Two men pleaded guilty today to kidnaping a Carroll County woman last May--an eight-day ordeal during which the victim said today she had sympathized greatly with her captors.
Patricia I. Hively, 43, was held hostage for eight days after an armed robbery at the pharmacy where she worked in Taneytown. Her abductors, on what one abductor later said was a "sky-blue impulse," transported Hively from the pharmacy to Tennessee and back, setting her free in Gettysburg, Pa., seven miles from her home in Taneytown.
Under a plea arrangement worked out between prosecutors and defense attorneys in the Carroll County courthouse this morning, Jimmy Edward Simpson, 39, and Olon Hill Jr., 36, will not receive more than 30 years in prison.
Simpson and Hill also pleaded guilty to armed robbery and weapons charges, and could have received up to 65 years in prison on the three charges. Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 19.
Hively said in an interview today that she began to believe she and her captors were up against the police during her captivity.
That feeling, known as the "Stockholm Syndrome," is common among hostages, law enforcement authorities say. The phenomenon is often an effective, if unconscious, method of self-defense, according to FBI literature.
The syndrome takes its name from a case in 1973 when three young women and a young man were held hostage in a bank vault in Stockholm for 131 hours, and later expressed hostility toward the police.
Police had warned Hively's husband, Carroll, four days before she was freed, that she might experience the Stockholm Syndrome. If the syndrome meant his wife cooperated with her captors, Carroll Hively, a long-distance truck driver, said yesterday, "she did it to stay alive."
Patricia Hively said she first learned what her feelings of sympathy were from a psychiatrist two days after her release. "It took a long time to get over it," she said.
She said her feelings first surfaced just a few hours after she was abducted at gunpoint from the Taneytown Pharmacy where she worked when she "started to laugh" at the situation. She said she treated Simpson and Hill like friends, because they were kind to her. "They kept telling me, 'Don't worry, you'll get home.' "
Once, she said, they stopped at a bus station in West Virginia, saying they were going to buy her a ticket home. She said they later justified a robbery in Tennessee, by saying they were trying to get money for her to get home. They bought her a change of clothes, she said.
Hively said she and her captors traveled on back roads, slept in motels, ate at restaurants, and were never troubled by police.
She said she felt particular sympathy for Simpson after he told her he had cancer and showed her photographs he said were of his wife and children, who he said had been killed in a car crash. Carroll County State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman said the photograph of the woman and children came from a wallet Simpson had found.
After learning yesterday that her captors, who still face charges in Tennessee and Pennsylvania, will spend a long time behind bars, Hively said she believes "they got what they deserved--they'll be off the streets. That's all that matters."
Saying that she still sees a psychiatrist once a week, she added that she is "happy," and has volunteered to speak to police and FBI classes about her experiences as a hostage. She expects to return to her job at the pharmacy.
"I'm going to start to breathe again, to live again," she said.
Hickman and Taneytown police said yesterday they learned from fingerprints that Simpson and Hill were Hively's captors soon after the abduction. More than 300 police and federal authorities were involved in the eight-day search, Hickman said.
However, the investigation was plagued with bad tips and false leads, Hickman said, resulting in a futile helicopter-and-dog search by more than 100 police and FBI agents through the mountains of Washington County, the interrogation of a homosexual couple in Gettysburg, and the grilling of a driver of an unmarked hearse caught speeding in Howard County.
Simpson and Hill surrendered to Pennsylvania State Police at a rural store west of Gettysburg 36 hours after Hively was freed. Police said they gave themselves up because they were afraid of being shot by searchers.
Pharmacist Julian Friedman, who was tied up in a back room during the robbery and abduction, closed his store yesterday afternoon and came to Westminster to hear Simpson and Hill plead guilty. He said he was happy with the results, but remained "puzzled." He noted that Simpson and Hill took $300 in cash from his store and $100 in drugs--which they later threw away--abducted his employe, then surrendered and pleaded guilty. "I'll never figure out how the human mind works," he said.