Q. All right. You were relying entirely on what you heard to even draw that conclusion?

A. Yes.

Q. Nothing that you could observe by sound or otherwise would indicate what distance, if any, they were from the vehicle at that time?

A. Yes.

Q. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Fine. Now, can you describe the windows of this vehicle?

A. All I have in the back are the two back door windows and two small portholes.

Q. All right. And you were where, immediately behind the front seat?

A. My head was at the back doors.

Q. You were lying down?

A. Yes. .

Q. How heavy was this blanket that was over you?

A. It was a light blanket, I couldn't see through it, though.

Q. Okay. What were the lighting conditions at the time?

A. It was night.

Q. Nighttime. Were there any lights in the vehicle that you know of?

A. I don't think they were on. I probably could have seen -- I have the light in front and back, I probably could have seen through the blanket. It wasn't on.

Q. You don't recall any illumination seeing through the blanket?

A. Right. .

Q. How many doors are there to the vehicle?

A. There are six doors.

Q. All right. And when one is open or closed, I take it the sound is fairly obvious to anyone nearby?

A. Yes.

Q. And at no time after you heard what seemed to be the Harrises leaving the vehicle, and prior to the time you heard what seemed to be the Harrises returning to the vehicle, you didn't hear any doors open or close, did you?

A. Right .

Q. Now, did Miss Hearst say anything to you?

A. The only thing she might have said, she might have patted me on the head and asked me if I was all right.

Q. How many times did she do that that you can recall in the course of your entire encounter with her?

A. I know she did it at least twice, maybe four or five times.

Q. In addition to patting you on the head, did she, from time to time, express concern whether you were comfortable, et cetera? MR. BAILEY: Thank you. That's all.

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