- Special Reports
- Maps & Data
- 2015 In Review
- Dear Abby
- Games & Puzzles
- Events & Exhibits
- Food & Drink
- Arts & Music
- Movies & TV
Reporter Karen Florin received four phone calls from Richard Shenkman while he was holding his ex-wife hostage in South Windsor. The first call was shortly before 1 p.m. and the last call about 4 p.m.
Below is a partial transcript of the calls.
Florin: What are you waiting for now? Is someone waiting at the house?
Shenkman: I had to get rid of one negotiator because the guy lied to me. He immediately lied to me.
Florin: Are you going to let somebody in the house?
Shenkman: No, no. The police would never allow that. I would never allow that. The only ones I want to die are cops. That's it. I don't want anyone else to die. Just cops. And the more you print that, the more they are going to want to kill me. To me a success, this would be the ultimate success: I get my 12 demands and Nancy walks out of here. The cops challenge me, they try to shoot me, then 68 cops lose their life, plus I die. That would be the ultimate success.
Florin: Richard, they don't have to kill you. They don't want to kill you, Richard.
Shenkman: They don't have a choice. They enter the property, they're dead, we're all dead.
Florin: What made you call me?
Shenkman: I trust you.
(Phone rings in the background.)
Florin: Get your line, I'll hold on.
Shenkman (talking to police negotiator): Hello. Hey. No, marriage license. Wait a minute, wait a minute. How are you doing with the news media? ... You have a command center set up near here? Can you find out where it is for me? All they did was send me the policy manual. ... Judge is on his way, all right. How are we doing getting Skype set up? Let's get it tested out so we can get this thing, yeah ... yeah ... or just give me an e-mail address, I don't know, I got to do that. At least try to get it done before the judge … How about the priest? They are really pissing me off about the priest. That was my first demand and I'm not getting … They got the priest here? OK, all right. How are you getting the other manual, the SWAT team's? Then he's got a problem. When they come in here I want to make sure they follow the book. Tell 'em we're going to have the first Mexican stand-off and that's it. If there's going to be deaths here, I want to make sure there's procedures followed. ... What's going on in the backyard? Tell them to get the (expletive) out of the yard. Get me the command center. I want the manual within 10 minutes. Shut up ! You listen to me, pal, I want the manual within 10 minutes. OK? I want the manual in 10 minutes. Don't give me "your best." That's (expletive). It's 1:15 p.m.. At 1:25 p.m. I have the manual."
Florin: Richard, what do you have in the house?
Shenkman: 65 pounds of explosive
Florin: I want to know exactly what's going on, Richard. Everybody is reporting something about what's going on outside of your house.
Shenkman: Right, first of all, the report of shots fired outside, that didn't happen, it didn't happen. The press is just making it up. They're just making this shit up.
Florin: Do you have a gun?
Shenkman: Yeah, I brought the gun.
Florin: Did you take Nancy at gunpoint this morning,? ... What happened on the street of Hartford?
Shenkman: I don't want to get into that right now. Um, I'm just waiting for the priest to give Nancy's last rites.
Florin: Is there a priest outside?
Shenkman: … I'm going to give 15 minutes to uh… otherwise I guess we'll give them a body. But we're going to end this thing unless The Hartford Courant takes (the story) down (from its Web site).
Florin: Is there something that we can post, that will, that will be more truthful to you, that will be more fair and accurate?
Shenkman: Nope, I want you to be fair and accurate, that's what I'd like you to do. I mean, I don't want any of the rehash of stuff that's not true out of the divorce or the other thing, in the story. That's just, what it does is, you know what it does is it gives it light and it becomes you say something long enough and it becomes true.
... I'd like you to quote me on this, the judges, who are the lightweight judges, always end up in the divorce court. The judges with superior legal minds never get assigned to divorce court. It's true, it absolutely is true. The absolute lightweights.
Florin: All right, but what got you to do this today?
Shenkman: Yeah, they told me they were going to incarcerate me for contempt of court, in the divorce. You know it's one thing, in a friggin divorce. I've lived in this house for 35 years and I'm leaving it in a body bag. Now how many other people are going to be in body bags ...?
Florin: Are you talking to other reporters this morning?
Shenkman: No, you're the only reporter. But I do want you to put something out, just don't rehash all the old crap. It's not, we had a horrible, ugly, unfair divorce and ... if you want a quote from Nancy she also thinks it was unfair for her and I think it was unfair for me. Nancy, would you say that's accurate?
Florin: I'd like to talk to Nancy again, Richard.
Shenkman: Nancy, can you please … Karen wants to… Nancy's not feeling well.
Florin: Can you blame her?
Florin: Are you treating her, are you hurting her? You don't want her to be hurt, right?
Shenkman: No. Nancy, am I hurting you?
Nancy: (in background) No.
Shenkman (to Nancy): I mean the police are frustrating you as much as me.
Nancy: (in background): Right. Uh-huh.
Florin: Nancy, do you want to say anything at all?
Nancy: (mumbles in background)
Shenkman: Whatever you want to say, Nancy, I don't want this to be like I'm controlling you, telling you what to say.
Nancy: I don't want either of us to be hurt, I want to come through this and move on. There's nothing here that can't be undone. And I…
Shenkman: Is there anything about the divorce that you want to say?
Nancy: There were things that I thought were unfair and that Richard thought he had been treated unfairly, so it seemed like it was a wash to me.
Um, and it seems like a lot of this is stemming from all the different media coverage. Things that were misunderstandings were repeated.
Florin: Well ... I'm really very concerned right now about both of you.
Shenkman: Well you should be, and you know the one thing right now is the police aren't going to … you know one of the things is that I'm in charge here. And they don't like that. And they're trained not to let the, uh, the hostage taker to be in charge. And they're not going to give me … and they're not going to get The Hartford Courant to take it down, and, uh, it's going to end badly and quickly. I was hoping that we were going to be able to resolve more issues but you know they've got to get those points.
Florin: What is the most important thing for you that gets out there?
Shenkman: That they do my 12 demands and Nancy walks out of here. That is the most important thing to me.
Florin: Why the last rites if you want to get out of there alive?
Shenkman: Because I think they're going to, they're going to get frustrated soon, and they're going to start shooting. I believe it's going to end in violence, not that I want it to. You know they issued the marriage certificate.
Florin: Why do you have your wife there? Ex-wife.
Shenkman: Because she's got her head on my shoulder and I've waited three years for that. And this is worth it. My last days is worth it. Yeah.
Florin: Richard. Are you thinking about Nancy now?
Shenkman: Are they thinking about Nancy?
Florin: No. Are you?
Shenkman: Yeah. But I'm not going to hurt her, they are.
Florin: You can say that, but you're going to make it happen.
Shenkman: (laughs) Well, if they are going to push me, then that's the price they are going to pay.
Florin: I'm hoping, as Nancy said, this doesn't have to end badly.
Shenkman: Well, they should give me a priest so she can have her last rites.
Florin: Maybe they feel if they give you the priest, then what do you have left.
Shenkman: (nervous laugh) Well, I still have seven demands and they still haven't done one other. We're getting remarried, did I tell you that?
Florin: Yeah. Who issued that marriage certificate?
Shenkman: The town clerk, would you like me to fax it to you?
(Phone rings in background)
Florin: I don't care. You have to get that, I'll hold on if you want.
Shenkman: (to police negotiator) Hi, Lisa. How are you? I'm terrific. We have to start all over again? Do I have to train you and show you what we're dealing with here. We're just going to … yeah. So we got a priest coming? Well, we're going to break those rules. I'm not backing down on that one. Goodbye. Hang up. Ok, we've got to go, Karen.
Florin: Richard, please try to make this end nicely, non-violently.
Shenkman: If she could give me what I want. It's not unreasonable. We haven't got to the others.
Florin: Talk to this lady, maybe she'll be reasonable.
Shenkman: They are going to storm us soon.
Florin: I don't know if they show any sign of doing that. Try and talk to her and reason with her. You know how negotiations go. You give a little, she gives a little.
Shenkman: (nervous laugh) I don't do very well with negotiations. OK, I've got to take care of Nancy. I'm losing her here. -